Looking for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Rome?
Now more than ever before, the Eternal City offers lots of great options for vegans and vegetarians alike.
But I have even better news for you!
Great news for vegans and vegetarians in Rome:
Much of Roman cuisine is or can be vegetarian all by itself, so you don't need to feel too restricted about where to eat in Rome.
I was vegetarian for several years recently, and found myself always able to find plenty to eat when going out with others (who were not vegetarian), to just about any Rome restaurant, bar or pizzeria.
We didn't need to look for specific vegetarian restaurants in Rome.
There was never an occasion when my friends or husband would say, oh, we can't go THERE because Elyssa doesn't eat meat.
Meaty Rome restaurants
It can be tricky when you go out with serious carnivores, such as to one of Rome's oldest restaurants, Checchino, which is famous for their use of offal pretty much throughout their menu. And yet, I was able to eat there! Vegetables and cheese.
For vegans, this place would have been a bit stickier to navigate.
Another difficult place for vegetarians, especially vegans, is Santo Palato, a recently-opened, much-lauded Roman trattoria serving up traditional Roman food that's mostly focused on pork and offal.
I had a Roman artichoke, and cacio e pepe pasta (a typical Roman dish that has cheese but no meat).
Even in situations like that, if you don't like cheese or are vegan, you could simply order a few of the contorni, or side dishes, which are usually vegetable based.
If you visit a Roman trattoria, take a look at the vegetable bar, or the contorni (side dish) option on the menu, and you'll find that it is often comprised almost entirely of vegetarian, if not vegan dishes, like cooked vegetables, beans, and potatoes.
There is almost always a vegan or vegetarian pasta choice.
Of the four traditional Roman pastas, one has only cheese (cacio e pepe, which is sheep's milk cheese and black pepper).
For vegan pasta, you'll often find fettuccine with funghi porcini (porcini mushrooms), penne arrabbiata (short pasta with a spicy tomato sauce), or some version of a simple basil-tomato sauce.
And at most (but not all) Roman restaurants, you can usually just ask them to make you a simple dish with just tomato and basil, or as my dad loves, with aglio, olio e peperoncino (garlic, olive oil and hot peppers. Simple is good!)
Some common vegetarian items you will often find on the menu in Roman trattorias include:
Vegan dishes you will often find on Rome menus include:
I would not expect to start seeing a flurry of "Vegetarian" menu headings anytime soon at traditional Rome trattorias.
Which is not to say you cannot eat there as you would at dedicated vegetarian restaurants in Rome. You will just have to be selective.
Roman cuisine today is in part based on ancient Roman cuisine.
This means that to flavor food and give it saltiness, one of two common ingredients are often used (never together): anchovies and pork.
These are often incorporated into Roman dishes in small amounts and chopped up.
So you will have to either know it's there, or ask to make sure it's NOT there.
It's important not to ask if something "has meat", but rather to ask if it's vegetarian.
For many Italians, the word carne, or meat, implies beef or lamb. I've been told by many a barman that a ham-and-cheese tramezzino (little half-sandwich on white bread that you will find at bars/cafe's all over Rome) does not have meat.
Likewise, I've been told by many Italian restaurant waiters that something does not have meat only to find out there are small bits of anchovy in there.
When confronted, the response from the not-understanding waiter: "Well, just a little, you know, for flavor."
Which is fine if you are like me and love anchovies. But not fine if you hate fish or are vegetarian.
So the correct question to ask is "is it completely vegetarian?"
You can ask in English. If you want to ask in Italian, say this: "Il piatto è completamente vegetariano?"
Here are some places meat or fish is "slipped" into the food in Roman restaurants:
Bottom line with the above: Ask if it's not clear or you are not sure.
The second piece of good news I have for you is that many of my wonderful Rome blogging/vlogging friends are vegan or vegetarian, and have added to this page by sharing their favorite vegetarian restaurants in Rome.
Below are their suggestions, in their own words. I've included photos and websites where possible.
"Being vegetarian in Rome is a little different than being vegetarian in the US - you won't find tofu, tempeh or seitan on the menus here, or even big bowls of chopped salads dressed with interesting vinaigrettes.
On first impact, it can be difficult to navigate past all the pastas, bruschetta and pizza but my favorite trick is to flip to the back of the menu where the contorni lie."
"Italians are so good at preparing flavorful vegetables that I often feel like I'm indulging in something as delicious as dessert: between broccoli rabe sautéed with olive oil, garlic and red chili flakes, braised Roman artichokes flavored with lemon and mint, grilled radicchio with melted taleggio cheese and crispy roasted potatoes served with fresh rosemary, it's hard to pick my favorite side dish. I also have to admit I eat a lot of cacio e pepe and pizza margherita. I love carbohydrates!
