American & other food in Rome??

Aug 2nd, 2007, 12:56 PM
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American & other food in Rome??

OK, this is not a joke or a "plant" to start a disagreeable discussion! I have been active on this site for over 2 years & have participated well. Pleasing to me, I sometimes got to help others with my information about Italy. So, please accept that we are all different & that is OK! We (DH & DS & I) LOVE visiting Rome annually. We LOVE the city, the history, the sites, & most of all, the people.

However, we do not like the Italian food. Sorry, sorry, sorry, but it is true & actually we talked to many non-Italian people (American, British, German, Canadian) in Rome who felt the same. Like us, they said they like the food in the US because we have such a variety - American Italian, American Mexican, American Chinese, BBQ, cajun/creole, southern home cooking, NY deli, typical American hot dogs, brats, sausages, hamburgers, and even more. That's what we craved during our 3 weeks in Rome - variety - all those different tastes & options.

Sooooooo, my question is - what other food places are available in Rome, such as, American food chains, British fish & chips, etc. We found a great Irish Pub last fall; awesome Irish stew. We found Hard Rock & McD's. Yuk - even in US we don't do McD's, or any fast food. However, when in desperation we went to McD's, we found them packed with Italians, as was the Hard Rock, which we had never been to one of those either.

Also, a great full bowl of crunchy iceberg lettace with shredded carrots, sliced mushrooms, shredded cheese, diced bell peppers, celery, etc. with a variety of salad dressings, rather than just oil & vinegar, would be more than wonderful. We all really craved that. Any in Rome?

It really will make our trip more enjoyable if anyone can sincerely answer my question. The food is the only aspect that caused my DH to decide he wanted to only do 1 week in Rome rather than 2 weeks. If I can keep him from getting so hungry while we are there, maybe we can get up to a month in Rome!

We can't pack our own provisions because one leg of our trip is RyanAir & their very costly excess baggage rule.

Thanks, Julie
Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:02 PM
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Our Italian friend took us to a wonderful vegetarian restaurant. Don't know the name, however. All I know is that it was near the film location of the apartment in Roman Holiday.

Hubby is not a vegetarian, so he was not thrilled with this choice of restaurant.
msdotliz is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Hi Julie,

If you're doing a week in Rome, have you considered renting an apartment where you could then cook your meals as you like?

Maybe you don't want to cook on vacation, so plan something simple. It's very easy to stop by the butcher and pick up, say, a rotisserie chicken (already cooked!), some lettuce with all the veggies you want for your salad, plus so much more. At the supermarket near our apartment in Rome, there was even several different varieties of salad dressings, even American brands, if that's what you want. Or some ground beef and buns for burgers (even Heinz ketchup!). I've even seen salsa on the shelves for a quick Mexican meal.

Now if you want real southern home cooking, I'd be glad to accompany you and cook to your heart's content, lol!
kopp is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:11 PM
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hi, julie,

love the tactful way you phrased your query - a lesson to those of us who are all too ready to criticise the tastes of others.

from memory, there were a number of "ethnic" restaurants in central rome eg a chinese along via cavour. Why not try Mappy and look up restaurants of your choice. also the apartment idea is a good one. we rented last year in Rome and Florence, and it worked very well.

good luck,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:24 PM
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I don't have any great suggestions, but I will agree that when we got to the "we NEED a crunchy salad" stage in Rome, it was hard to find one. We found that a little, plain side salad cost as much as a very nice appetizer.

When we walked from the Victor Emanuel monument area to St. Peter in Chains church (perhaps on via Frangipane?), we noticed a lot of Chinese restaurants. We didn't try any of them, but there were quite a few in that area.
missypie is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:29 PM
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I saw one McDonalds in Rome but you will not find fast-food chains very prevelant (thank goodness for slow food). You may also find a Chinese restaurant but I certianly didn't see many. You will NOT find BBQ or Mexican food places. Just be aware that most Italian restaurants serve beef, chicken and fish dishes that are not always covered in sauce or cheese, or whatever comes to mind when you think of "Italian Food".
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:33 PM
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It is true that there isn't much that isn't Italian in Rome, which surprised me, alongside London, Paris, New York, you would have thought there would be a bit of variety.

If you have the budget go upscale and it kind of gets a bit French. Can't stand baked flour or boiled flour with onions and tomatoes myself.
waring is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Go for the baked chicken..
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:40 PM
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Thanks all of you for taking me seriously & not treating me like a "traitor"! I'll share with you what my husband said as we planned our November trip. "Oh no, back to the three P's - panini, pizza, & pasta!"
He's a trip!

msdotliz, did the vegetarian place serve salads with iceberg lettace & variety of salad dressings?

annhig, I'm going to try mappy as you suggested. Didn't know it would give me that info.

kopp, we do rent apartments. Last year for our 2 weeks, we were on Governo Vecchio (steps from P.Navona) & we found 1 very small local grocer (such a nice man) & a little larger one with a butcher counter. Only worked for our basics, eggs, cheese, bread, sodas, water, milk. Sadly, no ethnic products, no iceberg lettace, no salad dressing varieties, etc. It was funny, at the butcher counter I saw a large piece of meat that looked "sort of" like an American ham. The butcher didn't speak English, we don't speak any Italian. I noticed all carved pieces were wafer thin, like shaved ham. I asked for a thick piece, showing with my hands (thinking I could cook some ham & eggs). He sternly cut it wafer thin. I asked again, he sternly cut it wafer thin. We ate it with our eggs anyway!

