Where to eat in Rome if you're bored of pizza

March 12, 2019

Guys, I love Italian food. I really do. I regularly get asked by friends and family how I manage to not be hugely overweight here - my answer is: everything is fine in moderation. Moderation is not, however, an easy thing to achieve when you're surrounded by super cheap and delicious pizza and wine every single day - and in my first year here I did succumb to temptation and put on a few (many) pounds. But I like to think I've got the hang of it now (and by that I mean I joined a gym, so I can eat exactly the same amount but feel much better about it by hitting the treadmill every now and then).

Anyway, my point is this. Italian food is delicious - but when you live here, the lack of variety can get kind of boring. Especially if you're from somewhere like the UK or the US, where there are restaurants from every country imaginable: Japanese, Kurdish, Turkish, Lebanese, Sri Lankan... etc, etc. It was a bit of a shock to me to come here and not be able to mix it up and grab a curry when I fancied it, or even be able to buy a spice mix in the supermarket and whip up some Thai food at home.

But finally, after a couple of years here, I've worked out some go-to places when I want to eat anything other than Italian. If you're in the same boat, have a read and check it out - and if anyone has other suggestions, please please let me know!

Indian - Krishna 13
Termini - Via Foscolo, 13, 00185
So let's start with my favourite cuisine ever, Indian. You would not believe my disappointment when I came here and first realised Indian restaurants are few and far between. The first time I tried Indian in Rome I went to Il Guru and it was so bad I didn't even realise that Indian food could taste like that - all the curries were the same colour and had the same flavour. Anyway, after that I'd been put off altogether - but then I tried Krishna 13. I could have cried I was so happy. There's an amazing choice of curries, loads of veggie dishes too, and the meat is so tender - the Butter Chicken is a must try, even if (like me) you normally order something spicy.

American - Tyler's
Ponte Milvio - Via Riano, 3, 00135
The other thing I found hard to find here was good junk food - you know, the kind of burgers that are big and juicy and come with bacon and avocado and a side of sweet potato chips. The normal burgers in Italy just don't cut it. Then I tried Tyler's in Ponte Milvio - it's a super cool diner-style restaurant with a great courtyard outside in summer, and they even have PULLED PORK. It's pretty reasonably priced and is a great place to go for American food.

Balinese/Thai - Bali Bar
Trastevere - 29, Via del Mattonato, 00153
My favourite Asian restaurant is found in Trastevere - I went here after coming back from Bali and seeing it on Google Maps by accident. Balinese food is so specific that we thought we should probably give it a go! They do typical Balinese dishes like Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng - the Mie Goreng isn't super authentic but the Nasi is great. Their Beef Rendang curry is UNREAL, and I haven't had the pad thai but it's the next thing on my list because it looks delicious!

American - Biretta Wine and Food 
Prati - Via Simone de Saint Bon, 69-73, 00195
Another great place for American food, a little more central in Prati. Great burgers, chips and American sides, craft beer - they even do huge burgers you can take on as a challenge, which I'm kind of tempted by...

Vietnamese - Thien Kim 
Centro Storico - Via Giulia, 201, 0018
I'm going to be honest - I haven't tried this place, but it's next on my list after I found it on The Fork (they do a good discount during the week). I loved Vietnamese food when I went there, and I'm excited about the chance to try it here in Rome - it has great reviews online, is really reasonably priced, and slap bang in the centre of the city in Via Giulia!
Edit: I did actually just go here and came away disappointed! I had Pho Bo, which is a classic Vietnamese dish and is usually really big and tasty, and it was pretty small and tasteless. Appetisers (summer rolls) were so-so. 

Ethiopian - Mesob
Prenestina - Via Prenestina, 118, 00176
I haven't yet made it to this place either because it's literally the other side of the city in Prenestina. BUT I'm including it because it's become something of a legend, serving authentic Ethiopian food in a super relaxed environment.

Thai - Thai J 
Prati - Circonvallazione Trionfale, 38, 00195
This place is really close to my house so ideal if I'm in the mood for thai. It's a little on the expensive side, but they do great deals at lunchtime. It's also really cosy and modern inside, so a nice place to spend the evening.

Mix - Va.Do al Pigneto 
Pigneto - Via Braccio da Montone, 56, 00176
This one is going to sneak in here because although they do do Italian food, they also have some great alternatives and, being a bit more fancy, it's ideal for date night or a special occasion. They have some great raw fish dishes as starters, and I took a chance on the chicken curry as a main - it was absolutely delicious, creamy and spicy, and served with rice and chopped almonds.

Last but not least: if you're into home cooking...

Mercato Trionfale
Looking for foreign ingredients in Roman supermarkets is a challenge - when you do find them, they're usually so expensive that you decide not to bother. I couldn't find green curry paste, savoury sweet potatoes or sweet chilli sauce anywhere at the beginning - but then I discovered Mercato Trionfale. Right by the entrance there's a shop selling EVERYTHING you could possible want, from curry pastes and mixes to fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and noodles - and best of all, at really reasonable prices.

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