I can always find vegetarian options on the menu but if I'm eating out with veggie friends, I like to go to Il Margutta near Piazza del Popolo for dinner with a chic atmosphere."
Livia Hengel is a writer, photographer and digital strategist who helps Italian businesses share their stories online. Follow her travels on her website, Instagram, or other social media (Twitter/Pinterest: @liviahengel, Facebook page: @liviainitaly).
"Romeow Cat Bistrot is a must-visit for all of the animal lovers out there on a trip to Rome. Located in the Ostiense/Piramide area of the city, your journey there will bring inspiration through the lively streets, Rome's piramid and famous street art.
Romeow itself has a very charming vibe and this includes the furry friends you can see sleeping in unique beds throughout the restaurant. The food is all vegan and tasteful."
"The menu changes with the season, however always contains vegan versions of famous Italian cuisine (and of course delicious deserts!). For an afternoon treat or a delicious meal Romeow is an excellent choice!"
Zoey Arielle Poulsen, is a 30-something Canadian living life the way it was meant to be lived. Zoey was born and raised on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. She moved to Toronto to continue her post-graduate degree in Sport & Event Marketing when it happened. She fell in love with life, traveling and sharing her positive message. From Toronto, she followed her heart all the way to Italy to become the digital nomad of sorts we’ve all come to love. (And now she is in Bali!) Follow her adventures on her YouTube channel, on her blog, and on her beautiful Instagram profile.
The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome
Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.
In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.
And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.
Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.
"I find I can eat well almost anywhere so I'm not one to go to specifically vegetarian restaurants in Rome.
However, when I do one of my favorites is Bibliothè.
Bibliothè is a hidden gem - an Indian restaurant run by an American & Italian couple Trina & Enzo on a little side street near Largo Torre Argentina. Everything is homemade with organic ingredients and Trina makes amazing American-style decadent cakes and pies for dessert."
"Their Ayurvedic tea is a delicious way to end the meal or just stop by for tea and some cake in the afternoon. For lunch, they have their "curry in a hurry" which is a fast track sampler of different menu items of the day on one platter."
Linda Martinez runs the Beehive hostel along with her husband Steve Brenner. The Beehive hostel is one of my favorite places to recommend in Rome.
The Beehive is a hostel with a small cafe which serves vegetarian breakfast daily from 07:30-10:30. The café is open to guests and non-guests alike.
Everything is à la carte, made to order. There's everything from in-house homemade bread, cakes, and pastries to omelets, French toast, porridge, and more. Ingredients are organic and coffees & teas are fair trade. In addition, there are family-style vegetarian & vegan set menu dinners starting 19:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday that are based on donation. For the dinners, reservation is required before 17:00 on the day of the dinner.
"I love the aperitivo at Freni e Frizioni because not only is it super affordable, but it's 100% vegetarian (and vegan friendly!) With the purchase of one drink, you can choose as much food as you'd like at the buffet station. It's a perfect option for vegetarians and vegans who are visiting Rome because they can experience the Italian "aperitivo," without having to ask, "Is there any meat?"
The buffet has a huge selection of salads, pastas, legumes, dips and so much more."
"My favorite time to come here is during the summer, where you can take your drink and plate of food and sit outside in a very casual and laid back environment. I never leave Freni e Frizioni hungry!"
An American transported to an Italian world. Sofie left the corporate world and moved to Rome for love in 2016. She started documenting her travels and experiences as a bilingual expat on YouTube to share the love of Italian culture and stepping outside comfort zones with like-minded individuals. She and her husband now live in Florence.
Follow Sofie on her YouTube channel and on her Instagram page.
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"Rome is increasingly becoming the capital of plant based cuisine. More and more new and trendy restaurants are opening and the older ones are changing their menus to include vegan options.
But there is a place that manages to perfectly combine traditional Roman cuisine and delicious vegan food: I'm talking about Rifugio Romano, a few steps from Termini Station.
A very friendly place where you can taste Roman food in its vegan version and new specialties created specifically by the chef.
The wine list is also vegan friendly and well-priced. A special mention to the staff, very welcoming and with the typical Roman liveliness. It is better to book in advance. Highly recommended."
Gian Pietro Leonardi combines a passion for art (he's content curator of Rome's Civic Museums Social Networks), literature (he publishes the blog Queerographies), and travelling. Follow his wanderings on Instagram.
"I can definitely recommend Flower Burger. Gosh, I love this place! It is a little out of the centre, but the vegan ceci (chickpea) burgers are so delicious."
"The atmosphere of this tiny place is very cute, brightly coloured and with adorable quotes on the walls. Apart from their amazing fresh burgers, the staff are friendly and it just has such a welcoming, easy going atmosphere."
