When researching restaurants in Rome, every gluten-free survival guide I read for this city raved about how amazing gluten-free Italy is; how you’ll find suitable things to eat at many restaurants and supermarkets and how you experience some of the best gluten-free food you’ve ever tried. Essentially, I was given the impression that Rome was one the best cities in the world for eating out gluten-free and so I arrived fully prepped to eat incredible pasta, crisp and chewy pizzas plus a whole range of foods I’d never tried before. With this much hype, it’s not surprising that I found myself quite disappointed. After visiting most of the recommended restaurants in the centre of Rome, I was left saddened by meals that were totally fine but nowhere near as amazing the overhyped reviews I’d read. Maybe I’m lucky living in London where we do have some great options, but it was disappointing to feel that I had eaten in tastier gluten-free Italian restaurants at home than in Rome. I must admit, there are some well-reviewed restaurants outside the city centre that I couldn’t be bothered to travel out to, so maybe I missed out on the places that make gluten-free Rome inspire so many people? My hunch is that I didn’t. So here is my very honest eating out gluten-free guide for this city. Some places are good, some not so good, but I wanted to give you a really clear idea of what to expect so you know what to expect for your trip to Rome. Buon appetito!
Brunch really isn’t a thing in Italy, which is fine because that’s what experiencing new cultures is all about, right? If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you will know that I love my brunch and I especially missed it on this trip, as I was unsure of what gluten-free breakfast options are around in Rome. Thankfully, on the first morning I visited one of Ginger Sapori e Salute restaurants on Via Borgognona, which is also home to some rather fancy shops like Gucci. It is by far the most beautiful restaurant in Rome that I visited on this trip, with a stunning art deco skylight and picture-perfect cream interiors and marble tables. Oh, and a row of pineapples.
I arrived just before midday, which is when they stop serving breakfast, but they were happy to seat me. Ginger’s is a relatively health-conscious, organic restaurant and their menu has symbols indicating which items have organic ingredients and which ones don’t contain palm oil or dairy, making it helpful for vegans. Their breakfast menu consists of Acai bowls and pancakes, but after a discussion with the waiter, I opted for the omelette with no bread. It was pretty simple but I was just happy to have somewhere to eat breakfast that was so pretty.
I’d definitely give this restaurant a try for a fabulous lunch or dinner on my next trip too. They have light options such as raw vegan salads and Acai energy bowls, plus a beautiful display of fresh fruits and veggies for juicing. For a heavier lunch or dinner, they do organic pasta and veggie burgers with a healthy wine list, which you naturally expect anywhere you are eating in Rome. It’s difficult to know how gluten-free their menus are because they aren’t marked but I think it’s worth a try as my waiter was very informed and helpful.
Oh hello, delicious cakes. Yes, I can eat you ALL! If you happen to be staying near Roma Termini station like I did (at the very fun Yellow Hostel) then you must make a trip to this tiny gluten-free patisserie, La Pasticciera. I went to pick up supplies for breakfast one morning and returned with a Nutella-filled croissant and tangy lemon brioche. Having eaten my way around many of Europe’s best gluten-free patisseries and bakeries, I can assure you that it is worth checking out.
Sadly, this cake shop is a tiny hole-in-the-wall type place that has no seating, making it a takeaway only option. I definitely don’t recommend trekking across Rome to go here, especially as there aren’t any nice parks in close proximity where you can go and enjoy your treats. So don’t go out of your way to visit – no matter how good those cakes look. But if you happen to be based on this side of town during your trip, pop in for morning supplies (and something for your bag for later obvs).
Of course, if you’re celebrating your birthday in Rome, then order one of their gluten-free cakes for your celebration. No better to way to wish yourself buon compleanno! than devouring an entire one of these beauties
🍰 La Pasticciera, 43 Via Varese, 00185 Rome 🕒 Closed on Sundays. Open 9am–3pm & 5–8pm Monday-Saturday ➡️ lapasticciera.it
Pandalì bakery review
If you’re looking for a great gluten-free bakery in the centre of Rome, then baby you’ve found it. Pandalì is perfectly situated right between one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, Via del Plebiscito, and the Pantheon, so if you’re in town and looking for somewhere to stop and have a sweet treat or a slice of pizza, then this is the place. Everything is gluten-free, from the cookies to the family-sized tarts.
The bakery has a great seating area that extends from its very traditional-looking serving area. The bakery was very busy at lunch when I popped in but there was still enough seating for everyone to stop for a bit. Also, it was clean and modern, which was a welcome relief to some other places I ate on this trip.
I would have happily tried everything they had to offer if stomach would allow it. You could easily stop by here every day for a snack and try something new. Instead, I went for the slice of pizza with smoked salmon and what I think was courgette flower, which was simple and delicious and by far the best pizza I had on this trip.
🍰 Pandalì, 3 Via di Torre Argentina, 00186 Roma 🕒 Closed on Sundays. Open 10am-4pm Monday to Saturday ➡️ facebook.com
Gluten-free gelato in Rome
Hey, who are you calling fata? Gelato is everywhere in sunny Rome but it’s important to remember when you’re drooling over the display of chilled treats that some Italian gelato contains gluten. I found most gelaterias to be quite knowledgeable about which flavours I could and couldn’t eat (ok yes, I tried quite a few), but when it comes to gluten-free gelato in Rome, Fatamorgana Gelato tops them all.
