Foodies, more specifically vegetarian and or vegan foodies, we all know what it is like to spend countless hours researching the best spots to eat – from reading Cultural Trip, to the quaint blog, to the trip advisor review that pops up in the google search, and zooming into the large pixels of the menu photos of Zomato. I had been searching for a few weeks prior to arriving in Rome, and I compiled a list of the best vegetarian places to try. With the finest list finally compiled, we set out to attack perhaps too much for just 48 hours in Rome. But hey, we were walking 15-20 km a day right? Surely we would be hungry and ready for it all.
Oh were we wrong.
I had great desire to make this list grand and unique, and to set it apart from the rest. However, my partner reminded me that, because it is I, Cora, writing this food guide, my first proper piece of writing for Little Dove Travels, that in itself is enough. But, as our list remains not fully crossed out, this post will feature a few honourable mentions, or in other words, places we didn’t make it to.
So here it is, come with us and stuff yourself silly. Rome is too big of a beast to tackle in just 48 hours! Alas, we shall return soon. First up, I will outline the bakeries and coffee bars, followed by restaurants, and last but not least, gelato.
Bakeries and Coffee Bars
Antico Forno Roscioli
Via dei Chiavari, 34, 00186 Roma RM
After seeing this place featured in the videos of some of my favourite vloggers, it was only natural that this would be my first stop. Antico translates to antique, so bakeries that feature Antico in the title are the most trustworthy, as they have mastered their craft over a long period of time. We got here nearly as soon as it opened, and we were not disappointed! Pizza marinara, or red pizza, is always a safe vegan option and an option for those who strongly detest cheese on pizza. Australians, marinara here does not mean seafood pizza! In Italy, marinara pizza is simply a pizza base topped with a slow cooked tomato sauce, olive oil and basil. When done correctly, it is the best pizza you could possibly have, if you appreciate traditional pizza. In the eyes of the US/Australian adapted pizza eater, these pizzas look like pizza bases you buy in a supermarket that you top yourself. However, do not be fooled- this is the best traditional, or perhaps, simply the best type of pizza you can have. Italians firmly believe in simple toppings, as the beauty of the pizza is in its base and the beautiful tomatoes that grow in the volcanic, nutrient rich soil of Italy. Vegetarians who enjoy cheese, later in the day this bakery serves up their famous long slabs of Artisanal pizza that is sliced into rectangular strips to your liking.
Note, this style of pizza features in many Roman bakeries and is, more specifically, bakery style pizza. To be honest, I would take this any day over sitting down in a restaurant. Trust me, you cannot beat the craft at Antico Forno Rosciolli!
The pastries here are also unbeatable, and leading up to Christmas time, they had the cutest mini panettones I have ever seen on display. We stuffed ourselves a bit too quick, I must admit. Rest assured, we soon moved onto trying our first Roman espresso.
Via dei Chiavari, 16, 00186 Roma RM
This coffee shop is just the cutest. There are quaint antiques everywhere inside, the view outside of the winding streets and neighbourhood buildings are just lovely, and best of all, the middle aged lady with the hospitality of a grandmother served us up amazing espresso. She gave me a cheeky dollop of milk and it would have been rude to refuse (Soy milk advocate in the house). We sat down inside and took in the atmosphere. Travellers’ note: the 1 euro espresso you see on the signs is for the standing bar only. If you wish to sit down, you pay for the ‘real-estate’’, which is usually an extra euro.
Sette Grammi Coffee Lounge
Piazza Benedetto Cairoli, 114, 00186 Roma RM
With still a bit of time before our priority ticket booking at the Colleseum, we decided to look for another coffee lounge. Yep, all it took was one espresso to become quickly addicted to these pleasant shots of pure goodness. We stumbled upon Sette Grammi Coffee Lounge, which quickly became our absolute favourite. As the daughter of a graphic designer, I can be very quick to judge a place by its cover/its logo and interior. But, the design of the menu was pleasing and as soon as we stepped inside, we were greeted with the some of best hospitality we experienced in Rome. We came here about 4 times in the 48 hours we had. The espresso was lovely and so were the cakes and biscuits. Vegans, you will find amazing biscotti style almond biscuits. Pay attention to the word ‘Vegani’ which is quickly popping up in restaurants and cafes around Rome.
