Rome recommendations on a budget
I'm curious if there are any recommendations for Rome dining on a budget. My trip is in a couple of weeks, we will be there for 3 nights (the previous 3 nights having been in Paris). I'd like to aim for $100 a day...do you think this is doable?
Also any specific suggestions? Thanks for any advice, I am so looking forward to the trip and enjoying the Italian experience (but also need to stick to a budget)
I've recently had my umpteenth and last budget dinner in a place chosen by the young engineers who work with my husband. It has inspired me to offer some general guidelines on not throwing your money away when eating out on a budget in Rome. With some intelligent scrimping, it should be possible to go to a decent mid-level restaurant once in a while.
- Don’t assume that a place is good because it’s full of Italians. They may be students willing to eat anything as long as it’s cheap, or regulars who always order the same thing, and you don’t know what it is.
- Fish is usually a bad idea in cheap places.
- Avoid places with huge menus. They probably bought all those sauces from the wholesale supermarket.
- Do some homework so you recognize local foods and stick to those. Avoid fancy-sounding ingredients (e.g., salmon) in cheap places.
- Learn to shop so you can take a little picnic to the park at lunch time and have a bit extra in your budget for a better restaurant in the evening.
-Don’t throw your money away sitting down at fancy cafés in tourist areas. Stand up at the bar and sit free in a park.
- Try to skip the overpriced hotel breakfast and have a cappuccino and cornetto standing in a bar, like regular people.
- Don’t buy expensive bottles of mineral water to walk around with. Drink water free from the wonderful fountains of Rome. (And for heaven's sake, don't carry your bottles into restaurants and plop them on the table.)
- Stand-up pizza al taglio is a good option for lunch.
- A decent bar/tavola calda is a better choice for lunch than a lousy trattoria.
- If you’re exhausted and about to drop, sit down and have a coffee at a bar, not a whole meal.
I'll add my enthusiastic ditto for the free water of Rome and admit to having passed in favor of expensive bottled water my first couple of trips to Rome. Then, I went on a trip focusing on Roman Structures run by an Italian professor of archaeology. He kept reassuring everyone that the water is safe and showed us how to partially cover the hole at the top of the pipe to create an arc of water that would be easier to reach. He did have one recommendation; if we had a choice between drinking from a constantly flowing fountain and one that was turned off and on to choose the constantly-flowing option.
ditto these, especially the learn to shop option. Throwing together a delectable picnic (or, fine, since it IS almost december, a meal under a portico) is not only cheaper but way more fun. Hit up a local market (not one of the ones downtown, although the prices at Campo dei Fiori aren't usually that bad) for fresh fruit, a panificio for freshly baked bread, an alimentari for olives/vegetables/yogurt/anything else and you're good to go for lunch. Also not a bad thing for breakfast, if you can't quite stomach just a cornetto in the morning.
Because we do not know in which area you will be staying, I will suggest only good casual places centrally located. Average cost will be 20-25 euro per person for 3 courses and house wine:
Via Tacito 80 (Prati-Vatican)
Open only for lunch - closed Sunday
Via dei Vascellari 29 (Trastevere)
lunch and dinner - closed sunday
Largo del Pallaro 15 (near Campo de' Fiori)
Fixed price menu should be 27 euro- closed Monday
Via del Gesu 87(not far from Pantheon)
Open only for lunch - closed Sunday
Piazza del Fico 29 (not far Piazza Navona)
Open every day - great pizza too
Piazza de' Renzi 15 (Trastevere)
Closed on Sunday
Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9 (near Ara Pacis
Buffet lunch for 10 euro
Via Margutta 1 (Piazza del Popolo)
Buffet lunch for 10 euro. Closed on Monday
I wish you all the best!!
Darn, I think my other reply was meant to be directed to you. Techno-phobs should be banned from this sort of thing. Anyway - look at the other one i posted, and here are a few others, including some of the ones from the other, just to confuse you a little bit.
100 dollars a day is do-able. The euro is very strong right now but you can easily get well-rounded meals for 25-30 euros a person - this would include wine, your own primo and sharing an antipasto or secondo with your companion. There are also cheaper options than that.
For budget (and semi-budget) lunches and dinners, I would recommend
Vatican: Ristorante Osteria dell'Angelo via Bettolo, 24 00192 Roma (RM) Telefono: 06 3729470 - 25 euro, complete dinner; Lunches ala carte.
Dino e Toni Via Leone - almost at Andrea Doria - tons of good antipasti and tastings of primi - get Amatriciana and Pasta al radicchio.
Terno Secco, Andrea Doria - cheap, reliable local joint with nice waiters - I had a meal last night there that came to 40 euro with my partner, and the meal included us both getting bruschette, primi, wine, and a large second plate and side that we divided
Il Falcone - inexpensive and pretty good fish and pizza near Cipro, with an antipasto bar; a good family place
Pizzarium - also near Cipro - amazing take-away pizza
Sagra del Vino - Via Marziale - 25 euro for a full meal from antipasto - cookies; 4 generations of Romans run it.
Bar Sotto il Mare, Via Tunisi (more pricey but interesting fish dishes) - 25 euro, divided antipasto and primi.
Osteria Prati (across the street from Bar Sotto Il Mare same deal/price as above, a bit more elegant)
Siciliainbocca - near Osteria del Angelo - delicious Sicilian food - get fried chickpea appetizers and calamari.
Centro - Piazza Navona: Da Tonino - Via Governo Vecchio - great location, cheap, cheap, cheap, I mean cheap, and I always enjoy my food. Primi and secondi all around.
Desiderio Preso Per La Coda (a bit pricier than the cheapest but not much);
Insalata Ricca - good, reliable salad chain everywhere, Piazza Risorgimento and Pasquino.
Campo Dei Fiori -
Go to Filetti di Bacala if you like fried cod or fried zucchine - otherwise, there is nothing for you! I love it but only allow myself to eat it every once in a while.
Piazza di Spagna:
Fiaschetteria Via della Croce - fresh, good food.
IL Gran Sasso Via Ripetta, near Piazza del Popolo - nice people, reliable food - I always love their antipasto - a perfect trio - bruschetta, fried zucchine flower, and olive ascolane.
Sora Margherita - used to be more cheap, but more people found out about it, although it is still charming. Homemade pastas - I like pasta e ceci and obviously fried artichokes, though not in season quite yet.
Al Pompiere - If you go - fried zucchine flowers! I also like the pasta (tonnarelli?) with a lemony cream sauce.
Le Mani in Pasta
Basilica San Paolo area -
Trattoria Zampagna - delightful