(UPDATE: read the new post here.)Over the past six months or so, restaurants in Rome have been competing for the budget conscious lunch crowd by offering moderately priced prix fixe menus and plentiful buffets. It has always been easy to eat cheaply in Rome, where shops selling high quality, inexpensive, and fresh pizza al taglio and panini are abundant. But now you can get an even wider selection of food at seemingly discounted prices. Here are some places I recommend:
RosticceRì: Chef Massimo Riccioli’s new-ish rosticceria/tavola calda/raw bar/deli/take away place does inexpensive snacks and meals in two locations (Piazza Testaccio and Corso Rinascimento). The concept is a bit over the top and trying to be all things to all people doesn’t always work out, but so far, the food is good, quick, and moderately priced. The offerings vary pretty widely, ranging from arancine allo zafferano to sushi and sashimi (strange, I know). The Testaccio location offers discounts on Saturday evening orders and both stores provide home delivery.
Filippo La Mantia: Have all the caponata, escarole, fish carpaccio and involtini di pesce spada you want–along with about 20 other dishes–at this fine dining restaurant in the Hotel Majestic on the Via Veneto. For dessert there are cannoli and cassate siciliane. Beverages are unlimited. €38 may not sound like a bargain, but consider that three little cannoli at dinner cost €20. In this light, the all you can eat lunch buffet is a definitely bargain.
L’Asino d’Oro: Chef Lucio Sforza offers a pretty spectacular deal at lunchtime. His “pranzetto” is a €12 menu including soup, a first course, a second course, a vegetable side dish, dessert, a glass of wine, and water. So much food from such a great chef is surely worth the trip to Montesacro.
In addition to the prix fixe and all you can eat buffet choices, there are also lots of cafeteria style dining options where you can eat filling portions of excellent pasta for around €5. Cafffe Camerino (that’s right, three fs) in Largo Argentina has a one of my favorite buffets in the center and Bar Alberto Pica nearby also does great homemade food at low prices. For more on eating on a budget in Rome, check out this post.