travel | what I ate in Rome/ vegan in Rome!
Updated: Jun 3
Amara Amaryah | travel + books + poetry, always poetry. a platform for story-telling, visuals, positive self-talk and empowerment. | what I ate in Rome – vegan in Rome!
showing up today to share the dirty details of my absolute favourite thing – food! italian food to be specific. my first ever visit to italy proved to be everything i thought it would be food wise. i heard amazing things about pasta and pizza and wine… so i entered the country with high high expectations. and left satisfied.
whilst i heard great things about italian food, it wasn’t always from a plant-based perspective. naturally, i first searched pinterest looking for clarification that i wouldn’t starve in italy. thankfully, i found some good pins that left me calmer. i also learnt some tips for searching the menu to find easy ways to prevent anxiety while ordering food as a plant-based traveller. but there is always the worry in that back of my mind that being vegan in _____ is going to be impossible/awkward for my non-vegan fellow travellers/expensive/untranslatable. it is something that can really make or break a trip and there isn’t always awareness of how to prepare or manoeuvre around it.
i’m here to make being vegan in rome a little less daunting for those hoping to travel soon. note, i’m the kind of traveller who wanders. so i’ve left the names of the restaurants i enjoyed but my main concern is the dish i enjoyed, so you can seek it out anywhere you choose to eat in roma.
side note: i prefer a plant-based or vegan diet and have done for 3 years (a post one day soon. if you want). recently i’ve incorporated fish into my diet and adapt whenever i feel like i need to health-wise. on this trip, i ate a wholly vegan diet. but i did notice that rome was a difficult place to actually get fish (not shellfish) on it’s own so if you’re pescatarian (but don’t eat shellfish)… welcome to the plant based gang. they do have a lot of cheese based dishes too so there is that. small small observation.
learn the above phrase for when you want to ask if something is vegan. (you’re welcome). i found that i had to persist because it was often confused with vegetarian. but it was a very useful way of gaining clarity about items on a menu.
also, you can avoid all that with breakfast at least by buying fruit from supermarkets. This is all i had for breakfast: fruit (italian apricots are lush), mango juice and probably bread because when in europe.
pasta | vegan in rome
pasta in rome is next level. you’ll be happy to know that in rome there are so many vegan pasta dishes! we ate in a traditional roman restaurant named La Fraschetta (Testaccio). i ordered the special of the day (which was vegan wink wink). spaghetti with tomato sauce, basil, olives and more tomatoes. very simple but bursting with roman flavours.
hawwa mainly chose seafood as halal meat is hardly a thing (left) and my roman spaghetti and prosecco was beautiful (right)
my second pasta dish is my go-to. my true love. the secret to my gains. arrabiatta pasta, or angry pasta. it is pasta with spicy tomato sauce and herbs. again, simple but very very filling and flavoursome. we ate at bistro Q wine bar (Piazza Navona) and i 100% recommend this location. actually i insist you go. please go visit this area, the bookshops, the pubs under the bookshops. all of it. the night vibes were perfect, restaurants plentiful and we had the best time and the best food.
arrabiata pasta and necessary first italian aperol spritz.
pizza | vegan in rome
my weakness and 5th love language. pizza in roma can be delicious even while being vegan in rome – i promise!
i ordered marinara pizza and basically loved it so much that i stuck to it and variations of it. marinara pizza is the base with tomato sauce and oregano – you can add olives (do), spinach (do) and ultimately whatever veg you feel for. you can also order la Bianca (white) or la Rossa (red). i was very loyal to my marinara so i can’t give a personal review but experience these options too! and let me know what you think.
i ordered la marinara (which a nigerian friend described as stew on bread but anyway) from several restaurants including: that’s amore (Barberini – Trevi) who also offer pizza making classes and La pace del cervello a wonderful pizzeria with wonderful staff (via S.S. Quattro – Colosseo view).
vegan drinks in rome?
so it took me a while to realise that i had to reconsider my drinking with my plant-based lifestyle. still loads to learn but ultimately, as wine drinker, i don’t think it is something easily avoided as most wines and beers are filtered through animal products or skins. space to learn and find alternatives at home and while abroad. nonetheless my go-to wines in rome were pinot Grigio and moscato d’asti.
happy to say that aperol spritz is vegan (yay) and something you’ll find anywhere in rome. just depends on if you can stomach the bitter-sweet taste.
my biggest thing was fear that i would go to rome and have to sit and watch hawwa eat gelato on my behalf. i’m not even an ice cream fan (don’t like cold things) but i did want to experience vegan gelato. and i did – twice! cannot remember exactly where but my first taste of vegan gelato was in piazza Navona (i told you to visit earlier). and my second taste was on the way home from a beautiful last evening in Trastevere.
mine is coconut, dark choc and raspberry gelato – piazza navona.
happy to say that i had the best food on this trip. grazie roma! it felt good to be able to travel with enough options to survive whilst plant-based. i do want to bring to light that it isn’t ‘veganism vs health/nutrition’. i’m a strong believer that if you need to supplement or substitute in some way to eat nutritionally, do what you gotta do. if eating out is a huge issue, consider getting an airbnb and find yourself a supermarket to keep yourself topped up with food to make your own dinners. travelling and maintaining healthy eating habits is hard enough as it is. hopefully i’ve shown you a basis of how to be vegan in rome without much hassle!
stick around for more travel goodness.
thank you for reading what i write.