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Rome-Breakfast?

HI
We will be staying in Rome for a few days in November. The hotel does not offer breakfast. Is it easy to find reasonable breakfast places near the Pantheon area or near the Vatican? Thanks in advance

Posted by
6535 posts

Locals eat a very light breakfast - a cornetto (like a croissant) and an espresso, often standing up at a bar. Those kinds of breakfasts can be found anywhere in Rome because those bars (they're like cafes) are found everywhere. Are you looking more for an American type of breakfast?

Posted by
829 posts

Breakfast in Rome can be an experience unto itself. A simple croissant or other pastry and a cup of cappuccino is it and will only cost you a couple of euro. Stand at the bar - prices go up if you sit. You'll notice that it's a very quick process for most people. This is the beginning of their day so I suggest making it yours also. Get out there and walk around - watching Rome come alive in the morning is worth it. Since there are so many cafes around, nobody will know if you stop in for another breakfast! Remember: they will know you are a tourist if you order a cappuccino after 10;00 am. From then on, it's espresso (standing at the bar). I'd save my appetite for lunch when you can sit for as long as you like.

There are places that advertise an English or American breakfast. Like restaurants with multi-language menus out front, I avoid them.

Posted by
4448 posts

When we stay in a hotel that doesn't offer breakfast, we always make sure we've stocked up on fruit, bread, and cheese.

I don't want an "American" breakfast, but I do need more than a cornetto. Bread and cheese, and possibly some fruit, will keep me going without getting the shakes or headaches.

Posted by
127 posts

Ok with standing up but need more than a croissant. Do those cafe's have protein items as well? It has been a while since I have been to Rome. Last time breakfast came with the room.
Thanks

Posted by
978 posts

Like Jane, if my hotel does not offer breakfast, I make sure to stock up on cheese, yogurts, breads/pastries/crackers and maybe some fruit. I also really function better if I have some real protein at breakfast. Thus, I always travel with a plastic fork/spoon/knife, and some paper plates for such breakfasts, and maybe for some simple suppers in my room, too, for those days in which I had a big full meal at lunch and want to turn in early. I find that even the smaller budget hotels that I often use in Italy do offer an electric kettle, so (as a tea drinker) I always travel with my own tea bags, too.

Posted by
1925 posts

The price difference between standing and sitting is minimal, people stand up because they are going to work and have no time to waste. Since you are on Holiday you can take your time and sit down.

Nothing salted for breakfast in bars catering to Italians, but there are places serving American style breakfast that are not tourist traps. When all else fails:

1 ask the bar where you are standing/sitting if they have already made some sandwich for lunch

or

2 enter a charcuterie/mini-market and buy 200 grams of the ham/cheese you like more.

Posted by
500 posts

‘Homemade Montervedi’, Via Fratelli Bonnett 21, name of restaurant with generous American breakfasts.

Posted by
4246 posts

Unfortunately most parts of Italy aren't great for breakfast, it's primarily sugary pastries and coffee however I've always found something a bit more substantial in branches of the high end delicatessan Eataly where you can eat in. I can't survive on a pastry for breakfast nor do I want to eat one so a plateful of some charcuterie and cheese is a good option.

Posted by
12090 posts

Do you know if the room will have a mini fridge? If it does, I'd go with the suggestion to pick up some cheese, cold meat, bread and fruit from a market. You could also purchase protein bars in Rome or pack some in your luggage. Some of the neighborhood bars (where many go to get their morning coffee and pastry) may have some meat & cheese panini to grab and go or eat there.

We don't eat sit-down lunches and have never had issues finding items in the markets to tide us over to dinner, if needed. I would imagine the same is true for breakfast.

Cappuccino: I have a touchy stomach that can't tolerate espresso, and my DH just doesn't care for coffee that strong. We've ordered cappuccino during many of our late morning or afternoon heel-resting breaks - remember, we don't eat much if anything at all for lunch - and never had waitstaff or baristas bat an eye. Honestly, just like Italians don't care what shoes you're wearing, they don't really care if you happen to like milk in your 15:00 coffee. 🙂

Posted by
5639 posts

creesepv, that's why the call it a "continental breakfast".

Not to be silly or snarky, but you can always get a quick protein-y breakfast at McDonalds, if your intent is to fuel up.

Posted by
2768 posts

@Kathy. Re cappuccino after 1000 If you were responding to the pps comments- no, it's unlikely that a waiter would bat an eye or comment on ordering these later in the day. But they would definitely know you aren't a local. I too cannot drink a plain espresso. But I switch from cappuccino to macchiato by mid day. By then I'm usually just looking for a caffeine fix and don't need that much milk. YMMV.

Posted by
5530 posts

We were introduced to Nestlè 3-in-1 coffee packs on a prior trip (instant coffee with milk and sugar) and carry them with us for early mornings when hot water is available in the room. Available at food markets, Monoprix. I also bring make-with-water instant cocoa packs. And a few granola bars for emergencies.

