There are as many wonderful places to eat and dine in Rome as there are tourist traps, probably more but the traps are concentrated in the heavily touristed areas like the Piazza Navona, Pantheon etc.
Let's look at a few great spots to grab a quick lunch, a coffee or a fine chocolate that are not only great but inexpensive.
Il Faro Caffeteria Tavola Calda- Via in Aricone 78/79, Roma
Around the corner from the Trevi Fountain this great little caffeteria is a favorite of local workers and mine for years. Their stiffed tomatoes, a Roman specialty, are just delicious and one of the best I have had in Rome. There are typically two to three pasta dishes the choose from and a baked pasta dish as well. Expect plenty of grilled vegetables and other specials which change daily.
The prices, WOW! This will be your least expensive meal in Roma.
Castroni (Maxsim Srl)- Via Nationale 71, Roma. I love walking down Via nazionale because it is not heavily touristed, I usually walk from my hotel near the Piazza Navona to the Piazza Venezia and then take a quick bus ride to The Piazza della Repubblica, stops are clearly posted on the bus stop signs and buses are a great way to get around Rome*) the I just wander down the hill that is Via Nazionale which is peppered with shops, a museum and planty of people watching. Castor has some wicked good coffee, some say better than Saint Eustacio but I think they are both awesome. There is a sitting area in the back and you may purchase lunch at the counter. An assortment of panini, grilled vegetables and many other things can be had a Castroni. Their specialty is specilties! Candies, liquors, jams and jars of amazing condiments are a few steps down in their adjoining store. Remember in Italy, you go to the register, tell them what you want to eat or drink then give your receipt to the counter clerk. Have fun exploring Castroni.
Forno Roscioli S.A.S, di Roscioli PierLuigi & C. - Via dei Chiavari 34, Roma, between piazza navona and Campo de Fiori is this fantastic bakery, owned by the brother of my favorite restaurant Salumeria Roscioli. Another great lunch spot or stop for a quick bite at dinner time too. Fall in love with Roman Pizza, flat breads and desserts. Pizzas here are different from the Napolitano famed pizzas but also delicious. They also have a Tavola Calda (Hot Table) of meats and grilled veggies etc. If you are there between Christmas and Easter pick up a few of their fabulous Panetone (and send me one) This is a spot not to miss.
Sant' Eustachio Il Cafe' S.R.L. - If you don't love coffee, espresso, cafe or cappuccino now is the time to start. The most talked about coffee in the world it would be a sin not to stop here for a cafe. It is very close to the Piazza Navona.
*Remember number two on the list of pet peeves of Roman's is Tourists, typically American ones who order Cappuccino after 11am.
Cappuccino is a breakfast drink.
See my other entry "Pet peeves of Italians"
Moriondo & Gariglio di Minelli Pierina & C. SNC - Via Del Pie 'di Marmo N. 21/22, Boy that's mouthful! Of Chocolate to be sure!
Begun in 1850 in Torino in the service of the House of Savoy Moriondo is one of the finest chocolate houses of Europe and the world. Time honored recipes handed down from generation to generation typify this fine house of chocolate. If you love chocolate this is the Louvre of Chocolate, not to be missed.
Enjoy these little tidbits!