Where to Find the Best Suppli in Rome

By Dylan Edwards

It’s your first week in Rome. You’ve been preparing for this for months now: studying BuzzFeed articles entitled “15 Pizzas you MUST Try While Studying in Rome,” stalking Pinterest pages for panini, pastries, and pasta, perusing #foodintheair posts, diaphragm breathing—you got this. Your head on a swivel, you absorb the aromas of Roman cuisine all at once and you don’t know where to start. A taxi cab whizzes by you as the driver yells some unidentifiable Italian insult out of the window but you’re too entranced to notice, and that’s when you see something that didn’t make it to the blogs and IG posts… something you haven’t heard of before—something beautiful.



Everything you ever thought you knew about Rome (and food) has been shattered. Everywhere you look, Italians are munching on this little hot pocket from heaven and you’re wondering how you could have overlooked this. So you go into the pizzeria sporting the TripAdvisor sticker of approval and make your first purchase with a questioning, intrigued eye. Holding it between your thumb and index finger, you feel its crispy, deep-fried exterior and how delicate its encasing is, made with all the Italian “amore” you’ve fantasized about from the movies. Unable to resist the temptation any longer, you sink your teeth right into the middle of your tasty confection and pull it from your lips, a melted strand of mozzarella still stretching outward like a scene from The Lady and The Tramp. The flavors are tantalizing; your mouth and eyes simultaneously start to water and you wipe that single, joy-filled tear from your cheek and grin. Thats when it hits you—you’re in Rome.

So, now that I have you salivating at your computers, what exactly is a Suppli? Simply put, it’s a deep fried risotto ball filled with marinara sauce and a cube of mozzarella cheese. But it’s so much more than that. Typically eaten by hand, Suppli received its formal name “Suppli al Telefono” in the way it resembles a phone cord connected to the hook when ripped in half (not that those really exist anymore). And while Wikipedia claims the suppli was popularized around the 1920s, my personal research has uncovered some groundbreaking discoveries into the rice ball’s early influence on historical Roman culture and architecture. See for yourself:

God David Suppli

A little known fact about Michaelangelo is that he was both a suppli enthusiast AND perfectionist; when he wasn’t carving statues out of marble or painting the walls of churches, he was often found slaving away in his ancient kitchen, mastering the supreme art of crafting suppli. And to pay homage to his secret passion, he would discreetly include them in his professional work as a symbol of divinity and virtue.

He’s not the only one to endorse suppli as a symbol of God, either. Rome’s beloved Papa Francesco, first Pope to spread the word of the Lord through Twitter, is also an endearing connoisseur of these elegant Roman pizza rolls. Need proof?

Pope Francesco suppli

‘Nuff said.

So let’s get down to business. You’re more than convinced, and the wifi in your un-airconditioned apartment is on its last leg. Where do I go to find suppli?

While you can technically go to practically any pizzeria or ristorante to find them, the art of choosing the RIGHT suppli is an extensive, daunting task. Finding the suppli is the easy part, but not all suppli are made equal. If you walk into a pizzeria and order a suppli only to watch them stick it in a microwave, you better walk right back out before they can turn their head around. You’re doing it wrong. Lucky for you, I (along with Michaelangelo and Papa Francesco) am also a professional suppli aficionado, and today, out of the kindness of my suppli-filled heart, I will share that information with you. Take notes, ragazzi:

1: Il Suppli (Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 137)

I don’t want to waste any time here: Il Suppli is THE quintessential suppli. Even for those of you who have already had the privilege of tasting Rome’s most delicious cuisine (yes, even more than Nutella), you really haven’t until you’ve been to Il Suppli. Located over the Tevere river down Viale di Trastevere, it is a local hot spot with that hole-in-the-wall vibe that reminds you of your favorite burger joint back in “The States.” There you will find various elaborate flavors of pizza-by-the-slice ranging from pizza patate fritte (that means french fries) to fresh mozzarella, spinach, and shrimp, but this is only a distraction from the real attraction. Their suppli are by far the most fresh, crispy, risotto-and-mozzarella-packed specimens in all of Rome. After ordering one and finishing it before getting down the street, you’ll already find yourself being drawn back in for more, and for only €1.20 a pop, you’ll more than likely be walking back to your apartment in a full on food coma.

il suppli

2: Mondo Arancina (Via Marcantonio Colonna, 38)

Mondo Arancina is a whole different animal from Il Suppli. That’s because Mondo Arancina doesn’t do suppli; it does arancini. The arancini is like the first cousin of the suppli—it’s still a deep-fried risotto ball filled with cheesy Italian goodness, but their types and flavors (and even shapes) are much broader. Hailing from Sicily, you might analogize an arancini as a square and a suppli a rhombus; suppli can be considered an arancini, but not vice versa. Nonetheless, they are similar enough to the classic style to be included, and here at Mondo Arancina you can explore new tastes like Melanzana (tomato sauce, mozzarella, and eggplant) and my personal favorite Carne, which contains ground beef, peas, and mozzarella. If you ever find yourself wandering the Prati area over by the Vatican, make it a point to stop by.

mondo arancina

3: EAT (Piazza Trillusa, 40)

For those days when you’re just drinking a beer, people-watching from the steps of Piazza Trillusa and you get a sudden suppli craving (happens to everybody), just walk 20 steps down the right following Meccanismo Cafe and you’ll be at EAT Street Food for a more modern, stylish suppli experience. You can’t simply walk in, point to a suppli, wrap it in a napkin and be on your way though, there’s a catch; you have to be patient. Following the cultural tradition of the Slow Food Movement, each suppli created in EAT is made-to-order, finally giving it the respect it so rightfully deserves as a dish. When ready, it will be served to you on a wooden slab which, although probably doesn’t make it taste any better, definitely adds to the aesthetic appeal of your meal. It’s undoubtedly worth the wait, so take a break from your mental notes on Italian hand gestures from the steps and try the more elegant side of the suppli world.


4: Rosticceri (Corso Rinascimento, 83)

Around the corner of Piazza Navona, there exists a deli where street chef and food guru Massimo Riccioli offers a menu that changes daily and includes everything from roast beef to chicken wings, catalan mackerel to sushi and mushroom gratin—and of course, suppli. It’s hard not to trust a guy who’s labeled a “food guru,” and you’ll soon find out why. Daily specials vary from suppli con calamari fritti to cinque formaggi (five cheeses), and they are all fried in extra virgin olive oil to stimulate your liver without intoxicating it. Your stay in Rome will not be complete without a visit to Rosticceri.


5: L’isola Del Panino (Via Monterone, 19)

L’isola Del Panino is a personal favorite of mine, not necessarily for its suppli, but for its atmosphere. The Island of Paninis is owned by the twin brothers Giovane and Salvadore along with their sister Anna and they make it a point to remember each person who comes in and purchases one of their homemade €3.00 paninis. A small local stop-shop, they also offer different pastas, lasagnas, salads, etc. that you can take portavia (take away) and find a spot to eat right down the road at the Pantheon. And just like the rest of their food, the suppli are prepared fresh and never, EVER microwaved. Come here for those times you realize you’re already WAY over the budget your parents gave you for an incredible panino at a low price, your daily suppli fix, and the company of some wonderful people. When you visit, tell them “Fabio said ciao!”

L'isola Del Panino

So there you have it. The inside scoop on everything suppli. Where just five minutes ago you were completely ignorant to Roman culture, you now have the knowledge of a borderline suppli critic. Now all you have to do is taste one!

Ciao Ragazzi,

Dylan “Fabio” Edwards

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