Posted by
1811 posts

Do you know if the room will have a mini fridge? If it does, I'd go
with the suggestion to pick up some cheese, cold meat, bread and fruit
from a market. You could also purchase protein bars in Rome or pack
some in your luggage. Some of the neighborhood bars (where many go to
get their morning coffee and pastry) may have some meat & cheese
panini to grab and go or eat there.

As my friend Kathy said, this is the way to do it in Rome if you like to eat in the morning, which we do. Shop the day before at the market for fruit, rolls, honey, prosciutto/speck, cheese. If there's a hot pot, bring your own Melitta cone apparatus and filters & buy some Lavazza blend to make non-espresso coffee, one great cup at a time.

I'd walk down near the Tiber River early in the morning while my wife was still asleep, stopping by a newspaper shop for an English paper and a cup of espresso. Then, if I passed a market on the way back, I'd get some fresher fruit. Back at the apartment, I'd shower, open the window (yes, even in February...it's pretty nice in Rome that time of year) and we'd nibble on our goods, check our possible itineraries and decide what to do that day. Delightful.

BTW, once out & about we'd grab a quick panini to 'take away'. Dinner would be the main eat-out meal, and that was always in Rome accomplished at a reasonable price, no more than 50 Euro for a full meal, dessert & wine, and this is for two. Quite a nice existence. Planning on doing this for an entire winter at some point.

Posted by
1264 posts

I agree that we need protein in the morning to keep going for a few hours.I'm sure your hotel will have a small fridge in the room. for yogurt, cheese, etc.
If not, see if you can find out where the nearest grocery store or food shop is to your hotel; you can find out on Google Streetview, Maps, or Yelp.
Then get some yogurt, or cheese from there each morning.

Posted by
7096 posts

The hotel does not offer breakfast.

Ask them for suggestion(s) ?

Posted by
12090 posts

.... it's unlikely that a waiter would bat an eye or comment on
ordering these later in the day. But they would definitely know you
aren't a local.

True, Cjean. But they'd also know the second I opened my mouth to order, or by the camera I'm carrying or any number of other clues that I'm not "local." I'm OK with that. They're probably OK with that too as long as we pay the bill and mind our manners? They're probably really OK with that as long as visitors come back after a year many of them have been away?

We're also reading that younger Italians are growing interested in a different sort of coffee culture than their elders?

Posted by
2983 posts

There are plenty of cafes and restaurants near the pantheon. There are also a number in the Vatican area. You can look some up on Google maps before going over since you know where your hotel is. Years ago when I frequented Catania, Sicily often, I used to go to a corner cafe and get coffee and a pastry, or pizza slice, sandwich, etc.. Like tapas in Spain, each cafe has different items. As others have suggested, depending on what you want to eat, it may be easier and less expensive to visit a grocery store.

Posted by
1962 posts

Each day before heading to work, I'd stop at a neighborhood cafe, standing, and order my Caffe Doppio and Cornetto. As we were generally starting dinner between 2000h-2100h each evening (often walking home closer to midnight), breakfast was not as much of a focus. BUT LUNCH WAS! We always enjoyed a leisurely, sit-down lunch - an excellent way to catch your breath, refuel, and avoid the heat!

When I was doing full-day tours, I'd ask my clients, "What would you like for lunch," giving them a few general options like pizza or pasta. Their answer dictated the path we would take that day - so we'd be AT that best restaurant at lunchtime... and, if necessary, an SMS to a restaurant contact to hold a table for us. Lunch is often under-valued by visitors!

Near the Vatican - we were on Via Candia - there are many restaurants that sell American-style breakfasts. And, now a BK and McD.

Posted by
145 posts

There will be many places to have a traditional breakfast in Rome. We stayed near the Pantheon and found a little place and had a coffee and pastry. It was a great experience. The food was nothing special, having said that the coffee was great.However the experience was great. The first day we stumbled a bit but got our coffee and pastry. The second day they recognized us and we had a similar breakfast. The third day they were preparing our coffee as we walked in and treated us as locals.

It was the experience we enjoyed; being treated as they would a local even though it was clear we were tourists.

As a breakfast it was not what we would do, but we stopped mid morning for some fruit and something else.

So pick a place and enjoy the ambience.

Posted by
18117 posts

It's not protein, but you may see cups of mixed, cut-up fruit for sale at street markets or small supermarkets. That goes well with something like cheese.

Posted by
127 posts

thanks
the room has a refrigerator so we can get an early start and have something in the room

Posted by
5838 posts

If your room has a refrigerator it is easy to keep yogurt juice and cheeses etc and then head out and get coffee and bread at a bar. The Vatican is surrounded by horrible tourist gouging restaurants and bars -- I would avoid sitting down and ordering in that area. They are notorious for outrageous bill padding. If you do eat anything in that area, insist on a menu with prices and don't deviate from the menu. Another Italian trick is to offer to just add this little thing or that and the price then bears no similarity to what was on the menu.

