” Caput Mundi ” (capital of the world), pizza and pasta. The city where the wine flows freely, the Eternal City of Rome. Italy may seem a difficult place to eat healthy and plantbased. However, it’s not as difficult as you might think.
I’ve noticed that many vegan places in Europe offer too often falafels and vegan burgers and I definitely didn’t want that in Rome. I started looking for places that where not mentioned on HappyCow and where there would be no tourists. I wanted to immerse myself in the capital of pizzas and ice creams and wanted to eat out with the Italians as ”clean vegan” as possible.
When you arrive in Rome, you relax immediately. The weather, the beautiful and friendly people, filled terraces, delicious ice cream on every corner of the street. Delicious!
Italy has a lot to offer for vegans, but also there are many gluten-free pastas and pizzas. I have not included those in my review. For two reasons. First, I wanted to avoid the tourists. I really wanted to ”taste” the Italian life. Secondly, I never eat pizzas or pastas Italian style. I can’t stand gluten very well and when it comes to carbohydrates I prefer the slow healthy ones. But in Rome, I looked for the most healthy (not gluten free) pizza. I just had to try this. Although this gave me a ”pizza baby belly” for about two days. It was worth it.
Also, I was looking for the best vegan ice cream, as low as possible in refined sugars. I went to the most famous ice cream salon, but found even better options for the healthy vegans during my trip.
I really enjoyed my stay in Rome! The weather, the friendly people and delicious food!
And I’ve walked a lot. European cities are made for walking. I hardly take the tram, bus or subway. It gives so much energy, is super healthy, but also ensured that I got to discover a lot of nice places without using the internet. Exploring is part of my travel reviews and made a visit to Rome so much more fun.
Then the food. I was expecting heavy, greasy food, many fast carbs and lots of cheese. Maybe not the best place for a review, but I was wrong. An explosion in the popularity in healthy living and the popularity of diets such as gluten free and veganism made sure Italy didn’t want to be left behind.
In moderation, you can enjoy the local cuisine. Every day a vegan ice cream or vegan pizza will do no one good. Fortunately there are plenty of juice bars and organic shops. There are also often small fruit stalls on the street with delicious fresh fruits.
Gluten free vegan options? Yes, that’s possible! The Italians are very well aware of the effect of gluten on our health. The gluten-free pastas and pizzas are becoming easier to find.
Dairy free? Also, no problem. Gluten are very rare in my diet, but dairy I never consume and I still managed to enjoy delicious ice cream!
Vegan? Also in non-vegan restaurants you can often find a vegan option. The Italians love their vegetables in pasta, pizzas and as starters, so it’s very easy to add or let it replace for you. Delicious grilled vegetables like peppers, artichokes or zucchini? Yum!
Il Margutta RistorArte
I ate here on the first night and upon entering was a little surprised about how formal it came across. The lady was giving me weird looks because I was holding a camera and she had to ask whether a table was available for me. Don’t be intimidated. The staff is very friendly and also for me (as a not so trendy Italian lady) there was a table in this restaurant. You’ll find yourself not among tourists, but all Italians. Just what I was looking for! And the menu? I couldn’t believe my eyes. Not only vegan, but also vegan with a focus on the gut. Claudio Vannini wanted to create the first vegetarian cultural center in Rome. His mission was to provide his customers with his healthy menu, his philosophy of life, respect for nature, love of art, but above all the need to respect the rights of all animals.
In a short time Il Margutta has become a meeting place for people looking for a plantbased healthy lifestyle, but also many local famous Italians (TV and fashion world) can be found here often. All surprised by the fact that even in a vegetarian / vegan restaurant it seems to be possible to eat delicious food. The dishes are simple and have a Mediterranean influence.
Once you open the menu you’ll read the philosophy first, “Relax at Margutta flat belly.” The dishes are based on FODMAP. This ensures, among other things, that you will not leave the restaurant feeling bloating. I ordered the Detox Menu, but there is also a Vegan Menu, soups and vegetable mixes (raw and cooked). I found it a nice place to eat clean vegan.
Via Margutta, 118, 00187 Roma, Italia
Although Rome may not be the official capital of the pizza, there are many types of pizza in Rome to be found. From thin (Roman style) to the square ”pizza-by-the-slice” or the thick-rimmed Neapolitan style pizzas.
Giacomelli is my favorite (although the pizzas are not gluten free). Giacomelli is a family business (including staff) and the pizzas are as thin as paper. I try to avoid gluten as much as possible and these pizzas were the perfect way if you want a real pizza, but as little as possible gluten. I went for the simple delicious pizza marinara. Delicious! All pizzas can be made in three sizes (small, medium or large). Quite unexpectedly the grilled veggies were delicious! Especially the artichoke, cabbage and peppers were really nice. Great to share or just to eat all by yourself. I made my own pizza with vegetables. The other dishes seem to be delicious as well!
