There is a new trend happening in Rome, and it’s a delicious one. To get around the cost and bureaucracy of obtaining a restaurant permit, many young entrepreneurs are turning to a new solution of opening take away places.
While Rome has always had pizza a taglio places, where a take out slice of pan pizza was traditional, the newer places go beyond this. These places apply for a permit that allows them to sell food, but not to serve it. In theory it’s for take away consumption only. But in a way that only Romans can do, they have figured out how to get around this hurdle, by supplying benches, stools and counters that make it easy to eat where you are.
Of course, some of these places are good, and others not so much. Here is a list of some of my personal favorites in my neighborhood of Monti. Feel free to eat in the shops, but if you want to take your meal to go, you can either head to the cute Piazza della Madonna dei Monti,and have a picnic on the steps of the fountain, or else venture just a bit further to the neighborhood’s hidden park, Villa Aldobrandini (Via Mazzarino 11) for a shady spot.
Pasta Chef (Via Baccina 42) This tiny pasta take out place is currently listed as the number one restaurant in Rome on Tripadvisor. I’m not quite sure how that happened, since it’s not really a restaurant. But it is awfully good, with really great prices. A perfect stop for a quick bowl of excellently made pasta. Open lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday
La Piadineria – (Via del Boschetto 98, 06 4890 7923 ) Part of a small chain, but very good piadine, a type of flat bread panino. They have about 20 different combinations to choose from, and include vegetarian options too.
Green & Go (Via del Boschetto 20) New salad place where you can design your own salad. You choose the base (greens or grains) and then add on toppings. It all gets mixed and dressed, ready to eat. I know this will seem not-so-new for those living in the States, but for Rome it’s completely unheard of.
Crepes Galettes (Via Leonina 21a) Yes, it’s French, but they do lovely crepes, both savory and sweet. Teeny tiny, with only about six seats. There is often a long wait, but worth it.
Pizzeria La Boccaccia (Via Leonina 73) Part of a small Roman chain, their pizza al taglio (take away) is actually very good. Get a slice and head to the piazza to eat it.
Zia Rosetta (Via Urbana 54) Taking the rose shaped rosetta roll as it’s theme, this small panino shops makes some of the most delicious and inventive sandwiches in the neighborhood. They come in two sizes, so if you can’t quite decide, you can get a few small ones to try.
Pizza Trieste (Via Urbana 112) Outpost of a famous Abruzzese pizzeria. Small round pan pizza. If you’re on your own, you ca easily make one a meal. Or, if you are with friends, get a few different ones to share. There are no seats in the store itself, but they have rented the space next door, and set up a large eating area.
Aromaticus (Via Urbana 134, 96.488.1355) Light and airy bistrot, focusing on fresh herbs. Feels like a garden shop, because it is that too.
Grezzo, (Via Urbana 130) Raw, vegan, chocolate. I know it sounds odd, but it’s delicious. They also have smoothies and gelato.
Monti Bio (Via Panisperna 225) This small organic store is also a great place to stop by for a simple lunch. They have grain salads, and other healthy items. Also great cheese and organic wine) Very simple, but very cute.
Monti e Dintorni (Via della Madonna dei Monti 33) This small store specializes in Calabrian delicacies. Make sure you look in the refrigerated case for mozzarella and salami. Francesco is happy to make you a sandwich from the spicy Calabrian sausage. It’s where all the locals go, especially the construction workers which is always a good sign, right?
Bar La Licata (Via dei Serpenti 165) This neighborhood bar has recently gone through a huge transformation. Gutted and renovated a couple of years ago, they took away the slot machines and put in lots of tables. And Paola, the owner, got seriously into cooking and the food they serve. Going beyond the typical panini and tramezzini that most bars serve, they offer a huge buffet of healthy options at lunch that you can eat in or take away. FYI: they also do great breakfasts, including vegan and gluten free options.
For more information on dining in Rome and Italy download my app, EAT ITALY. EAT ITALY is a free app, and contains guides to Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence, Torino and Umbria (and an ever expanding list of regions and cities) available as in-app purchases for both iPhone and iPad.
And if you’re coming to Rome you might enjoy my book Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.