Rome’s Budget Friendly Breakfast of Champions

While in Rome, Bello and I stayed in the Salario neighborhood to save on hotel costs. We quickly learned what a youthful, lively neighborhood we were in by all the great restaurant, wine bars and particularly our favorite breakfast spot, La Portineria Bakery.

An adorable shop, that’s easy to walk right by, La Portineria sits a few steps down off Via Reggio Emilia. Glass doors open shedding bright morning light on a space that could only be describes by this New Yorker as the Roman “Central Perk.” Porta means door in Italian and the walls are lined with them behind a couch that says, come on in friend, stay a while.  

Welcome Friends, Sit Stay a While
Welcome Friends, Sit Stay a While

When I got an eye full of their pastries, I was pretty sure we would in fact, sit and stay a while. Which we did in the sunny courtyard outback.

Happy Gal on the Patio
Happy Gal on the Patio

Now onto the good stuff, the pastries. These are no ordinary, run of the mill bakery items. These are award winning, highly rated, buttery, crispy, light as air, kiss your Mamma kinda of pastries. Pastry Chef Gian Luca Forino is a Champion, literally… he was named the Champion World of Pastry Junior in 2013.

Our first morning, I found one of my all time favorites, the Ventaglio. A heart shaped pastry that looks a little like what the French call the Palmier.

Heart Shaped Pastry Ventaglio
Heart Shaped Pastry Ventaglio

I know, cookies for breakfast! Hell yes, when they are this good. I took a bite and the crispy layers melted in my mouth screaming “we are what butter was made for!” A second bite and I was amazed at how light the pastry was. Unlike the Palmier it was not a sugar shock.

I had found Croissants sassy sister.

My life has never been the same and I miss this pastry every morning. Now months later, my mouth is watering typing this. Darn you Gian Luca Forino, you pastry god! I’ve been ruined by you, ruined… and reminded now to return to Rome stat.

Ventaglio at La Portineria
Ventaglio at La Portineria

Ok speaking of the Croissant. Bello had one the second morning and gave me a bite. Not since falling in love with the Croissant in Paris have I found one so good.

On our third morning, yes our third in a row, I wasn’t hearing of going anywhere else in Rome once I found this place, I tried my third pastry and again was delighted. More buttery light layers but this time with a little sticky, sweet stripe of apple goodness rolled inside. Oh and it’s worth a mention, the coffee is solid!

Buttery Layers with Apple
Buttery Layers with Apple

At around 3€ a pastry with your basic coffee priced per usual in Italy around 1€, you’re not breaking the bank to eat what truly is, the breakfast of champions. Pastry Champions that is!

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