A food tour in Rome is the perfect way to find the best places to eat in Rome. You learn about the food, you’ll taste the best that Italy and Rome have to offer and you stuff your face with the most mouthwatering treats you’ll ever find. But by joining a food tour in Rome, you’ll run a serious risk.
The risk to eat too much. Or go into instant food coma. Not the end of the world but you don’t want to be that person who can’t eat their gelato at the end of the tour because you’re too stuffed. So here are 3 things you should do on a Roman food tour and 3 things you shouldn’t do on a Rome food tour.
Food tour in Rome
Before I start with the do’s and don’ts for a food tour in Rome, I break down a little bit what to expect when you book a Rome food tour.
There are many food tours out there, who serve the best food in Rome. I had the best experiences with the “Roman Food Tour”. They invited me to join their tour of the Prati neighborhood (near the Vatican) and the Trastevere area in Rome. Both tours offered us an abundance of food. Half way through the food tour I could barely walk because I already ate way too much. I thought to myself: “This can’t be good. What did I do wrong? What should I have done instead? I want to make it to gelato in the end!”
Rome Food Tour
In Rome, there is an overkill of (bad) Italian restaurants. Most of them serve tourist menus and offer tourist prices and low service. To have the best foodie experience in Rome, you must find the best place to eat in Italy’s capital. Luckily for you, you don’t have to spend hours and hours online, combing through the interwebs to find the best restaurant near Vatican City or the best pizza in Rome. Just join one of the amazing food tours from The Roman Food Tour! They have done all the hard work for you and offer the best of Rome.
The tour is led by locals who have selected the best places to eat in Rome. They take you with them, have a table ready for you and serve you the best food that Rome and Italy have to offer. So all you have to do is show up, eat, drink and be merry. Who doesn’t want that?
Read more: Cheat Sheet to Maximize your Time in Rome
Things you shouldn’t do on a Rome food tour
So, you’re going to Rome and you’d like to join a food tour. But you want to make it to the end of the tour and leave enough room for the gelato at the end? Here are some things you shouldn’t do on a food tour:
Don’t starve yourself on the day of the food tour
The Prati Food tour started at sunset and promised us a lot of food. And they were not wrong. I thought it was a smart idea not to eat too much during the day. I was busy exploring the ancient Roman harbor town of Ostia Antica and ‘forgot’ to eat. and leave some room for all the foods on the tour.
Logic thinking, right?
Don’t starve yourself all day before the food tour. Have a light lunch around 1-ish and maybe a gelato at 3 or 4. This way, you’re not absolutely famished before the tour even starts!
When you’re hungry, you’re tempted to start eating as soon as someone puts food in front of you. During the food tour, you’ll visit various places in Rome that each has their own specialty. So always remember: There is more to come!
Read more: Best Gelato in Cinque Terre
Don’t drink too much during the tour
I know I know; we all need to drink at least 2 liters of (non-alcoholic) fluids a day. But where there is water, there cannot be food. Drinking water is a great diet trick to feel full because it actually works. But in case of the food tour, you don’t want to fill yourself up with plain water when there is plenty of delicious wines and food to savor.
On the Trastevere food tour, we tasted some amazing wines. The Italians have a ranking system of normal table wine, IGT wine and the prime wines of DOC and even DOCG. These letters all stand for the standard of checks and controls the wine farmers have to go through. That way, they ensure an excellent quality of wine for you to drink. During the tour, we tasted 2 DOCG wines which are at the very top of the scale. You don’t want to fill up with water if you can have food and wine instead!
Read More: Hidden History at Nero’s Golden Palace
Don’t stuff your face with too much pizza
Mmmhhh pizza! Pizza is never a bad thing. Pizza is good. On the food tour in Rome, you must have pizza! Pizza is your lifeline when exploring Rome. It is your go-to snack when you’re hungry. It is your main food when you travel on a budget and pizza can be of Michelin star quality.