Antico Forno La Renella
Via del Moro, 15, 00153 Roma RM
Another famous antico bakery in Rome’s Trastevere region, the aesthetics to this place is a photographers dream. Oh, and the food? Just lovely. The red pizzas again were full of tart but flavourful tomato, and the little sweet treats were perfectly bite-sized. Vegans, I could not spot ‘Vegani’ on any of the sweets, but the bread and the red pizzas are much to be enjoyed.
Caffe A Trastevere
Viale di Trastevere, 50, 00153 Roma RM
We stumbled upon this bakery purely by accident, all thanks to its well-advertised vegan croissant. Vegans, get super excited. I am so happy to be one of the first to shed some light on this bakery and give it a lil’ love. This bakery had my absolute favourite sweet treat – their vegan Italian donut. Just ask kindly, and the staff will point to which pastries are vegan. This may be the best vegan donut I have ever had ,and I was dumbfounded that it was actually vegan. It has been quite a few years since I have had a non-vegan donut (and I plan to keep it that way) and this has probably destroyed my ability to return back to the trusty Donut Time in Melbourne. They have coffee here too but beware, this is an extremely popular local spot (and rightfully so). So, grab your treats and go for a walk to the river bridge and take some beautiful photos! And cry a little bit inside as you can only find this amazing citrusy, warm, sugarcoated donut in Caffe A Trastevere in Rome.
Via Gabriello Chiabrera, 162/b, 00145 Roma RM
Ever since watching Cheap Lazy Vegan’s Italy food vlog, I have just been dying to go here. And oh my goodness the staff are just so lovely! Honestly, the nicest Romans we came across were vegans. Funny that, ey? Oh, that’s right, the food? Absolutely beautiful. The best vegan tiramisu I have ever had. It has been years since I have enjoyed tiramisu. You will find my second place award for tiramisu as you keep reading as well. We tried the Austrian Sacher cake and it was rich, chocolately and wonderful. They serve soy and oat milk cappuccinos and, at around 12 pm, serve up their lunch options. Vegan or not, a visit to this bakery is a must. Jump on the Metro, Line B and hop of at S. Paulo. They have only been open a bit over a year, so be sure to go give this cruelty free bakery some love.
My partner bought me a Wani Bakery t-shirt for me as a souvenir and we were delightfully told that the profits go to a wild life foundation and that the shirts are made from organic cotton.
Honourable Mention: Dharma’s Cakes
Via Cesare Baronio, 179, 00179 Roma RM
This bakery is on the top of my list to visit when I return to Rome one day. Not only do they make amazing vegan pastries and cakes but also they have a happy hour vegan buffet, or vegan apertivo. If you want to make it here, plan your journey accordingly as it is in the inner suburbs of Rome.
Honourable Mention: MADE Creative
Via dei Coronari, 25, 00186 Roma RM
This cake shop goes beyond baking a cake. Rather, MADE combines great food with art and design. They have vegan options and also serve lunch options. This bakery is right near the river in Rome’s historic centre and I am kicking myself that I didn’t make it.
I must attach a major disclaimer here, this was the category we failed to experience the most. However, I did do my research and I will recommend a number of these spots anyhow. But first up, the places we did make it to.
Via Volturno, 39/41, 00185 Roma RM
This would have to be my absolute favourite restaurant in Rome. Located near termini, it is easy to get to and has great prices. They offer both traditional dishes and a long list of vegan adaptations to traditional dishes, and it was amazing. I wish we got to go here a second time, but we will return to Rome next year, fingers crossed, so it won’t be a once in a lifetime opportunity. But still, eat there as though it is your only time going there! We ordered the Bruschetta plate, Spaghetti Cabornara and the Ravioli with the tofu, tomato and basil sauce. I got the house white wine as well.
Later, we got tiramisu and espresso- yes, the tiramisu that gets second place for best vegan tiramisu ever. Just look at those layers! Afterward, the lovely waitress, a vegan herself, gave us complimentary shots of limencello. Mmm, just the digestive we needed. Naturally, as soon as we returned to our BnB, we conked out… for 6 bloody hours.
