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Rome cheap eats: Where to dine near the Spanish Steps

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Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps in Rome are a must-see, but finding a good place to eat can be a challenge. Photo: Sean MacEntee

Rome is a culinary gem, filled with tasty dining options around almost every corner. However, the area around the Spanish Steps is one of the hardest areas in Rome to find a decent meal or snack. Though the location is fantastic for accessing the city and marveling at nearby sights, it’s a bit of a challenge when it comes to finding a meal that’s not overpriced or underwhelming.

But have no fear cheapos, because we’ve uncovered four tasty places to eat in Rome so you don’t have to sacrifice quality—or even worse—lighten your wallet.

Pastificio

Fill up for only a handful of euros at this budget pasta gem. Photo: Stuart Mitchell

Pasta

Pastificio
Via della Croce, 8

For a quick, cheap and unforgettable lunch, duck inside this unnamed pasta shop on Via della Croce, about one minute away from the Spanish Steps. Between 1PM and 2PM every day, Pastificio turns into a local lunch spot, serving heaping plates of pasta to everyone from businessmen, to tired shoppers, to schoolchildren.

The plates are plastic and piled high, and a meal of pasta, water, and wine will run you only €4. There are two pasta choices each day, but if you don’t get there early you might be left with only one. Remember, it’s technically a pasta shop, so lunch is nothing fancy and is best eaten inside where the pasta is hot and fresh.

Palatium

All of the delicious cuisine from Palatium Enoteca is locally-sourced from the Lazio region. Photo: elisabet.s

Palatium
Via Frattina, 94

If you’re looking for local, look no further than Palatium. The restaurant is run by the Lazio Regional Food Authority, meaning all of the ingredients are sourced from farms in the Lazio region, so you’re always getting fresh, seasonal plates that cost around €10 for a pasta.

The menu changes often, and is full of Roman classics, though Palatium throws in a few twists of their own. Make sure to try some regional wines, often overshadowed by their more famous Tuscan cousins.

Pizzeria Leoncino

A Roman-style pie fresh out of the oven from local favorite Pizzeria Leoncino. Photo: Giles Alexander

Pizza

Pizzeria Leoncino
Via del Leoncino, 28

Traditional, Roman style pizza in the heart of Rome is hard to come by, but this neighborhood pizzeria maintains an authentic taste and atmosphere despite being in one of the city’s ritziest locations. The crust is crisp along the edges and thin throughout, and the standard toppings (margherita, marinara, napoletano), are all there running around €6-10 per pie.

The specialty though, is the onion, bean and sausage pizza, which sounds strange, but is actually delicious. The onions are sliced so thinly they almost caramelize with the mozzarella, and white cannellini beans and sausage are sprinkled on top. The atmosphere is no-fuss basic, with a massive wood-fired oven in the center of the restaurant, a cash-only policy and a brusque waitstaff. If there are lines, don’t worry. It’s worth it!

Gelato

Il Gelato di Claudio Torce
Viale Aventino 59

Claudio Torcè is a gelato master. He uses all-organic, high-quality ingredients to create both classic and crazy flavor combinations. Gorgonzola with vinegar, for example, or Szechuan peppercorn. Looking for something more traditional? Those are all there too—he even has more than 20 types of chocolate! With more than 100 varieties to choose from, all perfectly textured and bursting with fresh flavor, you really can’t go wrong.

For even more budget suggestions, check out all of EuroCheapo’s eating tips for Rome on our blog.

About the author

Rebecca Holland

Rebecca Holland has worked as a journalist for print, radio and television, and currently freelances for a number of travel and development publications. Bit by the travel bug after college, she's backpacked through Asia, lived in the Middle East, and now lives and works in Italy, but explores the rest of Europe whenever she can. Read more about her travel adventures at curiosityandacarryon.com, or follow her on twitter at @globalmusings, and Instagram @curiosityandacarryon.

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4 Responses to “Rome cheap eats: Where to dine near the Spanish Steps”

Yes to Pizzeria Leoncino. Delicious! And cheap!

Olga Passec says:

Let me add one more place – Ristorante alla Rampa.
I think it’s a MUST.
Pleasant, yummy and VERY affordable for Rome prices
And last, but not least, it’s a “hidden gem” for Russina speakers. Segrey, a waiter, is always ready to help them even though the restourant has a menu in Russian.
Don’e miss Piazza Mignanelli, 18, 00187 Roma, Italy
+39 06 678 2621

Craig Nelson Craig Nelson says:

Thanks so much for sharing your tips!

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