On the food tour in Prati we visited the famous Bonci pizza place. This shack in the wall had a line with people waiting for halfway around the block. It was featured on CNN traveler and Anthony Bourdain made a big feature about it on one of his shows. They offer the most insane combinations of pizza toppings for you to taste.
Ate too much? Consider a Bike Tour in Rome
Bonci Pizza Rome
During the tour, we visited Bonci pizza. Raluca, our tour guide, ordered 6 or 7 different pizza slices (in Italy they are rectangular) and they were cut up into little pieces. We had a tasting feast of epic proportions. The pizza in our middle, we first took a piece of each flavor to taste. Then I narrowed things down to my top 3 favorites and had another slice of those. But I changed my mind and made the other 3 my favorites and had to taste them again. Then there were only a few slices left, so I sacrificed myself to eat some more. And then some more.
Once all the pizza was devoured and the “mmmhhh” and the “OMG this is soooo delicious” cries had silenced, I realized this was only our 3rd stop. We still had 2 more stops to go and I was already on the verge of exploding. I stuffed my face with delicious pizza and could hardly eat anything else. Whoops!
What you should do on a food tour in Rome
It is easy to say the things you shouldn’t do during your food tour, but what should you do? It is hard to say ‘NO’ to so many delicious foods so here are some tips to help with that.
Eat small bites at the food tour
Even if you’re hungry and the food is the best you’ve ever eaten in your whole life, make sure to eat small bites. Chew thoroughly to help digest. This was so hard! On the Trastevere food tour, the first stop was at Trapizzino’s. Here we had suppli’s and trapizzino’s.
Suppli in Rome
A suppli is a fried ball stuffed with risotto rice and cheese inside.
Did anyone say cheese?
When done right, these balls taste like heaven with a little devilish crust around it. One ball is quite big and because it is some sort of finger food, you’re easily tempted to put the whole suppli in your mouth and swallow it.
Don’t do that!
Take small bites and slowly savor the silky rice grains and crunchy exterior.
The signature food of the place called Trapizzino in the Trastevere area in Rome, this was another “stuff your face quickly” type of food. A trapizzino is a mixture of the triangular café’s sandwich (called a tramezzino) and a pizza.
Pizza in the shape of a triangular sandwich? Stuffed to the brim with yummy goodness? Oozing out at the edges?
You’re easily tempted to stuff the trapizzino in your face as quickly as possible (head tilted) but don’t do it. Try to take small bites. This way, you get more time to experience the different layers of this amazing snack food but also prevent getting too full, too quickly.
Listen to the explanation from your food guide
When the waiter puts a plate in front of you and pours your glass of wine, most people take some Instagram pictures, propose a toast and then dig in. Depending on how hungry I am, I might skip the first 2 and cut straight to the eating part.
There is no explanation and usually, you just take what appeals the most. On the food tour in Rome, we had a sit-down tasting experience. We sampled different kinds of regional cheeses and cured meats. Only a small slice of Italian heaven, each individual piece of cheese and ham came with a nice story about their origin and what flavors to expect. A great way to pace yourself!
Do listen to the explanations from your tour guide. They have a ton of information to share about the aging process, where the ingredients are sourced and the different quality controls. Listen while you taste. Have a sip of wine and pace yourself! This way, you’ll not fill up too quickly and you learn a lot!
My absolutely favorite taste during our Roman specialty tasting at the Prati food tour was the 3 milk’s cheese. A mixture of goat’s cheese, regular cow’s cheese, and sheep milk. The Robiola cheese is soft, smooth and does packs quite a (goaty) punch. If it wasn’t for our tour guide, I would have never realized where all those different flavors come from.
Read more: Farm to Table Food Tour in Bologna
Wear comfortable (aka stretch) pants for your food tour in Rome
The ultimate tip to be comfortable during your food tour in Rome: wear stretch pants! I love stretch pants. They are comfortable, they come in fashionable designs and they stretch! It is like they were made to wear on a food tour!
