Rome is generally not the cheapest city ever, but there are bargains to be had.  Example: a great little pasta joint called Pastificio.  It’s been around since 1918 (it’s always a good sign when a restaurant has that kind of longevity); it doubles as a shop where you can buy pasta to bring home and cook yourself, and starting at 1:00 P.M., as a purveyor of delightfully cheap (and delicious) meals.

They have two types of pasta available each day; the day I went, it was carbonara (which is essentially bacon and eggs in pasta form) and arrabiata (which is pasta with a spicy tomato sauce).

It’s only four Euros per serving (!), so if you’re indecisive like me, you can just get both. I don’t necessarily recommend this, however — it’s actually a fairly sizable portion, so you’ll end up with way more than what a reasonable person should eat for lunch (especially when your “breakfast” was gelato).

Crazy good

But then again, they were both super delicious, so I kinda do recommend getting both?  I don’t know, you do you.  I’m the guy who followed up eating an entire pizza with a second, deep-fried pizza, so that’s where my head’s at.

And man, that fresh pasta (fettuccine in this case) — it was something special.  Perfectly al dente, with a satisfying springy texture, it was pretty much pasta perfection.

Both sauces were pretty great, though if I had to choose I’d give the edge to the carbonara. It was addictively rich, with an unctuous creaminess from the perfectly cooked eggs, and satisfying pops of saltiness from the still-crispy pancetta.


The arrabiata was less of a crowd-pleaser (the people around me were mostly ordering the carbonara), but with its vibrant and surprisingly fiery sauce, I enjoyed it almost as much.

And four Euros!  It was so delicious and so cheap that I was kind of tempted to go back for a third helping, but apparently even my gluttony has its limits.

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