Looking for a quick lunch break in Rome? When I travel, I tend not to stop in a restaurant to eat, as I find it time consuming. I prefer an easy snack, maybe local street food, in order to rest a bit and then leave again for the next attraction to visit. So, here is a little selection of places where I love to stop every time I am in Rome to visit my family.
If you aim at visiting the Vatican, you must absolutely stop here. Ottaviani is a tavola calda, a bar serving hot lunch in Italian, in Via Paolo Emilio 9. It is a street that crosses Via Cola di Rienzo, connecting Piazza del Popolo with Vatican City. So, you’d look for it in a map or you will miss it.
Here you can take a seat or simply have a supplì on the go. Yes, here you have to try these fried rice balls with fillings of cheese or vegetables which constantly come from the kitchen. Whether it is summer or winter make sure you eat them very hot.
Ottaviani also serves pizza, focaccia, salads, sweets and coffee. You won’t find tourists here, only locals. The prices are absolutely good. You can eat with less than 10 euros, adding also water and coffee!
Very close to Ottaviani there is Castroni. Bar, gourmet international shop, coffee roaster, it is difficult to define it. Spread all around the city centre, my favorite is the one in Via Ottaviano 55. Here you can have breakfast at the counter, or take a supplì or sandwich on the go. Prices for a quick lunch can start from few euros. Amount shelves and counters you will find delicacies from all over the world. But you will remain sticker to Italian products, right?
Trapizzino is a chain that you can find also in Milan and New York. Imagine a sandwich with a filling. But instead of finding cold cuts, here you find traditional dishes.
I generally have a trapizzino on the go when I am in Trastevere. In fact, you cand find it in Piazza Trilussa 46.
4. Antico Forno Urbani
This Panetteria is in the Jewish ghetto, in Via del Portico di Ottavia 1. Although run by non Jewish Italian, it respects the kosherut, that’s why it serves the local Jewish community. And since the kosheruth does not allow to mix milk and meat, this is also the paradise of lactose intolerants like me.
Its specialty? The Roman Focaccia of course. Thin, crunchy and served warmed. Take your slice and eat it while walking. From here you can easily reach Fori Imperiali, Isola Tiberina, Trastevere. Without forgetting to visit the Little Colosseum nearby.
With two locations, one in Via Borgognona 43-46, very close to Piazza di Spagna, and the other in Piazza Sant’ Eustachio 54-55, right next to the Pantheon, this deli/bistrot is perfect for a quick lunch with cold cuts or salads. The idea behind the menu is healthy food with a traditional touch. You will find steamed vegetables, fish, fresh made juice, extracts or shakes.
Prices here are a little bit higher. You can have a seated lunch for 15-20 euros. But the quality is absolutely worth it.
Grattachecca is a traditional dessert on the go invented in Rome. It is mainly grated ice with syrup and fruit. Although it is not really a meal, you can have it as a fresh snack especially in hot summers. There are several places, especially along Tevere river that sell it. The most famous one is Sora Mirella, right outside the Jewish ghetto. The price: less than 5 euros.
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