Along the Via del Portico d’Ottavia next to the ancient ruins of the Portico di Ottavia (built by Augustus for his sister Octavia) are a line of kosher Jewish restaurants that take their authenticity very seriously. The religious tradition requires the use of fresh, organic ingredients. Recipes from 300 years of Jewish occupation in the ghetto, which began in 1555, have been passed down through the nonnas (grandmothers) from generation to generation.
Below is a list of some of the Roman Jewish Ghetto’s very best. Take advantage of the outdoor seating and soak up the view of ancient monuments while you enjoy a rare treat and slice of Rome’s history.
Nonna Betta is a kosher restaurant owned by local Jewish Roman, Umberto, and his partner Gamil. Between them they produce the traditional dishes passed down from his grandmother Betta which include ingredients such as artichokes, chopped fried cod, zucchini flowers, meatballs with celery, and salt cod with onion. Tantalizing dishes such as Tortino di aliciotti e Invidia (endive and anchovies pie) or Tagliere di formaggi ai miele aromatici (mix of cheese with aromatic honey), and hearty Spaghetti all’ Amatrician with dried beef or cod with tomatoes and onions grace the menu. The restaurant offers a second menu of Middle Eastern specialties, inspired by Gamil.
Ba” Ghetto has two menus, one for dairy, which serves pizza, and the other for meat which specializes in Libyan dishes. They offer a fine wine selection of Israeli and Italian wines.
Il Boccione is Rome’s legendary kosher bakery which offers Jewish classics like cinnamon-almond biscotti, ricotta cake, and the famous pizza ebraica. Be sure to try this sweet “Jewish pizza” and savor the rich nutty taste of almonds, raisins and candied fruits. Via del Porto d’Ottavia 1, 00186
There is so much to see and learn about the Jewish Ghetto, from the delicious kosher delicatessans to the superb restaurants. Old ruins remain among the Great Synogogue that sits majestically on the Tiber River. If you would like to see the Jewish Ghetto up close and personal, I recommend an expert Rome tour guide to unravel the centuries of history for you. Select Italy is my tour group of choice. Contact them for more information by clicking here.