Rome is known for being one of the most beautiful, romantic cities
on the planet. Winding cobbled streets, awe-inspiring architecture, incredible
art and history, it’s often a travel destination on many people’s bucket list.
However, as the capital of Italy, Rome is probably even more
famous for its delicious food.
When you think of Italy pizza, pasta, wine and gelato all spring to mind… Which doesn’t exactly scream vegan-friendly.
But, during my recent trip to Rome, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of choice that was available.
In this post, I’ve pulled together a list of some of the places I recommend checking out if you’re planning a trip to Rome in the future, as well as a few others that I wasn’t so crazy about.
Handy Phrases to Learn
Being a hotspot for tourists, most of the people that we interacted with spoke very good English. With that being said, it never hurts to have a few phrases up your sleeve and me and my boyfriend tried to use them as much as possible.
I am Vegan – Sono vegana
I don’t eat meat or dairy – Non mangio carne o latticini
Without cheese – Senza formaggio
Without milk – Senza latte
Without cream – Senza crema
Without butter – Senza burro
Do you have any soy milk? – Hai del latte di soia?
Traditional Italian Dishes That Are Already Vegan
You don’t always have to venture far to find some traditional Italian dishes that are already vegan-friendly.
Olives – I ate a LOT of good olives during my time in Rome. Most places sell olives as a starter or side dish. Usually, these are plain and covered in oil, however, be careful not to get any stuffed with cheese.
Bruschetta – A classic Italian dish consisting of grilled bread with garlic, topped with olive oil, salt and usually tomatoes. There are some variations though, such as those that are topped with meats, so be sure to get the traditional version where possible.
Focaccia – This is a traditional flat oven-baked bread topped with herbs. Perfect for a starter or as a lighter alternative to a cheesy pizza.
Pizza Marinara – If you are in the mood for a pizza, then this is the dish to choose. Traditionally, this pizza is made using a plain marinara sauce and topped with oregano and garlic. Very similar to a Margherita, just without the cheese. Winner.
Pasta Pomodoro – A pasta dish made with olive oil, fresh tomatoes and basil. Just make sure that the dish is made with dried pasta and that they don’t top it with cheese!
Pasta All’arrabbiata – Another simple, yet delicious dish which is a spicier alternative to Pomodoro, usually made with garlic, tomatoes, and dried red chilli peppers. Again, just be sure that the dish has been made with dried pasta and that it isn’t topped with pesky cheese.
Places to Visit
Rome Glam Hotel – Great for cocktails and a few appetisers
Via Nazionale, 82, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
OK I have to admit… I have cheated a bit on this one.
This is the hotel that we stayed at during our trip which just so happened to have a very swanky rooftop bar. Although we didn’t choose the hotel purely for the rooftop bar, we did end up going there a lot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
At Rome Glam, they offer free appetisers with whatever drink you order, which made for a great opportunity to fill up on bread, olives and crisps in-between mealtimes.
Oregano – A huge menu of Veganised Italian favourites
Largo dei Chiavari, 84, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This was by FAR our favourite place to eat.
It’s located down the side of a small street in the heart of the city, with the option to eat outside or in. The décor was warm and inviting, with the staff all very welcoming and lovely. They had a huge selection of Vegan goodies to choose from. We came back for multiple visits during our stay as we just had to try them all.
For starters, we tried the Bruschetta. It was so incredibly fresh that I was disappointed they didn’t provide an unlimited supply.
Next up, we tried the Vegan Carbonara, which was SO GOOD.
This dish was SO creamy, it was hard to believe it was Vegan. Just like “real” carbonara, it also had bacon pieces in, which was also a delight to eat. This dish was unbelievably incredible that I had it multiple times throughout our trip.
We also tried their Pasta All’arrabbiata and Rigatoni. Again, extremely
delicious and fresh.
They also served Vegan pizza, which was great if you don’t want to miss out on trying a real Italian pizza. I found the pizza similar to the Zizzi’s version in terms of the cheese they both use. The key difference, however, is that the Italians make their pizzas a lot thinner and crispier.
