People always tell me that they think that travelling in Italy as a vegan must be incredibly hard. Fortunately we’ve been able to burst this misconception by trying several vegan restaurants in Rome during our recent and short stopover in the city.
I’m Italian, so I suppose it might make be easier for me to order something vegan at any place we stop at; and in addition to that, having some knowledge of the typical food in my country and knowing the language makes it easily to tell what is suitable for vegans and what’s not – but there is nothing to fear if you’re neither Italian or have a good command of the language because the amount of vegetarians and vegans options available in big cities and everywhere else in Italy is increasing day by day.
When people think about traditional Roman cuisine for instance, all they can picture is a great plate of bucatini all’amatriciana, or the even more popular spaghetti alla carbonara, and panino con la porchetta; all meaty dishes that are totally not suitable for vegetarians or vegans – but if you think that a diet without pecorino (typical Roman hard cheese) or any of the many types of prosciutto will make your life hard, give you headache, or even leave you starving, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Italian cuisine in fact, not only is incredibly delicious and full of flavours. It’s also very diverse. Full of fresh and tasty vegetables, meat-alternatives and – more importantly – totally adaptable. There are so many traditional and local dishes that are vegan already, but if not they can be made so by omitting or substituting an ingredient or two. Plus the amount of vegan options available in shops and for eating out are multiplying incredibly fast and it’s becoming increasingly likely that you’ll find at least one vegan option on the menu.
We had the confirmation of this fast-growing vegan trend when we spent a short three days in Rome before flying to Berlin. We made the stopover in the city slightly longer so we could explore new areas that we still hadn’t seen, as you know Rome has way too much to see that no matter how many times you go, there will always be something else you’d wanted to check out and didn’t have the chance or time.
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Talking with friends that live in Rome and with people in online communities and groups, our curiosity for the vegan scene in the city increased a lot and we decided to make the most of our time there – even if it was quite short – to try and visit as many vegan restaurants, bars, and cafes as we could fit between everything else we wanted to see.
It helped a lot that we stayed at the awesome eco-conscious ho(s)tel, called The Beehive. Being so amazingly well located that it gave us the chance to easily get to most of the places we wanted to visit without having to use too much public transport.
Another great plus of staying at the Beehive was that, by having a vegetarian/vegan cafe’ in-house, the owners also knew of some of the best vegan restaurants in Rome, so we couldn’t had been any happier because we love recommendations by locals.
On this visit we wanted to discover more alternative and arty districts of Rome, where urban culture and street art are predominant. Luckily for us in those areas we also found a lot of vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants that we couldn’t help but stop by. It wasn’t easy to choose where to eat though as we had so many options and tips so we unfortunately we couldn’t tick them all off.
No matter how much we love food, there is only so much we could eat in three days. However, we’re both looking at this as good news though because it makes Rome a perfect destination for vegans and one you can find more in-depth information in our Vegan Travel Guide to Rome.
Our Favourite (and Affordable) Vegan Restaurants in Rome
Out of all the vegan restaurants in Rome, here are our top picks that should cover your day from breakfast through to dinner; so if, like me, wake up with a craving for the classic Italian breakfast of cornetto and cappuccino, or a quick lunch/brunch whilst sightseeing or a gelato on the go, or you fancy a light aperitivo or relaxed dinner, we think we’ll have you covered.
Sometimes knowing that my food isn’t just cruelty-free but also healthy, makes me enjoy it all the more, especially when it also tastes good.
There are loads of bars in Rome that offer a vegan version of the classic Italian breakfast, but the choice of the ingredients – all 100% bio – and the attention to a more healthy and green diet as part of a food revolution, made us love Bio’s Cafè over all.
I was super happy when I dug into my chocolate stuffed cornetto made of kamut flour, and even happier when I had a bite of the spelt flour cornetto Dale chose stuffed with homemade apricot jam. It was hard not to order two more, but we knew we were going to have so much more food throughout the day so we resisted the temptation. We were incredibly impressed by the flavour of these vegan – and gluten-free – croissants that are by far the best I’ve ever tasted. Slightly crunchy on the outside, still soft in the inside, and very generously filled. I was in heaven!
It was a shame we were heading in the opposite direction after our breakfast there because we would have happily returned to Bio’s Cafè for the buffet lunch or dinner they server that also has plenty of vegan options.
