The first thing everyone asked me when I told them I was going to Rome was, “What are you going to eat?” Being gluten-free in a land of pasta, pizza and bread doesn’t sound like the dream vacation, but actually, it isn’t a problem at all. Eating gluten-free in Rome is easy. Here’s how I managed. Note, before I left, I printed out this Italian gluten-free card and showed it everywhere we went, just to ensure I was all set.
When we landed, we went straight to our (gluten-free) B&B (more on that in a minute) and got a recommendation for a nearby place to grab lunch—I needed that pizza (above). We headed to La Mimosa down the street where our waiter actually ordered for us. Gluten-free pizza for me, pasta for Mr. GMET.
For a minute though, back to our B&B—My Guest Roma. WiFi, clean rooms and a gluten-free continental breakfast to boot. The gluten-free breakfast was extra, but a regular breakfast was included. Our host, Stefano, provided us with a list of gluten-free restaurants across the city as well.
But, since we filled up on breakfast most days, we rarely ate a full meal until dinner. Our second day, for instance, before our trip to Ostia Antica, we stopped at a local shop and bought some picnic provisions—plenty to hold us over until dinner.
And was the wait for dinner ever worth it. We went to Franco’s, which was near our hotel. From the moment we walked in until we left, they treated us like family. It started with the olives.
It continued when we ordered a caprese salad.
And with the Mr’s pasta—and the bowl full of cheese they brought to the table with it.
And my risotto scampi.
We ate it all. Every last bite. And then. Dessert.
Tartufo. Gelato. Whatever you want to call it. We were so full we had to split one order.
When they brought dessert over they also included a whole bottle of limoncello and two chilled glasses. After an entire bottle of wine, we were up for no more than a few sips. The next night we went to this great place, Ristorante Boccondivino, on the end of a winding street in between the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. (That was our marathon day.)
We both ordered pasta. And they were both delicious. The Mr. tried mine and said so. Obviously I didn’t have his, but I trust his pasta expertise.
Can you tell whose is whose? If you can’t why should I?
After dinner we wandered around the corner and found this gelato place, Grom. We’re pretty sure it’s a chain, but we’re even more sure that they are gluten-free to the max.
Our gelato may look similar, but mine was scooped from a container underneath the other. And with a separate spoon. That is kept in a separate container. My bowl and spoon came from a separate container as well. And, it was delicious. Win-win-win.
The next day, we decided to eat dinner at the same place we ate lunch the first day. I had pasta, he had pizza. Both were great. Our waiter—the same man from Day 1—did try to order for us again, but we made sure we had some say in it all.
For our last day in Rome, we both went light on breakfast. Since we had an easy-going itinerary, we knew we had time for two meals. We stumbled back over to the area around St. Peter’s to eat at La Fiorentina. I had the pasta, above. Mr. GMET had the lasagna—and he raved about it. This was on the pricier side to sit in the restaurant, but when in Rome! If you’re in the neighborhood, they also have a small takeaway cafe with lower prices.
After a lot of walking, a quick stop for an Americano and some more walking, we checked out three restaurants in the Trastevere neighborhood before settling on Da i Sandri a Trastevere for dinner. The owner was very welcoming and we couldn’t resist their menu. For our last supper in Italy, we both went with the pizza. The gluten-free pizza came out on a green plate. And I got green-handled utensils. This was the sign that it was definitely gluten-free as the Mr’s came on a regular plate and he had regular utensils.
One of the things we couldn’t resist about Da i Sandri a Trastevere was their desserts… homemade daily and all gluten free. I couldn’t resist the soufflé.
We ordered some more wine while it baked and then Mr. GMET’s mousse was brought out at the same time.
So, the moral of the story, guys, is that it was super easy to eat gluten-free in Rome. The hardest part was waiting until the restaurants opened back up for dinner—they close between lunch and dinner, not reopening until 7 or 7:30.