Always be on the lookout for padded bills in Rome but the Vatican area is the worst.

Posted by
1962 posts

@janettravels44, I'd agree that around the Vatican, Pantheon, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and other tourist sites, there are plenty of restaurants catering to the tourist community. Those are the ones serving dinner at 5.30 PM and marked by huge color photos of "well-known" entrees.

But I'd avoid painting the Vatican area with such a broad brush --> as not a place to sit down and dine. Living on Via Candia for a few years - less than 100 meters from the entrance to the Vatican Museums - we dined out almost every night. And when we return to see friends in Rome, we dine in Prati at local spots like La Rustichella, Piacere Molise, Il Sorpasso, Ristorante Dal Toscano, Osteria dell'Angelo, Romeo, Il Matriciano, L’Archangelo, Il Belli al Trionfale or La Zanzara... just to name a few!

For a totally unscripted meal (and more food & drink than any sane person should have) we might go to Hostaria Dino E Toni. For a slice of pizza, head to Pizzarium - one of Anthony Bourdain's' favorite spots near the Vatican. There are some great finds on the small streets off of the Via Cola di Rienzo or Via Crescenzio.

For markets, you can shop at Mercato Trinofale, the largest indoor market in Rome. You've also got the Mercato dell'Unità, located on Cola di Rienzo.... not far from Gastronomia Franchi (deli) or Castroni. For gelato, we'd head to the Gelateria Millennium or walk a few blocks to one of the best in the city, Gelateria Gracchi.

Yes, just outside the Vatican are some terrible restaurants... but they do not define the dining options for locals. Like in most touristy areas in Europe, walk a block or two and you'll find some great options.

Posted by
4646 posts

I remember loving those hollow Roman breakfast rolls that we had in Rome. They were great. Forgotten their name.

Posted by
127 posts

RnR thank you for the wonderful suggestions.
I am sure there are also markets where we can get food to bring into our apartment.

thank you everyone else as well for the suggestions and input

Posted by
4246 posts

Don't write off places around the Vatican. I've enjoyed a number of excellent meals and this fantastic little salumeria on the outskirts of the Vatican: https://www.facebook.com/lasalumeriaroma/?fref=ts

Well priced, gorgeous food and wine however it's a tiny place and does fill up quite quickly.

Their latest post is:

Do you want to be American?
then try our Yankees
Straightener bacon, brie, butter, apricot compound,
balsamic vinegar frosting basil

I'm not sure of the American authenticity but it's interesting to see their interpretation of what constitutes an American sandwich.

Posted by
1962 posts

@geovagriffith... I believe you're thinking of Rosette di Pane (Rosette Bread Rolls)!

Posted by
2258 posts

You guys are driving me crazy! I was to be in Italy for 40 days late-April to early June of 2020, starting with 5 nights in Rome, staying near the Pantheon. Had my full itinerary laid out — small hotels and inns, special restaurants and markets, a few food tours, lots of historic and beautiful small towns, and of course museums, ancient sites, medieval neighborhoods, getting to know local popolo, and on and on. The trip plan itself seems like ancient history now. Oh well, at least all the research and planning was fun.

Posted by
9 posts

@creesepv Take one sandwich at any bar, if you survive until lunchtime you can go in Trastevere and eat a pasta alla carbonara or all' amatriciana or trippa alla romana. Trust me

Posted by
5838 posts

I am sure there are good restaurants near the Vatican but you have to do your homework; there are several with a reputation for hosing tourists by not having giving a menu and then charging outrageous prices. I first actually experienced this kind of thing in Copenhagen in 1960 with a German family (the German's were former occupiers and not well loved). The waiter suggested that he just bring a little roast and vegetables, the pater familias said 'sure' and I thought he was having a heart attack when he got the bill. So it is not just Rome -- it can happen anywhere, but Rome is where we have seen it most.

I have been traveling in Europe for 60 years and Rome is the one place we have most consistently found attempts at bill padding and such petty thievery in dining. I could describe a dozen instances of attempts to pad bills or to not provide service paid or to add and charge for unordered food. Some that happened to me and that I intercepted but others observed to other tourists, particularly Asian and American tourists.

Always order from a menu with prices and always check the bill. goes double for Rome.

Posted by
1925 posts

I doubt there so many restaurants not posting outside a menu with prices, but I wonder why anyone in her right mind would pick such a place.
Posting No menu outside is like hanging a sign saying "We couldn't care less about the law, come in. Maybe we obey hygiene rules and maybe. not. Who cares?"

