Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 23 – Eating in Rome, Part 1

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Emily Jablon:  Daraius and I went to Europe in September to celebrate our 2nd anniversary for ~2 weeks.  It was my first time in Italy so I was very excited!  In Italy, we visited Varenna on Lake Como, Milan, Venice, and Rome.

Since we were in Europe, we visited a friend in Strasbourg, France and also spent a night in Zurich.  We started our trip with a one day layover in Chicago to see friends!

Eating In Rome

Emily Enjoying a Gelato in Rome

Our Anniversary To Italy – Trip Report Index:

This post will cover several restaurants and gelaterias from from the Rick Steves’ Italy guidebook and Chowhound, including:

Eating In Rome

1.   By the Rome Cavalieri

Eating at the Rome Cavalieri was expensive so we went searching for cheaper places to eat near the hotel.  Here’s a map to some of the restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets close to the hotel.

We turned right at the fountain as you leave the hotel…

Eating In Rome

We Left the Hotel to Find Cheaper Food

and walked down Via Alberto Cadlolo.  There were mostly homes and apartments so we kept walking.

Eating In Rome

Via Alberto Cadlolo Was a Street Lined With Apartments

We got to the end of the street but didn’t find a restaurant.

Eating In Rome

Not a Single Restaurant in Sight!

We turned left onto Viale delle Medaglie D’Oro and found a little market with fresh fruit and bottled drinks.

Eating In Rome

We Knew We Were Getting Close When We Came Across the Local Corner Market

We kept walking and found Petit Cafe.

Eating In Rome

A Classic Italian Cafe Seemed Promising, but We Wanted More Than Just Sandwiches

There was a Massari supermarket.

Eating In Rome

Supermarkets Are a Perfect Place for Cheap Eats

There was a cafe bar called the Cubino Bar.

Eating In Rome

We Came Across Yet Another Bar – Cubino Bar

There are a lot of shops on Viale delle Medaglie D’Oro.  There was a travel agency

Eating In Rome

I Was Curious to See What Trips the Travel Agency Would Offer, but They Were Closed

and a restaurant called I Vespri Siciliani.

Eating In Rome

AI Vespri Siciliani Restaurant in Rome Would Have Been a Great Choice If Emily Wasn’t Allergic to Seafood

There’s also a gelateria in between the restaurant and a bakery.

Eating In Rome

3 Restaurants in a Row You Could Eat Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Without Having to Leave

The bakery also sold Italian pasta.

Eating In Rome

We Thought About Buying Pasta to Bring Home

We went down some steps…

Eating In Rome

Walking Down the Stairs in Heels Was a Little Tricky!

and found the View Restaurant and it definitely lived up to its name!

Eating In Rome

Reservation-Only Restaurant Overlooking Rome, but We Hadn’t Made a Reservation 🙁

Cheap Eats

1.   Pizzeria (located near the Colosseum)

For lunch, Daraius and I went to Pizzeria Di Sforza Piero, a pizza bar near the Colosseum, located at Via Celimontana 17.

Eating In Rome

The Outside of Pizzeria Di Sforza Piero Was Bland, but the Pizza Was Interesting

Our first pick was closed, so we wandered the streets until we saw something that looked good.

The pizzeria had flatbread, whole roasted chicken, lasagna…

Eating In Rome

In Addition to Flatbread Pizza, You Could Get Chicken, and Lasagna

stuffed tomatoes, potato pizza….

Eating In Rome

They Even Offered Potato Pizza!  Which I Had to try!

and several other different types of pizza.

Eating In Rome

There Were a Variety of Toppings to Choose From

The prices weren’t too bad either.

Eating In Rome

A Slice of Pizza Costs Only ~70 cents to $1.50

I got a potato pizza and Daraius got a cheese pizza.  We also split a rice and cheese fried snack.  To drink, Daraius had pear juice and I had an Italian cola.

Eating In Rome

I Took a Chance and Ordered the Potato Pizza; Daraius Stuck with the Cheese Pizza

I really liked my potato pizza.  You could taste the fresh potatoes and olive oil.

Eating In Rome

Daraius Giving Me His “Stop Taking Pictures So I Can Eat” Look

2.   Antica Gelateria (near the Colosseum)

After the pizza bar, Daraius and I went to a gelateria located across the street called Antica Gelateria De Matteis.

Eating In Rome

We Stopped for Gelato at Antica Gelateria De Matteis

They had a large selection of homemade gelato

Eating In Rome

We Had a Hard Time Choosing Because There Were So Many Flavors

…and real fruit granitas that looked so good, that I hoped we would return after our sightseeing.

Eating In Rome

The Fruit Granitas Were Very Tempting!

The prices were not too bad either.

Eating In Rome

I Was Surprised at the Relatively Low Prices

I had one scoop of cookie flavored gelato that was delicious!