Hubby got desperate - said he could not eat one more hamburger! Went to Campo dei Fiori & bought a potato, every day for 3 or 4 days! The lady (again no verbal language connection) & my husband became buddies & had a good time! My husband fixed himself potato soup (I hate potato soup!). But didn't see any iceberg lettace at the market, but then we couldn't find any salad dressing variety anyway.

OK KOPP, this is very important. This may be my savior to staying longer in Rome! So, where is this wonderful grocery you found. We never saw hamburger, salad dressings, rotisserie chickens, etc. Really don't mind the cooking because I would only fix quick meals.

Lastly, Kopp, I bet if you can fix "pan fried corn bread" (I'm a city girl), my husband would squeeze you into his suitcase - RyanAir weight limits be d__med!

Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:48 PM
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Sorry, was watching the news while I typed my last post, so missed the other responses. Thanks to you folks too. We'll look for the Chinese places.

Don't want to go upscale because we don't like to spend more money on things we don't particular like.

Hard Rock did have some good BBQ.

Thanks everyone for taking me seriously, Julie
p.s. I know there are others out there who feel the same as us!
Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 01:52 PM
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There are other kinds of lettuce out there. You should also be willing to experiment a little. You're going all that way, to a foreign country, why not try to incorporate a little "foreign" food with it? Again, it doesn't have to be pasta and pizza, there's so much other variety. What about lamb chops?
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:02 PM
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Hey DH of Julie - pan fried corn bread, no problem! So when do we leave?

We stayed in an apartment just literally around 2 corners to the Pantheon.

If you're familiar with this area, picture yourself standing at the back of the statue looking directly at the Pantheon. Turn to the right. There is a street/alley there, and it's only about 50 feet or so down that street. (I'll try to find the street name but right now I can't remember it.) Actually, someone on this board recommended it and gave directions. I'll try to find that thread.

It was a good-sized store. Had lots of fruits, veggies, a deli, canned goods up to the whazoo, salad dressings!, bread and cheese counter, ground beef, even American sliced bread, cut up chicken pieces, etc. etc.

As far as getting a big "chunk" of ham or meat, ask for it in grams, like 500 grams would be about a pound. (He asked for it in Italian, I think it was something like cinquecento - my Italian is bad but I think if I remember right that was 500).

Anyway, the butcher cut the meat in one big piece then. This was some type of beef.

Happy travels!
kopp is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Found these on Google - trying to get some 'reviews'...

Crazy Bull Cafe
Steak, hot dogs, chicken, Tex-Mex (should be interesting!)
- via Mantova, 5/b 00198
- via Riano, 1/3 00191
"..If you like over the top kitsch and fun, this is the place for you.Typically American food so forget your diet and tuck in! Hot dogs, chicken breast with vegetables, potatoes stuffed with vegetables and a multitude of sauces, sandwiches, Texan style beans, kebabs and large mixed salads. Naturally there has to be apple pie and excellent cheesecake with melting ice cream on top. Yum! This is a large pub on two floors with an old firetruck at the entrance. The walls are covered with old American car number plates and the red sofas in 1950's style are nostalgic. While waiting for your food, you can watch the 2 large TV's or listen to the high volume music.."

Oliphant - Via delle Coppelle, 31 00186
"..The famous Oliphant is right in the centre and offers Tex-Mex food. The restaurant has a jukebox with music from the 1960s and a television tuned into a sports channel. Mexican dishes include fajitas, tacos, tortillas, burrito with meat, beans and cheese, and guacamole. There are also all kinds of hamburgers, large chops with barbecue sauce, French fries, ribs, various salads. At lunchtimes there are also Argentinean specialities, such as Empanadas and Pastel De Papas. You can drink sangria, American beer and different types of cocktails..."
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:07 PM
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I'm a little baffled by why you keep going back if you find the food such a chore. I wonder if maybe you've turned it into such a drama, you aren't really looking hard enough on the menus.

You can find roast chicken on most menus. And potatoes. Maybe because you are going to lower-end restaurants, you aren't seeing the level of variety that is there in better places.

