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VEGAN ROME: Your ultimate guide to vegan food in Rome!

Pinterest image of Mel in front of the Colosseum and eating cake and spaghetti with the text: "Ultimate guide to vegan food in Rome"

VEGAN ROME: Your ultimate guide to vegan food in Rome!

Rome has an awesome growing vegan-friendly scene and offers a variety of options for vegans! While Italian cuisine is often associated with meat and dairy, many restaurants in the city now offer vegan options and there are a number of vegan restaurants, cafes and foodie spots in Rome! Here’s your guide to vegan Rome!

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Romeow Cat Bistrot – traditional italian classics made vegan

The cleverly named, “Romeow” restaurant is an amazing cat bistrot in the centre of Rome, only 10 minutes away from the colosseum.

The fusion of vibrant colours, quirky cat-themed elements and comfortable seating creates an inviting space that perfectly compliments the delightful company of the resident feline friends!

Reception area of the Cat Bistrot, a cosy

Whether you’re savouring a delicious plant-based meal or enjoying a cup of coffee, the trendy decor at Romeow Cat Bistrot adds an extra layer of charm to your experience, making it a purr-fectly (sorry had to! 😉) memorable visit for cat enthusiasts and vegan foodies alike.

Better still, there are six ADORABLE former stray cats that call the bistrot home so you can enjoy your meal in the company of your favourite furry friends.

Luckily my dogs can’t read otherwise they would be incensed by what I just typed! 😂

Mel's hand stroking a white cat at the Cat Bistrot in Rome
Maos the cat

Most of the cats were asleep when we ate at the Romeow Cat Bistrot but Maos was pleased to get a scratch.

They have private areas for the cats if they don’t fancy hanging out with visitors so you won’t see them all but the restaurant has mini figurines of all their kitties so you know who is who. It’s so cute!

Mini cat statues at the Romeow Cat Bistrot

pre-appetisers

Romeow Cat Bistrot has an amazing three course tasting menu for €60, which I know is on the more expensive side of dining but I promise you, it’s totally worth it!

So much care is taken to construct a truly delicious, high-end, plant-based menu. You can taste the quality in the ingredients used and the presentation is clearly fine dining inspired.

To start off your fabulous Italian vegan experience, the restaurant brings you your drinks with a small crispy pastry filled with vegan ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes. This gets your taste buds going in preparation for the many amazing courses which will follow!

Tomato and ricotta push pastry

Starter menu

After your mini pastry you can select from the following starters:

  • Crouton of stone-ground bread with almond ricotta in cooked wine and sautéed field chicory
  • Maritozzo filled with “planted kebab” cacciatora
  • Crispy breaded artichoke, sun dried tomato cream and teryaki sauce
  • Cannolo, almond ricotta, truffle, caramelised red onions and sautéed wild mushrooms

I had the ricotta filled cannolo which is delicious and actually very filling on its own!

Cannolo, almond, ricotta, truffle, caramelised red onions and sauted wild mushrooms
Cannolo with almond ricotta and sautéed mushroom

First courses

At Romeow, first courses are honestly more like mains as you get so much food!

First course options include:

  • Spaghettone di gragnano, macadamia nut cream, muntok pepper, bergamot powder and pear compote
  • Gyoza, cardoncelli and champignon mushroom filling and stock, kumquat and leek
  • Tteokbokki, Korean rice cakes, mushroom ragout, lemon caviar and marinated ginger
  • Risotto carnaroli “gli aironi”, saffron, liquorice and fermented lemon

I had the spaghettone di gragnano and macadamia nut cream sauce as every vegan traveller will know, finding vegan carbonara is so rare! And it was excellent!

The pasta was super creamy but not too dense with a great pear compote on the side that perfectly complimented the creamy sauce.

