Rome: most disappointing European capital food-wise?

I provoked whatever the Twitter equivalent of a few raised eyebrows is a while back when I was in Rome and mentioned online how lacklustre I thought the food was there. There was little variety, the quality of produce was poor, the service hostile, the restaurant decor dated… I could go on but, essentially, the Italian capital – at least the central part of it (the bit circled by the Metro, with all the main tourist sights) – just didn't have much of a food vibe. I am sure there are worse capital cities (Bern and Warsaw spring to mind), and doubtless there's some good stuff out in the suburbs, but one would hope for so much more from Rome. When I think how long the list of 'must eat' restaurants is in central London and Paris, you would expect more of the Eternal City.

I'd really done my research and tried to find some interesting places before we went, but the pickings were thin before we'd even left, and the reality was even more sparse.

Frankly, if this young chap had actually been behind the stoves, I would have stood a better chance of getting a decent meal.


Thank the good lord for the gelato, although we had to eat an awful lot of mediocre stuff before we discovered the new Flor on via Cavour, which was stunningly good.


This pizza place, a ten minute walk from the Vatican, has generated a great deal of heat online for its 'gourmet' toppings (smoked eel; baccalao, etc), but it was fiercely expensive, you had to eat sitting hunched on a bench outside, and the crusty, bread-like base reminded me why I prefer soft, doughy Neapolitan pizzas so very much more.




So, the dining options were a disappointment, but I at least hoped for a few decent food stores, particularly around the Campo di Fiori market.

There were a couple…


But literally only two, and the market itself was a tourist travesty with no fish, meat or cheese. This (below) pretty much summed up the level of food retail in Rome (just lacking that extra 'i').


I was far more inspired by this sign for a ladies detective agency: there's a whole new TV franchise right there, I'd have thought. 


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