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.
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.
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.
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!
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.