There’s this extraordinary slice of Rome wedged between the Stazione Trastevere, the Tiber, and McDonalds. If you can overlook the stench emitted by the latter landmarks, the place is almost perfect. In addition to its pretty pastel-hued 1920s housing blocks and views of Monte Testaccio and Gazometro, this swath of Trastevere’s deep south is home to some seriously delicious food. For natural wines and Roman specialties with some Umbrian and Sardinian dishes woven into the menu, there’s Tavernaccia Da Bruno. Just a block away, a small kosher cafeteria called C’è Pasta…e Pasta serves Roman Jewish classics.
As the name implies (C’è Pasta…e Pasta means: there’s pasta…and pasta), the place serves pasta. They also sell packages of fresh dairy kosher and parve pastas made in house; meat-filled pastas are brought in from an off-site kosher kitchen and sold to take away only. I usually skip the carbs and go straight for concia (fried zucchini marinated with garlic and herbs), deeply roasted caramelized vegetables, marinated fish, and aliciotti con indivia (a casserole of anchovies layered with curly endive). In the summer, I’ll grab some stuffed tomatoes to eat in or take away. They serve carciofi alla giudia in season (late fall to early spring).
Portions are generous, prices are moderate, and the clientele is local, all features that set C’è Pasta…e Pasta apart from most of its kosher counterparts in the Ghetto* so check it out for a crash course in local Jewish dishes. C’è Pasta…e Pasta is located at Via Ettore Rolli 29, a short walk from Stazione Trastevere and Testaccio. Open: Mon-Thurs 8:30am-3:00pm, 5:00-9:30pm; Fri 8:30am-3:00pm; Sat 8:30am-3:00pm, 6:00-9:30pm. Closed Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
*Rome’s former Jewish quarter is mostly overrun with terrible traps. If you want to eat in the Ghetto, I recommend Mondo di Laura (cookies), Boccione (cookies and cakes), and Nonna Betta (a restaurant). You can even get away with a meal at Ba Ghetto Milky but it’s hit or miss. The other places are disasters.