Despite it’s mythic food reputation, eating in Rome isn’t always puppies and roses and delicious meals all the time. And sometimes you want something other than cacio e pepe (as delicious as it is!) for the 10,000th time. So, here are three places to eat in Rome that are all fast, (relatively) cheap, and not-really traditional Italian that I MUST eat at when I am in the city: 00100 (now known as Trapizzino), Kabir Fast Food, and Ali Baba Kebab.
My dear companion and I have been going to 00100 for their trapizzini for years. For a while a few years ago he lived across the piazza from 00100 and honest to god there were days when he went there more than once. They’ve changed a lot since then–including price increases, expanding to a second location in Ponte Milvio, renovating their original Testaccio location, getting rid of their pizza options (RIP Greenwich), changing the name and branding and all sorts of things. All of that is secondary to the absurd deliciousness of a trapizzino. It’s essentially a square of extra-fluffy pizza bianca with a pocket cut into it, which they fill with Roman classics like coda alla vaccinara (coda 4 lyfe!), pollo alla cacciatora (pollo is my ride or die), lingua in salsa verde, and others that are all SO GOOD. SO GOOD. Though it goes by a different name now, it will always be 00100 to me and it will always be one of the first places I stop when I get to Rome.
Kabir Fast Food:
The Piazza Vittorio area of Rome (right by Termini) is incredibly international, with a large swathe of the city’s immigrant population residing there. That means the neighborhood market is one of the most vibrant in the city in terms of options AND you’ll find a ton of Indian food, including my favorite place, Kabir Fast Food. We went here ALL THE TIME. Probably averaged to at least once a week. It’s cafeteria style Indian food, so there’s a couple veg options and a couple meat options and lots of the delicious fried bites. A whole meal with naan, a meat dish, a veg side and maybe a samosa or two would be about 10euro. And when you’ve been drowning in a sea of pasta and pizza and panino for months and months, the variety is a godsend. Even after returning to Rome following a 10-month absence when I wasn’t tired of the traditional classics, I still wanted to eat at Kabir Fast Food first thing.
Ali Baba Kebab: (no photo of this one unfortunately).
There are a million and one kebab places in Rome. Thank god for that because if you get back to the city late without any food in your apartment there’s likely to be a kebab place open somewhere so you won’t starve. But the kebab places vary hugely in terms of their quality and the likelihood they’ll give you GI distress later on. The only kebab place that I would truly recommend to eat when not under late-night circumstances is Ali Baba Kebab. It’s out in the ‘burbs, so it’s unlikely you would just stumble across it, but it IS super convenient if you’ve gone out to the Parco degli Acquedotti (which of course you did, right? It’s one of the greatest places on earth!) because it’s just a stop or two (Arco di Travertino) before there on the A line. The toppings options are killer, the cylinder of cooked meat isn’t shipped in frozen, but rather composed on premises, and the flavors are fresh and bright and like Kabir Fast Food, a great alternative to the mountain of flour that is so much of Italian food.
For my big graduation trip earlier this year I was only in Rome for three days, but I insisted on eating at all three of these places. I wish I could eat at them now!