03 Aug Street food places not to be missed # 2 – Supplì
Along with pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice), the king of Roman street food is the supplì, which is native to Rome. It’s definitely less known that it should be and it’s a must-try!
The name comes from the French word ‘surprise’ as the French soldiers called the fried treat during the occupation at the end of the 1700’s because of the melted mozzarella filling. Surprise then became in Italian “supplì”.
In its classic version, it is an elongated ball of rice, mixed with ragù (tomato sauce with minced beef), mozzarella cheese, dipped in raw egg then coated in breadcrumbs and fried in hot oil. I remember when I was a child my mother used to make supplì for dinner with leftovers from “risotto”.
Originally though the filling was made with chicken giblets as it was a poor dish sold by vendors in the streets.
Today you can buy supplì at most of the “pizzerie al taglio” or have them at more casual restaurants where they are served as starters before a pizza or a main course.
They are absolutely not to be confused with the Sicilian “arancini” or “arancine” (masculine or feminine from arancia, orange, depending on what part of Sicily you are), which are bigger, have a different shape and different fillings.
Of course, supplì are best when they are fresh and have just been fried. Today you can find new takes on supplì in Rome, with many creative fillings, but I must confess… I am purist when it comes to supplì and always prefer the classic version even if I like to taste also new versions.
My top five supplì places
Here is then my top 5 places for supplì in Rome (in no particular order of preference). I have unfortunately omitted to mention the many shops or groceries that are not exactly in the city centre and are more difficult to reach.
1) If you are in the neighborhood of Trastevere, stop by Supplì, also known as Venanzio, Sisini, I Supplì. Excellent quality and very reasonable price. Quite busy at lunch time but the line to get your hot crispy supplì is well worth when you taste this treat!They also sell other versions such as the matriciana, named after the typical Roman pasta with tomato sauce, pecorino cheese and guanciale (pork cheek). Rome, Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 137. Open Mon-Sat: 10 am – 10 pm.
2) I love San Giovanni. I used to live in this neighborhood and I think it’s a great area if you are in search for accommodation during your Roman vacation. If you are here, La casa del supplì, the house of supplì, is my recommendation for you. Also very good pizza by the way. Rome, Piazza Re di Roma, 20. Open Mon-Sat: 10.30 am – 9.30 pm.
3) Supplizio, in the city centre,is the first street food corner by the chef Arcangelo Dandini. Here you can find various versions of the supplì, not only the classic but also carbonara (named after an other typical Roman pasta), cheese and pepper and more. I love the cozy vintage atmosphere, with the terracotta floor and the leather armchair. Rome, Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 143. Open Mon-Sat: 11.30 am –4 pm and 4.30 pm– 10 pm.
4) I have already mentioned Pizzarium, run by Gabriele Bonci, pizza chef and gourmet, in the previous entry on street food as a good place for pizza by slice. Well… I simply ove their supplì as well! Rome, Via della Meloria 43. Open Mon- Sat: 11 am – 11 pm; Sun: noon – 10 pm.
5) Franchi is a small café/deli near the Vatican. Always busy with locals, particularly at lunchtime. Good place for a quick bite on your way to the Vatican Museums. Among the several dishes of pastas, they offer also great supplì. Rome, Via Cola di Rienzo 200. Open Mon – Sun: 7.30 am – 9.00 pm.