12 Must-Visit Vegan-Friendly Spots in Rome (Rome Vegan Guide)
Rome, the Eternal City—home of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, St Peter's Cathedral—thousands of years of ancient to modern history! It's one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a home to some of the best vegan food in all of Europe! Join me as I explore the 12 must-visit vegan-friendly spots in Rome from my last visit in October 2023 :)
But First, My Love Note About Rome
I had lived in Rome briefly between January and March 2020 (I left because of COVID), so I was super excited to come back almost four years later with my now-husband and now as a vegan! Rome was, really, where I was introduced to the world veganism for the first time. I spent time every day at the food market by my apartment in Trastevere picking and choosing new vegetables, spices, pastas, and wines. It was an extremely formative time for me and was directly responsible for me beginning this blog.
I don't know if I could've fallen in love with veganism just anywhere. There is something special about standing square in front of ancient ruins of one of the most powerful empires of the world and then stepping just a few hundred meters in the opposite direction and finding quaint residential neighborhoods teeming with nonna's effortlessly carrying heavy bags of groceries up and down intense flights of stairs. Rome is a scrapbook is old and new, elegant and rugged, full of life! Veganism is kind of that way too. It connects us throughout time and place and it has the power to transform ourselves and others.
Rome is a wonderful travel destination for vegans. The Roman classics: gelato, the four main pastas, soy cappuccinos, and even cornetti are available easily throughout the city!
12 Must-Visit Vegan-Friendly Spots in Rome
Serving Roman classics such as Spaghetti Alla Carbonara, Buccantini All'Amatriciana, Mezzamanica alla Gricia, and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, this all-vegan spot is a MUST-VISIT for any vegan visiting Rome. Just a few minutes walk from Termini station, Rifugio Romano boasts an amazing selection of Italian dishes including appetizers (such as Arancini), pasta, salads, mains, pizza, local wines, and dessert (like tiramisu). They have seating inside and outside, but the outside seating is nicer. Reservations are preferred for the best seating. We loved this place so much, that we came back a second time during our three-day stay in Rome! Between our two visits, we enjoyed the following dishes:
Mezzamanica alla Gricia
Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (probably my favorite!)
Raw veganism meets seasonal eating at Ecru, a 100% plant-based bistro, market, and coffee bar. We visited for our second wedding anniversary and sat outside on their adorable terrace. Ecru is close to the Tiber, right across from Castel Sant'Angelo. Their order rotates throughout the year, but they should always have their most famous dish: their raw cheese plate/sampler. We ordered the:
Raw Cheese Plate (it was a fun activity to compare and contrast them!)
Nut Pesto Zucchini "Pasta"
"Qui - Fu": Quinoa w/ Veggies and Housemade Tofu
Monti, Jewish Ghetto, Piazza Euclide
Because having a vegan chocolatier wasn't enough, Grezzo Raw Chocolate had to wow us all by pulling off being a raw vegan chocolatier. You can buy vegan chocolates, tarts, and gelato at any of their three locations around the city. We visited their location in the Jewish Ghetto, by total chance. I got their:
Raw Chocolate and Salted Caramel Gelato
It was pretty much a transcendental experience. If you visit Rome as a vegan and don't visit Grezzo, I don't know if I can forgive you.
Piazza Vidoni (Near Camp Di Fiore)
We enjoyed cappuccinos and brunch al fresco at Buddy Veggy on our first morning after visiting Campo Di Fiore. I truthfully cannot tell you if they do something special to their soy cappuccinos or not, but I felt transported to another realm drinking this after a long day of travel the day before. We didn't get to visit for dinner, which is what they are best known for, but we did share one of their traditional brunch plates and a dessert. We ordered:
Vegan Brunch (Tofu scramble, vegetable bacon, beans, green salad, vegan herb cheese + avocado + pineapple juice)
Mish-mash "cat cafe" with "English tea room" and you will, more or less, imagine Romeow Cat Bistro in Ostiense. If you are a cat lover, you'll want to check this out. In this super cute restaurant a bit outside the city center of Rome, you'll find high-quality 100% vegan fare that rotates every few hours. The cats are playful and social, and patrons are given a booklet (in their own language) upon arrival, setting expectations on how to interact with the felines. We came for breakfast, which meant they only had their 'mood menu' available. The best way to explain the 'mood menu' concept, to me, is like a Panera You-Pick-Two. You choose two of the following: beverage, sandwich, tart, or cocktail. We went with the:
Savory Mood Green (sandwich with rye bread, dried tomatoes, black olive cream, avocado and rocket and a hazelnut-milk cappuccino)
Turn onto any main street in Rome, and you'll eventually run into a location of The Gelatist. They're everywhere. This is a convenient, delish way to end any night in the Eternal City and that is just what I did when I ordered a:
Dark Chocolate and Rice Milk-Pistachio Gelato
Vegan flavors rotate, but you can pretty much expect a vegan chocolate option at any location you go to.
We came to the Jewish Ghetto on a mission: to get Jewish-Style Artichokes. I have such fond memories crossing over the bridge from Trastevere to the Jewish Ghetto to feast on Jewish-Style Artichokes while I lived here. I will be honest: I've had better than the ones I had at Ba' Ghetto. I'd probably recommend the unfortunately-named neighbor of Ba' Ghetto, Bella Carne for better vegan options, including their Jewish-Style Artichokes. But I digress. We still enjoyed our time, I just knew that better ones existed in the Ghetto. We ordered:
Jewish-Style Artichokes (because they are the best)
Roman-Style Artich0kes (which my husband liked better, but he is wrong)
Gnocchi with Rocket and Tomatoes
Prati (Near Vatican City)
You guessed it... more gelato! This adorable gelateria directly straddles Vatican City, making it an excellent choice if you want to indulge in Italy's favorite sweet treat as you walk down Via della Conciliazione. I got:
Vegan Chocolate and Raspberry Gelato
Italians make vegan chocolate gelato differently... it is SO GOOD.
After visiting Romeow Cat Bisto, venture a few minutes toward the train station to enter the Disney World of grocery shopping experiences: Eataly. This four-floor market has the largest collection of Italian veggies, chocolates, pasta, rice, and pre-packaged foods I've seen anywhere... ever? They also have several restaurants and cafes inside the grocery store if your feet tire out and need to refuel.
If you committed yourself to the struggle of reaching the Borghese Gardens from Piazza del Popolo, you're going to need a minute to sit down and recharge. We caught our breathe at La Casina dell'Orologio, which has a nice coffee menu and vegan milk options. The view is amazing, the whole vibe is so worth stopping for a bit.
Unfortunately, even I, sometimes tire of pasta and wanted to get a taste of some Asian flavors before I got back home. On the way back from our day-trip to Assisi we grabbed a bite to eat at Wagamama, located inside Termini Station, before heading back to our Airbnb.
If I Could Only Remember The Name... But They Have Vegan Cornetto
I am ashamed to admit I don't have any memory of the name of the place where I got this amazing vegan-by-default cornetto (croissant) in Termini Station. It is upstairs by the signage that tells you what track the trains are on. This was a REALLY good croissant.
Truth be told, finding vegan croissants in Rome was super easy. I even got one at FCO airport on the way back home. I'd always recommend keeping an eye out, because you'll be surprised where they will be served!
Rome is a wonderful travel destination for vegans. The Roman classics: gelato, the four main pastas, soy cappuccinos, and even cornetti are available easily throughout the city. Our favorite spots were Rifugio Romano and Grezzo Raw Chocolate.
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