The Vatican & Arlù [Rome]

In Rome, sometimes you want to go on an epic culinary adventure, and sometimes you’ve been in the Vatican museums for three and a half hours with your parents and your ninety-year-old grandfather, and you are mentally exhausted and starving, and the most important thing about your meal is that 1) it is decent, 2) you can sit while you eat, and 3) it’s really really close. Thankfully, Arlù is there to save you. Also, the pasta is really good. Granted, it’s not mind-blowing good, but considering the neighborhood it’s mana from heaven. And other people think so too – Arlù has 4.5 out of 5 stars on tripadvisor. All their dough for bread, pasta, pizza, and dessert is made in house, and it’s pretty yummy. We had gnocchi with tomato sauce, fettuccine with pesto (very fresh tasting and apprently also made that morning), and spaghetti cacio e pepe. Grandad had a pizza. The dough didn’t really do it for me (too bready), but it had really good sausage on it. Moretti on draft was also a plus. The value for money was pretty good too – pastas and pizzas were around the €10 mark, which seems fair considering the area and that everything is made in house. We rounded off the meal with a panna cotta, a sort of deconstructed millefoglie, and an apple strudel. The first two were good, solid desserts but nothing to write home about. The strudel was delicious – and I don’t even like strudel.

The verdict? I wouldn’t go out of the way to eat here, but it’s a great spot for lunch or dinner after a visit to the Vatican or if you’re staying in the area. Get the pasta, but skip the pizza. Apparently they do all sorts of real food (like secondi) and big salads too, and I’d feel confident eating something more substantial based on my experience.

Ambiance: Quaint and casual cafe
Budget: Moderate
Value: Average–Good
Go for: A bite before or after touring the Vatican
Area: Vatican

Borgo Pio, 135, 00193 Roma, Italy
+39 06 686 8936
closed Sunday

photo 2-3

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