This post is about takeaway food in or near the station. The next is about restaurants in Esquilino. If you can be bothered to walk a little further west from the station to Salustiano you can also get great takeaway pinsa and gelato, my post here. See also my post on Monti for other restaurants within walking distance of the station. Neighbourhood map here. City map here.
Mercato Central (Elementary A/B), 36 Via Giovanni Giolitti, www.mercatocentrale.it
Since my last visit Roma Termini train station has upped its game with a new food hall called Mercato Central. Turn left out of the south side of the station and walk along Via Giolotti till you get to the entrance which is in the same building as the station.
I started with a Trappizzino (a pizza wallet containing various fillings). The chicken cacciatore version is beloved by many and I did enjoy it although it was quite greasy (B). It definitely meets the fast food spec as it was being held out to me before I’d even finished paying.
I followed up with a slice of pizza al taglio from Bonci, a famous new name on the pizza scene. The system is a little confusing if you’re not used to it but you need to take a numbered ticket and when your number is called your choice of pizza is cut to the size you specify, weighed for price and reheated in the oven and then finally paid for. My choice of Parigina (ham, Provola cheese and rosemary) was fine but not quite as good as I was hoping for (B). Really I probably need to go to Pizzarium, Bonci’s pizzeria near the Vatican city, to appreciate his food properly.
I also had a glass of IPA (pronounced ‘eee-pah’) from the bar which was good (B). My only gripe with Mercato Central is that becuase it’s so popular all the seats were full and it can be difficult to drink while standing up holding a pizza. It’s definitely worth a visit though if you’re catching a train and have time to kill.
This next place is a five minute walk from the station but totally worth the effort…
Er Buchetto (Elementary A), 2F Via del Viminale (diagonally left over the road from the doorway of the Hotel Columbia), closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
The ‘little hole’ is a favourite of mine that I just have to visit every time I’m in Rome; a tiny hole-in-the-wall place that’s easily missed. I love the atmosphere as much as the food.
Specialising in Porchetta Romana (baby suckling pig with rosemary and garlic stuffing), it’s basically one small room with three tables and benches and stools for a maximum of ten people.
Opened in 1890, it’s like stepping back in time with old black and white photos on the walls and a warm homey feel.
The pork is carved and weighed in front of you, in 100g (l’etto), portions and put on a piece of greaseproof paper with a bread roll, nothing fancy but totally delicious.
With a quartino of the house fairly decent Castelli Romani white wine (better than the red I think) my bill came to €7.50. Alternatively you can get a sandwich to go (for a long train journey?) for about €2.50. Some cold buffet items in jars available too but not sure if they get eaten much.
You can get porchetta in Mercato Central but I doubt it’s as good or authentic.
More local restaurants next…