Back in 2011 I was standing in a sushi bar in Rome’s Fiumicino airport looking for something to eat before the flight back home to London. This appeared to be the only place in the terminal which sold anything even remotely gluten free. As I asked the server behind the counter if he had any tamari or gluten free soy sauce (I am ever the optimist), I heard a man chuckle behind me. I swung round ready to give him my best death stare and he simply said “are you Coeliac too?!” Turns out he was also in the sushi place looking for something gluten free to take on the flight home. This was indeed the only place offering gluten free food in the terminal.
The random Coeliac stranger told me he lived in Rome and should I ever return – just like the single coin I’d tossed in the Trevi Fountain said I would – I must make my way immediately to an amazing restaurant, he said, called Mama Eat. I have been back to Rome a few times since but had not – for various reasons – made my way to Mama Eat. Until now.
Mama Eat is located in Trastevere, on the left side of Rome’s Tibur river.
The area is known as Rome’s bohemian quarter. I really loved the medieval small streets and the style of the buildings and general atmosphere reminded me a lot of Buenos Aires. We came here for lunch but next time I come to Rome (and since we chucked more coins in the Trevi Fountain this time, that surely means we will!) I’ll return in the evening. This would be the perfect spot for a passeggiata.
Mama Eat has tables set outside at the front on the street and also inside extending down in to the restaurant.
According to the restaurant, they offer something unique for coeliacs eating out in Rome; two kitchens (one entirely gluten free, one ‘normal’) and two separate brigades, each assigned to cooking in its own kitchen therefore minimising any chance of cross contamination.
The gluten free menu is extensive and can be found here.
I was slightly overcome by the immense choice of gluten free options. Note the gluten free version of some dishes attracts a surcharge on the price of the menu items, unlike Voglia di Pizza, for example. where the gluten free and gluten-y dishes have the same price.
I concluded I’d play safe and order a gluten free pizza. I went for quattro formaggio.
Verdict? I thought the toppings were great. I really prefer the Italian style of pizza which doesn’t over stuff the toppings unlike in the UK/US.
However, and this is a big but I’m afraid. I didn’t really like the pizza base much. It was too bready and doughy for me as I prefer my pizza crust to be thin and crispy. It was so dense and doughy that I had to leave the crusts.
Sorry, but for me there are many better places to get gluten free pizza in Rome.
Mr D, on the other hand, seriously lucked out. He ordered the giant arancini which the menu reported to be 25cm long.
There is no way to photograph this in an attractive way – I know this because I checked the photos tagged at Mama Eat on Instagram and it didn’t feature! So here it is, in all its 25cm long deep fried glory.
He ordered the gluten free and nut free version of the arancini so that I could try it. But as soon as he tasted it for himself, he’d only let me have the most minuscule of morsels to try, so tasty was it. Damn!
I like the system at Mama Eat that they plate the gluten free food on transparent plates (you can see this in the photos above which are all gluten free) and the gluten-y versions on white ceramic plates. I found this very helpful in a dining group where I was the only gluten free member.
Mama Eat is located in Trastevere a block from chiesa Santa Maria. This is said to be Rome’s oldest church and where, myth says, oil sprang from the walls when Christ was born. This is an utterly stunning church and I found it highly spiritual with candles and beautiful acapella singing drifting out from a church recess. Definitely worth visiting this beautiful church if you’re in the Trastevere area of Rome.
Eating Gluten Free in Rome: Mama Eat – Details
Location: Via di S. Cosimato, 7/9, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
Cost: Under EUR 40 for a family of 4
Would I go back? Definitely! But next time I would skip the gluten free pizza and proceed directly to those giant 25 cm long arancini.