The food scene in Rome is definitely dominated by Italian cuisine. Most of the restaurants are trattorias, pizzerias, or hosterias that serve the standard pasta dishes, meats, and contorni (side dishes). While there is diversity as far as the region of Italy these eateries are inspired by, there is not nearly the variety of ethnic restaurants to choose from that exists in Philadelphia. There are few places to order Chinese take-out, sushi is definitely not the trend it is in the States, and good luck finding more than one authentic Mexican restaurant.
While Italian cuisine reigns supreme here, it is not to say authentic ethnic restaurants do not exist in Rome. For instance, I found a wonderful authentic Ethiopian restaurant near the outer part of Rome. The restaurant is called Mesob. It is a quaint, one dining-room restaurant located in a parking lot behind a convenience store. It was like my roommate and I had found a treasure hidden away, and after three straight weeks of nothing but pasta, bread, and pizza, it was exactly what we needed to find.
We arrived at Mesob pretty much the second it opened so we had our pick of tables to sit at. I immediately fell in love with our surroundings. The room was small and cozy with off-white walls accented by warm reds and purples in the curtains and painting hung on the walls.
I am not going to be able to give you much detail about the dishes we ate because I did not actually know what they all were. Most of them were pureed concoctions whose ingredients were unidentifiable (and since the menus were in Italian, my grasp of what we were eating was limited). I can, however, tell you how they tasted: wonderful.
None of the food that we received was bland, generic, or second-rate. It was straight up authentic (and delicious) Ethiopian food. Everything about Mesob, from the décor to the food, made it stand up to any Italian restaurant I have eaten at so far. The staff was friendly and made sure we were enjoying our meal and the price of the food was cheaper than a lot of Italian establishments that are gunning for tourists. We ended up only paying 15 Euro a piece for more food than we could eat. Mesob has therefore proven that while ethnic cuisine may be limited in Rome, it does exist and is definitely worth venturing out to find.