Updated on August 28th 2023
Eating Cheaply in Rome
"I, personally, think there is a real danger of taking food too seriously. Food should be part of the bigger picture." said Anthony Bourdain and on this occasion, I agree with him. And the bigger picture when munching on a simple but delicious roast pork panino at Er Buchetto, is Rome of course, and all her historical treasures waiting for you to discover.
Yes, I know it’s a dive and Alessandro, who lords over this tiny eatery, hardly smiles at all. But Er Buchetto, not far from Termini Station, is a slice of Roman social history, that is sadly fading away. Many of Rome’s old, traditional, family run diners have closed. Replaced with the sort of restaurants you can find all over the modern world in all the major cities.
At Er Buchetto what you see is what you get, once you squeeze yourself into its tiny space. Its been selling porchetta, generously sliced from an impressively size roast pig in a glass case at the entrance, since 1890, and fortunately for you and me it has no plans to change at all any time soon.
Eating delicious, juicy thick slices of roast pork with a healthy portion of crackling in a fresh, crunchy roll is a Roman tradition.
A full pig is boned, leaving much of the belly and back meat which is rubbed with rosemary and I suspect some kind of rock-salt. It’s rolled up and tied off and then roasted whole. For centuries this dish was served throughout the farming communities of Lazio and the Abruzzo. Always washed down with a generous slurp of the local wine. I’m told the village which is best known for this rustic delicacy is Ariccia, in the Castelli Romani.
The porchetta usually comes in a fresh roll, but you can have slices of it served on wax paper with a side dish of sliced fresh tomatoes. In the winter I suggest a wine and in the summer an ice-cold beer to accompany your roast pork.
It’s the best deal in town and a place truly unique to Rome and there are not many of those left sadly for this traveller. At around 5 euros a serve why wouldn't you eat here?
Opening Hours: Sunday Closed
Monday 10 am–3 pm, 5–9 pm
Tuesday 10 am–3 pm, 5–9 pm
Wednesday 10 am–3 pm, 5–9 pm
Thursday 10 am–3 pm, 5–9 pm
Friday 10 am–3 pm, 5–9 pm
Saturday 10 am–3 pm
If you find yourself waiting for a train at Termini Station and you have the time, walk the 5/10 minutes to Er Buchetto and enjoy their food. It will be a much better option than anything served in the station.
This story was originally published on February 5th 2023
Peter Kilby is an artist, writer, story-teller, journalist and avid traveller who lived and worked in Italy from 1987 to 2018. He created Perfect Traveller to bring the world of Italian art and history closer to you and in a way that is entertaining and informative; together with great travel tips. Getting off the beaten track in Italy is always an adventure and he invites you to join him in discovering an Italy that will surprise and amaze you.