Mel holding creamy spaghetti to her mouth
Spaghettone di gragnano with macadamia nut cream and muntok pepper

Main courses

Main courses include:

  • Jackfruit curry, roasted five grains polenta, sweet ‘n’ sour red cabbage and roasted sesame seeds
  • Seitan wellington, demi-glace, mashed potatoes and baby vegetables
  • Tempeh tamari and lime, raw and tossed artichoked, baked olives and olive saltine cracker
  • Crunchy breaded tofu with a fondue heart and raspberry vinegar puntarelle

I had the crunchy breaded tofu and it was SO good! I loved the crunch of the breaded tofu combined with the sharp but sweet raspberry vinegar puntarelle! Also look at that presentation!

Crunchy breaded tofu with a fondue heart, raspberry vinegar puntarelle
Crunchy breaded tofu with a fondue heart and raspberry vinegar puntarelle

Desserts

If you still have room for dessert (I barely did but was not about to miss out on their fantastic selection!) you have the choice of:

  • White cake, no cheesecake, chocolate biscuit base, soy yoghurt filing, vanilla, raspberry topping and fresh berries
  • Chocolate mousse cake, biscuit base, hazelnuts praline paste, coconut dark chocolate filling, caramelised hazelnuts with almond and pecan nuts
  • Tiramisu
  • Raw cake, nuts and dried fruit base with cashew filling
  • Peanuts semi freddo with salted caramel filling, dark chocolate glaze, peanut sable and banana ice cream
  • Spelt tart with marmalade

I chose the no cheese “cheesecake” and it is so instagrammable I didn’t want to dig into it! It’s everything you want from a cheesecake, light and fluffy with a beautiful chocolatey, crumble base. Delicious!

Mel holding a plate with a vegan cheesecake, chocolate biscuits base, soy yoghurt, raspberry sauce and fresh berries on top
No cheese “cheesecake” with chocolate biscuit base

Flower Burger – most instagrammable burgers in Rome!

Located in the heart of Rome in Vatican City, Flower Burger blossoms (sorry, just one more pun and I’m done! 😉) as a vibrant burger heaven for vegans and plant-based enthusiasts alike!

But this innovative eatery is not just any old burger joint; it’s a celebration of colours, flavours, and conscious dining!

With a menu as diverse as a botanical garden, Flower Burger redefines the vegetarian and vegan dining experience.

From their signature, visually striking rainbow-hued buns to the creatively crafted patties made from wholesome, natural ingredients, every bite at Flower Burger is a journey into the intersection of culinary art and sustainability.

As a vegan traveller I LOVED eating out at this floral-inspired restaurant where gastronomy meets eco-consciousness in the eternal city!

Front counter at Flower Burger with deep blue walls featuring the flower logo

My boyfriend had the “Funky Cecio” which is a plant-based burger with salad, tomatoes, ketchup and flower mayo with a side of plain wedges.

Yellow vegan chicken burger with wedges

Whilst I had the purple lentil cheese burger with salad, tomatoes and smoky salsa, combined with some crispy potatoes wedges and some tasty vegan mayo and ketchup as well!

Purple cheese burger with chips covered in red and vegan mayo sauce

I love all the different combos that Flower Burger provide and the colourful buns are so instagrammable! They really have us millennials figured out!

Burger menu on a digital board in Italian above the check out counter in Flower Burger

Flower Burger have a few desserts available including chocolate cake and tiramisu. They also offer jars of yummy giant cookies that are only a euro each if you’re full but want to finish off your meal with a light sweet.

Alternatively, you can treat yourself to a milkshake – another rarity for vegans in fast food restaurants!

Flower Burger offers passion fruit and oreo milkshakes with plant-based milks and even top them off with fluffy cream – an even rarer rarity for vegans am I right?

Mel smiling wearing a rainbow jumper, about to drink from a vegan milkshake with cream on top

Ecru – raw vegan food

Located in central Rome just 10 minutes walk away from Castel Sant’Angelo, Ecru Raw Food Restaurant emerges as a one-of-a-kind foodie experience for vegans and those that love plant-based food!

This unique eatery transcends traditional dining boundaries, inviting visitors on a journey of health-conscious exploration with an innovative food concoctions.

