An Authentic Italian Dinner With Locals

An Authentic Italian Dinner in Rome With Locals

Whenever I travel, I look for ways to make my trip feel more authentic: staying in apartments instead of hotels, taking public transportation, eating all the traditional food. So when WithLocals contacted me I was very excited, I knew an Italian dinner cooked by a real Italian would be amazing. And I was right, I had delicious pasta, as well as a meal I wouldn’t have found in a restaurant. Curious to see how it went?

I chose the Roman Dinner with Mouth-Watering Flavors experience and a week before the date, I talked to Claudia, our host, to set details regarding the menu and where we’ll meet. The day of the dinner, I was a little nervous, what if I don’t like the food or what if we don’t find things to talk about, especially since I’m not the talker in my family and I had to translate for my parents too. But after a whole day spent in lovely Trastevere, I found out that all my worries were silly.

An Authentic Italian Dinner With Locals

We met Claudia and her husband at a metro station and they drove us to their apartment. On the way, we saw some gorgeous works of street art, that I wish I had photographed. Lesson learned: don’t photograph tomorrow what you can photograph today, am I right? We arrived at their apartment in a quiet neighborhood and as soon as we were inside, it smelled incredibly good, so I was already hungry.

An Authentic Italian Dinner With Locals

We started with spaghetti all’arrabbiata, which turned out to be too spicy for mom, but my dad and I loved it. The homemade tomato sauce with vegetables from Claudia’s fresh garden was better than any sauce I’ve had so far.  This should tell you something, because I eat a lot of pasta 😉 Over a glass of wine, we chatted about a lot of topics, from travelling to Romania, the referendum Italy had that day to Claudia and I basically having similar jobs. They told us WithLocals started in Italy in October last year and it’s been an exciting experience for them as well, because you never know who is coming over for dinner and it’s always fun to meet new people from different countries.

An Authentic Italian Dinner With Locals

For secondo, we had a typical roman dish, trippa alla romana, made with tripe, tomatoes, mint, chilli and lots of pecorino cheese, served with homemade bread. I was excited to try this dish since I found out it’s going to be in the menu, I loved that it isn’t something you can find in every restaurant. It smelled fantastic and the taste was really good, I would have asked for seconds, but since I don’t usually eat so much for dinner, I was already full.

In Romania we have a traditional dish that is similar (tripe soup) but not everyone likes so I was curious to see if it’s the same in Rome as well. Turns out tripe just isn’t something everyone enjoys 😉 My mom for instance doesn’t eat it so she had an omelette with fresh artichokes, which I had to taste because I’ve never had artichokes. Both Claudia and her husband found this strange, but in my defense, it’s not a typical vegetable in Romania, haha 😛

An Authentic Italian Dinner With Locals

For dessert, we had a slice of Italian pie called crostata and a glass of limoncello. I fell in love with limoncello in Italy, if I had to drink only one liqueur forever, this would be it. 😀 We talked a lot about traveling, Claudia convinced me to visit the beautiful beaches of Albania and I, hopefully, convinced them to visit Romania. 

An Authentic Italian Dinner With Locals

Not long before leaving, their adorable cat wanted to come in from the terrace and I couldn’t resist playing with the sweetest cat I’ve seen. At the end of the dinner, it was very nice of them to drive us back to our apartment, it certainly saved us a lot of time.

I had a wonderful time at this traditional Italian dinner and I guess what I loved the most was that there weren’t some over the top fancy dishes, but hearty and tasty food that a normal family eats on a usual day. This is why WithLocals is so great and different than any other site out there, if you’re looking for an authentic experience, you’re guaranteed to find it on the site.

Would you like to have an authentic Italian dinner with locals?

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Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary meal by WithLocals, but all views, photos and appetite are entirely my own

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  • John Pilkington

    It sounds like you had a really nice evening! I guess the food is just a small part – chatting to local people is such a great way to get more out of a city trip. Great idea 🙂

    P.s. there are artichokes on EVERY pizza here in Deutschland…

    • I guess I’ll have to try them when I visit Germany, huh? 😉

  • World Journeys

    gees, sounds like pure torture 😛

    so friggin’ delicious!

  • Lucy Dodsworth

    Sounds like a great idea – a really good way to get to learn about local people’s lives, plus that food looks fab (though maybe not so much the tripe!)

    • Haha, the tripe was so delicious, but I can see how it may not be enjoyed by everyone.

  • I adore this idea! I might have heard about this kind “experience” before but this is the first proper write-up of it that I’ve read. I would absolutely do this the next time I travel.

    • Thanks, I do think you would love the experience 😀

  • Yumm!
    Everything looks so amazingly delicious! Hope I’ll get to dine with a local soon too! 😀
    I gotta stop looking at these photos now, they’re making me very hungry.. Especially the spaghetti and the dessert! <3

    • I hope so too, you’ll love it! If you’re into spicy food, you would definitely love the spaghetti 😀

  • Rayna McGinnis

    Looks delicious, especially that pie! This is a really cool idea and one I think I’ll use in the future. Thanks! 🙂

    • I hope you will enjoy your WithLocals experience, there’s nothing quite like it 🙂

  • Elaine J Masters

    How sweet!! I almost did something similar in London but couldn’t manage the time. Nothing like connecting with locals and over home cooked food, even better.

    • Hope you’ll got the chance to do this if you revisit London, I bet it will be an amazing experience

  • Clare Thomson

    I LOVE the idea of eating with locals. What a fantastic idea. I like that it would force you to be braver to try the things on the menu you might ordinarily steer away from. Tripe’s certainly not my cup of tea but I’d eat it if I was served it in someone’s home – and probably enjoy it. Limoncello is the perfect after-dinner drink on a warm Italian evening. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • I admit, I don’t think I would have tried that dish if I were at a restaurant, at all the restaurants I went I played it safe and only ordered pasta, but when Claudia told me it’s going to be in her menu, I was really excited 🙂

  • Jim Vail

    What a great experience! Authentic home cooked food in the home of the cook, it really doesn’t get much better than that! I’m not sure I would have eaten the tripe either, were your hosts upset when Mom didn’t eat it?

    • No, we discussed the menu the week before going there so our host knew my mom doesn’t eat tripe. But they were expecting it, they told me they know it’s not a dish everyone loves.

  • Wow ~ With Locals sounds like a winner! The spaghetti looked good coming out of that pan, then I saw you were having tripe. Only after I’d stopped jumping up and down ~ yes, I’m one of those who likes the stuff ~ did I settle down enough to enjoy your dessert and limoncello. Thanx for delicious descriptions and photos, helping me tag along with your tastebuds!

    • Haha, I’m happy you liked it! PS: the tripe was delicious! 😀

  • There is no better food than that served by the locals. They have all kinds of sauces and spices that only they know, but keep it a secret.That spaghetti looked so delicious.

    • I had amazing pasta everywhere I went in Italy – it helps that I’m a huge pasta lover and that’s what I mostly ordered, but the spaghetti we had at our dinner were even more delicious.

  • Aperture Of My Soul

    I would love to try With Locals! Your meal sounded wonderful, but I would have to pass on the tripe too. I’m not adventurous when it comes to certain foods. Spices and vegetables are awesome. I can imagine it’s a great experience for the hosts and the guests. I hope I can try this out when I visit Europe. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hope you can try a WithLocals experience in Europe, I’m sure you’re going to love it 😀

  • I’m so glad you liked the experience!!! It’s nice isn’t it? After I’ve done it here in Munich I would love to do it again in another country. 😀