Friday, April 6, 2012

Restaurant Review: Pastificio

For those who are familiar with the Spanish Steps, you very likely know already that the area is easily one of the most expensive parts of Rome. Adjacent to the steps is a tea room where it costs 10 Euro for tea ($13.00!). Going there for high tea to get the extra sandwiches, fruit salad and pastries that come with your afternoon tea? That will knock you back 31 Euro. Some of the biggest names in the clothing industry have their own stores located right next to this touristy Spanish square known as Piazza di Spagna. Prada, Bulgari, Gucci. They are just a few examples setting expectations of real estate value and consumer price points.

Thankfully, a couple streets down towards Piazza del Popolo (the one with the huge obelisk north of the Spanish square), people looking for a high quality lunch at extremely affordable rates need look no further.

Pastificio is a fresh pasta maker. It's actually the generic name for a pasta shop, the same way forno is the generic name for a bread bakery. How you know they make pasta is because their neon sign above the serving counter says Pasta Fresca,  Fresh Pasta. Can't miss it. From what I know, every week day starting at 1:00pm, they offer the area's best budget eats for lunch.

4 Euro for a plate of their fresh made pasta and a plastic cup for Chianti wine and/or water at the counters.
Pastificio lines their small establishment with bottles of cold water. The wine bottle is up near the register where you purchase the lunch. If you are lucky enough to find a seat, cram yourself in, make friends with your neighbor and don't bother stopping yourself from raving about how good the fresh pasta is.  It's likely your new friend will gladly agree with you.

Or take it to go and eat it on the Spanish Steps. But guard yourself well! Those other tourists hanging out in the Roman sun will spot your doughy treasure and likely trick you into looking the other way as they sneak a hand into your dish as if it were the classic french fry steal.
It's worth mentioning that I had already eaten at least half of my portion before I took the picture... Indeed the quantity/price/quality ratios are through the roof at Pastificio!
It seems each week day they offer this lunch special. So far, I have found that they make two varieties of pasta that day. For example, I went yesterday which was a Thursday. In Italy, Thursdays are traditionally gnocchi days so you would find many restaurants offering that product that day. The same holds for Monday through Wednesday, each having a traditional pasta made that particular day.

Pastificio offered the traditional Thursday Roman pasta, gnocchi in tomato sauce with a meatball, and then they offered their version of Gricia using their fresh slightly-thicker-than-spaghetti pasta combined with olive oil, pepper, and pecorino romano cheese. Simple but delicious.

Pastificio is located in the first block of Via della Croce, a bordering street of Piazza di Spagna. Lunch only is served at 13:00/1:00pm. If you want to buy their fresh pasta, they are also open Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.

Via della Croce, number 8
Roma, Italia, 00187
Near the Spanish Steps, take the metro A line to the stop: Spagna

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