Inside Ecru with rows of tables and chairs in a simple warehouse style designer with black and white photos on the wall

At Ecru, raw food takes centre stage and is celebrated not only for its nutritional richness but also for its amazing flavours and artful presentations.

The menu is a testament to the chef’s dedication to unprocessed, plant-based cuisine, offering vibrant textures and tastes in a celebration of mindful nourishment and culinary craftsmanship.

Being a raw food vegan restaurant, I was surprised by how extensive their menu is! They offer an array of starters, salads, main courses, sandwiches, vegan burgers, soups, breakfast, snacks and treats and a full page of desserts!

The front of the Ecru menu

Starters

For starters I chose the guacamole and raw crackers. The raw homemade crackers in particular were very tasty and combined amazingly with the guacamole.

A pot of avocado with large dry crackers

My boyfriend opted for his favourite mushroom soup. This man is neither vegan nor a raw food enthusiast and he said this was the best soup of his life!

I’m not a fan of gazpacho or mushrooms so I’ll take his word for it!

Someone tucking into a bowl of mushroom soup

Mains

I wanted to try as many dishes as I could so I chose two small mains, the first being these delicious sushi rolls with sliced avocado and lentil sauce.

Plate of sushi rolls with sliced avocado and lentil sauce

Then I tried the “qui-fu”, which is an Italian quinoa dish with cauliflower, chives, homemade teriyaki sauce and sliced “otani” tofu on miso almond cream.

I had never tried uncooked tofu before but it was surprisingly good! Combined with the creamy almond sauce and quinoa, it was chef’s kiss!

Quinoa dish with cauliflower, chives, homemade teriyaki sauce and sliced "otani" tofu on miso almond cream

Dessert

I was honestly so full after the guacamole, sushi and quinoa, I couldn’t manage dessert! I did however buy a mini raw chocolate cake slice to eat later, which was lovely!

If you do have room after your main meal I highly recommend getting a dessert from Ecru. Even though the desserts are raw vegan, they taste so decadent, you still feel naughty!

On the day I went you had a choice of walnut pear tarts, hazelnut cheesecake, tiramisu and raw chocolate bites. But if you order from the menu there are a whopping 13 desserts to choose from, from banana crepes to chia pudding!

Rows of desserts at the counter of Ecru

Buddy Veg – affordable and relaxed vegan restaurant

Located in the centre of the city is arguably one of the best yet affordable vegan restaurants in Rome, Buddy Veg Restaurant!

This vibrant eatery transcends conventional notions of vegan dining, offering a diverse menu that promises to “tantalise the taste buds” and inspire a newfound appreciation for plant-powered cuisine.

Buddy Veg has become a go-to destination for those seeking a fusion of flavour, innovation, and conscious dining. Better still, they are open for breakfast, lunch AND dinner!

Inside Buddy Veg, a mediterranean looking restaurant with white walls, plants and grey panelling

Breakfast options

Buddy Veg has the most amazing and diverse breakfast options! From full English breakfasts and American breakfast sandwiches to açaí bowls and pancakes.

You could dine at Buddy Veg every day for your entire trip to Rome and still have something new to try!

Mains

For mains I had fresh pasta with vegan bacon, soy-based seasoning and vegan pecorino cheese. As my fellow vegans will appreciate, vegan carbonara is hard to find and Buddy Veg do a great version of this Italian classic!

Mel holding a fork with pasta on it with a plate full of carbonara in front of her. She is wearing a rainbow jumper

Other pasta options include: cacio e pepe (one of my personal favourites!), spaghetti with truffles and spaghetti puttanesca.

If you don’t fancy pasta though, they also do a whopping 21 pizzas (now you KNOW you’re in Italy!). They also do a range of salad bowls, soups and sides.

The menu is so extensive, it’s almost impossible to decide what to order so I would definitely recommend checking out all the options on their website before you go!

Square mushroom and vegan cheese pizza

Desserts

As well as their fantastic choices for mains, starters and sides, it’s unsurprising that Buddy Veg have got some amazing dessert options! These include:

  • Classic tiramisu
  • Carrot cake served with vegetable cream and cinnamon
  • Fruit bowl
  • Brownies
  • Pizzetta with vegan hazelnut cream and hazelnut
  • Muffins

I tried the classic tiramisu which was SO good! Very light and fluffy with a great coffee flavour bite.

