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Thanksgiving in Rome

Wondering where to spend Thanksgiving in Rome?

Yeah, that doesn't sound like a typical thing to do in Rome. I know.

Thanksgiving is a typical American and Canadian tradition. So where can you eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal in Rome?


Who celebrates Thanksgiving in Rome?

Thanksgiving is a distinctly American and Canadian holiday, and while it's not celebrated in Rome, you may want to sit down to an authentic Thanksgiving feast if you happen to be in Rome on this holiday.

Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 2nd Monday in October, while American Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November.

Both holidays revolve around commemorating the fall harvest (among other things).

Happy Thanksgiving from our Canadian friends at the Canadian Club of Rome! Photo credit - Anna Ambrosini

In both countries, it's typical to have a big turkey, some variation of regular or sweet potatoes, corn, cranberries, gravy, and pumpkin pie.

Many of these foods are considered native to these countries and until recently, it has been difficult for expats and visitors in Rome to find some of these.

thanksgiving turkey on a platterRoast turkey served on a platter for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Whole, large turkeys are not as commonly found at the butcher here as they are in North America. 

thanksgiving turkeyThis enormous turkey fed 24 of us at a Canadian Club Thanksgiving meal at Alle Fratte di Trastevere. Whole turkeys this size are not that easy to come by in Rome, and even less easy to fit into typical ovens here!

And even when you find them, good luck fitting them in the small ovens we use here in Rome!

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Why is it hard to find Thanksgiving foods in Rome?

Because in Rome, and in general around Italy, we tend to eat local, seasonal foods.

This is starting to change and we are finding more and more things at both fresh food markets and supermarkets that we never used to find here.

If you want to stick to Roman cuisine, start here.

Thanksgiving in Rome – Where to Eat a Traditional Meal

Whether you are an expat living in Rome, or visiting Rome in October (Canadian) or November (American), you may want to head someplace where you can get that traditional Thanksgiving dinner “with all the fixins” as we say in the south (where I’m from.)

Here are some places where you can find a traditional Thanksgiving meal in Rome.

Booking ahead is strongly recommended, since these are special meals and the restaurants in question may need to know how many diners to expect before stocking up on Thanksgiving-related foods.

Looking to celebrate Mass on Thanksgiving in Rome?

On Thanksgiving Day St Patrick’s American Catholic Church in Rome hosts a special Mass at 10.30am.

All are welcome. Via Boncompagni 31.

Alle Fratte in Trastevere

I recently enjoyed a super authentic Thanksgiving lunch with my friends in the Canadian Club of Rome (I’m American but I love my Canadian friends!)

This family-style traditional Roman restaurant in Trastevere is run by an Italian, Francesco and his New-Yorker wife, Silvana. They have run this place for over 25 years and are well known as a wonderful place to eat in Trastevere.

alle fratte di trastevere outsideAlle Fratte di Trastevere is a lovely place to eat in Trastevere any time, Thanksgiving or not.

Silvana had the idea to offer a traditional Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving, and she’s been doing so for a few years. This year, she made us such a fantastic meal, I almost felt I was back in the US (almost!)

owners silvana and francesco of alle fratte di trastevereThe owners of Alle Fratte di Trastevere, Francesco and his New York-born wife Silvana. They are the perfect hosts, Thanksgiving and otherwise!

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If you want roast turkey with truly American-style stuffing, gravy, yams, cornbread and seriously the most amazing pumpkin pie I’ve ever had, book now for Thanksgiving. 

thanksgiving plate - anna ambrosiniThis truly was a traditional Thanksgiving meal - juicy roast turkey with crispy skin, creamy mashed potatoes, baked yams, real cranberry sauce, cornbread, and a super tasty gravy. Photo credit - Anna Ambrosini

They will be open for lunch and dinner. Make sure to tell them you want a Thanksgiving meal, as space may be limited.

pumpkin pieThis pumpkin pie we ate at Alle Fratte di Trastevere was one of the most delicious I've ever had!

Details: Via delle Fratte di Trastevere, 49/50. Tel: +39 06 583 5775

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Closed on Wednesdays.

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Hard Rock Cafe

Where else to have a traditional American meal of any sort (Nachos! Burgers! Brownie sundaes!) than the one and only Hard Rock Café.

For Thanksgiving, Hard Rock Café will be serving all the traditional foods, turkey and all.

In the evening, there will be live music entertainment with an Aretha Franklin revival show and American gospel music.

Reservations will be taken for 2 time shifts: 19:00 - 21:00; 21:30 - 23:30.

  • Thanksgiving Menu at €29.50 per person which includes a soda drink of your choice
  • Thanksgiving Menu at €35.90 per person which includes a soda drink and 1 Nastro Azzurro beer
  • Thanksgiving Menu at €38.20 per person which includes a Grey Good espresso martini

Booking essential. Click here to book via their event on Facebook.

DetailsVia Vittorio Veneto, 62A/B. Tel: +39 06 4203 0501

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Highlander Pub

If you’re looking for a casual, fun, pub atmosphere with karaoke, beer-pong, American pro-football, and hearty Thanksgiving eats, head to the Highlander Pub, smack in the heart of Rome, just steps from the Spanish steps and Pantheon.

You will find yourself in a convivial atmosphere with fellow revelers. 

An all-you-can-eat dinner buffet is served from 6:30pm to 8pm.

The price of the dinner is 40 euro and includes a drink of choice. NFL will show on big screens from 6:30pm, starting with, of course, the Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears.

Visit their website for more details, photos, and to reserve.

DetailsVicolo di S. Biagio, 9. Tel: +39 06 6880 5368

Open daily 9am  - 2am.

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Making a dinner for Thanksgiving in Rome

If you are an expat in Rome, or are here staying at an apartment or Air B&B, and want to make your own Thanksgiving dinner, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure to order a turkey in advance.
  • Castroni is one of the best places you can go for some American products like cranberry jelly, canned pumpkin, and marshmallows.
  • Visit the markets of Piazza Vittorio or Trionfale for sweet potatoes and other produce.
  • Visit Katie Parla’s page with lots more detailed advice for eating in on Thanksgiving in Rome.

Italian Food Customs

If you want to know more about Italian Food Customs, like what Italians eat for breakfast, why we have pasta first and salad afterwards, tipping habits, what to drink with pizza, and more, visit this page.

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