Italy, or should we call it Eataly?!
Famed for its food which is arguably some of the best in the world (and frankly, we agree). Pizza, pasta, anti pasti, cured meats, mozzarella, prosecco…
We recently enjoyed a European city break to Rome, the city of Angels which has art, culture and gelateria around every corner.
A city break can start to add up when you consider everything: the flights, hotel, tickets to museums, eating out. But, a weekend away in Rome does not need to be expensive if you know where to eat and what to look out for. We did 3 days in Rome for under €40 a day and still managed to eat, drink and explore to our hearts content.
Admittedly on the first night we were not so switched on and found ourselves getting ripped off when we ate somewhere close to the Trevi Fountain. Our meal came to around €42 for two pasta dishes and a bottle of wine. When the bill came we questioned why the wine was more expensive than what it had appeared on the menu. The waitress explained that it was because the one of the menu was a smaller version, although they had bought out the larger bottle without us knowing, which is very cheeky. The food however was a nice way to start our eating adventure in Roma. The pasta was of great quality, I had the pesto al pasta with basil and parmesan cheese which was simple yet tasty. But, all in all what we had was fairly overpriced in comparison to some of our later meals.
On the second day of our weekend getaway, we did the usual tourist stuff such as the Colosseum, strolling through the Roman forum and then after all that walking we settled on lunch across the river. We ventured a bit further out of the centre to Trastevere, better known as Rome’s ‘Old Town’. Prices literally halve in this area of town, and we had some of our best meals here. The neighbourhood itself is really cool with lots of wine bars and vintage shops.
Looking for amazing Italian pizza, we stopped off at Papa Re. This is authentic Italian food, and we felt very much off the tourist trail being the only non-Italian people in the restaurant. The food was definitely value for money, with pizzas priced at between €7-8 each, and with wine priced at €8 for a litre or €4 for a half which was served out of a ceramic jug. I had the Papa Re pizza which was tomato, egg, sausage, mushroom and mozzarella which was delicious. My egg was slightly overdone and they could of done with a little more sausage on the pizza but hey! I’m just fussy.
After finishing our meal (service fairly slow) a while later, we walked around the neighbourhood. This was when we came across an even cheaper restaurant which was doing margarita pizzas for as little as €2!! Being a cold winter’s day, the outside area was packed and that was the moment the decision was made to come back and try Carlo Menta.
Although the pizzas at Papa Re were good and definitely what we would call ‘value for money’, there was an even better selection of pizzas at Carlo Menta. In the end I chose the courgette, aubergine and pepper pizza with tomato base and mozzarella costing €6. My boyfriend went for the seafood pasta and I’ve gotta say I certainly had food envy because it looked (and most importantly tasted) absolutely delicious. The seafood was a mixture of king prawns, clams, mussels and a rich tomato and herb sauce. We also got a bruschetta to share, all totalling around €22 for lunch.
At this point, I do need to take a time out from pizza and tell you all about the amazing kinds of gelato we tried. Gelato is a rite of passage if you’re in Italy and you don’t have to stick to just the traditional flavours. When we were in Trastevere we stumbled across Fatamorgana Gelato – this is the most amazing gelato parlour with a dizzying amount of flavours to choose from. In the end I went for the pumpkin seed and pear flavours which were incredible, all for €2.50.
Another place you have GOT to try is near to the Trevi Fountain, called Punto Gelato. Although I went for the kiwi, melon and banana flavour, my boyfriend got the salted caramel flavour which was by far the best ice cream I’ve ever tried. So much food envy.
The last place we tried that by no means does the best flavours but has the best ambience is the gelateria right next to the Trevi Fountain. Yes, it’s definitely on the more expensive side at around €4 euros for two scoops by boy, are they big portions.
On our final evening, we decided to eat somewhere nearer to the Trevi Fountain again (where our hotel, Hotel 87 was based). After some googling we came across a spaghetteria (spaghetti house) place called L’archetto. My boyfriend had the calzone with cheese, ham and mushrooms inside and I got the seafood spaghetti with prawns, peas and cream. I also got a carafe of the vino blanco for €3 which turned out to be a kind of fizzy wine (mmm prosecco). Result!
Rome is a beautiful city with amazing culture, history and food which should be enjoyed without any calorie counting or guilty feelings after your third gelato of the weekend. There are always ways in which you might you fall into the tourist trap but if you watch out for some of the tricks, and know where are the best places to eat in town then you’re quids in.
If you’d like any more information on any of the restaurants we’ve reviewed, please free feel to contact us.