Across the Spanish Steps, Via della Croce is home to two good places. One of them is Pompi, a place I’ve written about in another piece. The other one is Pastificio, a pasta place that is as famous as Pompi.
This hovel that you wouldn’t even recognize while passing by has been focusing on only one thing for the last 100 years: Pasta, as the Italians call it. There is a pasta place wherever you turn your head in Italy but there are two important factors while choosing a place: 1) Where the pasta is made 2) The price. I’m sorry to say that within a 2-mile radius of the Spanish Steps, there isn’t any place that makes real Italian food. Most of these places use pre-made ingredients and focus solely on attracting tourists. To find good Italian food, you need to get away from the tourist circles and eat what the locals eat. However, I set Pompi and Pastafico apart from this generalization. They are both cheap, clean, and serve real Italian flavors.
At Pastaficio, pasta is made twice a day, once at 1 pm, and once at 7 pm. One of which is made with pork but the other one is pork-free and sometimes made with tuna. You can watch the pasta making process as the machines they use are right at the back. They make pasta from real durum wheat and you eat while standing, with other people around. They serve only cold water with pasta. While I was there, the tomato harvest in Italy was just starting and the quality was good. But the ones who visit in Italy in the summer will be luckier in that sense.
The guy at the check counter was rude but I think it’s because he is tired of tourists. It was the first time that I saw a grumpy Italian.
Remember how I told you about Dolce Vita when writing the evaluation of Pompi? Well, you might think it absurd to eat tiramisu with an empty stomach so here is what you should do: First eat an incredible pasta dish for 4 euros (!) at Pastaficio, then get your tiramisu from Pompi, and head to the Steps to do what I told you the other day.
Remember! If you don’t want to be disappointed at your culinary experience in Rome, you need to eat and drink like a local of Rome. That’s why, my dear friends, I kindly plead with you not to get stuck in the touristic circles and go visit places that are far away from the city center. That’s where the flavor is! That’s where the cheap quality food is! That’s where real Rome is!
Address: Via della Croce, 8, 00187 Rome/Italy