If you follow me on Instagram you might think my life is one long pork and pasta fest, with a few whipped cream filled pastries to lighten things up. While I do take photos of a lot of that kind of food, and then share them far and wide, my day-to-day diet is more restrained and – dare I say – healthy?
Even though I could, and would, eat carbonara at Perilli or Flavio every day of my life, I realize that this is not an option. Which is why I’m so glad that places like Ciao Checca have begun to open up in Rome. It’s part of a welcome, and new trend, that is seeking to pair light and healthy with local and sustainable.
Ciao Checca opened about a year ago, on a quiet little square between the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. But even though this may be some of the most touristy real estate in the world, Ciao Checca is anything but.
Their motto is ‘Slow Street Food’, which I”m not 100% sure makes total sense. The Slow part is certainly accurate, since most of their ingredients hail from Slow Food presidi. It’s the street food part that they have re-invented. Rather than serve the kinds of Italian street food that we are all used to (usually fried and either meaty or doughy) they instead offer a small, but delicious menu of healthy salads and pastas, all served in paper containers that you can either eat there at counters, or take away.
Their signature dish is, of course, pasta alla checca. This iconic summer Roman pasta mixes small tube shaped pasta with nuggets of mozzarella and tomatoes. Served in a paper bowl, one serving costs just 6.50 Euros. But if you’re still hungry you can get a refill for 4 Euros. Cool, no?
They have a handful of other pastas, as well as soups. And there is always the option of ordering it with Gluten Free pasta. At the counter you’ll see the cooked vegetables of the day, as well as some grain or legume salads.
Emma and I stopped by for lunch this weekend and ordered pasta alla checca, a barley salad and the house Insalata that comes topped with melted tomino cheese and chopped walnuts. After ordering at the counter, we settled in at the counter over looking the piazza and shared everything as we watched the world go by. (the cute little alarm let us know when our food was ready)
There is plenty of seating, with a counters in the front and two adorable rooms in the back. As I mentioned you can get everything to go, so it’s the perfect stop for a pic nic. And if you are feeling creative, most of the dried ingredients are available for sale as well.
Piazza San Firenze 25
Monday: 11:30-3:30; 6:30-10:30