Eat and Drink in Rome
Italians love to eat and They believe that Italian food is the best food in the world and; they don't exagerate, its true.
It is a real pleasure to eat in a typical Italian restaurant, trattoria or pizzerias. Don't pay attenction to the restaurants appearances: often when you see poor crystal glasses and table clothes, you have the guarantee that the better food there.
Not all the restaurants in Rome leave menus on the table or outside; more, others restaurant don't have a menu at all. This becouse everyone who has ever been to this restaurant (except for you) knows what this restaurant makes.
From March with the arrival of the Spring you will find Romans having their lunch in a tipical restaurant on one of the beautiful terrasses of the city.
Generally the Roman lunch around 1.00 pm - 2.00 pm and dinner around 8.00 pm or 9.30 pm; perhaps late for your habits.
A traditional Italian lunch.
In the working days frequently the Roman are working in various part of Rome. Exist the inconvenience of travelling home for having lunch every day so you see many Romans just having a sandwich or a piece of pizza for lunch.
The traditional long lunch is usually reserved for the weekend or for special events like Christmas when the families meet together for a very long lunch.
Usually, a full Italian meal consists of five distinct dishes: the antipasti, the primo, the secondo, the contorni and the dolci.
Below we provide you a list of typical Italian dishes.
The antipasti are little dishes which always taste very nice: bresaola (a very good kind of prosciutto), olive oil and tomato, garlic, minestrone (vegetable soup), insalata caprese (tomato with the Italian cheese mozzarella), prosciutto e melone (cured ham with melon), insalata di mare (seafood), bruschetta bread.
Il primo is a very various dish and is the name for the well reputated pasta-dish! Italian pasta is very varied and exists in a various variety of flavours and sizes.
Between the most famous: spaghetti, gnocchi, penne, fettucine, lasagne, rigatoni, tortelinni and ravioli.
Usually the pasta should be served 'al dente'; it should be cooked lightly.
Between the most famous in Rome: spaghetti all'amatriciana and spaghetti alla carbonara. In some restaurants you can find an assortment of different home-made pastas very delicious.
If you are not decided, ask for a 'tris di primi'; this is an assortment of different types of pasta on one plate.
Pasta is served in a sauce. Here the most diffuse: amatriciana (tomato and bacon), carbonara (egg, bacon and black pepper), al ragu (meat sauce called also bolognese), arrabbiata (tomato with chilli and spicy), vongole (clams, garlic and oil), pesto (basil, oil and pine nuts), napoletana (tomato and basil), panna (cream and ham).
The secondo is sometimes a plate with meat or fish, without anything else.
Usually the Italian with the secondo eat some salad or vegetables called the contorno. You will pay extra for the contorno.
A list of most important fish is presented below:
cozze (mussels), polipo (octopus), sarde (sardines), sogliola (sole), calamari (squid), pesce spada, (swordfish), tonno (tuna), acciughe (anchovies), vongole (clambs), merluzzo (cod), granchio (crab), aragosta (lobster).
A list of most important meat is presented below:
coniglio (rabbit), salsiccia (sausage), bistecca (steak), trippa (tripe), tacchino (turkey), vitello (veal), manzo (beef), pollo (chicken), cotoletta (cutlet), agnello (lamb), fegato (liver).
Wine is an essential accompaniment to any meal, for a fish meal we raccomend white wine, for a meat meal a red wine.
In Italy you can taste the best wines of the worlds. In the restaurants you oftes find the house wine or the local wine that are very tasty at a reasonably prices. However you have also the possibility to taste a pregiate wines as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Morellino di Scansano and moreover.
If you would like water (acqua in Italian), you must specify 'acqua naturale' becouse they will give you sparkling water (frizzante). The tap water is called 'acqua dal rubinetto'.
Wit the secondo you can also eat the contorno tha usually is composed by bome vegetables as:
asparagi (asparagus), patate (potatoes), fagiolini (string beans), carote (carrots), peperoni (peppers), cicoria (chicory), melanzane (eggplant), spinaci (spinach), carciofi (artichokes), cipolla (onion), piselli (peas).
In order to finish in a good way your meal, you can always have a dessert (dolci). Someone prefer to go out of the restaurant and buy a ice-cream (gelato) in the gelateria. But remember that there are many very good desserts served in the restaurants, ans in any way is good to prefer a dessert. Between the most famous desserts we remember creamy cake (tiramisù) and fruit salad (macedonia).
After the lunch or dinner.
In Italy, after dinner, drink grappa (grapes), limoncello (yellow lemony liqueur) or amaro are a popular way to end one.
If you would like something light, a pizza is the perfect solution! Italians have pizza for dinner, for lunch, as an evening snack and even for breakfast!
Pizza is usually served at pizzerias and trattorias and its more cheaper than a complete meal. If you don't want to have a sit down pizza, then there are many take aways where you can get a piece of pizza.
In this way ayou can eat you pizza outside, wherever you want. As a cheap snack you can also buy pizza from a small corner stores.
Here we remember a list of the principal pizzas you might find in Italy and in Roma. All pizzas listed have mozzarella and tomato on them.
focaccia bianca (white pizza with or without prosciutto and tomato), margherita (oregano), funghi e prosciutto (mushrooms and ham), capricciosa (olives, ham, mushrooms, artichokes), diavola (with hot salami), napoletana (anchovies), quattro formaggi (with four types of cheese), quattro stagioni (the same as capricciosa, but each ingredient on a different part), verdura (mixed vegetables), frutti di mare (seafood).
Bread and sandwiches.
In Rome you'll find various types of bread: i panini (main types; panini all'olio, panini al latte, rosette not salted), i tramezzini (a triangular sandwiches composed by white bread) and il pane casareccio (homemade bread, is a large loaf of bread).
In any moment of the day, you can have one of these kind of sandwiches in one of the thousand Italian bars present in every street of Rome.
In many bars you can ask a sandwich toasted or if you want your sandwich warm, ask if they will toast the sandwich a little bit.
In some is the habit to pay before to the cashier and after go to get your sandwich with your receipt; in other bars you can pay after.
Italians are great experts at making ice-cream (gelato).
There are several flavours of ice cream you have never saw before; they all taste delicious!
Ask about a cono (if you want your ice cream in a cone) or a vaschetta (if you want your ice cream in a tub).
You sure will see many tourists and italian people in the afternoon in the streets eating an ice cream, especially, after lunch or dinner.
The Italian Coffee and Chocolate.
Every day, drinking coffee at a Bar or at home with friends forms a large part of the Italian social life. We can compare this with the UK; drinking beer toghether starting from the afternoon is a habit.
In Italy you can find three world famous coffees: the espresso, the cappuccino and the caffelatte.
Espresso (known simply as caffè) is a very small an strong coffee, drunk with or without sugar.
You can take an espresso in all the bars in Rome, but espresso can be made at home using a caffettiera. You can add a little quantity of milk in the espresso coffee, in this way the espresso take the name of caffè macchiato (coffee with milk).
You can also take a stronger coffee than an espresso, called caffè restretto. This is made in a similary to an espresso, but there is less water and more coffee.
A caffè lungo (large coffee) is a espresso coffee whith more water.
Cappuccino is another kind of Italrian coffee. A cappuccino is made by adding hot milk to espresso coffee. Cappuccinoes are usually served in the bars in large coffee cups and the Italian drink this in the morning.
For this if you order a cappuccino at avening or at night will instantly identify you as a tourist!
Caffelatte is similar to the cappuccino but has more warm milk; the caffellatte is usually served in a long cylindrical glass.
You can also drink a cioccolata calda (chocolate), in Italy you can taste between the most delicious hot chocolate.