After we had suppli’s, trapizzino’s, pizza, a whole range of cheeses and cured meats, it was time to sit down for a proper dinner on our Trastevere Food Tour. We started with an amazing risotto with buffalo mozzarella. It was so smooth and silky, but with little crunchy almond flakes on it, I almost licked the plate. By now, my tummy was expanding beyond normal proportions and I was very happy to wear my stretch pants!
Gelato at the Rome Food Tour
A food tour in Rome is always a good idea. Whether it is in the Prati district to eat where the locals eat, or in the hip and vibrant Trastevere neighborhood. When you book a food tour in Rome you’ll be guaranteed food aplenty. It is a given you’ll be stuffed at the end of the night. I hope with my do’s and don’ts you’ll be able to make it to the end and still have some room left for delicious gelato!
Would you choose tobacco flavored ice-cream? Or would you go for a mixture of peaches in wine? Or the all-time favorite: vanilla? It doesn’t matter if you’re staying 2 days in Rome or a whole week, you always want to make sure to have a little room left for gelato!
Prati Food Tour Rome
I was lucky enough to do 2 food tours in Rome with the Roman Food Tour company. One, of the Prati district, near the Vatican. It is easily accessible by metro and it offers a real insight in where the local Romans go for pizza and dinner. It has some world-class restaurants that offer the best food. Raluca guided us around this unknown area. We visited a deli shop, had a Roman delicacy tasting, got a taste of the finest of Italian food and stuffed our faces with pizza at Bonci. After that, we were treated to an amazing homemade pasta and finished the night with gelato.
I was sooo stuffed. I contemplated to skip gelato (but I didn’t, because hello?! GELATO!). The Prati Food Tour had me taste surprising combinations in cheese, wine, and pizza. I absolutely recommend to tour Prati and discover her food and see where the Roman’s eat. It doesn’t get more laid back and off the beaten path in the center of Rome than this!
Trastevere Food Tour Rome
Another option would be the Trastevere food tour. Trastevere is the hip and vibrant neighborhood of Rome. Buzzing 7 nights a week, it can be hard to find a table. Alina guided us through the Trastevere neighborhood, stopping at the best places for snacks and pizza. We first had amazing suppli’s and trapizzino’s. I found the combinations absolutely amazing and I wanted to come back and try them all!
After the first bites, we moved on to Pizzarium where we sampled some tasteful combinations of pizza. We then slowed down a bit, with a sit-down delicacy sampling with wine pairing. The combinations of chocolate and cheese were especially surprising.
After all this gourmet food, it was time for a little stroll around Trastevere. I loved how our guide was not only knowledgeable about food but also about the history of Trastevere. After we were able to walk off some of the food, we settled ourselves at an all organic restaurant. The restaurant has a farm south of Rome where they grow and raise all their food themselves!
It was a great opportunity to drink more wine and chat with the other guests on the tour. I love how you make new friends on a food tour like this! At the end of the night, we stumbled into the cutest gelato shop that had some amazing combinations of ice cream.
Book the Best Food Tour in Rome
Are you hungry? I know I am (again)! If you want to have the best foodie experience in Rome, book a food tour! If you’re curious about the stops I talk about above or just want to have a fun filled foodie night, then book your food tour with the Roman Food Tour. For prices, itineraries and availability, click one of the links below. I’m sure you will survive their food tours with my tips!
Now you know what you should and shouldn’t do on a food tour in Rome, you’re good to go! Book your tour, taste the wine, savor the food and enjoy the company!
Have you done a food tour in Rome? What is your favorite (weird) pizza topping combination? Which of the two tours would you like to take in Rome? Please share it with me in the comment section below.
I was invited by the Roman Food Tour to join their tours and test them out. As always, all experiences and opinions are my own and I ate all the food myself 🙂