Eating In Rome

Gelato Is the Perfect End to a Delicious Italian Meal!

We decided to eat our gelato on the way to Palantine Hill.

Eating In Rome

Emily With Her Gelato to Go

After our day of sightseeing, we went back to Antica Gelateria De Matteis for their freshly made granitas.  We ordered strawberry and melon.  Both were good, but the strawberry was out of this world!

Eating In Rome

The Gelato Was So Good We Became Repeat Customers!

3.   McDonald’s

Daraius and I decided to eat a cheap dinner to save for our splurge meals, so we had McDonald’s.

They had the normal menu and a special Italian menu…

Eating In Rome

American Fast Food, Italian Style With Parmesan Nuggets

there was a Share Box and Chicken McBites.

Eating In Rome

There Wasn’t a Dollar Menu but the Prices Were Affordable

You can wait in line or use the EasyOrder machine.

Eating In Rome

Use McDonald’s EasyOrder Machines to Avoid the Line

We ordered a Share Box, which came with chicken nuggets, fried brie, and fried spinach and parmesan nuggets.  We also ordered a calzone and French fries.

Eating In Rome

We Ordered From the Italian Menu

My favorite part was the fried brie, but I thought even the cheap pizzas and sandwiches were better than McDonald’s.

McDonald’s also had a big selection of pies and cakes…

Eating In Rome

This McDonald’s Offered Fresh Pies and Cakes

and ice cream treats.

Eating In Rome

I Loved All the Ice Cream Options!

4.   Giolitti

Daraius and I had gelato during one of our evening strolls.  The Giolitti gelateria is well known and has been there for decades.

Eating In Rome

We Couldn’t Leave Rome Without Having Gelato From the Famed Giolitti

We had to pay for the gelato first, and then give our ticket to the gelato server.  I ordered a turron and Nutella gelato, and Daraius had a cream flavored gelato.

Eating In Rome

I Had to Hurry and Take the Picture Before Daraius Ate Both Our Giolitti Gelatos

Both were tasty but not as tasty as other gelatos we’ve tried.  I was surprised how much like actual Nutella my gelato tasted (and looked) like.  It brought back memories when Daraius ate a whole jar of Nutella in one sitting with a spoon in front of his computer.

5.   Hostaria dei Bastioni (near Vatican City)

For lunch, Daraius and I went to the Hostaria dei Bastioni restaurant near the Vatican before our day of sightseeing.

Eating In Rome

We Grabbed a Quick Bite at Hostaria dei Bastioni Before We Visited the Vatican

It was a Rick Steves’ recommendation and they had the usual Italian favorites.  A pizza cost 8 euros or ~$11.

Eating In Rome

Hostaria dei Bastioni Served a Traditional Italian Menu

Daraius ordered a pizza and I had spaghetti.

Eating In Rome

Daraius Can Eat an Entire Pizza by Himself, but He Shared the Salad

Daraius’ pizza turned out to be our favorite pizza out of all the pizza we had in Italy!  The dough was thin and tasted handmade and fresh.  The cheese was also very delicate and fresh, and the meats were also very good.  My spaghetti was good, too.

We enjoyed the pizza so much that we decided to come back for dinner after our sightseeing.  We ordered the mixed bruschetta as an appetizer.

Eating In Rome

We Had the Mixed Bruschetta Appetizers

I ordered lasagna…

Eating In Rome

My Lasagna Looked Like It Came From Stouffer’s

and Daraius had risotto with seafood.

Eating In Rome

Daraius Enjoying the Risotto

Our food was good, but not as good as the pizza for lunch.  We wanted to order pizza but the chef said it would not be ready until 7:00 pm (we went for dinner at 6:15 pm after leaving the Vatican).

6.   Baffetto 2

Our last day in Rome, we went to find wood fired pizza.  We went to Baffetto 2, which was mentioned in the Rick Steves’ book for its good wood fired pizzas.

Eating In Rome

According to Rick Steves, Baffetto 2 Is the Place to Go for Wood Fired Pizza

They also had an extensive menu.

Eating In Rome

There Was a Very Large Menu

We liked the outdoor seating.

Eating In Rome

Daraius and Emily Enjoying Al Fresco Dining

We ordered garlic bread for our starter, which may have been a bit too salty, but good.

Eating In Rome

Delicious But Too Salty Garlic Bread

For our main course we shared an Italian pepperoni pizza.

Eating In Rome

Only 4 Pepperonis on a Pizza?

The pizza was good, but not as good as the Hostaria dei Bastioni Restaurant.

7.  Carrefour Express

Before we left for the US, we wanted to get some Italian chocolates and pasta, so we went to Carrefour Express after visiting the Vatican and did some shopping.  It’s cheaper to buy treats from the grocery store than from a souvenir shops.