What is also very nice about Giacomelli is the fact that you will not find tourists here. Giacomelli does not even have a website (not that I could find).
Via Emilio Faà di Bruno, 25 00195 Roma
Oh, did I look forward to visit Giolitti. Ben Stiller, the pope, Owen Wilson … everyone loves Giolitti 😉 Vegan or not, everyone is raving about the ice creams of Giolitti. So I was not surprised that it was very busy inside. Huge lines at any time of the day, curtly staff that will finish your order before you can even think about your order. Of course I’ve only tried the vegan options and although I expected a huge vegan sugarbomb, I must say that the taste was very pure. I was really impressed. Until I tried the taste ” dark chocolate ”. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. Not kidding. Oh. My. Goodness. If you can eat this without making sounds of pleasure, you do not know what good ice cream is about. I just can’t describe it. It’s so pure. Really dark chocolate, but not bitter, heavy or sticky. How do they do this? I often think about this ice cream and it’s my dream to make this one myself.
Via Uffici del Vicario, 40 – 00186 Roma
I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza
Exactly 15 minutes later (literally 5 minutes walk from Giolitti), I came across another ice paradise, I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza. I ate my first real according to Sicilian tradition prepared ice cream. This really is a completely different experience. Without dairy products and too much sugar it seems a bit like frozen pulp after making nut milk. I took the pistachio and almond ice cream. The taste is pure with a very light structure. Granita Siciliana is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and, for example nuts. I found the taste to be not very sweet, but pleasant enough to be delicious. Perfect! Originally this icecream is from Sicily, but the desired texture seems to vary from city to city. From super chunky sorbet to structured icecream. Mine was right in the middle. Delicious!
Via dell’Arco del Monte, 98, 00186 Roma
Slow Market La Capra Rampante
There were some signs on the street with ”slow food bio”, but I didn’t understood what it referred to and where it was. After a few hundred meters I ran into this variation of a wholefood store, but oh what was this one big. There was no end to all the corners and several sections. A corner with huge pots of herbs, a corner with endless tea variations and vegetables in idyllic wooden crates. What I also liked is that they do not throw away fruits and vegetables. What seems to be ”older” fruits and veggies ended up in a crate and were sold with a huge discount. No waste! I bought some delicious snacks, fresh fruits (pears, apricots and cherries). I had a delicious breakfast of fruit the next day! Breakfast was a little bit of a struggle in Rome. In the morning I just want a quick smoothie and some fruit, nothing more. It’s easy to solve though. Just buy your own fruits and you’ll have a perfect breakfast every morning.
via Donatello, 65 – Roma (Quartiere Flaminio)
It was time again for ice cream and chocolate. The pictures on Grezzo’s Facebook page and the fact that all is raw and vegan immediately attracted my attention. Could it be true? In these type of places, I’m very interested to know about the sugar they’re using. Vegan is not difficult, but clean vegan is. Grezzo uses coconut sugar as a sweetener I noticed. Despite that Grezzo was founded only in 2014, it has already managed to make quite a name. A business coach and an Italian raw masterchef bundled their forces and Grezzo was a fact. Their mission is to make the best raw vegan chocolate (ice cream and cake). They did so, successfully.
Grezzo’s succes is partly due to the use of the highest quality ingredients (organic). Each recipe is designed to improve our health and happiness. They never use refined sugars, gluten, soy, dairy products, GMO’s or chemical ingredients. Only the highest quality organic ingredients are used … wow!
Their ”kitchen” looks like a laboratory. So pure, precise and clean. The result is delicious ice cream and chocolate. The almond flavor ice cream is incredibly tasty! Their chocolate is extremely rich in taste and texture. Delicious refreshing smoothies are also made. The secret are their ingredients. Grezzo uses cocao beans from Ecuador, coconut butter, coconut sugar, Sicilian almonds, hazelnuts from Piedmont, dates and coconut pulp. The packaging and decor in the store has only recyclable products. I think I had my smoothie on a paper chair …
I will soon share a smoothie recipe with you here from Grezzo. Perfect for these hot days!
Via Urbana, 130 (Zona rione Monti) – 00184 Roma
Fa-bio – literally “do organic” – is run by Fabio and Claudio, two guys with different gastronomic backgrounds but both with a passion for fresh, tasty, organic food. You can enjoy fresh salads, fresh smoothies, juices and kamut wraps (kamut is an ancient grain high in protein and faint gluten). All with the best organic ingredients, in a tiny but cozy environment. Everyone is nice and relaxed, helpful and friendly so it was difficult to leave Rome that day! I was served the most delicious juices like beetroot, raspberry and apple. They have no fixed menu because they are cooking and juicing according to the season.
I enjoyed several delicious morning juices!
I enjoyed the wonderful weather, the people, the city and the food. Rome has stolen my heart. A presto Italia!
photos and text by the creator green (c) (copyright)