Sometimes it feels like fast food has taken over. I was shocked to see signs next to the Trevi Fountain pointing me to the nearest McDonalds. And back home in Detroit, the queues for the drive through Starbucks are twice as long as the ones inside.
The Slow Food Movement was born in resistance to that, but often times I think it gets lost in it’s high minded ideals and becomes too bourgeois to be accessible (not to mention affordable) for the average person.
Ciao Checca Slow Street Food is awesome, because it’s the perfect balance between the two extremes we’re often forced to choose between. It’s founders recognise that fast food is popular for a reason – it’s easy, affordable, and fast. But they also don’t believe that you need to sacrifice affordability or quick service in order to preserve taste, quality ingredients, and or heritage.
And in the heart of the Historic Centre behind a little unassuming doorway, they’re proving that belief to be absolutely true.
Their specialty, unsurprisingly, is Pasta alla Checca (pronounced kay-kah). It’s a simple dish, comprising just of pasta, mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and a dash of salt and pepper.
Being so simple means that the ingredients must be quality in order for the the dish to be any good. Conversely, the simplicity also allows the basic ingredients to shine through in unexpected ways. You’ll find that same philosophy behind all of their other menu options.
All of the food they used is sustainably and locally sourced, with everything from their food containers to furniture designed to have the lowest impact on the environment.
They’ve got a small menu of soups, salads, and pasta options, all of which are freshly cooked to perfection by the chefs in the back. I loved that you could watch them at work in the kitchen while you wait for your food, adding yet another layer of literal transparency to their operation.
Olivia and I got seasonal smoothies and the seasonal vegetables and big bowl of Pasta alla Checca to share, served with a side of freshly baked bread.
Liv has been living in Rome for two years, and yet she was stunned at how good everything was!
In keeping with their philosophy of using top ingredients, Ciao Checca uses mozzarella di bufala in their Pasta alla Checca, which was a delicious indulgence for lunch.
We especially loved the vegetables, prepared with only enough salt, butter, or pepper to enhance their natural flavour, rather than mask anything.
What we loved even more: refills. I’m not kidding! They’ve got special refill prices on every single menu item here, ensuring you can fill up without breaking the bank.
We weren’t the only ones that loved it. Ciao Checca is a labrintine little place with room after room, and all but the last one was filled with Romans chatting away on their lunch break!
This was by far one of my favourite places I ate at while in Rome. It was right in the Historic Centre, a stone’s throw away from anywhere you would be. The service was fast, friendly, and the space itself was gorgeous to hang out in.
And of course, the food was delicious.
Olivia said it was the closest she’s gotten in a restaurant to home cooking, and made sure to grab a loyalty card on her way out. So if you’re looking for an authentic experience make sure not to miss Ciao Checca!