Sian is a Lifestyle Blogger, Content Creator & Eternal Explorer. Having moved to Rome over 2 years ago from South Africa, she is constantly out and about exploring the endless eternal city, especially when it comes to food! Follow Sian on her healthy lifestyle blog Live The Wonderful Life and on Instagram.
The third piece of good news I have about eating vegan and vegetarian in Rome is that the city is now bursting with restaurants catering to you!
Besides new (specifically) vegetarian restaurants in Rome popping up right and left, many more traditional Rome restaurants are now offering some form of vegetarian and vegan options on their menus.
When it comes to recommending specific vegan or vegetarian restaurants in Rome, I am going to have to actually NARROW down the list here, and include the places I know best, and in the most central or at least accessible parts of Rome.
The best way to enjoy a food tour in Rome as a vegetarian is to book the general food tour you want, and just let them know your restrictions.
Roman food tours have become so popular that there are now many different options, from pizza-specific, to kid-friendly, to market-exploring, and much more.
Many Rome food tours can be modified to accommodate vegetarians and vegans, so make sure to inform the company when you book.
I've already listed a few excellent vegetarian restaurants in Rome, or at least, places where it's easy to eat if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Here are a few more of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in Rome.
The below are all sit-down restaurants, where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, brunch, and/or dinner. Some are regular restaurants with a good vegetarian selection, and others are all vegan or all vegetarian restaurants in Rome.
Ops! is a 100% vegetarian (and almost totally vegan) casual restaurant not far from Via Veneto or Termini.
I go here often with Roman friends for brunch. And none of these friends is vegetarian. We just love the atmosphere, the brunch special, and the fantastic food. Try some of their vegan desserts too!
Most of my vegetarian blogging friends mentioned this as one of their favorite vegetarian restaurants in Rome, and I love it too.
Il Margutta Vegetarian Food & Art is probably the most famous of the specifically vegetarian restaurants in Rome.
I love it at lunchtime, but it's also a great option for a slightly upscale, even romantic dinner. They have a gourmet chef, Mirko Mogliani, and he is gifted at creating delicious dishes that even omnivores love.
Bonus - the whole place doubles as a modern art gallery, so you have the pleasure of being immersed in a beautiful setting while you eat.
Ever since Ginger came upon the Rome dining scene, hip Romans have been flocking here for the healthy-food menu, the bright, cheery atmosphere, and the "something new and different" factor.
It's also pretty nice to know you are eating at a restaurant that adheres to a strong sustainability philosophy.
Ginger has something for everyone, including those avoiding gluten.
Near the Spanish Steps:
Near the Pantheon:
Orto is a relative newcomer in the vegetarian restaurants in Rome scene. There's a casual, warm, cozy atmosphere with a creative menu full of fresh vegetarian, vegan and bio ingredients. It's one of the nicest vegetarian restaurants in Rome to enjoy an inexpensive vegetarian lunch, brunch or dinner. Even my Roman carnivore friends love it. Check out the all-you-can-eat lunch during the week (9€) and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays (15€).
Not far from the Vatican, Campo dei Fiori and Piazza Navona, Ecru Raw is perfectly located to enjoy raw, biological, vegetarian food in a lovely, serene setting.
Look for smoothies, vegan cheeses, soups, natural wines and much more.
The below vegetarian restaurants in Rome are more "fast food". Some have limited seating available but otherwise, they are mostly take-out.
Ciao Checca is a great option for eating healthy, right in the center of Rome near the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.
Omnivores, vegans, and those with gluten-intolerance will all feel at home here.
Duecento Gradi is a small sandwich shop with a huge menu offering choices for everyone, including specific vegetarian and vegan menus.
La Zazie is an Italian franchise of health-food juice bars. Everything is vegetarian or vegan.
I think it goes without saying most desserts are vegetarian.
If you're looking for vegan desserts, start with those at some of the dedicated vegetarian restaurants in Rome. One of my favorites is Romeow Cat Bistrot (above).
Here are a couple of other excellent spots:
For vegan dessert at its best, head to Grezzo, a chocolatier in Monti neighborhood offering raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free (yes you read that right!) desserts, gelato, truffles, cookies, and more.
It's not inexpensive, but you get quality for the price.
There are now lots of great gelato spots in Rome, and some of them offer lactose-free, sugar-free, vegan choices, and more.
Il Gelatone is one of the best gelaterias in Rome to find vegan gelato flavors. Let your taste buds go crazy!
The Happy Cow is a great resource for finding vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Rome, but also around the world.
They also list shops, hotels, and anyplace you could buy food, so you have a complete resource for vegetarian eating wherever you travel.
There are even more vegetarian restaurants in Rome than those I've listed on this page. This should be a great start though.
Click here to visit a Google map with all the vegetarian restaurants in Rome I have listed on this page. It opens in a new window.
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