As part of our big family trip to Italy in November 2021, Dan and I signed everyone up for an evening food tour through Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. We did this for three reasons: (1) several of us on this tour love a good food tour, (2) Dan and I lived in Trastevere when we studied in Rome wayyyy back in 2008 and we wanted our families to see the area, and (3) we previously did a food tour through Testaccio and really loved it! We booked our tour with Eating Italy Food Tours for our first evening in Rome, meeting on Tiber Island around 5:00 PM. Unfortunately, we got hit with an insane rain storm en route to the meeting point and we all got soaked… In any case, the tour went on! Due to the rain, we quickly moved to our first location in Trastevere, which I was verrrrry excited about!
Stop 1: Trattoria Da Enzo al 29
Yes, you read that correctly. Our first stop was at the famous Trattoria Da Enzo al 29. Da Enzo is a well known Roman trattoria that is very, very popular. You will frequently find it on “best food in Rome” lists. Da Enzo does not take reservations and there is almost always a wait. As such, our group actually got in before the restaurant opened to the public, something we never could have pulled off on our own! Our group and another couple on the tour were seated between two tables dressed in red checkered tablecloths. Classic southern Italy. Our guide poured everyone a glass of Prosecco and out came the food. First, the famous carciofi alla giudìa (or Jewish fried artichokes). These artichokes are famous Rome and not difficult to find when in season, but tough to find elsewhere in Italy. Basically, this is a deep fried artichoke topped with quality sea salt. Very simple, yet incredibly good. On the table was also Italian bread, burrata, tomatoes, and olive oil, which were suggested together as a type of little bruschetta. I loved the burrata and actually preferred it to the artichoke. Stop 1 was off to a good start.
Stop 2: Ristorante Spirito di Vino
Happy with our artichokes and cheese, we moved to our next stop just a few minutes walk away. This stop, a restaurant called Spirito di Vino, was located in an almost ancient building that houses and insanely old wine cellar in its basement. Since it was early, we were invited down to see the wine cellar before the food was presented. The history of this place was really interesting and we were given a little lesson while we perused the wine cellar. The wine cellar was very, very cool – don’t miss it. Back upstairs, everyone was treated to a glass of red wine and a pork stew made with braised pork, apple purée, and roasted vegetables. And, the pork stew recipe dates back to the time of Julius Cesar’s Roman rule! Crazy! In all honesty though, the stew was fantastic. It ended up being multiple people’s favorite dish on the tour. Side note – you can apparently find the recipe online and we all took to our phones to try to find it!
Stop 3 – Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti
Sadly leaving the wine cellar behind, we next walked to what looked like a humble bakery, Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti. However, Innocenti is super, super popular in Rome and has been making cookies since 1929! There is no table seating at Innocenti, and the “menu” is on display in its window. Cookies are sold by weight and while not looking like anything special, these cookies were absolutely amazing. We thought about coming back for more cookies another day! We tried two cookies at Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti, an almond cookie called Fave dei Morti and Madeleine cookies dipped in dark chocolate. Both cookies were fantastic, but my preference was the Madeleines. We were also allowed to pop in and have a quick look around while eating our cookies. This bakery looks like it has not changed since the 1950s.
Stop 4 – Norcineria Iacozzilli
Our next stop was another unexpected hole in the wall, this time a butcher and pasta shop on a side street in Trastevere called Norcineria Iacozzilli. Actually, this was not just a butcher, but a Norcineria, or a shop specializing in products from Norcia where pork is prevalent (interestingly, we went on to another Norcineria in Rome in May!). Upon entry, it was clear that the specialty of the shop is pork, specifically porchetta, or roasted pork belly! There was even a pig on a spit behind the counter. According to our guide this place is very popular for porchetta sandwiches with the lunch crowd. I later found out that the owner has been dubbed Trastevere’s “Porchetta King.” Makes sense. After learning a bit about the shop, everyone received a small glass of Ichnusa, a popular unfiltered beer from Sicily. Dan and I have had this before (on our food tour of Testaccio!), and its pretty easy to find around Italy. Next was probably my favorite part of the entire tour – warm porchetta on top of local bread. So simply, yet incredibly tasty! I now see why this place is so popular.