Eating In Rome

The Carrefour Express Market Looked Like a Bank

The market had lots of food, including olive oil…

Eating In Rome

Who Knew There Were This Many Types of Olive Oil?


Eating In Rome

Enough Noodles to Feed an Army!

cured meats…

Eating In Rome

There Was a Selection of Cured Meats


Eating In Rome

Emily in Heaven in the Cookie Aisle!

more cookies…

Eating In Rome

So Many Cookies, Not Enough Room in the Suitcase…


Eating In Rome

The Italian Candy Was Very Different Than American Candy

and even American style bread.

Eating In Rome

Perhaps American Styled Bread is Exotic in Italy!

Carrefour Express also had health and beauty products.

We managed to find a lot of things we liked!

Eating In Rome

Our Goodies From the Market

Bottom Line

We’ve had good luck using Rick Steves’ guidebooks recommendations on what to do and where to eat when traveling.

But it’s okay to forget the guidebook and discover places on your own which is how we found  potato pizza at Pizzeria Di Sforza Piero for only 70 cents a slice and the best fruit granites at Antica Gelato.

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37 responses to “Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 23 – Eating in Rome, Part 1

  1. I would use the miles to finish a ticket to Moscow.

  2. Looking at the menu you photographed, it looked like your potato pizza was Eu 1.10, the Eu 0.70 item is roast potatoes. Both the pizza and the roast potatoes are sold by the etto, which is not a slice, but rather 100 grams (about one quarter pound). That way, you can order the exact amount you want to eat.

    As a general rule it can be difficult to get into any place called a “restaurant” in Italy without a reservation. Restaurant is the top-level designation for eateries in Italy — sometimes open only at dinner and often doing only one “turn” at each meal. You might have more luck as a walk-in with a Trattoria or Osteria.

    Really been enjoying this series of trip reports!

  3. WOW what a great anniversary trip cannot wait to hear what u do for the 10th…
    could use the Delta miles towards bringing our daughters and sons-in-laws to fl from the west coast

  4. What is crew flavored gelato?

    And commenter Larry, thank you for the additional FYIs!

  5. Respectfully, you ate crap! Baffetto 2 may be mentioned, but it is not the original located by the Pantheon. My suggestion to anyone visiting Rome is to avoid any pizza place that cuts the pizza in squares and don’t sit down anywhere that looks like a small town airport cafeteria.

  6. Make a left at that corner gets you cheap wine, at Enoteca Belsito, to take back to your room!

  7. 1. Love your food posts please keep them comig I’m a foodie wannabe (get a lil exotic here and there, don’t always play it so safe)
    2. Love Emily’s cute dress(where did ya get it from)
    3. I bought rick Steve’s book per your rec thanks!!

  8. I am with MDTRAVEL regarding this report. At least as far as Italian food in Italy is concerned, you need both restaurant and menu guidance. Another piece of advice – be very suspicious of any restaurant that has pictures of the food on its menus, or which has an “English” menu. And don’t ever go to McDonalds (or KFC or Pizza Hut) in, for example, Italy! There were much better cheap options available than that fried crap! Bread, cheese, charcuterie can be an inexpensive feast.

  9. David, Can you suggest “cheap” alternative places to eat around the Vatican/Collosium/Pantheon/Trevi/SpanishSteps etc?

    For the Delta Mile giveaway, I use the miles to fly from Austn->Minnesota/Amsterdam (i think they have some good availability).

  10. Let’s not be too hard on the guy. The point of vacation is to enjoy ourselves, and sounds like he did.

    We loved our dive into Italy’s amazing food culture. I used the Rome Digest blog and found it to be excellent: would highly recommend to visitors. We also did a private food tour with Gina Tringali, one of its authors–learned a lot and enjoyed every bite. We are doing another tour with Gina this summer.

    All that said, some of my favorite memories are the simple meals we made from very basic Carrefour groceries on our deck at dusk. Magical!

  11. @ LarryInNYC- Thanks for pointing that out!

    @ dottie cahill- Glad you enjoy reading about it. Daraius plans the most wonderful vacations!

    @ Jenny- I am not sure. We had cream flavored gelato?

    @ Roberto P- Thanks for sharing! Wine would have been a great way to end the night! 🙂

    @ Anita- Thanks! We had another food post today that you might also enjoy. I got the black dress with the pearl collar at Modcloth. Usually they bring it back every 4-6 months, so if you don’t see it in the Romper section, check back occasionally. And I think you’ll love Rick Steve’s!

    @Sfmom- Thanks! We did enjoy ourselves! The food tour sounds like a great idea!! And I agree…some of our favorite memories are going to a park and eating sandwiches with French bread, jamon, cheese, and olive oil from the market. Delicious and cheap! 🙂

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