In November 2020 I spent a few days staying in a very cheap budget hotel (Hotel Flavio at 28 Via Mamiani, £45 per night) near Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in the Esquilino neighbourhood. The hotel room was fine, but they didn’t serve breakfast, so I got to know some of the better cafes in the area…
You’ll find them all on my Google map marked with a coffee cup (key top left).
Pasticceria Panificio Roma (Intermediate A), 54 Via Merulana, www.panellaroma.com
A popular corner cafe with outside tables on leafy Largo Leopardi.
Historically Panella was a baker’s shop and over the years they have developed bread-making into an art form with spectacular displays in their windows (eg bread replicas of the Colosseum, nativity scenes at Christmas).
Various gastronomic specialities are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner but I was most interested in a slice of Pizza Bianca (plain foccaccia) or Pizza Rossa (with tomato sauce), both of which are very typical ways to start the day in Rome.
I went for some Pizza Bianca stuffed with Mortadella, also very typical, and delicious (A).
Panella isn’t the cheapest but the food and the coffee are excellent.
And there’s another great place just around the block…
Pasticceria Regoli dal 1916 (Intermediate A), 60 Via dello Statuto, www.pasticceriaregoli.com
Another venerable pastry shop and cafe that celebrated its centenary in 2016.
Maritozzi con la Panna, yeasted buns filled with whipped cream, are another popular breakfast in Rome.
And their coffee is excellent too (both A).
They also have a rep for their Pandoro and Panettone, which are Italian Christmas staples. I wanted some to take home but I was informed that November was too early to order.
Their millefoglie and profiteroles would be excellent selections too, and their cream tarts topped with wild strawberries have also recieved accolades.
Antico Forno Roscioli (Low Intermediate C+), 46/48 Via Buonarroti, www.panificioroscioli.it
The Roscioli bakery, cafe and deli down in Parione are some of my favourite places to eat in Rome (my post here). This bakery is owned by another member of the Roscioli bakery clan. It’s much less cutting edge than the separate businesses in the centro, but it’s still an okay place.
Pizza Bianca or Pizza Rossa would be good selections here again but the Pizza al Metro (cut to your preferred size and charged by weight) looked very enticing. There’s also a tavola calda (buffet) and of course lots of succulent desserts. They even have panettone in November!
This was a second breakfast so I kept it light with a capu and a couple of Ciambelline, a kind of dry doughnut, more like a biscuit, that comes from Tuscany.
The variety they make here is includes aniseed and white wine. I found them a bit dry but perfectly edible (C+).
A walk around the neighbourhood of Pigna next…