Ethnic food in Rome
Sick of pizza and pasta? No, neither am I. But sometimes it’s nice to eat foreign cuisine for a change, and there’s a decent choice in Rome – better than you might expect. It’s nothing like London, where you’ll find restaurants from ten different countries on a single street, but if you know where to go, you can satisfy your cravings for curry, sushi and falafel.
This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. I’m fairly unadventurous when it comes to eating out in Rome, as I’m always happy to stuff myself with pizza or a plate of cacio e pepe. But if you’re craving a change, here are some ideas:
My favourite is Fast Food (Via Mamiani 11), near Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. Cheap and cheerful, with plastic cutlery, neon lights, and great curries. If you don’t fancy a full meal, you can pop in for a pakora or samosa to take away.
There are a few Indian restaurants in Monti. I’ve eaten at Sitar (Via Cavour 256 A) a couple of times and it didn’t leave much of an impression on me, but it was decent. Some people will tell you that Maharajah (Via dei Serpenti 124) is terrible, while others think it’s one of the best Indian restaurants in Rome. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
I’ve only eaten Peruvian food once in my life, and it was at Inka Chicken (Via Palestro 32 A), a restaurant near Castro Pretorio. From what I remember, it was pretty good, and I went with an American/Peruvian friend who goes there regularly and thinks it’s authentic. If you’re a proper vegetarian (not a fake, fish-eating vegetarian like me) you might have problems.
When I say Middle Eastern, I actually mean “falafel”. I have yet to find a good Lebanese restaurant in Rome (if you know of one, please tell me). But when I first arrived in Rome, I found myself missing hummus and falafel dreadfully, and I made it my mission to find some Middle Eastern food.
I believe the Jewish Ghetto has a few restaurants that serve Israeli food. I used to get pitta bread with falafel and hummus from Yesh Sheni (Via Santa Maria del Pianto 64-65) until I discovered cheaper, better places elsewhere. These days I usually go to Fadidennouai (Via San Francesco a Ripa 165) in Trastevere, which does an excellent falafel wrap, or the cosy La Via della Seta (Via dei Coronari 143). The owner is very friendly, and says his falafel is the best in Rome. I haven’t sampled all the falafel in Rome, but it’s definitely good.
I have a distant memory of a delicious meal at Africa (Via Gaeta 26), near Termini. The food was spicy and I made a mess trying to eat it with my hands. Good for vegetarians, I think.
I wasn’t convinced by the concept of Brazilian-Japanese food until the food arrived at Temakinho (Borgo Angelico 30). A few seconds later, eating the most delicious sushi I’ve ever had, I was completely convinced. I can’t even tell you exactly what I ate, except that it was really good sushi with a twist – an interesting variety of fish, shrimp, avocado, lime, mango etc. So far, it’s the best non-Italian meal I’ve had in Rome. There’s a restaurant in Monti too, but I recommend the Borgo branch for the lovely rooftop terrace. Drinking Brazilian cocktails while eating sushi, with a view of Roman rooftops…There are worse ways to spend a summer evening. Just make sure you book far in advance, as it’s very popular.
I suppose Bakery House (Corso Trieste 157) is American. Brunch with pancakes, french toast, bagels, muffins, doughnuts…If you want something more substantial than an Italian breakfast (cappuccino and cornetto), this is a good option. Make sure you book.
When I’m in the office and I want a change from panini or pizza al taglio, I go to Sushi Koi (Via Etruria 43A) for a €6-8 plate of sushi. The owner is very friendly and generous with fortune cookies.
Also, Open Baladin (Via degli Specchi 6). Although it’s not ethnic, foodwise it’s not traditionally Italian either. Go here for craft beer, yummy burgers and a kind of crisp/chip hybrid sprinkled with pecorino. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Finally, Testaccina has some good suggestions for getting your French fix in Rome.