Posted by
1962 posts

I'm with Dario - an inexperienced tourist should not go into a place that does not have a menu posted or does not present you with a menu. I'd be curious as to WHICH restaurants refused to provide a menu. (The only one I know of in the area is Hostaria Dino e Toni but they most often use a fixed-price experience).

As a guide working in Rome, I've probably done 250+ tours in the Vatican (Yes, I used to know where all the bathrooms were). Sometimes after a tour, my famished and exhausted clients did not want to walk a few blocks to "my lunch suggestions" so we dropped into a Vatican-area dining experience. I usually had just espresso as the food at these places didn't appeal to me. But even Ristorante Cucina Italiana - perhaps the most perfectly located tourist trap - had menu boards posted outside. So do all the tourist spots on Borgo Pio. When pressed to go to a lunch spot with a short walk from St. Peters, I often opted for L'Insalata Ricca, on Piazza Risorgimento (part of a small Roman chain of restaurants). Great focaccia and sometimes you just want a salad!

Yes, Rome does have a few less-than-honorable restauranteurs. There's no doubt that well-publicized scandals - like the one in 2009 at Ristorante Passetto near Piazza Navona - have given the city a black-eye. But that's the exception, certainly not the rule. Many people think the Rue des Bouchers in Brussels has a far worse reputation than Rome!

Years ago, Walks of Italy put together an article called The Dos & Don't of Eating in Italy. It's a basic primer on how to avoid getting ripped off. A good read for first-timers to Italy.

I know many restaurant owners in Rome. One of our friends closed their 150+-year-old family restaurant last year as he could not afford the soaring taxes. I know how hard they struggled to avoid losing their business. Thus, I guess I get defensive when I see broad statements like:

  • The Vatican is surrounded by horrible tourist gouging restaurants and bars
  • Another Italian trick is to...
  • They are notorious for outrageous bill padding
  • ...a reputation for hosing tourists by not having giving a menu and then charging outrageous prices.
  • Rome is the one place we have most consistently found attempts at bill padding and such petty thievery in dining.

In this thread, I've tried to offer specifics, locations, photos, names of restaurants, a helpful article link, etc. If restaurants are doing this, please give us the names. I've not traveled to Europe for the last 60 years (that's pretty remarkable - congrats) but I have lived in Copenhagen, Rome, and Europe for more than 17 years. Some of our closest friends are Italians, living in Rome, and working in the service industry - some operating near the Vatican as that's where we lived. I think many of them would be offended by these broad, generalized statements. They're passionate, loyal, and honorable people.

Perhaps you are going to the wrong restaurants?

Posted by
17 posts

Ginger saporti e salute is located in the historical center
close to via corso
its a large healthy eating restaurant
for breakfast, they offer eggs, yogurt, fruit, pastries smoohties etc
good place

Posted by
75 posts

There's a tiny COOP grocery store located near the Pantheon that we visit on every trip to stock up on breakfast yogurt.

Copy this address into Google Maps and look up the location: Via Giustiniani, 18, 00186 Roma RM, Italy.

You can use "street view" to actually "walk" along the street to get a better look. The sign in front is so small, it's easy to miss. There's one set of doors to enter, and a separate set of doors to exit. It's a tiny store but they stock everything you could possibly need.

When purchasing fruit at this store: bag each type individually (i.e. apples separate from oranges). Weigh the fruit yourself by placing one bag on the scale at a time. For each item, enter the number listed on the display that corresponds to the type of fruit you have (that enters the price per kilo). The machine will print out a sticker with the price; place that on your bag. Take a reusable bag with you to carry your items back to your hotel; it'll make you feel like a local, When you go to pay, show the person at the cash register your bag; they'll appreciate you bagging the items yourself.

Hope this helps.

We always pick up fruit and yogurt for breakfast since our nearby hotel only offers a limited breakfast: superb caffè lattes, cappuccinos, espressos (and American coffee for those that want it), cornetti, toast, cereal and prunes. They have no problem with us bringing our yogurt and fruit up to the breakfast room.

Posted by
1623 posts

I agree with Ron - RnR. He has tons of experience and knowledge in and around Rome.

With that, one of my friends in Rome owns two stores and just opened a little restaurant. Pricing for the items in his stores - Vatican and Rome related trinkets, sweets, liqueurs, and other specialty foods - are very reasonably priced. I have not been to his new restaurant yet, but looking online to the website he linked me, prices are forthcoming and reasonable.

He also has gone to Il Matriciano. It is a little upscale and perhaps a little bit more money than other local eateries; if that is the same one that is referenced above from Ron.

As a few suggested, get the menu, look at the pricing, keep a mental note of what you are ordering or jot it down real quickly.

Still it is a good idea to check the bill no matter what country you're in. Sometimes, mistakes do happen :)

Posted by
1623 posts

I would like to add there is a larger market at Termini station, if you are in the area during the day and want to shop for a few things.

There are also Carrefour markets around Rome.