Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Sep 5, 2009 03:03 AM

Con Amore?!? Help!

I am with my boss in Rome for a month and here is my dilemma:

He is vegan
soy intolerant
and celiac.

Yes, really.

He also "can taste when food has been cooked with love"


I need a place that cooks vegetables, especially soups and artichokes - con amore...


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. The best solution, IMO, is to rent an apartment and cook by himself.


      1. You have already received good advice, though if your boss doesn’t yet realize he's an adult, it's not going to be easy for you to clue him in. I would add that you will not be getting any artichokes for a while.

        He can always ask for boiled or sautéed vegs any place. Tell him to go look at a market to see what's in season. He can order risotto, without cheese of course. Soy shouldn't be a problem. Soups often have meat broth.

        As for love, tell him this is Italy. They wrote the book on love, and food and love, and if, with all his problems, they serve him a meal with a smile, let there be no speculating on the love component.

        8 Replies
        1. I think Maureen probably means that artichokes are out of season now in Rome. that doesnt mean that they are not available only that they are not cleap and probably not local in the markets. At this time of year, roasted peppers, and risottos with peppers or potatoes peppers are delicious in rome, and roasted and marinated mushrooms and eggplant will also be good now into the fall. the chicory of Rome is delicious, going into the colder months. Bean dishes are also an option. since many of the above are often served on antipasto spreads, you might want to look out for some of the restaurants which have these - you boss will then have more of a selection. While its gotten mixed reactions in recent years I think Orso 80 has such a spread. Also restarants which specialize in the cuisines of So. italy might have some choices for you - there is l'ortica up in flaminia and tram tram in San Lorenzo. Ive never been to these, but you might obtain some different choices.If your boss is willing to eat things that have been cooked in a meat broth, the roman veg soup vignarola can be very good. We had a good version at La Campana a few years ago.

          Ive travelled in Italy and France several with my daughter when she was a vegan - without all the other restrictions you mention and it was very difficult for her to find food from time to time. She later -this was after several years - dropped the vegan practice, while in Bengal, since she couldt keep up her strength and was getting sick too much on her local diet of rice and dal and some veg (not too many available in the monsoon season). Its hard to be a healthy vegan, especially when soy is not available or tolerated. Adding eggs and dairy and being willing to pick bits of seasoning meat out of her food rather than eschewing dishes with a meat component altogether made all the difference to her health, complexion, good spirits and ease of travel. I think you do need love, because it is very difficult for restaurants to cater to people who cannot tolerate most of the ingredients they use to enrich and flavor their foods. Restaurants are proud of their cooking and want you to experience what they do best. Hopefully some of the more simple restaurants which feature veg will be easier in this way.
          Good luck.

          ps - I dont know if you searched the site -there have been a number of posts previously re coping with celiac disease in italy - here is one, and it looks like you can get gluden free pasta in reataurants - if so, its mostly avoiding other no-nos

          1. re: jen kalb

            Thank you Jen. This is very helpful. I am hoping to get him eating fish while we are here at least a couple of times a week and we have brought along some soy-free protein supplements from home. We will check out Orso 80 and the southern Italian cuisine!

            Thank you so much for this - it helps a lot.


            1. re: josiebeth

              If fish is a possible option, can he not have a bit of dairy? cheese and butter are extremely common enrichments to dishes - an ability to at least eat a bit of these can greatly broaden the available choices.

              I think if you search the board or make a request you will find other places with antipasto spreads. There is a vegetarian place up by, I think Via Margutta sometimes recommended. Hav eyou found that one yet? I have no personal experience of this.

            2. re: jen kalb

              Yes, artichokes are out of season. Certain restaurants in the Ghetto always manage to have them for tourists, but it's a sort of don't-ask-don't-tell, as they are not from anywhere around here until the weather turns chilly. I was not being sarcastic when I suggested the gentleman visit a market. It's a good strategy for anyone, but especially someone whose main foods are going to be fruits and vegs.

              I am among those who think Orso 80 is vile, but I do see the attraction in the circumstances. There is a vegetarian restaurant in San Lorenzo called Arancia Blu, and there is always Margutta. But really any trattoria will have some vegetables. I have a friend who brings her own gluten-free pasta to restaurants, but I wouldn’t have the nerve. As you say, the subject has been much discussed, and many restaurants will be helpful, especially with advance notice.

              1. re: mbfant

                Good luck finding Arancia Blu in San Lorenzo. It moved out to somewhere in the sticks about a year ago.

                1. re: zerlina

                  Thanks. You can see I haven't missed it.

                2. re: mbfant

                  I apologize for hijacking the original question, but when are artichokes usually back in season? We'll be in Rome at the very beginning of October, and I was really looking forward to having all manner of artichokes.

                  1. re: Lexma90

                    One vendor at the Testaccio market the other day was selling artichokes imported from France. These are becoming more common, and they are probably very good, and restaurants are adopting them to meet the tourist demand, but Italian artichokes will probably not arrive till the weather gets substantially cooler. The Ghetto restaurants will have them, prepared alla giudia, but I think you won't get them alla romana, unless they are imported. The large globe carciofi romaneschi don't appear till late February.