Food in Rome; Restaurants,the Campo di Fiori Market, and a Giant Mortadella?

One of the best things about being in Rome (besides the 2000 year old monuments around every corner) is the food. Like the monuments, fantastic fresh food is literally around every corner, whether in neighborhood outdoor markets, restaurants, or small specialty shops,  the quality of the food is astoundingly good. That’s not to say a bad meal can’t be found, but if you do your homework, you can eat very, very well.

One of our first stops was the Campo di Fiori market. Yes, it’s touristy, but it’s also filled with locals who shop there daily as well as some of the most beautiful produce.

Campo di Fiori Vegetables
Campo di Fiori Vegetables
Campo di Fiori Mushrooms
Campo di Fiori Mushrooms
Campo di Fiori Herbs
Campo di Fiori Herbs

One of my favorite vegetables to eat in Rome is Puntarelle, a bitter green which is usually served raw with a lemony anchovy dressing. In the Campo di Fiori market, you can see how this green is cut, stripped and prepared for purchase.

Campo di Fiori Puntarelle
Campo di Fiori Puntarelle

You can also see how artichokes are cut down to just the small hearts for the famous artichoke alla romana dish. If you’d like to read more about Roman markets, check out my Four Favorite Markets in Rome on my other blog, Former Chef.

Campo di Fiori Artichokes
Campo di Fiori Artichokes

The Campo di Fiori is also home to the famous Forno del Campo which is best known for its foccacia. Of course, we had to stop and get a slice which was still warm, right out of the oven.

Forno di Campo
Forno di Campo de Fiori

I’d been wanting to try La Fiammetta since our trip in 2008 when I’d read on Chowhound it had the best eggplant parmesan around. I love anything eggplant, but had not been able to make it to the restaurant on either of my last two trips. This time we went and I am very happy to say we were not disappointed.

La Fiametta
La Fiammetta
Puntarelle at La Fiametta
Puntarelle at La Fiammetta
Salumi plate at La Fiametta
Salumi plate at La Fiammetta

The eggplant parmesan was some of the best I’ve ever had and even my mother who has always said she didn’t like it, said she loved this dish. It was the perfect mix of eggplant, gooey cheese, flavorful tomato sauce and a nice crisped top. We also had a mixed salumi plate, my favorite Puntarelle salad and a quartino of white wine. It was the perfect first lunch in Rome, total of 36 euro. Piazza Fiammetta, 10  (between Piazza Navona and Ponte Umberto I).

La Fiametta Eggplant Parm
La Fiammetta Eggplant Parmesan

One night we took the tram over to Trastevere where Katie Parla was hosting a charity wine tasting event. The crowd filled this little wine bar called ilbacocco, mostly with expats, some tourists, and quite a few bloggers. We had a lovely time chatting with Amanda from Revealed Rome and Jason from Walks of Italy.

Katie Parla
Katie Parla

Along the way there we could not help but get pulled into this neighborhood salumeria. Look at the guanciale and the cheeses! Places like this are all over Rome and one of the reasons why I love it here so much.

Antica Caciara
Antica Caciara

On our last day we did a lot of walking and managed to get ourselves lost while trying to find a well known restaurant called La Taverna Dei Fori Imperiali. The place was packed with what looked like many local families having the traditional Sunday lunch as well as their share of tourists. We waited about ten minutes and were seated at a table right next to the kitchen window where the food comes out. Many people would hate being seated there but I love it because I get to watch what’s going on. There was an older gentleman in the kitchen and the rest of the family seemed to be working the floor.

We each ordered a pasta; for me, my old favorite, Bucatini all’ Amatriciana and for my mom, one of their daily specials which included hand made pasta and a sweet/sour eggplant sauce. We also had an their artichoke alla Romana which was small, but good.

La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali Artichoke
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali Amatriciana
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali Amatriciana

And now I leave you with this, possibly the World’s Largest Mortadella? I don’t know for sure, but it could be…

Giant Mortadella
Giant Mortadella

 

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Janis says:

    What a beautiful and mouthwatering post! You know the mortadella left me speechless ;–)

    1. Thanks! Pretty incredible, no? Could not bring myself to buy any though.

  2. Erika says:

    We tried La Fiametta in 2009, based on your recommendation (I think it was on the google map of Rome you shared…where in the world can I find that?) and that is truly the best eggplant parmesan I’ve ever had!

    1. Yes, wasn’t it great! You can find a link to my Rome Map here; http://www.wired2theworld.com/Rome2009.html

  3. Sorry to have missed you at Katie’s thing in Trastevere. What a lovely post! That table at Taverna is the BEST table . And thanks for reminding me about La Fiametta, I always forget about it.

    1. Oh, you were there too! I’m so sorry we missed each other! Next time…and yes, LOVED La Fiametta!

      1. No, I wasn’t there, which is why I missed you. I think there was a huge demonstration that day – or some other natural calamity.

        1. Yes, that was Oct 15th, the day of the big demonstations and the rioting (which we missed alltogether). Next time…

  4. Thank goodness I had just eaten before I read this. My mouth is still watering looking at your images, as they always seem to make me do. I’m jotting down some of these spots in case we do a stop over in Rome when we head to Italy this fall. I can’t wait! So many lovely things to eat. Yum!

  5. Jon says:

    The smells and tastes come alive with your wonderful photos. Feel like I’m there.

  6. Thanks for sharing the eggplant parm recommendation. Loved it! This is making us think we should pop over to Italy from Spain 🙂

  7. Dave says:

    If I were to pick the best Rome food post I’ve ever come across this would be it. You had me peering at the price of Vegetables and drooling over salami.

    You might also like to know I showed it to some locals here and had them going “WOW” over Italian food. Granted the idea of eating salami didn’t appeal to them, nor did eating mushrooms but most certainly did to me! And that giant Salami at the end was inspirational enough for any food lover.

    What many people fail to remember about food posts like this is that for anyone who’s never visited Rome or Italy they make for fantastic educational posts too!!

    Sensational post!

    1. Thanks Dave! If you want to see more on the food of Rome, all in one place, check out some of my posts just on the markets and restaurants from previous trips over on my food blog; http://www.formerchef.com/tag/rome/

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