Last Updated on August 7, 2020 by Nina Ahmedow
As you know I was recently in Rome. Before flying to Rome, I checked for vegan listings on HappyCow. I got quite a few results and thought it would be easy to find food as a vegan in Rome. But the problem was that most of the vegan restaurants at the time were a bit far from the city center. Since then, some centrally located places went vegan and some new places opened. But in late 2016, the vegan landscape in Rome looked a bit different.
As we already didn’t stay close to the center, I didn’t want to waste time during our short stay to go to an all-vegan restaurant. Given that Italian cuisine is generally quite accommodating to vegans we wanted to try the non-vegan places. That’s why we went to places that all had vegan options but were not strictly vegan, or even vegetarian.
Even walking around the city which is one of my favorite things to do in Rome, we saw a lot of places with signs indicating that they offered vegan options. That didn’t surprise me considering that a lot of plant milks and other vegan products are produced in Italy.
Whenever we asked for vegan options people knew immediately what that meant and whether or not they had anything vegan on the menu. In Greece, you usually have to explain what you mean by vegan. And, even then, people are a bit overwhelmed and not always able to provide a clear answer on whether or not they have any vegan options.
So given that we only went to non-vegan places, I think this is the perfect guide for vegans who travel to Rome with a non-vegan. Sometimes, non-vegan travel partners are not too keen on trying vegan or vegetarian restaurants. So it’s good to know how to get by in non-vegan eateries.
Vegan Store in Rome
But first, let me tell you about my favorite vegan spot in Rome. Vegan Store is a stall in Testaccio market and has pretty much everything a vegan mini market should offer. Barbara gave us some chickpea cheese to try which was absolutely amazing. Italian cheeses are some of the best in the world. So, naturally, Italian vegans have come up with high-quality vegan substitutes. The cheese we tried and later bought was from Tuscany and had a really nice and intense taste. We also tasted some vegan ham and salami and had two panini made by Barbara which we ate right away.
Barbara told us that the market used to be a slaughterhouse and that several other store owners assaulted her. But she continues to try and educate the locals about the injustices done to animals.
We also took some fresh banana bread with us which we ate at the Orange Garden.
Since the cheese and salami were really delicious we decided to buy some to eat at home.
Barbara also gave me a list of places to check out in Rome, but we didn’t end up going. As mentioned before, the vegan places were a bit far from the center. And I was not willing spending an hour on public transport out of the few days we spent in Rome.
I highly recommend Barbara’s Vegan Store to any vegan who visits Rome.
Stall 83 at Mercato di Testaccio. Open Tuesday to Saturday 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.
The second day we went to a cozy little bistrot really called Tiepolo. They advertised vegan options in the window so we simply went for it without checking any reviews. I had a bowl of very nice lentil soup, fresh juice, a tomato bruschetta, and a salad. The lentil soup was quite thick, so it was very filling and perfect for a cold winter day. The staff at Tiepolo were very friendly. And the décor was super cute.
Via Arenula 43. Open Monday to Sunday 12 pm to 2 am.
As the prices at Tiepolo were good we actually went back a second time. I had another lentil soup and some guacamole and hummus with bread. The guacamole would have needed more flavor, to be honest. But then why did I feel the need to order guacamole in Italy in the first place?
Tiepolo was probably our favorite eatery in Rome. I highly recommend it to other vegans traveling to Rome with non-vegans as they offer really good value for money.
Traditional Italian Restaurants in Trastevere
For dinner that night, we went to a place called Casetta di Trastevere which a friend had recommended. A very cozy place with really decent food but awful bathrooms. I had another tomato bruschetta and the penne all’arrabbiatissima because I like spicy food. I would have wanted the pasta to be a bit spicier, but it was quite good nonetheless. We went back to Casetta di Trastevere again a few days later because it was good value for money.
Piazza de’ Renzi 31a.
Another place in Trastevere we tried out was Carlo Menta. I had the marinara pizza because it was the only vegan pizza they had. It was decent, but I’m not really a fan of Roman-style pizza. Having been to Naples twice and having experienced the ultimate pizza there (before I went vegan) my standards for pizza may be too high. The super-thin crust they use in Rome is not for me. But some people prefer this type of pizza so try it and make up your own mind. At least it’s possible to find pizza as a vegan in Rome.
Via della Lungaretta 101. Open Monday to Thursday 12 to 11:30 pm, Friday to Sunday 12 pm to 12 am.
One night, we simply wandered around in Trastevere and ended up in a place called Cave Canem. It was pretty cold there, and again, there were not many options for me, but the food was decent. Nothing special, though, there are better places to eat vegan in Rome. And I would avoid going there in the winter as it was really not cozy due to the cold.
Piazza di San Calisto 11. Open Monday to Saturday 6 pm to 12:30 am, Sunday 12 pm to 12:30 am.
Bakery With Vegan Options
Too late during our stay, I found out that a bakery called Caffè Trastevere offers vegan croissants and other pastries. Because if you’re a vegan in Rome you want to try some pastries as well. While the croissants were not amazing, I am always happy to see that more places are offering vegan options.
Viale di Trastevere 50.
Overall, the number of vegan options all over Rome impressed me. At the train station and the airport, it was easy to find vegan options. I even saw a few listings for vegan ice cream places. But since it was winter and quite cold I didn’t really feel the need to try any of them. It’s not too difficult to be vegan in Rome even at non-vegan places.
What is your experience with vegan Italian food? Have you ever tried artisanal vegan cheese? Any other tips for eating vegan in Rome?