Rome, and Italy in general, are (also) famous for food. When you visit a City for the first time, or even when it’s your second or third time in a place, unfortunately you can encounter a tourist trap. An unpleasant experience, which can turn into a waste of money and even expectations. You have to be careful if you want to eat well.
How can you recognize a tourist trap, in order to avoid it? First of all, they are often located close to the most famous monuments. These are 5 signs more you should consider.
Go off the beaten path
When you enter a restaurant and you find all the plates and ingredients translated in 5 or 6 languages, maybe you‘ve just picked up the wrong one. Probably it’s also close to the busiest area of the city. Try to run away as soon as possible, because you’ll probably eat something you won’t like. Lose yourself in the Eternal City, walk around in the side roads, away from the obvious places, and you’ll discover better restaurants.
You find too many asterisks in the menu
In Italy all the ingredients in the menu that are frozen and not fresh must be indicated with an asterisk. If there are a bit too many asterisks – usually used for vegetables, fish or fried food – and even the pasta or pizza are frozen, you’d better escape.
Regional dishes in the wrong place
If you go to a restaurant in Rome and you find some regional dishes from another areas of Italy- like ‘trofie al pesto’, pasta with basil pesto, which is from Liguria, or ‘pasta alla norma’, pasta with ricotta, tomato, aubergine and basil which is from Sicily- there is a problem. When in Rome, try traditional Roman dishes, like cacio e pepe, amatriciana, coda alla vaccinara…
You don’t see locals
You don’t see locals around. On the contrary, the restaurant is full of tourists like you. If a restaurant or a pizzeria offers you a “tourist menu”, there are many chances you’re going to eat in a tourist trap. A good restaurant doesn’t usually have a menù like this. Maybe has some “dish of the day”, which is a different thing. And Romans go there to have lunch or dinner.
You don’t find that restaurant in a guide
Carry out research in advance. Check the local guides, read newspapers, have a look on websites. Don’t decide at the very last moment, otherwise you’ll probably too hungry to make the correct choice. If you can, plan your holidays but also your meals.