I tried this stuff many years ago -on my first trip alone- but couldn't remember what its name was, and back in 2007 I asked everywhere but I didn't seem to be able to find it anywhere.... that is, till my Roman friend Simone took me to this small street-stand next to the river which was crowded at 10-11 PM where they turned out to sell the same stuff I was craving for..........!!! YAAAYYY!!!!!
Grattachecca is grated ice (they grate it manually, "a la old fashion") with flavor syrup inside and fruit pieces on top. But it tastes SOOO GREAT!! And it's great for the summer time as it's very fresh so it satisfies your sweet tooth without making you thirsty...
They have many different varieties in this place, with different syrup and fruit combinations (coconut, lemon, melon, coffee, etc.), but they all looked really great so you might want to come several times and try them all ;))) I would have, hadn't I discovered this place on my very last night in Rome!! Argghh!! They have plain 1-flavor grattachecca (you have like 30 different flavors to choose from) but the specialties with different syrups and fruits on top are the best!!!
When my friend took me here it was the summer and it was crowded even at 10-11 PM, but this time (September) I was able to buy my stuff pretty quickly because there was NOBODY here.... I always went between 1 and 4 PM....
Favorite Dish: I first tried the Monterosa specialty which has strawberries and bananas on top and is still my favorite; there was this other one called Preziosa which has strawberries, raspberries and cranberries (and syrups of those same flavors inside) and which looked fantastic when I first saw it; so I tried it on my last visit but I was a bit disappointed of it.... it was a bit too acid for my taste. I also tried the Zuccherina which is watermelon flavored and it was pretty good too, although a bit too sweet as its name indicates. We had a simple grattachecca too, tamarindo flavor.... it was pretty good and they put some black cherries on top so it tasted even better. But I have to say it didn't taste like tamarindo at all.... it tasted rather like prunes, but it was still really good!!!
A simple (not fancy) grattachecca costs 2 EUR, while the fancy ones cost 4 EUR (info from 2011). They also sell sodas and beer on this stand, and they have a few tables where you can sit and have your drink/dessert.