There are a whopping nine outlets of Fatamorgana Gelato across Rome – and one in Los Angeles, which isn’t surprising considering how health focussed this gelato chain is. I tried their Trastevere branch but you can find their outlets near the Pantheon and the Colosseum among other iconic landmarks.
Definitely worth seeking out as they’re not only great for gluten-free travellers but also anyone vegan or who has allergies. You can find each gelato clearly marked with symbols that indicate if it contains eggs, sugar, milk, nuts or gluten, which is incredibly handy when trying to decide which flavours to combine. Also, and this was a big selling point for me, they have gluten-free gelato cones! As much as I love having a little tub (no sticky fingers, right?), it’s so nice to have an actual cone. Plus, their gelato is delicious, which definitely helps as well
One of the best things you can do when you’re totally over all the tourists in the centre of Rome is cross to the city’s version of the Left Bank and spend some time chilling in Trastevere. The beautiful sunbaked ochre buildings matched with the shiny cobblestones fulfil your fantasy vs reality idea of what you dream Rome actually looks like.
It’s also worth venturing over the Tiber River for Mama Eat, which was by far the best gluten-free restaurant in Rome that I dined at during my trip. Tucked down a quiet street near the Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere, Mama Eat appears to be spread across two restaurants, which is a little confusing when you arrive. Don’t worry, they both appear to have the same menu. I never went inside, so I’m not sure if they are joined, as I sat outside in the gorgeous afternoon sun, soaking up the chilled vibes and incredible house white wine. Honestly, I wish I’d asked what it was as it was so crisp and with just the tiniest hint of a bubble to it. Divine.
Mama Eat actually has two locations, both on this side of the river, with this restaurant and then a street food outlet near the Vatican (which is very handy if you’re heading up that way). I’d definitely recommend visiting the restaurant for a proper sit-down lunch or dinner as this is one of the best places to eat in Rome. Having already sampled pizza earlier in the day at Pandalì, I opted for their gluten-free pasta and was not disappointed. The meal was excellent and well worth the slightly higher prices than other restaurants I tried. I’ve also heard excellent things about the rest of their menu, including their gluten-free pizza, which I would have happily tried as well just to be able to sit a little longer with the dreamy afternoon sun and another glass of wine.
🍝 Mama Eat Menù per Celiaci, 7/9 Via di S. Cosimato, 00153 Rome 🕒 Open 7 days, from 11:30am–1am. ➡️ mamaeat.com
Voglia di Pizza review
No restaurant came more highly recommended when I Googled “gluten-free restaurants in Rome”. This restaurant popped on every single list I looked, all of which raved about the pizza. So of course, I had to try it.
Located about a 10-minute walk from the Pantheon, this small restaurant has a number of tables running down the quiet lane at its side. Like most restaurants I ate at in Rome, the interiors were pretty basic so I was glad to be able to soak up a little afternoon sun and eat “al fresco”. This alley is a wonderfully calm spot to relax with a glass of wine and a good friend (or book) after the intensity of Rome’s crowds.
It’s important to note that this isn’t an entirely gluten-free restaurant; I had assumed it was because of everything I read online but thankfully realised as I was ordering that you must specify senza glutine. The menu clearly shows which options can be made gluten-free plus also lactose-free and vegan, which is handy. I opted to try the pizza – with a healthy dose of red wine – and was pretty surprised at how basic the pizza was. Not bad but definitely not the drool-worthy base and toppings I had read about. The portion size was big and the base lovely and crisp but the topping was pretty uninspiring.
Perhaps that’s my fault for ordering a tonno (tuna) – some other options on the menu are nicer? Either way, if you come from a city that has an array of excellent gluten-free restaurants then you may find this one to be fine but not that exciting. I don’t want to sound too down on this place – I would eat here again – but I think it’s important to manage expectations and not overhype it. After all, this pizza and Rome!
That said, if you do eat here then keep some room for dessert. The gluten-free tiramisu is made in-house and was creamy and delicious. I definitely wasn’t ready to throw myself into the tourist throng again, so was happy to sit and savour this with another glass of red.
Tucked down its own gated lane, this restaurant is so close to the Pantheon that you can see it if you sit outside. Its name comes from the philosopher Heraclitus and basically translates to “everything flows”. Based on this, I imagined this to be a bitty of a hippy/health food restaurant, and you would be forgiven for thinking may be the case when you saw the charming and peaceful lane that holds the outdoor seats. But once inside, I realised that this was just another restaurant with incredibly basic interiors. I’m pretty sure, after some of the places I ate on this trip, that most restaurants in Rome feel they don’t have to do anything to upgrade their style because tourists will still come here and spend their money no matter what. This place clearly hadn’t been updated since the 80s. So I say, if possible, sit outside.
The restaurant has a lunchtime special that was thankfully still running when I arrived at 3pm: two courses and a drink for €10 or €13 for gluten-free. I opted for the bruschetta and the carbonara. Both were totally fine but nothing amazing. The spaghetti felt a little undercooked and the bacon was so salty I didn’t eat most of it, but I understand that’s pretty standard in Italy. Perhaps if I had been seated outside where it was a little more atmospheric I may have enjoyed my meal more. It was good for the price and would willingly give this restaurant another try but keep your expectations pretty low.
🍝 Pantha Rei, 18/19 Via della Minerva, 00186 Rome 🕒 Closed on Mondays. Open midday-11pm Tuesday to Sunday ➡️ pantharei.it