“Don’t ask us for cuddles, wait for us to ask you.” This is one of the rules cats laid out to welcome their hungry guests at the delicious Romeow Cat Bistrot in Rome, one of our favorite restaurants in the Ostiense neighborhood. This cozy and minimalist cat café in the Ostiense neighborhood is their house and we are their guests. As long as we accept this, everything will run smoothly.
We went to Romeow Cat Bistrot quite a few times and it was always a success. One of the best vegan restaurants in Rome and one of my favorite restaurants in Ostiense, their food is very tasty, their recipes well-thought and gourmet.
Romeow, the restaurant
Right after stepping over the threshold, you will feel the cat atmosphere: furry catnip mice and balls, soft baskets and cushions, shelves in strategic positions all over the walls, trees, and an old frayed armchair.
The Roman version of a Japanese cat cafe idea, here the food is strictly vegan, and we love it. The founders love cats, and we share this passion. The entertainment is on the cats’ hands… or paws, and we are totally OK with it.
Let’s face it, cats are not exactly the most convivial hosts, they come for a cuddle when they feel like it if they are sleepy nothing moves them (and they usually are very tired). Sometimes they make their quick appearance as if on a fashion catwalk (literally), from time to time they can even let you pet them, it depends if you meet their needs of the moment. But this is why we love them.
Furry purring things swanning around and a relaxed atmosphere for lunch, dinner, afternoon tea/coffee with cakes are some of the ingredients that attract plenty of guests every day. In fact, especially on weekends, bookings are highly recommended otherwise instead of a table on the ground floor you will have to sit on sofas on the upper floor. Which isn’t so bad, except that also those places are limited and you risk finding them all taken.
Romeow Cat Bistrot, their menu and prices
The delicious food is strictly made with organic and seasonal ingredients. This is why you are not going to find always the same dishes. Their menu changes constantly, some dishes stay a full season, but often you will find new items a few times in the same season.
For their dishes, they use only high-quality ingredients and the outcome confirms that. Their eclectic menu is an enticing mix of Italian, Mediterranean and international cuisines including Indian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes.
So you will find curries, dumplings, burgers, vegan sushi, falafel, pad thai, and spring rolls available to be ordered together with Italian recipes of pasta, soups, pizza, and more. All delicious and in a fancy design. Because dishes also need to look pretty.
Along with starters, full dishes, salads, and desserts, Romeow serves also fruits and veggies juices such as pineapple with ginger, apple with lemon and turmeric, watermelon with lemon and mint, and smoothies like the ones made with coconut milk, spinach, mint, vanilla, and banana, almond milk with cocoa, maca and banana, or hazelnut milk with cocoa and pears.
Romeow Cat Bistrot, our meal
We tried several dishes at Romeow cat bistrot in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Rome. Such as the delicious autumn rolls filled with Sicilian broccoli and toasted hazelnuts on a cream of fennel and oranges as a starter.
Or the cappelletti (Italian-style dumplings) on tempeh ragout and spinach and ginger cream as the first course. While my main course was soy and chickpea burger with a side of potato chips on pimiento (paprika) and avocado creams as a second course.
We were way too full to order the dessert, even though the cakes looked delicious too. Maybe next time we go for afternoon tea and we will try their pastries.
Romeow Cat Bistrot address and opening hours
- Address: Via Francesco Negri 15, Rome
- Phone: +39 06 5728 9203
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: www.romeowcatbistrot.com
- Open: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-11 pm. Closed on Mondays. From 10 to 11.30 am they serve breakfast. From 12.30 to 1 pm they take a break and close. From 1 to 3.45 pm and 8 to 11 pm, Romeow is open only as a restaurant so for lunch and dinner. Until 6.30 pm they serve an afternoon snack and between 7.30 and 8 pm they close again to prepare for dinner.
- How to reach: The easiest and fastest way to reach the restaurant is by train (Ostiense station) or metro (Piramide, line B).
Tips for a perfect experience at Romeow Cat Bistrot in Rome
- Book in advance. Well, this is not really optional but required by the same restaurant. Seats are limited and the place is popular, so if you don’t book you might not find a table.
- Use public transport or bike there. The best way to get there is to use the train or the metro. Or go by bike so you get 10% off.
- Check the menu. Some of the cooking styles are only on limited times, so check before going if you feel like a specific meal. For example, raw food is only for dinner.
Pros and cons: What we liked and what we didn’t
- It’s plant-based. I follow a plant-based diet at home so not having to stick to the only one plant-based item on most menus is a big plus for me.
- The cats. I love cats and knowing that they actually adopted six cats from local shelters makes me appreciate the restaurant even more.
- Variety of flavors. They serve dishes from the Italian tradition as well as other countries, whether they are originally vegan fares or revisited. Their menu changes every season so there is a large variety and always delicious flavors.
- Too expensive. I think it’s pricey. I know they only use high-quality ingredients and that the dishes are beautifully served, but I still think it can be cheaper.
- Too many rules. I know they have to plan their schedules, but I find it hard to remember the timetable for each different service. The afternoon snack is served until 6.30 pm, then they close between 7.30 and 8 pm so between 6.30 and 7.30 there is no mention of what they serve but I’m guessing it’s a coffee shop-like service, so you can have a drink and maybe also a piece of cake.
- Strict menus. For lunch and dinner, you can order what you like, but when it’s a bistro, so for breakfast and the afternoon snack, you are required to order a “Mood Menu” so both eating and drinking. This doesn’t come as a surprise as they clearly mention it on their website and at the entrance, so if you don’t feel like it, you can go somewhere else. But probably if there is a small group of people and only one prefers to take only a smoothie without eating a pancake, muffin, or anything else, it’s a pity if they have to change place because this is not allowed.
What to see near Romeow Cat Bistrot
There are many things to do in the Ostiense neighborhood, so your meal at Romeow Cat Bistrot is a perfect break during your sightseeing. Here are some of the things to see and do near the cat cafe.
- See Ostiense street art – Plenty of Italian and international artists have collaborated in painting the beautiful murals in Ostiense giving a new color to this former working-class and industrial district.
- Visit the Centrale Montemartini – Fascinating museum set in Rome’s former main power plant, Centrale Montemartini is an absolute must in Ostiense.
- Mercati Generali – Facing the restaurant is the large building of the former Mercati Generali, general markets.
- See the Gasometer – Very close, just crossing Via Ostiense, you will see the largest Gasometer, one of the most striking vestiges of Rome’s industrial archaeology this district is rich in.
Other restaurants nearby
If you happen to Ostiense last minute and can’t find space here, don’t worry, the area is filled with delicious restaurants. Some that you can try include:
- Trattoria Pennestri (Via Giovanni da Empoli 5). Traditional Roman dishes with a personal and contemporary take.
- Angelina (Via del Porto Fluviale 5F). A lovely coffee shop that serves high-quality drinks and delicious casual meals.
- Porto Fluviale (Via del Porto Fluviale 22). Restaurant, bistro, trattoria, this is a giant place set up in a former warehouse and open all day long.
- Eataly. Very close to the Ostiense train station, here you can find pizza, pastries, and all types of meals as well as a gourmet food department store.
Check out our full guide to know where to eat in Ostiense.