When traveling, I like to find places off the beaten path. This goes for attractions as well as food. I’ve found that if I get away from the other tourists, I not only have a more authentic experience but also usually end up saving money.
With that in mind, here are five of the most delicious and unique foods I ate in Rome that also happen to be cheap.
These little deep fried balls of rice come in a variety of flavor combinations like the Arrabiata, made with tomato, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and chili pepper; or the Crochetta Affumicata, stuffed with potato, smoked Pecorino, eggs, and smoked mozzarella cheese; and my favorite, Cacio e Pepe, filled with Roman Pecorino cheese, mozzarella, and black pepper.
For only $2-$3 each, you can make a nice little lunch or afternoon snack by trying whichever flavors jump out at you.
Sora Mirella is an unsuspecting food stand along the Tiber River serving up grattachecca (translates to shaved ice) or glorified snow cones filled with fruit and juices. I wouldn’t have given the stand a second thought except that a friend back at home had raved about it.
Sora Mirella offers many different flavors. After a long, hot day of walking, I chose the Prezioso filled with mixed berries to cool me off. It did not disappoint.
Beware though, they have very Italian hours. What I mean is that they don’t stick to a schedule. Online it said they were open until 1 AM; but both nights when I went by after dinner, they were closed. Finally, I caught them in the middle of the afternoon.
Cacio e Pepe Pasta
Cacio e Pepe is a traditional Roman pasta dish with just butter, black pepper, and Pecorino Romano. You can find it at most traditional Roman spots. It seemed so simple that I didn’t expect to be raving about it, but it is still, months later, the pasta dish I bring up the most in conversation. I had mine at a hole-in-the-wall spot, down an alley, in Trastevere named Trattoria Da Lucia.
All The Ravioli at Mariolina
If you’re looking for some delicious pasta with a modern flair, give Mariolina a try. Mariolina is run by Pablo. I was there with a new friend I made while traveling, and Pablo kept us plenty entertained, chatting with us while we ate and sharing lots of fascinating facts you only learn from talking to a local.
As the title suggests, everything here is ravioli — pumpkin ravioli; ravioli stuffed with pork, sun dried tomato and walnuts; ravioli with rabbit and spinach walnut pesto; ravioli with Ricotta and spinach; and even ravioli with pumpkin and sausage.
Il Maritozzo at Il Maritozzaro
My favorite food in Rome was the Il Maritozzo found in a small bakery in a completely unsuspecting part of town. Getting to Bar Il Maritozzaro requires a bit of a walk from the tourist’s zones, but those willing to make the effort are rewarded with not just a delicious treat but also the magic of feeling like they’ve actually discovered Italy (no English tailored to tourists here).
At Il Maritozzaro they serve up a variety of specialties, but they’re known for the Maritozzo, a large pastry puff made of light airy dough and overflowing with whipped cream. It was quite possibly the closest I’ve ever come to eating pure joy.
Even if you don’t find yourself in that part of Rome, believe me when I say it’s worth making the time to go exploring in that region of the city.
There you have it — five delicious, unique and cheap eats in Rome. So what do you think? Which one has your mouth watering? Have you been to Rome? What would you add to the list? Please share in the comments.