A spoonful of vegan tiramisu up close

My boyfriend opted for one of the daily specials which included the berry pie. We swapped desserts so we could try each other’s and the berry pie was lovely! It had a great crumbly crust with tangy berries in jam.

Slice of vegan berry pie on a blue plate

La Licata – traditional Italian bakery with vegan options

Vegan breakfast in Rome is hard to come by but I did find one bakery close to the city centre that sold a range of vegan pastries called La Licata.

After finding La Licata on day two of my trip to Rome through the Happy Cow app I was in there every morning until the end! It’s always filled with locals which is a great indicator at how good the food is!

They provide a variety of vegan options, including: plain croissants, danishes with apricot jam and glazed danishes.

Rows of vegan pastries with mini chalk board signs with what is inside each pastry

200 Gradi – deli shop in Vatican city with vegan subway sandwiches

200 Gradi is a trendy little sandwich shop based in Vatican City that despite not being exclusively vegan or vegetarian have several creative filling combos.

Vegan deli sandwich with brown crusty bread, vegan cheese, vegan salami, sun dried tomatoes and rocket

I had a vegan salami deli sandwich with vegan cheese, tomatoes, artichoke spread and rocket with extra crusty bread.

Other vegan options include:

  • Vegan Montecitorio – vegan cheese, escarole cooked with cappers and olives, sundreied tomatoes and spicy sauce.
  • Vegan Metronia – vegan salami, vegan cheese, grilled courgette, rocket salad, tomato and artichokes cream.

Gradi 2000 is a great spot to have a quick and cheap lunch, especially if you are visiting the Vatican.

Sandwiches are priced between €5 to €7 and will keep you full all day!

Mel sat outside 200 Gradi taking a bite of her deli sandwich

Vegan options in general restaurants

I’m not going to sugar-coat this guys – finding marked vegan options in restaurants in Rome is not a common occurrence!

You may find vegetarian options labelled now and again but when I visited there was a lot of confusion as to what “vegan” was.

This is not a criticism of Rome, I absolutely adored my time there – it’s one of my all-time favourite cities! But unless you go to a dedicated vegan restaurant, you will need to more often than not talk to the wait staff about making you something off the menu.

Luckily the Italians are some of the most friendly people on the planet and every time there weren’t vegan options on the menu staff were so lovely and didn’t mind accommodating me.

Vegan mains

In one restaurant they made me a broccoli spaghetti with bread crumbs in an olive oil and garlic sauce and it was delicious! Simple but marvellous.

Vegan broccoli spaghetti with bread crumbs

Spaghetti arrabbiata is the one dish that will save vegan travellers wherever they go in Rome! It’s an accidentally vegan Italian classic that is both delicious and can be requested in any restaurant.

It’s traditionally made with sweet cherry tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and spiced with crushed red peppers and fresh basil on top.

I actually make this dish at home all the time. It’s one my go-to evening meals as it’s so tasty and easy to make!

You’ll always be able to eat in a regular restaurant even if they don’t have vegan options as you’ll be able to request this wherever you go.

Vegan tomato spaghetti with basil garnish

Vegan desserts

You’ll struggle to find vegan dessert options in non-vegan restaurants I’m afraid to say but I recommend always asking as even if you don’t see a vegan dessert on the menu – you may be pleasantly surprised!

For dessert in one restaurant I was offered traditional Italian ring “donuts” with powdered sugar and white wine for dipping. It wasn’t on the menu but the staff happily whipped this up for me.

The “donuts” were a lovely way to finish off my meal, super light and not overly sweet which was perfect as I was full from my pasta main anyway!

Also who knew that dipping biscuits in wine was a thing? I bloody love travelling!

Italian donut shaped biscuits with powdered sugar

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Have you experienced vegan Rome yet? Which vegan restaurants above would you try first? Let me know in the comments below! 😄

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