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).
Via della Croce, 8