When in Rome, you should do as the Romans do by eating some of the city's typical dishes. Heavier on meat and butter and less focused on pasta with red sauce (as is the stereotypical Italian menu), Roman food – la cucina romana – may not be ideal for dieters or carnivores, but a taste of it will bring you and your palate a little closer to an authentic Roman experience.
A good place in Rome to try traditional foods is Trattoria Checchino dal 1887. To see a few more traditional Roman dishes, check favorite recipes from Rome. You can also visit the About.com guide to Italian Food to read up on Italian regional cuisines.
This savory dish of veal medallions dressed in prosciutto and sage is a classic of the Italian kitchen. Translated, the name of the dish means "hop-in-the-mouth" and that's exactly what you will want the dish to do once you have tried the original in its native city.
Rome is known for its offal cuisine, that is the cooking of sweetmeats, entrails, and other discarded parts of the animal. Coda alla Vaccinara - Oxtail Stew - is one of the most famous dishes of this repertoire.
Fettuccine al Burro
The over-the-top, gooey cheese concoction known as Fettucine Alfredo originated in Rome at the hand of Chef Alfredo di Lelio. But its true forebear is Fettucine al Burro, a dish that consists only of long noodles (fettucine), grated cheese, and lots of butter.
This simple spaghetti dish calls for pecorino romano cheese and lots of peppers. As this pasta is on the simpler side, you'll more likely find it in people's home or on a lunch menu, rather than at a five-star restaurant.
Carciofi, or artichokes, are a Roman specialty in the spring, when the chokes are young, tasty, and easy to manage. You'll find carciofi cooked alla giudia (the Jewish way) – flattened and deep-fried – or alla romana, in which they are baked with garlic and mint.
Deep-fried salt cod (filetti di baccalà) is a delicacy derived from the Ghetto, Rome's ancient Jewish quarter near the Campo dei Fiori. Another preparation of salt cod in the Eternal City includes simmering the cod filets in a sauce of tomatoes, pine nuts, and raisins.
Suppli al Telefono
These cheap snacks, which are deep-fried rice balls with a melty mozzarella center, are available in most pizzerias and bars and are favored by starving students. They are best enjoyed alone – as in, without any other culinary accompaniment – as they are meant to be filling.