Everything in Europe seemed expensive to me this time around. Maybe it’s the Euro doing so well against the dollar or maybe after Nepal nothing would seem cheap again. Either way, I love a good bargain and it was between hard to impossible to find them at restaurants surrounding touristy areas in Rome. Then the lady I was renting an apartment room from pointed me towards a fresh pasta shop near the Spanish Steps that has started serving lunch.
On Via del Cruce, this shop just says ‘Pastificio’ above the door. There are two options each day and they vary day to day. For 4 Euro, I received a massive plate of pasta and my choice of wine or water. The line was usually out the door, but moved fast. You can get it to go or wait for a stool to open up. This is a quick, eat-and-go type shop, not a restaurant. Yum!
After demolishing a plate of delicious homemade pasta, time to walk it off 10 minutes down the road to my favorite gelato stop, Giolitti. From what I picked up, this is arguably the best gelato in Rome. I went back twice in one day so that tells you what my review is of the gelato here.
When you walk in, pay at the stand-alone cash register by desired size (doesn’t matter if you want a cup or cone). Then walk to the back room with your receipt and you’ll see two massive cases filled with gelato. There were half a dozen men helping behind the counters to keep up with the demand! My tip is to skip the fruit flavors and head straight for the good stuff (pistachio, nutella, quadruple chocolate something or other). Bonus round, they add a dollop of fresh cream on top as well! Yum!
If you want to stay in the area around the Spanish Steps, though, or you need a double helping of dessert, you can walk west from the pasta shop to the corner and you’ll see Pompi, a famous tiramisu chain. Even the locals eat this one at 4 Euros a box. The takeaway boxes make it easy to head to the steps to enjoy! I thought it was tasty, but ultimately preferred the fresh stuff I was getting in smaller restaurants around town.
And that was my favorite lunch in Rome!