A Chef's Guide To Rome

13 January 2017

With over 4.2 million tourists visiting Rome each year, is it possible to get an authentic Italian meal without the touristy price-tag? According to celebrity chef Stefan Callegari, Rome has thousands of delicious eateries; you just have to know where to look.  “Today tourists are really smart and they always know the place to find the best Italian food,” says the culinary pioneer.

For self-confessed foodies, Rome is just as much a culinary city as it is a cultural hub for history buffs. For those visiting the Eternal City, Flight Centre has you covered. We ask the city’s best chefs and foodies on their favourite places to eat in Rome. 

Campo dei Fiori is like small country market in the heart of the city - where you'll find fresh produce, meats, cheeses and plenty of Italian wines to choose from. (Image: Getty)

A Master Gelato’s Food Spots

Famously known as the best gelato in Rome (and possibly Italy), Il Gelato di San Crispino (Via della Panetteria, 42 e in Via Cilicia, 00187 Rome ) is a short stone’s throw away from the Trevi Fountain but is definitely a local favourite. One of the original founders, Giuseppe Alongi loves exploring Rome and shares his favourite places to eat.

For the perfect start to his day Giuseppe loves Sant Eustachio (Piazza Sant_Eustachio, 82, 00186 Rome). Run by two brothers with a common love for great Italian coffee, the smooth smelling aroma of slow-roasted beans entice locals and tourists to pop in, sip and linger on their hand-crafted espresso before braving the streets of Rome.

Lunch in Rome can be difficult to navigate but for Giuseppe, Sora Lucia (Via della Panetteria, 12, 00187 Roma, Italy ) is a ‘small, good restaurant’ that doesn’t break the bank. On the menu are hearty, Italian dishes like Pasta alla Cabonara, fiori di zucca (fried zucchini flowers fried to perfection) and even suppli (crispy balls of rice and cheese).  

Many foodies will tell you to head straight to Campo dei Fiori, a local market in the centre of Rome,  but if you don’t want to look at fresh vegetables and fruit, Giuseppe recommends his favourite deli, Fratelli Ciavatta. A food lover’s paradise, Giuseppe heads straight for the hand-cured sausages, cheese and of course a great bottle of Italian wine. 

When it comes to dessert, Rome is heaven - and gelato is just the beginning. (Image: Getty)

A Foodies Food Guide

Rosa Cavallaro is a true local. Born and raised in Rome, Rosa currently runs her own tours around her hometown. For ice-cream, she goes beyond the guidebooks and heads straight for La Romana (Via Ostiense, 48, Roma, Italy ). Established in 1947, this family run gelateria uses local, sustainable ingredients, as well as eco-friendly packaging. The White mascarpone and cream scented vanilla with lemon rind is glorious on a hot summer’s day.

Franchi Ricevimenti (Via Cola di Rienzo, 200, 00192 Roma) should be on everyone’s food agenda. Located in Prati, Rome’s best known shopping area, visit this gourmet deli after your visit to the Vatican. Hanging hams, salami and hundreds of cheese and olives are on display, so there is definitely something to suit everyone’s palate. For a simple lunch, pick up a spit-roasted chicken with Italian veggies like tavola calda at the counter.

Rosa always finishes her day with Tiramisu at Bar Pompi (Via Albalonga, 7, 00183 Roma, Italy). With loyalists all around Rome, there are a number of locations to stock up on some of the sweetest desserts in town. Known famously for their tiramisu, grab an entire box of this sweet Italian dessert before heading back to your hotel room. If chocolate is more your thing, Rosa chooses Venchi (Cioccogelateria Venchi, Via della Croce, 25/26, Roma) to wrap up her day.

The deli is at the heart of Italian cuisine, and one of Chef Stefano Callegari's favourite Roman eateries is Rosciolo Cafe, a deli turned restaurant turned food emporium. (Image: Getty)

A Chef’s Guide To Rome

Chef Stefano Callegari's is more than just a chef in Rome, he is a culinary genius. Famously known for his love for pizza and two pizza shops, Sforno and 00100 Pizza, Chef Stefano has changed pizza across Rome. His latest project is Trapizzino (Via Giovanni Branca, 88, 00153 Roma), a café dedicated to his love for street food. Almost a stuffed pizza with interesting fillings like anchovies, octopus and even oxtail stew, Chef Stefano definitely knows his food and has a few Rome favourites to share with us

Chef Stefano loves Roscioli Café, located on Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22. Known as a multi-functional deli and unconventional restaurant rolled into one big giant food emporium, this café is not for the faint-hearted. Seen as Rome’s epicentre for the city’s top chefs to meet and shop, it is not a spot for budget-conscious travelers but those looking for gourmet Italian food. 300 types of cheese, 150 varieties of cold cuts and more than 3000 wine labels.

The coffee at Roscioli café is also Chef Stefano’s weakness. “In Italy we are really good in toasting and making amazing espresso! Italian barmen are really proud about their coffee and they take care of their coffee machine to have always the best espresso,” says the top chef.

For something sweet, save your appetite for Pasticceria De Bellis (Piazza del Paradiso, 56), says Chef Stefano. Not just another old-school pastry shop, Pasticceria De Bellis is a gourmet shop for specialty desserts. Think molecular gastronomy with sugar, chocolate and caramel.


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Michelle Tchea

Michelle Tchea is the bestselling author of Building a Perfect Meal, Signature Dishes and My Little SoHo Kitchen.Born and raised in Melbourne, she currently bounces back between Europe and the US working with the world's best restaurants and hotels. Specializing in luxury travel and gourmet escapes, she can't imagine anything better than vegemite on toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner.