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Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Rome
(Vegan too)

If you're looking for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Rome, you've come to the right place. There are now lots of great options for vegans and vegetarians alike, all over Rome.

But I have even better news for you!

Eating Vegan and Vegetarian in Rome

Great news for vegans and vegetarians in Rome:

  • Rome cuisine already offers you lots of options
  • There is now a huge assortment of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Rome

I've got the best list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Rome:

  • Want recommendations straight from the source? Vegan and vegetarian Rome bloggers and vloggers share their favorite spots
  • More vegan restaurants in Rome
  • More vegetarian restaurants in Rome
  • A map of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Rome

Rome cuisine already offers lots of vegetarian (and vegan) options

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. 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. 

At Santa Lucia, a typical Roman trattoria, I often just ask them to bring a huge selection from their vegetable bar for the table. But I could eat this by itself as a meal.

Rome is now overflowing with options for vegans and vegetarians

The second piece of good news I have about eating vegan and vegetarian in Rome is that Rome is now almost bursting with restaurants catering to you! Besides new restaurants popping up right and left, many Rome restaurants are now offering at least vegetarian of not vegan options on their menus. 

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.

And frankly, some of the "hot" burger joints serve(d) very sad versions of a veggie burger. So sometimes pickings could be slim. But that's changing . . .

How to eat Vegetarian Food in Rome Restaurants and bars

What to Expect at Typical Rome trattorias

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 other vegetarian restaurants in Rome. You will just have to be selective, and live with limited options.

Foods to be careful of in Rome if you are vegan/vegetarian

Roman cuisine today is in part based on ancient Roman cuisine. This means that to flavor food and give it saltiness, two common ingredients are 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 tramezzino (little half-sandwich on white bread that you will find at bars/cafe's all over Rome) with ham 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, but if you want to say it in Italian, say this "Il piatto è completamente vegetariano?"

Here are some places meat or fish is "slipped" into the food:

  • Supplì - Classic Roman breaded-and-fried rice balls, supplì are mostly made with rice, tomato sauce and cheese. But many places also serve a "classic" version that has some form of meat (beef or chicken innards). 
  • Fiori di zucca - fried zucchini flowers. They are nearly always filled with mozzarella (more rarely with ricotta) and with 1-2 anchovies "for salt". The one place I know of that offers this dish on the menu specifically without anchovies is Pizzeria Emma.
  • Mixed fried things as appetizer - You will often find a fritto misto on a menu where fried things are served, especially at pizzerias. It's usually described and should be clear if the dish is JUST mixed vegetables or if there are meaty things involved (like fried zucchini flowers, fried cod, and stuffed olives). But if you are not sure, you should ask because once a platter of fried things arrives, it's not easy to tell what's inside.
  • Vignarola - this seasonal spring dish of sautéed artichokes, fava beans and peas can be served vegetarian, but is often "flavored" with guanciale (pork jowls), so always ask.
  • Many minestre (soups), especially if beans are involved - just as with split pea soup or chili, people add meat for flavor, so too do Italians often flavor soups and stews, usually with pork.
  • Pastries - For a long time I thought I was "safe" eating my morning cappucino e cornetto (like a croissant). But it turns out these are often made with lard (strutto). By law, bars have to place a list of ingredients used in their food, someplace visible. So I checked one day and saw strutto all over the place. You will need to check the ingredients list, or go someplace that serves vegan pastries.

Bottom line with the above: Ask if it's not clear or you are not sure.

This gorgeous "Fritto Romano" at Secondo Tradizione, was made up of mostly vegetables. But there were other things in here too: veal parts you probably don't want me to describe here. But they did tell us in advance.

Top suggestions from Rome's Vegan and Vegetarian Bloggers

And the third piece of good news I have for you about eating vegan and vegetarian is that many of my wonderful Rome blogging/vlogging friends are vegan or vegetarian, and have added to this page by sharing their favorite spots in Rome.

Below are their suggestions. At the bottom of the page, you will find a map of all the vegetarian restaurants in Rome on this page, with these places included:

Livia Hengel

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 Fa-Bio near the Vatican for the best salads and juices in Rome or Il Margutta near Piazza del Popolo for dinner with a chic atmosphere.

Bio: Livia Hengel is a writer, photographer and digital strategist who helps Italian businesses share their stories online. Follow her travels on www.liviahengel.com or social media (IG/Twitter/Pinterest: @liviahengel, Facebook page: @liviainitaly).

Linda Martinez

I'm not one to go to specifically vegetarian restaurants, as I find I can eat well at almost any place in Rome.  

One of my other favorites which is Bibliothè - an Indian restaurant run by an American & Italian couple Trina & Enzo near Largo Torre Argentina. They use organic ingredients and since she's American they also have amazing American-style cakes for dessert.  It's a bit of a hidden gem that has been around since 2000. 

They are a bit on the pricey side, but for lunch they have a cheaper fast track menu that is a mix of a bunch of different things and is quite good and filling.  

The Beehive is a hostel with a small cafe which serves vegetarian breakfast daily from 07:30-10:30.  The cafe is open to guests and non-guests alike.  Everything is à la carte, made to order, not buffet style with everything from in-house homemade bread cakes & pastries to omelets, French toast, porridge and more. Ingredients are organic and coffees & teas are fair trade. In addition, we have family-style vegetarian & vegan set menu dinners starting at 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.    

Bibliothè is a hidden gem, a cultural association with an Indian restaurant run by an American & Italian couple Trina & Enzo near Largo Torre Argentina. Everything is homemade with organic ingredients and Trina makes amazing American-style 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. For lunch, they have their "curry in a hurry" which is a fast track menu of a sampler of different menu items of the day on one plate.

by Zoey Arielle

Here are my faves:

Vivi's Bistrot: http://www.vivibistrot.com/en/

Romeow: http://www.romeowcatbistrot.com/

Ops! http://opsveg.com/

Il Margutta: http://www.ilmargutta.bio/

Joanne Bergamin

As a seafood-eating vegetarian for over 20 years, the thing I miss most is burgers. My favorite local place for a veggie burger is Eat Street Food in the heart of Trastevere just off Piazza Trilussa. Best of all, you can order your veggie burger on a traditional bun or on a big salad with grilled vegetables for €9. Yum!

Piazza Trilussa, 40. Tel: 06 5809456

Sofia Medina

I love the aperitivo at Freni e Frizioni because not only is 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!

My YouTube (www.youtube.com/sofiesworld) or my instagram page @sofies.world.

An American girl transported to an Italian world; Sofie left the corporate world and moved to Rome for love two years ago. 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!

Gian Pietro Gentilucci Leonardi

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 ad with the typical Roman liveliness. It is better to book in advance. Highly recommended.

Vegan Restaurants in Rome

Vegetarian Restaurants in Rome

Map of Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Rome

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