So you’re coming to Rome and visiting The Vatican, huh? It’s safe to say that after a 2-3 hour tour you’re going to need some fuel to keep you powering through the rest of the your Roman Holiday. So, where can you wine and dine without being bombarded by tourists and avoid prices that can scare the map right out of your hands? Here are our Top 5 Places to Eat Near the Vatican.
I’ve created a list of places that fit any itinerary and appetite – lunch on the go, Panini, pizza, trendy sit down, and local hotspot. Besides being a self-diagnosed foodie and professional treasure hunter, I live in this neighborhood so you can safely put your faith in me. Now let’s go eat!
This has been a family owned hot spot since 1959 and you’ll see locals honker in for a 3 hour lunch, with never ending bottles of wine and plates of homemade pasta. This is an experience to see in itself. With the desserts made fresh every morning by one of the sisters, you’re in for a culinary treat. The first time I went here I wanted to order a pizza that had only seasonal vegetables. Because we were out of season the waiter abruptly stopped me and said they only use local, fresh ingredients. What they find, is what you get. Don’t let the busy street with tourist traps fool you- this hidden gem remains a secret (for now). It’s best to make reservations, especially if you want to sit outside, or “fuori” in italiano ;)
If you know some Italian, you’ll recognize the word “zanzara” to mean mosquito. Not quite sure on the logic, but it does roll of your tongue in Italian, so they can get away with it. This trendy, but comfortable bistro prides themselves in having an “all day long” attitude. You can start with breakfast and then drink into the night. All the while feasting on the savory plates like eggplant parmigiana (not served with pasta-this is the true Italian style), yellowfin tuna filet, and endless selections of meats, pastas, and salads. Like any good Italian restaurant, the pasta here is homemade. You’ll notice a section on the menu called “pick-me ups” with lower prices. These are smaller portions for the customer that may not be as hungry, or wants to try various dishes. I personally think the latter is a better reason.
Sorry to disappoint you, but this is not a restaurant named after a model on a gondola. It is, however, a biological food goldmine where what you see is 100% what you get. Everything is fresh, everything is made in front of you. Salads, sandwiches, juices, smoothies, snacks. They have it all my friends! My personal favorite is the Tofu insalata. Non-vegetarians fear not. You have a choice of fish and meat. This is a perfect place for a quick lunch on the go. They do have a few seats, but it is very small inside so instead of feeling cramped, I like to get my food “da portare via” (to go) and sit in Piazza Risorgimento This is the big square that leads to The Vatican and you can find people-watching heaven and a beautiful view of the St. Peter’s dome.
Repeat after me- pizza pizza pizza. This is a must-try pizza place in Rome. The appeal here is that it is different from your average pizza to-go place. Instead of finding the typical margherita pizza, you’ll be able to choose from zucchini with rich ricotta, mortadella, potato and mozzarella…mouth watering yet? They put a gourmet spin on pizza while still keeping with the Italian tradition of simplicity. You can
walk from the Vatican or take the metro to Cipro (one stop). Locals and tourists alike frequently stop for lunch or dinner here, either sitting on the bench outside or standing around the high-tables placed outside. You can absolutely opt to take your pizza to go, but I do have to say it is a fun experience joining the crowds of pizza-eaters outside and taking in the experience. Happy pizza-ing!
Being in Piazza Risorgimento, this is your closest and best option for a quick lunch, snack, or dinner near the Vatican. I am always wary of eating in places that are in main squares as they tend to cater to the gullible tourist, but this place is a true exception. It is located right before the corner you turn to reach Old Bridge Gelato, and it is a bit easy to overlook with all the other food spots so keep your eyes peeped! When you walk in you’ll see the menu on the wall to the left. Being a vegetarian I was very excited to see not only a meatless section, but also a vegan–with more than one option…gasp! Once you’ve selected your sandwich and have grabbed a cold refreshing drink, head to the register to order. They’ll give you a number and you can watch the masters create your sandwich in front of you, using only the freshest ingredients. I always opt for the #corsorisorgimento which has cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, oil, salt, and a little bit of pepper. Oh, and everything is on freshly baked bread. I like to take my sandwich to go and sit in the Piazza or pack it away with a little bottle of prosecco all ready for a picnic up on Gianicolo Hill behind the vatican. Great panino, refreshing bubbles and a stunning view of the Eternal City. Perfect lunch if you ask me. Get there for midday to see the cannon being fired from Piazza Garibaldi at the top.
So there you have it. The best places to eat near the vatican. Quick and casual, trendy or classic, vegetarian or carnivore, you have great options for a pick-me up after your Vatican Tour. After all, Rome is about history, but it is also about food. Let’s take advantage, shall we?
Visiting the Colosseum? See where to eat nearby with our Top 5 Places to Eat Near the Colosseum post.