Funny that, because just a few hours before I was slightly boasting how I was not experiencing jet lag at all. And this was just one reason why didn’t get to many restaurants. After waking up disoriented at 10 pm, we decided to just go back to sleep.
Honourable Mention: Armando al Pantheon
Salita dei Crescenzi, 31, 00186 Roma RM
Rejection is painful. Particularly after you have walked 15 km already and you walked another half an hour just to get there. If you plan to go here, make a reservation! We arrived at 1 pm and they had no spots left for the entire day. Anyhow, this place is recommended on Cultural Trip’s Top Ten Pasta spots in Rome and has plenty of vegetarian options. Usually around the Pantheon or any landmark, the rule of thumb is, do not go to the restaurants directly in front of the landmark, but walk a street back. However, in the words of Cultural Trip, do not be fooled by the fact that it is so close to the Pantheon at all. Vegans, they serve dry pasta here with a range of tomato sauces, so you will be quite safe. In a hungry rush, unfortunately I did not get any photos of the shop front, but you can’t miss it!
La Sacrestia Ristorrante
As I grit my teeth, I reluctantly feature this place on my food guide. Do not get me wrong, however, the food was great here. Our personal experience though, was not. We were forgotten about and there was a mix up. The staff were not the friendliest, with the exception of one lady, who kindly fixed everything up for us, despite it not being her fault in any way. We waited a very long time while people around us were being served countless plates of food. My advice, if you feel like everyone around you is getting their food and the wait staff are not paying attention to whether you have your food, speak up.
Anyhow, the Bruschette Miste (mixed bruschetta) was lovely. I had the Penne Alla’Arabiata – tomato and red capsicum (red bell pepper) sauce topped with basil. My partner had the Fungi pizza, which was delightful too. They also have English menus, which was very helpful.
Via del Caravita, 9, 00186 Roma RM
As we were walking to the Pantheon, the green ‘V’ caught my eye on the shop front. They serve plenty of vegan options here with dry pasta and a range of Pomodoro or tomato based sauces. The prices were also very reasonable and the staff were very friendly. I recommend this place as a lunch stop, as you order and pay at a counter before your food arrives, making it very efficient, but it means that you don’t get the same sit-down experience as you would at other restaurants.
Honourable Mention: Gelarmony Del Arte Gelato Siciliana
A bit out of the way from where we were staying, however, if you would like a unique gelato experience in Rome, go here! Why does the name of this place feature ‘Siciliana’ or Sicily? Well, for one, it is believed that gelato originated from Sicily and this Gelateria crafts its gelato only from the best ingredients from Sicily. Gelato here is an art form and is served with beautiful aesthetics. It also has 18 soy based flavours so vegan and lactose intolerant folks, you must go enjoy the gelato here, for me.
Geleteria Della Palma
Via della Maddalena, 19-23, 00186 Roma RM
150 flavours, near the pantheon, carry the two and surprisingly, not a tourist trap. They had indulgent flavours that I have never seen before or even thought of. My partner had the profiterole, meraingue and kiwi fruit gelato. I found the soymilk based and vegan gelato section off to the side and ordered the hazelnut, pistachio and the chocolate. The hazelnut was the winner!
This gelataria was right near where we were staying, so we gave it a try. At the time, I didn’t take photos of the gelato but I got some of the shop front. The gelato was amazing. I had the fruit based flavours and had a sneaky try of my partners and they were lovely. When we walked passed the next day, I did a little research, and found out that S.M Maggiore takes pride in using 100% natural products and carefully selected organic milk from small farms. If I weren’t lactose intolerant, this place would ‘check’ my ‘ethical box’.
Honourable Mention: Grezzo Raw Chocolate
As the name suggests, this chocolate shop specialises in raw treats. I really wish we made it here and I really do not know why we didn’t as it was in our neighbourhood. Oh, that’s right, we were too full from trying all the bakeries for this food guide. Particularly if you have food intolerances, you must go here for all your sweet needs. They mention on their website that gluten intolerances are increasing and too much refined sugar harms your health and hence, are gluten and refined sugar free. My favourite part of their bio is as follows: “Who said milk for creaming is needed?”