As the name suggests, this bar is literally a 'meeting place' for Italians. Whether it be a cappuccino in the morning or a mid-afternoon coffee, the Bar Meeting Place is definitely a punto di ritrovo (meeting place) for locals in the Piazza Bologna area. It's particularly a hot spot for students, because of its close proximity to the Italian university. Believe it or not, the cornetti (croissants) are so good here, that people travel from other neighborhoods to just get their hands on one. There's also a good pasticceria here in case you want to take home some other tasty pastries and desserts. BUS: 93, 62, 310. METRO: Bologna.
Local Expert tip: Bar Meeting Place is also a great place to wind down with a glass of wine as it's open until late in the evening.
Ciuri Ciuri is an ideal stop after (or during) a day of touring the Eternal City. Located in the very hip and bohemian Monti neighborhood, this new Sicilian delicacy shop offers some of the best pastries around Rome. From marzipan cookies to chocolate from Modica and mouth-watering gelato; Ciuri Ciuri satisfies even the sweetest tooth. METRO: Cavour.
Local Expert tip: For a salty treat, drop by Ciuri Ciuri between noon and 2pm, when the pastry chef is busy whipping up some seriously delicious arancini (fried rice balls made with various different sauces).
This gelateria is daring customers to take their palates where they've never gone before. Il Gelato can be found near the Ara Pacis Museum and Piazza Augusto Imperatore. What makes this gelateria so unique? It has over 100 flavors to choose from including 20 different variations of chocolate, brie, ginger and ricotta. Yum. Naturally, they also have traditional flavors like cream, pistachio and regular chocolate. But with tantalizing options like these, why wouldn't you step out of your comfort zone and try one of their exotic, unique flavors? METRO: Spagna
Local Expert tip: Inquire about their evening aperi-gelato events where they pair up 'salty' gelato flavors such as gorgonzola with slices of prosciutto. You can sample these along with a drink just like at other aperitivo places. Only better.
When the Galleria Esedra (near Piazza Repubblica) opened in the 1950s, Sicilian pastry chef Nicol� Dagnino decided it was the perfect time to open up a pasticceria where all Sicilians could go for a little bit of comfort food. Soon after, Pasticceria Dagnino became a popular spot for Romans and tourists alike. Dagnino is most famous for its specialty Sicilian pastries like cannoli, cassata siciliana and their frutta martorana (little pastries that look like fruit made entirely out of an almond sugary paste). Its decor is a bit yester-year and hasn't changed muxh since the 1950s. But the wide selection of delicious pastries certainly make up for it. Those with a sweet tooth for breakfast will be in heaven when it comes down to selecting which pastry to go with their coffee. BUS: 40, 64. METRO: Repubblica, Termini.
Local Expert tip: A must try is the cannoli with ricotta and pistachio. Also not to be missed is their gelato.
A little off-the-beaten-path but certainly worth the trip is perhaps one of the best gelaterie in all of Rome Fata Morgana dares gelato-lovers to test their palates where they've never gone before. The gelato here is that good. Molto buono. The gelateria is located in the Salario-Trieste neighborhood just up the street from the famous Villa Ada park. While they caters to classic flavors such as chocolate, pistacchio and cream, their true show-stoppers are their exotic flavors. Among the most exotic is the mojito mint and lime, rice pudding, Kentucky tobacco-flavored chocolate and blueberry cheesecake. BUS: 80, 310, 38
Local Expert tip: After you've helped yourself out to a hearty cone, walk on over to the park across the way and 'park' youself on a bench. There's nothing like relaxing while taking in those delicious flavors!
For those who can't make it down to Sicily to indulge in their delicious desserts, going to 'Mpare in the Piazza Bologna district of the city is the next best thing. Indeed, when it comes to traditional Sicilian desserts, no one does cannoli and cassata siciliana quite like 'Mpare. The locale is a cross between a bakery and café where no matter what time of the day you go, you'll always find a crowd. That's because over the years, the bakery has become a punto di ritrovo (meeting place) for university students, working professionals and locals that live in the area. Not up for dessert? 'Mpare also whips up some pretty amazing arancini (rice balls) with flavors ranging from ragu, pistacchio, salmon and spinach. The owners of the bakery-café are from Catania, Sicily and are always make all of their guests feel right at home. METRO: Bologna
Local Expert tip: 'Mpare also does a rich apertivo buffet filled with pastas, veggies, and arancini (traditional Sicilian rice balls) everyday from 6-9pm.
Bar Romoli is a popular meeting place for friends, family members and locals in the neighborhood. Located in the Quartiere Africano-Trieste neighborhood, Romoli has been a favorite Roman staple for years. Though, it's a cross between a bar and bakery, Romoli is especially known for its mouth-watering cornetti (croissants) served in the morning with a superb cappuccino. The array of croissants that Romoli offers is endless: plain, multi-grain with honey inside, cream filled, marmelade and chocolate. The bakery also makes delicious profiteroles, a chocolate cream-puffed French dessert that is simply magnificent! BUS: 80, 88, 90, 93, 38.
Local Expert tip: Bar Romoli also churns out cornetti (croissants) late at night for those looking for something warm, sweet and fresh at night.
For more than 50 years, Bar Pompi gelateria and pasticceria has been a traditional Roman staple when it comes to tiramisu. Albeit, you can probably find good tiramisu around town, but nothing come close to Bar Pompi. This bar is considered the king of all tiramisu and for years Romans would travel half way across the city to get their hands on one of their decadent tiramisu from their flagship store in the San Giovanni district near Piazza Re di Roma at via Albalonga 7b-9-11. Now, locals and tourists have an even closer Bar Pompi at their fingertips with the opening of the pasticceria on Via della Croce 82 near Piazza di Spagna. METRO: Spagna and Via Cassia 8B
Johanna's expert tip: Instead of eating the traditional tiramisu, try one of their other unique flavors. Other variations of tiramisu at Bar Pompi include: banana and chocolate, raspberry, pistachio, strawberry and nutella. Limited edition flavors shouldn't be missed such as this year's pina colada tiramisu. Buonooo.
If you're looking for a little comfort food to remind you of home, the Perfect Bun Bakery and Deli is your place. The lovely owner of the Perfect Bun Bakery who also owns the Perfect Bun burger joint and restaurant, is British and has created a lovely array of American-style cupcakes and British-style tarts and scones for customers looking for a little comfort food. The Perfect Bun Barkery isn't just a hit with Anglo-Saxons; Italians have also grown to love this cute little bakery and also can't do without their cupcake fix. The bakery is located just around the corner from the famous Campo de' Fiori. BUS: 40, 64, 46, 62.
Local Expert tip: The Perfect Bun Bakery and Deli also makes fresh bagels and sells other American and English style dishes such as chicken wraps, Caesar salads and other favorites.
For traveler's with a sweet tooth, Cristalli di Zucchero will satisfy your every decadent need and desire. This cute little bakery shop located near the Circus Maximus is tue gem for those who happen to stumble upon it. At this pastry shop, once can pick up some of the tastiest miniature sized cakes and tarts that are almost too cute to eat. Cristalli di Zucchero has two locations: one in Monteverde (Via di Val Tellina, 114) and the other near Circus Maximus (Via di San Teodoro, 88). The Monteverde location has tables where one can sit outside and have their cake and eat it too. Cristalli di Zucchero also makes some pretty amazing miniature sized panini made with buttery croissants. Yum! METRO: Circo Massimo
Local Expert tip: Make sure to try the mini-cheese cakes and teeny brownies. It makes for a delightful dessert with a cappuccino or even an afternoon coffee.