Pastificio: Lunch by the Spanish Steps

Last updated on November 3rd, 2015 at 02:30 pm

Like any good Roman-transplant, I took most of August off.  My travels took me to Turkey, Ireland, Spain and the US but now I am back and happily scarfing down more pasta than I would have believed prudent 2 years ago.

My hands down favorite place for a lunchtime carb fix in Rome’s historic center is Pastificio.

Pastificio is 85% pasta shop and 15% delicious, serendipitous 4 euro lunch shop, should you be so lucky as to wander by at the right time.

The shop is on one of the most exclusive streets leading up to Via Del Corso and I had heard about it for some time before I finally found it.  What eventually tipped me off was a suspiciously long line leading out of a non-descript storefront I had wandered by countless times before.

But each day, starting at 1pm and going until 2:30ish pm (fellow bloggers, please correct me if I am wrong), Pastificio serves up hot pasta amid shelves of dried goodies you can take home for later.  UPDATE: 1 pm to 9:30 pm, no stop!

You get two choices every day.  There’s usually a vegetarian option and a meat-lovers surprise.  On this day, I went for the Amatriciana.

Served on plastic plates, you have to order at the counter, and then squeeze into a spot on the slim ledges along either wall.  You can also ask for it to go and eat outside (but not in Piazza di Spagna).  What makes it so good, in addition to fresh ingredients and an unbeatable price, is the free drink that comes with it.  When you pick up your pasta, look for the jug near the cash register and the plastic cups.  Pour yourself a glass of complementary house wine, or help yourself to the water that is offered through out the seating areas.

Update: (2 November 2015) Pastificio now serves up 4 euro pasta dishes from 1 pm until 9:30 pm, making this the cheapest lunch AND dinner in the center of Rome. The meal still includes a small cup of wine and water (but now they keep the wine safely behind the counter).  However, if you take the meal to go, you will not be given wine.  If there is space, it is best to eat IN Pastificio because with laws now banning eating around monuments, it is hard to find any space near the Spanish Steps that is comfortable and allowed).  Note that Pastificio still offers two daily choices, but this does not mean there is always a vegetarian friendly option. On my recent visit, one option had tuna and the other included speck (ham).

4 euro pasta in Rome

Pastificio
Via della Croce, 8
Metro: Spagna

15 Comments

  • Reply kim September 9, 2012 at 8:55 am

    That looks like a great place for lunch, altho I’d take mine out to the Spanish Steps to eat. And free wine? I’m in!

  • Reply Amy September 10, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Wow, great tip! Got this on my list of places to visit next time I visit!!! :-))

  • Reply Smokey September 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Not sure if it’s because it’s almost dinner time but that pasta looks really yummy. I mean, that type of pasta. They probably sell it too…

    But I’ve never seen the place. Maybe I never walked past it at the right time 😀

  • Reply LindyLouMacinItaly September 14, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Sounds delicious and carbs at lunchtime are fine 🙂

  • Reply Sezgi Uygur September 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    YAY! I was looking for the name of this place lately. Do you have other cheap lunch/dinner suggestions for centro storico?

  • Reply Gillian September 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

    One of my absolute favorite lunches in town! If you are lucky to go on a day they have the Carbonara, make sure and try it. It is one of the best in town.

  • Reply codecables September 29, 2012 at 2:55 am

    and of course, Thursday is Gnocchi day!

  • Reply lapiubelladitutte September 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Seems realy yammie, I have passed that place a lot of times but I have never stopped for lunch, I think now I will!

  • Reply Fran Zu October 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I was so lucky to have discovered this place. It was recommended by Lonely Planet guidebook. Amazing yet inexpensive pasta and very drinkable free water, plus warm and modest atmosphere! I thought they must be communist because other restaurants around were horrid and expensive!

    And I just wondered how do you say “this is to go” in Italian?

    • Reply L'americana October 6, 2012 at 3:56 am

      Hi Fran! When you order, at the end you can say “da portar via, grazie!” Which means “to go, thanks!”

      “Vorrei l’amatriciana da portar via, grazie” = “I would like the amatriciana pasta (e.g. with tomato sauce and guanciale/bacon) to go please.”

      At Pastificio they will put in a plastic to go container and a bag for you.

      • Reply Fran Zu October 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm

        Grazie mille! So delighted to hear your reply : )

  • Reply Franco November 14, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I live in Rome,I know ehere is it but I never got inside, next time I must stop for lunch.
    Thak you

  • Reply Andrea Nowack November 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Um, can we please implement the complimentary house wine in America please?

  • Reply 5,022 miles away: Italy Spring Break, part I – J, T, and Theo B. March 13, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    […] how it worked (order at the front, lean against the wall and eat quickly while standing; Pastificio is known for being an incredible pasta store with a tiny restaurant-like element to it), we decided instead that we actually wanted a sit-down lunch, so we ambled back a bit to […]

  • Reply 7 Best Places to Eat in Rome for €5 or Less – An American in Rome July 25, 2016 at 6:56 am

    […] Pastificio (Via della Croce, 8): it’s nearly impossible to find a good dinner for less than 5 euro next […]

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