When visiting Rome, or Italy in general, a culinary experience is a must. But where do you start? And how do you avoid those 'tourist trap' restaurants that locals never frequent? Here are our top 3 hacks to help you locate and enjoy local Italian cuisine just like Italians do.
1. This may sound obvious, but it's worth mentioning: never eat near the monuments or tourist sites. These places tend to be the most expensive and usually lack the typical food of the territory. This advice applies to all Italian cities. If you want to try the typical cuisine, ask Italians! How can you distinguish Italians from tourists? It's easy. Italians are usually spotted sitting outside bars, smoking cigarettes, chatting with their friends, and gesturing a lot with their hands. Once you find them, ask them this simple question: "Dove posso trovare un buon ristorante?" If you want to indulge more in the language, add: "...che non sia invaso da turisti?" It literally translates to "Where can I find a good restaurant that is not overrun by tourists?" Usually, Italians like to help, and they love it when foreigners try to speak their language.
2. Distrust people recommending their cousin's or family-related restaurants, as these are often tourist traps. However, if you are lucky enough to have an Italian friend who suggests or invites you to their favorite restaurant, trust them! Hospitality and good food are Italians’ love language, and they want to make you feel at home.
3. While searching for the perfect restaurant, remember: the best Italian food is predominantly found in simple, unpretentious places. You might be wondering: why is that? The simple truth is that Italians prefer substance to appearance!
Now go out there and conquer Rome's food scene like a true Italian. Say "ciao" to mediocre meals and "buon appetito" to a feast fit for a seasoned food explorer! Happy munching!
Question: What travel tips and tricks would you like us to write about? Let us know in the Comments!
Written by Francesca Carofiglio, Guidee team member who is Italian, and though she lives in Milano, she visits Rome often.