Street Food in Rome: Lunch Like a Local
by Isobel Lee
While many visitors to Rome come armed with a list of restaurants they’d like to try during their tour of the Eternal City, one of the more challenging daily choices can be a fairly essential one: lunch. Here are our top four recommendations for great, authentic street food in Rome to eat on the go while enjoying a uniquely local Experience.
1. Pinsere – If you thought you knew everything about pizza, think again. This lunchtime spot serves a uniquely Roman invention, the pinsa, is a kind of flatbread created in pagan times and reputedly served to the gods – and we think we know why. The dough, formed from ancient grains including spelt and emmer wheat is mouthwateringly light after a brief toasting in the oven. But it’s the toppings that bring the pinsa into the modern age: Gianni and Valentina offer everything from pear, walnut, gorgonzola and honey to pistachio mortadella decorated with their homemade basil sauce. Or try a healthy bulgar wheat or faro salad tossed with roasted Mediterranean vegetables. Prices from €3,50, Monday-Friday, 8.30-16.00. Via Flavia 98 (Metro Termini / Piazza della Repubblica)
2. Pastificio – After you’ve had your fill of the dazzling window displays in Piazza di Spagna and along Via dei Condotti, you might want a lunch which is decidedly lighter on the pocket. At 1pm on the dot, this simple, dedicated pasta outlet on Via della Croce turns into a cheap on-the-go food kitchen, ladling a choice of two different kinds of pasta onto plastic plates with an optional glass of wine or water. Enjoy on benches or standing up alongside locals in the know. Prices from €4, Monday-Sunday, 13.00-15.00. Via della Croce 8 (Metro Spagna)
3. Mordi e Vai – in the heart of Testaccio’s fresh produce market is an award-winning stand serving very special sandwiches. Sergio Esposito fills bread rolls with the kinds of sauces and stews more associated with a sit-down meal, from amatriciana to meatballs, or sausage and refried wild chicory. Try a roll filled with chicken and pepper stew or picchiapò (traditional Roman boiled beef, slow-cooked with tomatoes and onions). Prices from €3.50. Monday-Saturday, 8.30-14.30. 12E New Testaccio Market, Via B. Franklin (Metro Piramide)
4. Pasta Imperiale – At a short walk from Piazza Navona along the elegant antique-lined Via dei Coronari is a tasty reward: Pasta Imperiale, run by a young couple from the Emilia Romagna region, who are dedicated to pasta. Enjoy taglioline, gnocchetti or tortelllini on the hoof; typical flatbreads called piadine from the Emilia Romagna region or buy handmade fresh pasta to slip into your suitcase. Prices from €4.50 Monday-Saturday. Via dei Coronari 160 (Between Piazza Navona and Castel Sant Angelo)
Please also visit our up to date guide to the best 10 places in Rome where you can have lunch on a budget