I can't fathom you could find good BBQ in Italy, given you can't find good BBQ in many places in the U.S. Same goes for good Mexican or whatever other "American" food you like.
MikeT is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:10 PM
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Here is the file I copied from when I was researching supermarkets last spring. It came from this board, but I can't remember who wrote it:

Italy Rome supermarkets near Pantheon

There is a deceptively large (deSpar) supermarket in the Via Guistiniani which is parallel to the Via Pozzo di Cornacchie on which Piazza Rondanini is situated. It is literally 1 minutes walk - out the apartment, turn left, right and right again - just a few dozen steps.

There is a nice little deli on Piazza della Rotunda on the right as you face the Pantheon - we had a limoncello tasting there our first night, and bought some yummy olives. Other shopping we did in the supermarket. Also on the way down to the Corso Vittorio Emmanuel, going on either side of the Pantheon, there is a small grocery store/deli on each street.

Via della Coppelle also runs parallel to Pozzo di Cornacchie, to the north, and I believe there is a small fruit and veg market there in the mornings but we never actually got there.

There were some odds and ends in the kitchen cupboard - pasta, seasonings, some tomato sauce in a jar, honey, sugar, coffee, dried milk/creamer, and I left some teabags! Of course those items may well be used by March or probably not be edible by then but you may get lucky with some stuff being left!

The said supermarket does not have a vast frontage. Turning into Via Guistiniani from the northwest corner of the Piazza della Rotunda there are a couple of shops on the right, then there are the exit doors of the Spar, then a cafe and money exchange booth, then the entrance, which admittedly is narrow. But the supermarket is like the Tardis (from Dr Who - anyone seen it?) and stretches seemingly endlessly into a myriad of rooms/spaces, and has pretty much anything and everything one might want from a supermarket!

kopp is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:16 PM
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sandi, I truly understand your reasoning. It is difficult for me to understand folks who will not "branch out" to other & foreign things. We love travel adventures.

However, we've tried many exotic and foreign foods, such as Kentucky Oysters (bet kopp knows what those are!). And we do eat the Italian food, even though we don't like it that well. But, naturally we don't like paying for & eating something that we really do not like. So, after about 1 week, we are finished "branching out"! (Well, my hubby can't really last 1 week!)

Don't know if you are in or have been to the US, but most restaurants in the US serve the many varieties of lettace, which we have eaten - but do not like as well or prefer when the choice is there. We have also eaten lamb chops, which are very common in the US. We also like oil and/or oil & vinegar as a salad dressing - but not everytime. Last year we were in Italy for 3 weeks.

It just amazes me how countries in Europe stay so separated in the dining area & lack the diversity that we have in the US. I understand their desire to retain their heritage differences, but I would think the variety would have infiltrated by now! I think we are so welcoming to ethnic food because most of us, except the American Indians, came from somewhere else. So we really do not have a specific heritage to protect!

Julie_Hurst is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:17 PM
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My kid does not eat pasta *gasp* of ANY kind! We just spend a month in Italy...and there's no way I'll eat Pizza EVERY meal no problems though finding nice, big, salads, roast potatoes. nice fish dishes, etc. just order the main courses and forget about the pasta course! (or try polenta or risotto maybe?)

Sometimes, my son will even order a couple of "sides" instead of any main course at all...or appetizer...or whatever.

I, honestly think if you get away from the tourist-class restaurants, you will be pleasantly surprised at the variety. ( and there used to be a GREAT salad place in Rome...blanking on the name right now though!)

I have eaten Mexican and Chinese food in Italy...and well...I won't again. Really. not the same as in the US. (and overpriced usually)

oh...a tip many places I have eaten will make you chips/french fries if you ask even if they are not on the order a steak and chips or something else rather non "Italian"...or...even what others have said and rent an apartment and cok whatever the heck makes you happy !
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:21 PM
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that would be COOK. (I'm awful at multi-tasking! sorry for all the typos all the time!!)
CasaDelCipresso is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:30 PM
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When I get a bit over pasta-ed, I order chicken or fish from a regular restaurant. There are vegetables and soups on the menus of every place I have been except for actual pizza places. There are also steaks, pork and lamb chops on the same menus.

There is also a supermarket underneath one of the stores with fresh produce and I think I saw icebergs there. I will try and find it for you.

SeaUrchin is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Mike, sometimes I don't read the posts thoroughly either; get in a hurry - "We (DH & DS & I) LOVE visiting Rome annually. We LOVE the city, the history, the sites, & most of all, the people." I would think anyone would agree that all of those great things about Rome make it a great place to visit over & over; thus, the reason why we keep returning. Doesn't mean we have to like the food or we can't return, does it?

As you said, "I can't fathom you could find good BBQ in Italy, given you can't find good BBQ in many places in the U.S. Same goes for good Mexican or whatever other "American" food you like."

This was covered in my OP also - "please accept that we are all different & that is OK". Appears we can agree that you have different taste buds than we do! Aren't the differences of humans a wonderful thing!


Julie_Hurst is offline  

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