If by any chance you’d like to see the ancient Pyramid of Cestius during your time in Rome, this cafè is just a few steps away from it and from the adjacent metro station Piramide, which makes it super easy to reach.
The address for Bio’s Cafè is:
Piazza di Porta San Paolo, 6A 00153 Rome, Italy
Now this isn’t a restaurant per se – it’s even better than that.
Rather than heading to one of the many great vegan restaurants there are, you could alternatively invite yourself around to a local’s house for a classic Roman meal with them. It wouldn’t be rude. In fact, you’ll find lots of Roman’s are now inviting people into their homes via BonAppetour, a unique dining experience website that allows you to “Book In” for a meal, drinks, or a cooking class with a local.
We’ve used the service once before in Berlin – which we loved! – and whilst not able to do it on this visit, were “this close” to doing it with a local vegan we found on there before we visited, but was fully booked(!) during the time of our trip. If that’s not a vote of confidence – and how awesome it is! – then I don’t know what is.
If – like us – you feel slightly hungry mid-morning and realize that it’s way too early for lunch, you’ll also know that having a snack of something to munch on to keep the rumbling sound of your tummy quiet is highly necessary.
When it happened in Rome, we were in the Testaccio area also known amongst locals and non-locals as the place where most of the traditional and authentic Roman food can still be found today. This area was famous for the amount of slaughterhouses there, which might make it sound not very vegan-friendly, yet we managed to find a small place of which we’ve heard great things.
In fact the Trapizzino didn’t disappoint with its interesting idea of a meal that can be eaten throughout the day, no matter if it’s as a simple snack or as a proper lunch or dinner. In fact, it’s available all day long at any time.
Another great thing about the Trapizzino is that they offer traditional fillings for this tasty triangular pizza pocket that are typical of the Roman cuisine, plus they have vegan options too. We tried the one stuffed with caponata di verdure (mixed vegetables’ ratatouille) with toasted almonds on top and one with fagioli all’uccelletto (stew of white beans).
It was a generous snack for that time of the day, but we were so eager to try it that we couldn’t resist stuffing our faces as soon as we had them. Trapizzino is not really a restaurant, it’s more of a takeaway/fast-food kind of place, but we couldn’t resist including it in this list of vegan restaurants in Rome, it was too delicious and unique not to.
The address for Trapizzino is:
Via Giovanni Branca, 88 00153 Rome, Italy
After having had a ‘fast-food’ like snack we felt slightly guilty and were seeking for something more healthy but still delicious and original for lunch. We think we found the perfect place.
Zazie is a juice and smoothie bar that also offers daily soups, fruit bowls, and salad with bases such as couscous, bulgur, barley and more; all with natural and organic ingredients.
We had a menu combo to share between us as we knew we’d still have more food ahead of us. We tried an interesting bulgur salad with spinach cream, almonds, peas and plenty of veggies and fresh fruits; plus a juice freshly made in front of us with a combination of ingredients we chose from the counter (pineapple, cucumber, apple, lime, and mint), as well as a soy/cocoa based dessert.
The idea behind Zazie is that they wish to offer a combined healthy and balanced meal with fresh products at reasonable prices, and I think they really managed to create something that is for everyone’s taste and budget. Who said that organic food has to be needlessly expensive?
All their meals are packed to be taken out but you can eat them inside too, what I particularly liked about this place is that all the packaging was interestingly made from corn and was completely biodegradable, therefore eco-friendly.
The address for Zazie is:
Via Quintino Sella, 29, 00187 Rome, Italy
Tempesta Di Gusti
No trip to Rome or Italy is complete without having an artisan Italian ice cream. Rome is full of places that offer vegan ice cream either made with soy, rice, or coconut milk; however we knew we’d have to return to gelateria in particular we visited last year and absolutely loved.
Whilst strolling around the incredibly artistic and multiethnic area of Pigneto we had to stop at Tempesta Di Gusti to refresh our throats and please our palets with some delicious gelato.
Someone suggested to try the coconut because ”it’s to die for” they said, so we added that to the interesting flavour of lime with pink peppercorn which we thought was a very unusual combination and incredibly delicious, plus a scoop of mango (because, why not?!).
This ice cream shop is very small but has various vegan flavours that you’ll recognize and distinguish from the ordinary ones from the black scoop (we counted 8 when we were there) that sit in the gelato. Even the cones are suitable for vegans. It’s a must if you are in the area.
