Look what we found again after we’d gotten back to Rome from our day climbing Mount Vesuvius and exploring Pompeii. Yip you guessed it. That flipping fountain. Which is actually rather beautiful when it’s all lit up at night. The reason that we found our way back here (on purpose this time) is that we were in search of the very best gelato and caffé that Rome had to offer.
As we were driving back from our tour, our guides gave us some invaluable advice. Some of which I’d read up on before we arrived but a lot (specifically about the coffee and gelato) that we had no idea about. So I thought I’d impart these tips to you because you should totally go to Italy and try and have the best of everything while you are there.
Which we didn’t. Even when we knew what we should be on the look out for. So don’t fall into the same traps we did by actually listening to these very true facts.
How To Find The Best Restaurants To Eat At
- If you have a view of ANY touristy place – the food is probably crap or totally overpriced. Go back a couple of streets and start looking again.
- If the menu is in 10 different languages, run away. Italian and English is fine (because guys there are so many tourists they have to have some in English), but if they start having translations in so many languages and you’re pretty sure you might have spotted hieroglyphics as one of them, turn around and don’t look back.
- If you can see pictures of the food on the menu, well I shouldn’t even have to tell you that that is a bad idea right? It’s probably terrible.
- If you have been drawn in there by a person standing outside the restaurant trying to lure you in, sense that it is a trap. A big trap. Try to keep your panicked signalling to your travel partner subtle as you get the heck out of there.
- If you can spot lots of locals sitting at the tables or even better, queuing to get a table you have found your ideal restaurant. Apparently locals will queue for hours if they know that the food is amazing.
Where To Find the Best Gelato
The best gelato is about much more than just looking pretty in a store window. Actually, if you can see it in the window you’re probably not going to be living your best gelato life… In fact, being able to see it at all might indicate a little problem. Apparently the real gelataria’s that have been making and perfecting gelato for years have got it down to such a science that each and every flavour sets to the perfect consistency at different temperatures. Yip, you read that right. Each little barrel of gelato is individually kept at the ideal temperature for that flavour.
Not only that, but it’s kept under a lid so you can’t even see it. But wow, we found one near the fountain (Il Gelato di San Crispino – a family run business for many, many years) that had the most incredible gelato and we were NOT sorry that we had found it. So deliciously creamy and full of flavour.
They didn’t seem to have chain type stores, but one of the ones that we did find that had a few outlets was Grom. Their dark chocolate gelato was just so freaking incredible!!
Where To Find The Best Coffee
Then, despite the fact that it was 11pm at night, we headed off to find the best coffee in Rome.
For true context I feel like I need to fill you in on my experience with coffee over the years of my life. I grew up drinking Ricoffee. Yup. Ricoffee. With three sugars and lots of milk. Now that I think about it, I’m not really sure you can even call that coffee or just a hot drink that may sort of have a hint of coffee in it. Then I progressed to Nescaffe. Then 8 years ago I cut coffee altogether as it gave me headaches. Then I started drinking it again but only occasionally having filter but with lots of milk and sugar. Then 4 years ago I cut sugar out. It was hard. But I dealt with it by just adding more milk.
But about 9 months ago I cut milk out from my coffee. Yoh, I wasted a lot of good cups of coffee in those early days. Getting used to drinking it all on its own. But I persevered. Now I drink black Americano’s regularly (usually only one a day or I start buzzing if I have too many or can’t sleep if I have any too late).
Right. So despite all the progress I’d made, I still couldn’t stomach espresso’s. Which is exactly what Italians love to drink. It’s just what you do – drink your piping hot espresso at the bar while you catch up with your friends who’ve also popped in to grab a cuppa.
This place was the real deal so I thought I’d just go all in with the experience and have the espresso. It was SO good. It was creamy without there being any dairy in it at all. Don’t get me wrong it was so strong that I’m sure I got some hair on my chest, but still – it changed my life. I only had espressos after that and have kept it up since we’ve been back.
If you’re wondering, the place we went to was called Sant Eustachio il Caffe
After that we wandered the streets until 12am and then headed back to our AirBnB. Despite just knocking back an espresso we passed out, ready to take on the next day moving over to Trastevere (another part of the city which is just outside the centre of Rome).
FOR MORE ON OUR ITALIAN TRIP DON’T MISS:
- What We Packed In Our Backpacks for 9 Days in Italy
- Leaving Cape Town
- Day 1 – Rome
- Day 1 – A Day In Rome – Photodiary
- Day 2- A Morning in Naples Climbing Mount Vesuvius
- Day 2 – An Afternoon In Pompeii
- Day 3 – The Roman Suburb of Trastevere and The Vatican City