Roman Holiday, the Hannah way
DND Edition Nine: Everywhere you need to eat in Rome
Ciao ciao! (I’m allowed to say that without it being corny because I speak Italian.)
I’ve spent this past month living in Rome and engaging in what some might label a “worrying amount” of gastrotourism. I am an awful cook, and it becomes a lot harder to be an awful cook when you can instead be a very happy customer of one of the many incredible, cheap food spots within a 3-minute walk from your Airbnb. I was living in Trastevere (meaning “across the Tiber” in Latin), which is the most lovely, lively place to stay if you’re in Rome for any extended period of time. Full of tourists AND real, actual Romans, this neighborhood is always popping, especially after dark, so I felt very little need to ever venture back across the river to the center of Rome. As such, most of my recommendations are from Trastevere.
Here’s what we got:
Bagels? In Rome? You can bet I had some thoughts about these suckers.
I forgot about being vegetarian (Okay, I can HEAR my friend Mia rolling her eyes at this sentence—I’m always forgetting to be vegetarian, oops) for this carbonara. (Twice.)
This sandwich shop by the Pantheon has insanely long lines all the time, and turns out, the hype is warranted.
The best gelato in Rome? I feel like this is a little too bold a statement for me to make, especially since I’ve only experienced their winter flavors, but it’s how I feel… I also have some tips that everyone I’ve ever met has repeated to me ad nauseum about how to find a good gelateria, if that’s of interest.
Plus, for extra credit, here are the three bars you need to visit in Trastevere:
Bar San Calisto — This is the oldest (and cheapest) bar in Trastevere. It’s not worth even trying to go on the weekend nights because of the crowds, but the place is truly iconic. I was very pleased to spy it in the background of the new docuseries Vatican Girl—it’s that much of an establishment. You can get cheap coffee here during the day, too.
Rivendita libri cioccolata e vino — This bizarre little bar sells used books and chocolate shots. All the shots are named things like “One night stand” and “69.” My favorite was “boob job”—it has Baileys and mint in it, and it’s so sweet that you can almost forget that it’s alcohol, emphasis on “almost.” The bartenders give aggressively sexual instructions about how to take the shots. I don’t quite get the gimmick—what do the sex acts have to do with the books?—but it’s definitely a unique experience.
Freni e frizioni — This is an awesome cocktail bar located in Trastevere. It purports to be a hardcore punk bar but in my experience only plays the sweetest, most basic rock music. Like, picture just Arctic Monkeys on repeat. It was my go-to place for an actually-potable drink all month long.
The “reason” (okay, fine, excuse) for my lengthy trip to Rome is that I’ve been teaching introductory Italian lessons online for a few months now. If you haven’t checked out my free resources page for my Italian students yet, find it here. (And if you know someone who wants to learn Italian… Send them my way!)
Next newsletter, I’ll be back to DC, eating my way through the city for a month and a half; after that, I’ll be moving to NYC. Thanks for paying witness to all my journeys!
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