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Popular Appetizers In Rome Restaurants You Should Try

Some popular appetizers in Rome restaurants that you need to try when you come to Italy because they will quickly become favorites for you and your family.

Popular Appetizers In Rome - Lamb

Roman Appetizers

Some of my favorite Rome appetizers are enough to make me return to our favorite restaurants time and again, and it is mostly because something as seemingly simple as a potato croquette can show if the restaurant has any skill at all. These are some of the popular appetizers in Rome that you will find at most traditional restaurants around the city, and possibly around the world. Check these out and add them to your eating plans on your next visit to Rome.

What Is An Appetizer Known As In Italy?

If you have never tried to decipher a menu in Italy, you might not know that an appetizer in Rome (and across Italy) is known as an Antipasto. These are small plates that begin your meal, but aren’t enough to fill you up. These are the first course in a multi-course meal of your choosing.

What Are The Top 10 Italian Appetizers?

For me, this question is impossible to answer because it truly does depend on where you are in Italy. Are you in the north or the south, coast or mountains, city or countryside? These regional differences do make a difference in the antipasto that are offered and which ones are popular. My list below is focused on what is popular and available in Rome, but you might not find these in Venice or Palermo.

Popular Appetizers In Rome - Supplì


What Are Popular Appetizers In Rome?

Here are my favorites among the popular appetizers that you will find in restaurants across the city. These are worth a try on your next vacation in Rome.


This may be one of the most popular Italian appetizers and it is very popular here in Rome. The most traditional way to prepare it is to toast some small slices of bread, rub some garlic and add a mixture of diced tomatoes and basil. Here is a recipe if you want to make some Bruschetta with Fresh Tomatoes. One thing to be aware of is the proper pronunciation of bruschetta, which is not like: BRU-SHET-TA. In Italian, the che is a KEH sound, so the word is pronounced: BRU-SKEH-TAH.

Popular Appetizers In Rome - Bruschetta



Although I would never tell a Roman this, Supplì are similar to Arancini in Sicily, in that they are balls of rice that are breaded and deep-fried and typically are filled with a lump of cheese or a meat sauce. They are smaller and shaped differently than arancini, but equally delicious. There are some variations, like a pasta supplì that is also delicious. 

Carciofi Alla Giudia

There are two artichoke dishes that are popular here in Rome, and my favorite is the Carciofi alla Giudia. This is a deep-fried artichoke that reminds me of potato chips in that when they are prepared well, they aren’t greasy, but rather crunchy and salty and they go really well with a nice glass of wine. The other artichoke dish popular in Rome is described below.

Popular Appetizers In Rome - Carciofi alla Giudia

Carciofi alla Giudia

Olive Ascolane

These are deep-fried olives that are filled with meat. They are sometimes served with something to dip them in, but not always. You can tell the quality of these even before you taste them because if they are frozen (as required to be indicated on the menu) they will taste a little more plain and industrial, but if they make them fresh in the restaurant, they will be magical.

Crocchette Di Patate

Apart from the Bruschetta, I am noticing a pattern. My favorite popular appetizers in Rome seem to be mostly deep-fried. We have always considered a restaurant’s ability to fry something well as a sign of a skilled kitchen, and Crocchette Di Patate is no exception. These are breaded mashed potato nuggets that are fried to a golden brown and are a great way to start a meal. Done well, they are crunchy, not greasy and have a delicious seasoning in the potatoes. 

Fagioli Con Le Cotiche

These Roman-style pork and beans were a surprise because the first few times we ordered them, we didn’t know what le cotiche were. We now know they are pork rinds, and they taste amazing with the beans stewed in tomato sauce. This is a familiar dish to Americans, but different enough to be interesting.

Popular Appetizers In Rome - Fagioli Con Le Cotiche

Fagioli Con Le Cotiche


Although originally from Abruzzo, these are seasoned chunks of lamb on a skewer and roasted over a fire or barbeque. We have enjoyed these in restaurants and street food fairs around Rome, so I don’t think it is incorrect to call them Roman, but I admit it might be a bit of a stretch. Still, roasted meat on a stick is delicious everywhere, and these are no exception.

Popular Appetizers In Rome - Arrosticini


Others Appetizers You Might Consider Trying

I wasn’t trying to make a Top-10 list, but here we are. These aren’t my favorites, but they are popular appetizers in Rome you might want to consider:

  • Fiori di Zucca Fritti – these are fried zucchini flowers filled with a cheese mixture that might sound odd to the uninitiated, but are worth a try.

  • Filetto di Baccalà – These are cod filets that are battered and fried and usually served with a tomato based sauce. Cod is definitely popular in Rome and these are a good way to ease into trying it if you aren’t familiar with it.

  • Carciofi alla Romana – I mentioned Carciofi alla Giudia above and this is the other artichoke dish popular in Rome. These are sauteed, instead of being deep-fried, and most of the leaves are trimmed off. I prefer the alla Giudia version, but to each their own.

Some Other Italian Appetizers That You Need To Try

If you enjoyed this descriptions of some popular appetizers in Rome, here are some of other fantastic recipes that you might want to try:

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