Whether it’s a cheesy pizza, creamy tiramisu or spaghetti carbonara – the vegan traveller can more than match the omni tourist’s experience in the food paradise that is Italy.
You will be spoiled for choice in this ancient city. With a growing list of restaurants, Happy Cow features 20 all-vegan eateries on their website. But this is only the tip of the iceberg with hundreds more vegan friendly options around Rome, from grocery products to raw desserts to pasta classics. You’ll wish you could stay forever.
Market and Grocery Shopping
San Cosimato Market in Trastevere sells delicious fresh fruit and vegetables, the kind you wish you could grow back home. For a larger market experience, Campo di Fiori stocks items such as dried pastas and flavoured oils. For groceries, Panella Supermarket has an impressive array of vegan food from deli meats to gluten free treats. With stores across Rome, Conads Supermarket has a substantial selection of products. However, the daddy, or should I say, ‘papa’ of all grocery stores is iVegan. A stone’s throw from the Vatican, you’ll find every vegan product under the sun, including a jaw-dropping cheese range.
For your quota of vegan pasta go to any trattoria and order Penne Arrabbiata, Spaghetti al Pomodoro or Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. These dishes will mostly use dried pasta and are egg free. However, when the menu stipulates homemade (fatta/fatto in casa) or fresh (pasta fresca) ask if it contains eggs (uova).
Veganised Roman Classics
For a taste of veganised regional dishes try cosy restaurant Rifugio Romano. We ordered a hearty antipasto platter of vegan deli meats, fetta cheese and arancino. For first course, try the classic Roman dish, Spaghetti Carbonara. Rifugio’s version is salty and flavourful, with crumbled tofu, turmeric and chunks of pancetta seitan. The turmeric and tofu creatively mimics the egg. We also ordered the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, potato dumplings floating in a divine pomodoro sauce with melted cheese. Rifugio’s extensive vegan menu requires a second visit.
For something a little different, head to Buddy Restaurant. You’ll find healthy breakfast options such as acai bowls, juices and almond milk lattes. For lunch, choose buffet style or order from the versatile menu. I was excited to try their Roman style pizza ‘Pinsa,’ made with rice, soy and wheat flours and topped with avocado, tomato and sesame seeds. Buddy’s also offers wine tasting events in the summer.
Can you believe that Rome has its own raw vegan dessert bar? At Grezzo Raw Chocolate you’ll find everything from gelato, cheesecakes, cookies, truffles and more. Try the award winning hazelnut gelato (nocciola) and the raw choc-chip cookie. You won’t regret it.
Gelaterias like CamBio Vita or Olive Dolci will satisfy your ice cream cravings. But this summer, we checked out Gelarmony who specialise in creamy vegan gelato flavours made with rice, almond and soy milks. You’ll be waddling out of Gelarmony very satisfied.
You’ll leave Rome in a grateful food coma and ready to plan a return visit.