The address for Tempesta Di Gusti is:
Via Del Pigneto 191, 00176 Rome , Italy
Romeow Cat Bistrot
When we first heard that there was a Cat Café in Rome we both felt that we’d no option but to go, especially considering neither of us have never been in one before and we are always looking for some cat’s love too.
Romeow Cat Bistrot is inspired by the famous and successful Japanese Neko Cafes, and its menu is 100% vegan from breakfast to dinner. No matter what time of day you choose to visit you can enjoy your food with the company of six adorable and gorgous cats.
We personally went for a mid-afternoon sweet treat and tried the raw avocado and lime cake which was simply faultless and perfect for its rich consistency and delicate flavor.
What I liked about Romeow – apart from its great cake and cute cats – was the atmosphere. I’m not sure if it is thanks to the particular design and colours, but it felt like I was suddenly miles away from the chaos and traffic of the city. It’s a very relaxing and quiet place that makes you feel so at ease that you don’t want to leave.
It was simply purrfect for our afternoon craving.
The address for Romeow Cat Bistrot is:
Via Francesco Negri 15, 00154 Rome, Italy
We were walking around the Pigneto area without knowing exactly where we were going to when we heard someone playing the drums, or doing what we thought was a soundcheck, so we stopped to have a better look. It was that then we noticed that Alvarado Street had something vegan on the menu we could try while we were rested our tired legs.
We ordered a plate of vegan cold cuts with various vegan cheeses, seitan chorizo, different kinds of mopur hams, sundried tomatoes, and artichokes. Together with a bio beer, it was just perfect for our aperitivo.
We were stunned. We’d never had something like that until then and finding in the country of mortadella and mozzarella was even more surprising.
Apart from appreciating the food, we loved the place as it reminded us of a pub we used to frequent often back in the UK. In fact Alvarado Street combines the pub atmosphere with underground culture by hosting a lot of events from live music performances –which is on every weekend– to photography exhibitions and more. If we lived there we think we’d become two regulars, we would have happily gone back for the live gig that night had we not felt incredibly tired and drained by the end of the day.
The address for Alvarado Street is:
Via Attilo Mori 27, 00176 Rome, Italy
This Sicilian restaurant for more than a year now has organized a completely vegan dinner night, even though it’s not an exclusively vegan restaurant. The owner started offering this menu once a month and got asked about it more and more often that now it happens once a week, every Monday to be precise.
The Confraternita Dell’Uva is very popular amongst locals, in fact when we went for the vegan night we were the only two foreigners and Danilo, the owner, was happy to talk to us about this initiative to propose an alternative menu to show how the Sicilian cuisine is diverse and offers something for all kind of diets.
Needless to say that we both loved this restaurant with its rustic feeling, the portions were very generous and it was good quality for money considering the amount of food we ate (only €15 per person not including drinks). The set menu had a wide selection of starters from the classic bruschetta to the typical Sicilian panelle (chickpea flour fritters), a little taste of two different main courses, and even a dessert.
We left with full bellies and a smile on our faces, that’s why we wanted to recommend it as one of our favourite vegan restaurants in Rome if you are looking for some authentic hearty food.
The address for Confraternita dell’Uva is:
Via Augusto Dulceri, 56, 00176 Rome, Italy
It seems like we managed to cover pretty much everything from breakfast to dinner, including small treats and snacks during the day; not forgetting the typical Italian style aperitivo too.
There is one more place we would like to recommend though that is open for dinner only. In fact it’s one of the very first vegan restaurants in Rome we went to and absolutely loved.
So What?!? is an 100% all vegan restaurant with edge and an alternative culture background that you can see as soon as you walk in.
The food we had was superb, a fusion of classical Italian dishes with a little kick and plenty of creativeness. I can almost still taste it and sometimes I wish I could make something so good myself.
The address for So What?!? is:
Via Ettore Giovenale, 56, 00176 Rome, Italy
See, There Are Many Vegan Restaurants in Rome!
As you can tell we proved that travelling as vegan in Rome isn’t that difficult at all. We didn’t starve – on the contrary we ate probably way too much.
There are so many places we would have liked to try but we couldn’t due to the lack of time, which only means we have to return at some point and eat even more.
We hope that our selections of vegan restaurants in Rome will make you want to try them all. Our Vegan Travel Guide to Rome has more info on places to go and some insider tips to enjoy your cruelty free time in the Eternal City.
Which vegan restaurant would you like to try in Rome?