Finally (can you tell I liked it here?) came the desserts. There were
two Vegan options to choose from; the chocolate mousse and the tiramisu. We
opted for the tiramisu which was really excellent. Much like the carbonara, it
was hard to believe it was Vegan. The ‘cream’ was extremely light and fluffy,
and it didn’t sit too heavy either.
I’d give Oregano a 10/10. The food was such a joy to eat and was
decently priced too.
Ops! – A completely Vegan buffet
Via Bergamo, 56, 00198 Roma RM, Italy
After reading so many good reviews from fellow vegan travels, I was
excited by the prospect of eating here.
A fully Vegan buffet? In Rome? Where do I sign?
It was a bit more tucked away than Oregano, which meant a 25-minute walk from our hotel. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a contemporary atmosphere and were quickly shown to a table.
We were told that we could go up to the buffet right away, choose our food and that we could order our drinks via the till at the end. There was a great selection of hot and cold dishes to choose from including gnocchi, ravioli, olives, risotto, roast potatoes, lasagne, hummus, Vegan mayo, meat substitutes etc.
We then headed to the till and chose our drinks. We thought we’d try one of their red wines, as we could be sure it was Vegan and because when in Rome and all that.
Now, onto the negatives. Firstly, the food is all priced by weight.
Which in theory is fine, but what we thought was odd was that there wasn’t a
way to see how much our food weighed as we were going along, so we couldn’t
keep track of how much we were spending.
Secondly, when we got to the till and ordered our drink, our food was weighed,
and we were told that we would pay once we had finished. So, we weren’t
actually sure how much we had just spent and whether we had the capacity to go
up for seconds.
As for the food, it was pretty mediocre. We had such high expectations that we were a little disappointed with the quality of the food. Most of the ‘hot’ foods that we tried were actually lukewarm, and it almost felt as if it had been sat there for a while. For instance, I had a slice of the lasagne (which was my favourite dish prior to going Vegan) but I couldn’t even finish the one I had here. It was a bit mushy and felt too cold.
Finally, the price. For the amount that we ate it seemed astonishingly high. We ended up leaving out of pocket and still hungry.
I’m not sure whether we just visited too early on in the evening (there were only a few other tables full of people there), or whether they were having an off-day, but it isn’t somewhere I’d necessarily run to if I was visiting Rome again.
Gelarmony Arte Del Gelato Siciliano – A traditional Gelateria perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth
Via Marcantonio Colonna, 34, 00192 Roma RM, Italy
I was desperate to try and find a decent Vegan Gelato whilst in Rome. I
mean, you have to have Gelato when in Italy right? So, after a quick Google
search, I found one that had great reviews and that wasn’t too far away.
After a 33-minute walk across the River Tiber we found Gelarmony – a
very traditional and quaint looking Gelateria. Once inside, we were greeted
with three areas, one for ordering cakes and pastries, one for ordering Gelato
and one for just Vegan Gelato.
That’s right. Gelarmony had a whole area dedicated to only serve Vegan Gelato.
But that wasn’t even the best part.
The best part was that there was actually a choice. Twelve different flavours to choose from, including pistachio, cinnamon, chocolate and hazelnut to name a few. They had five sizes to choose from, depending on how many scoops you wanted. We opted to have three scoops and the added option of Vegan whipped cream on top (you could choose between normal or chocolate) and a Vegan wafer.
This place was such a nice haven away from the hot sun, and it was so
lovely to just sit and take in the surroundings, whilst eating a delicious
Vegan treat of course.
If you’re staying near the Vatican side of Rome, then I’d highly
recommend checking this place out. If you’re on the other side of the river, it
is a bit of a walk. But, it’s the perfect opportunity to see the sights of
Rome, see the River Tiber and reward yourself with some delicious Vegan Gelato.
Thanks for reading. If you’re planning a trip to Rome soon, let me know if you try out any of the places above!