Stop 5: Supplì Roma
Leaving the prochetta behind, our next stop was a very quick one for suppli at Supplì Roma. For those unfamiliar, a suppli is a deep fried ball of rice, often stuffed with cheese or meat. Supplì are popular street food in Rome and are especially popular with the student popular. Supplì Roma already had a line when we arrived early on a Friday night. Due to the lines, we waiting across the street while our guide got each of us a supplì stuffed with meat and some sort of tomato sauce. It was interesting to try, but I am simply not a supplì fan. Too bad! Everyone else enjoyed this dish.
Stop 6: Ristorante Casa Mia
Next was another of my favorite spots, essentially a full dinner at Ristorante Casa Mia! Casa Mia is a restaurant right in the heart of Trastevere serving up some Roman favorites, including its main four pastas: Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, Alla Gricia, and All’Amatriciana (all FANTASTIC!). Casa Mia was hopping on a Friday night and luckily our guide had reserved us two tables in a quiet area of the restaurant. First out, vino di casa, or house wine. Unlike in the US, house wine in Italy is good and totally drinkable. Dan and I order it pretty often if there is not something special on the menu that we want to try. House wine is generally inexpensive and often served in glass carafes. After the red wine, the restaurant brought out two huge trays of one of my favorites, Pasta all’Amatriciana! Pasta all’Amatriciana is, as mentioned, one of the four Roman pastas and its basically pasta in a tomato sauce with guanciale (pork cheek) and Pecorino Romano cheese. This dish was really great. We managed to finish the huge plate… We did have one person on the tour that cannot eat pasta, and they subbed an eggplant dish (similar to eggplant Parmesan) for that person. I forgot a picture but it was apparently delicious.
Stop 7: Fatamorgana Gelato
The final tour stop was for gelato at a small Roman gelato chain called Fatamorgana. Fatamorgana is serious about its gelato, calling itself the creator of gourmet gelato, and offers many, many flavors, from traditional to creative and new. Everyone got to choose two our of all the options. I went with my standard, stracciatella, and topped it with homemade whipped cream.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Eating Europe: We did the Twilight Trastevere Tour at 109 euro per person. We booked more than 3 months in advance and received a 10% discount. While we moved stops, there is not too much walking on this tour in terms of mileage. Everything is pretty close together. The third, fourth, fifth, and seventh stops are standing only without restrooms (all the sit down places have restrooms). This tour goes rain or shine, and it would not have been ideal had it rained through our entire tour.
Trattoria Da Enzo al 29: via dei Vascellari, 29, Trastevere. Open 12:15 – 15:00, 19:00 – 23:00. Closed Sunday. Casual. No reservations. Go early and expect to wait.
Spirito di Vino: Via dei Genovesi, 31A, 00153 Roma RM, Italy. Open 18:30 – 23:00. Closed Sunday. Reservations recommended.
Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti: Via della Luce, 21, 00153 Roma RM, ItalyOpen 8:00 – 21:30 daily, 9:30 – 14:00 on Sunday.
Supplì Roma: Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 137, 00153 Roma RM, Italy. Open 10:00 – 21:30. Closed Sunday.
Norcineria Iacozzilli: Via Natale del Grande, 15, 00153 Roma RM, Italy. Open 9:00 – 13:00, 16:30 – 20:30 (except Monday when it closes at 17:00). Closed Sunday.
Case Mia: Via della Renella, 88/90, 00153 Roma RM, Italy. Casual. Website was not working. Reservations recommended.
Fatamorgana Gelato: Multiple locations in Rome. We went to the one at Via Roma Libera, 11, 00153 Roma RM, Italy. Open daily 12:30 – 21:30. There are two shops in California.