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The Best Foreign Foods To Try When You Are In Rome

If you are looking for something other than traditional Italian food in Rome, these are some of the best foreign foods to try when you are here on vacation.

best foreign foods to try - french

Steak au Poivre and Frites

Eating in the great restaurants of Rome continue to be my favorite experiences in Italy. You are able to eat outside year-round and there is a wide range of styles of restaurants available. Especially around the historical center (centro storico). I have been a little surprised by one aspect of restaurant culture here in Rome and I’m still working through what it means. 

Where Are The Best Foreign Foods To Try In Rome?

Before moving here, I had expected that there would be restaurants from other nearby countries available around every corner of the city, much like how Mexican, Chinese or Thai restaurants are ubiquitous in the US. This isn’t the case, or at least my expectations were a little different than reality. In particular, given the geographic proximity, I thought there would be French, German, Greek and Spanish restaurants all over the place. The reality is that while they do exist, you need to search them out and plan the meal with a little forethought.

I have been able to find a few restaurants that made me very happy and I wanted to share them with you in this first installment of Great Foreign Restaurants In Rome.

La Renardière

best foreign foods to try - Soufflé

Cheese Soufflé

We unexpectedly stumbled upon this intimate French restaurant while we were walking down Viale Aventino near FAO on our way to visit a friend and we are SO happy we stopped in. On our first visit to the restaurant, because it wasn’t planned, we didn’t make reservations but got lucky as there was only one table available for us. I would recommend making a reservation because it will fill up quickly.

We enjoyed our first visit so much, we decided to return a week later, bring a camera and make sure that it was as good as we remembered, and it was. We started with some Bordeaux, but we corrected the error of only getting a glass on our first visit and getting a bottle this time. This was a 2017 that was not too expensive and was delightful.

best foreign foods to try - quiche

Quiche Lorraine

Our starters were a Quiche Lorraine and while I ordered a Cheese Soufflé, because it takes 20 minutes to prepare they asked if I would prefer my main first, and the soufflé second and I said “yes”. It turned out to be the wrong choice because I wasn’t in a rush and in retrospect I would’ve preferred to nurse my wine while I waited. Next time I’ll make a different choice. The quiche and the soufflès were light, cheesy and delicious. I’ve had quiche that was a little oily from the cheese and meat, but this wasn’t at all.

Our mains were a Steak au poivre (Filetto al Pepe) that came with a side of fried potatoes (Patate Fritte), and a Tuna and Avocado tartare with shrimp. The steak was cooked perfectly, although on our second visit, I don’t think I was asked how I wanted it cooked as I was on our first visit. The tuna mousse reminded me of Cod Mantecato, which was nice, and the avocado and shrimp were delicate and tasty.

We didn’t get a dessert this time because we had other plans, but on our first visit, the apple tart topped with gelato was a great finish to the meal and it seemed popular with the other patrons, so don’t hesitate if you still have space to eat more!

Banh Mi

best foreign foods to try - Banh Mi

Delicious Banh Mi

Before moving to Italy there were a few Banh Mi restaurants that I used to enjoy going to, so I was very excited to unexpectedly find this new restaurant as I was walking home one night. I made plans to return and try them for lunch and the experience was all that I hoped for.

We wanted to try a range of dishes, so we started with a Banh Mi Dac Biet because I wanted to try the patè that typically comes on this, and we also tried the Banh Mi Heo, which was very similar but with pork and no patè. The ingredients were all balanced well and the French-style roll was perfect. It was soft and fresh on the inside and crunchy and flakey on the outside. The only thing that was a little surprising was that the pickled vegetables seemed to not include Daikon, which I thought was traditional, but maybe they are a little too difficult to find in Rome. The sandwiches were delicious regardless of that.

best foreign foods to try - Vietnamese

Vietnamese Pork and Shrimp Rolls

We also got the Gui Cuon Ga (chicken rolls) and the Gui Cuon Tom Thit (pork and shrimp rolls) that were light and surprisingly sticky. Those things stuck to the containers, the counter and the plates, but we didn’t rip them and enjoyed them thoroughly. The dipping sauces were a great addition too. Lastly, I got the Banh Cuon Thit, which are the pork ravioli (dumplings) and are heated, as opposed to the rolls that are room temperature.

The service was friendly and efficient, even though it seemed like they only recently opened and were still getting familiar with the new procedures of this restaurant. I look forward to getting take-away from this restaurant very soon.

Billy Tacos Urban Tortillas

This restaurant probably deserves a bit of an explanation because while I wouldn’t say that it is great, authentic Mexican food, I enjoyed my experience greatly, and that is really the point, isn’t it? Billy Tacos Urban Tortillas is brought to you by the same company that operates the Roadhouse Restaurants all around Italy and mostly in the North. If you’ve eaten there and experienced their version of an American style steak restaurant, you probably have a good idea of their authenticity.

best foreign foods to try - Billy Tacos

Billy Tacos Variety Pack

The Billy Tacos Urban Tortillas is a mall (centro commerciale) food court eatery with electronic menu ordering and shared seating with other food court restaurants. The offerings include Tacos, Burritos and something called a French Taco, which appears to be a Burrito with French Fries inside and is pressed/toasted. They also offer Pokè, but I was here for the Mexican food, so I got the four taco combo, with Fresh Chicken, Spicy Chicken, Veggie and BBQ Pork.

Being a long way from Mexico, it isn’t surprising that the tacos didn’t taste exactly correct. The flour tortillas were a little small, comparable to a slider as compared to a hamburger, so it was pretty easy to put back 4 tacos pretty quickly. The rice seemed strangely more like a Basmati  and the spicy chicken reminded me of a curry, but everything tasted good. I especially liked the BBQ sauce, which is coincidentally offered on the ribs at Roadhouse, but I’m sure that is just a coincidence.
I do plan to go back once I return to the Euroma2 mall because I am desperate to find out what a French Taco really tastes like.

best foreign foods to try - Tacos

Billy Tacos Takeaway Box

More Information On The Best Restaurants In Rome

If you enjoyed this post about the best foreign foods that you should try when you are in Rome, these other posts can help you plan your meals on your next visit:

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