When I travel, I travel for the culture, for the history, to see and learn new things about new places. My husband, has one requirement for travel and it’s food. He loves a good meal, new cuisine, and exploring all the places to eat. After the success of our food tour in Lisbon, when we planned a couples trip to Rome, I knew that I needed to look for a food tour to explore the culinary arts of Italy. Using Get Your Guide, an online tour aggregator, we found the most decadent and delectable food tour we have ever experienced with The Roman Food Tour. Come along with us, as we experience the amazing food while on this unique tour.
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This trip we wanted to try Get Your Guide, so we used them to research food tours. The one that struck my interest was the “4 Hour Food Tour By Night” by The Roman Food Tour. Since my husband was on a business trip, we could attend in the evening, after his activities for the day were done. The upside was that the starting point was near our hotel. It was more expensive than the other food tours at $124 a person, but it included all the alcohol and looked to have a lot of stops, so we decided to try it out.
The tour starts at La Nicchia Cafè, a cute little one in the Trastevere neighborhood. During the day it’s a café that serves organic lite fare. But at night, it’s closed to the public and becomes the starting point for this food tour. We waited outside for our guide, Carolina. She checked us in and let us know that we were a small group that evening, which was amazing. Soon the previous group left the café and it was our turn to come in.
La Nicchia Café
You spend your first hour in the La Nicchia Café. Here, in a private setting, you are given an aperitif. Along side a fabulous bottle of white Italian wine, you are given a plate of meats, cheese and spreads, but teased by not being allowed to eat it yet. Instead, you tour guide walks you through the experience. With each item you are instructed on what it was, it’s origins, why it is important to Roman food culture, and more. Getting educated and walking through the experience was a treat. We learned about the different types of truffles, how the cheese is made and graded, and got to taste 30 year aged balsamic vinegar on top of pure Parmigiano Reggiano. It was heaven. It wouldn’t be an aperitif without some good wine! This is not a stingy tour, with just one glass of wine, oh no, if they saw your cup going down, there was more poured in. That was the theme of the night.
Once we wetted our appetite, it was time to proceed to Bonci’s Pizzarium. This famous restaurant often has long lines and waits, and only has a few tables outside for standing and eating. We arrived and were able to quickly snag some tables outside, as our tour guide went in to grab the order she had placed ahead of time. Bonci offers his version of pan pizza made from the freshest local organic ingredients. We got 6 different types of pizza to try, and we each got to try a slice. The bread was perfectly crispy and fluffy, the toppings were just the right balance. It was seriously the most incredible pizza I had in my life. And I had been eating pizza all over Rome that week. Our tour guide brought along the most delicious bottle of red Chianti for us to have with the pizza and it matched perfectly.
I couldn’t believe there was more, but oh my gosh there was more to come. It was a bit of a walk to the next stop but worth the walk. There we came to Trapizzino. Things you’ll find all over the room are Tramezzini sandwiches. Tramezzini sandwiches are triangle sandwiches on white bread with some basic fillings. Chef Stefano Callegari came up with the idea of making these sandwiches, but in a puffy pizza crust, then patented the name and idea. We had 3 sandwiches to choose from, and then of course our choice of wine or cider to accompany it. My husband had the eggplant while I had the meatball. Both were amazing, with them being roasted in the perfect Roman Tomato sauce, that complimented the bread and wine perfectly.
The final stop in the tour was dinner. Yes, you read that right, dinner. We walked to Zia Rilla, a local restaurant where there was a table waiting for us. Here we were treated to Carbonara, a traditional Roman Dish. It’s simply pasta with Parmesan Reggiano, guanciale (meat from the cheek of the pig) and cranked pepper. It was done perfectly. The pasta was perfect al dente. The sauce was perfect. The guanciale had the right texture and saltiness. It was simply perfect. Then we finished up with a tiramisu. It was one of the better tiramisu’s we had on the trip. It was a delightful way to end our night of decadence.
- It does not claim to be adults only, but there is no discounted child price. I would say if you bring your kids, I would only bring older children who are adventurous and hearty eaters. Understand that there is alcohol served at each location, and the drinking age in Europe is generally 16.
- We arrived for the tour 20 minutes early, thinking we could go in and get a drink at the café. But La Nicchia Café is closed to the public in the evening, and open only to the tour group. When we arrived, the previous tour was inside. We ended up waiting outside which didn’t have seating, which was a little annoying. Given that, I think it’s ok to plan to arrive as close to the start time as possible.
- This tour cost more than the others we looked at. But this one also was a higher cost tour than most, but it was worth it. You get a significant amount of food spread over a long time, and a significant amount of wine. The tour company, The Roman Food Tours, has cheaper tour alternatives that you can book directly on their website.
- At the end of the tour, your guide can help you get a taxi back to your hotel, or give you instructions via public transit or walking.
- Wear comfortable shoes, you will walk quite a distance between Bonci and Trapizzino, and between Trapizzino and Zia Rilla.
Food is such an important part of the culture of a place you visit. Italians take their food seriously. Having the opportunity to learn more about Roman and Italian cuisine, getting to eat some of the best foods and drink some of the best wines made it all the more memorable. We loved the food tour so much, we ended up using The Roman Food Tour to book a half-day wine tour in Frascati, and had another equally amazing experience. Visit Rome and check out their food tours, it’s worth every dollar (and bite!)
The Roman Food Tours only offers their 4-Hour Food Tour by Night through Get Your Guide. However, they have other tours they offer directly on their website. If you book any tour through their site and use the code “RETURNING” it will take 10 euros off the price per person.