Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Jul 6, 2008 09:06 PM

Inexpensive restaurants for dinner

We're taking a trip to Italy and Sicily and we need some suggestions for inexpensive restaurants in Rome, Venice, Florence, and Lake Como. We want to eat amazing food so if it's not delicious and inexpensive, that's ok. We'll spend more if we have to. I have read the recent posts on these but I can't decide on which restaurants to pick and if I should make reservations. From what I've read so far, I have these on the list to pick from. If you have been to them it would be helpful if you can you give some details on them. Also, if you have suggestions for the Palermo region that would be great.

Rome - 2 nights, no ideas yet.

Venice - 1 night

Trattoria Storica
Ostaria Da Rioba
Nono Resorto

Florence - 2 nights

Teatro Del Sale
Trattoria Croce al Trebbio

Lake Como - 2 nights, no ideas yet

After this we'll be staying in Palermo for 10 nights. We'll spend one night in Taormina.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you have not already done so, search this board for my post: "Florence Report December 2007" for a full write-up of several restaurants in Florence, which includes complete details on Teatro del Sale but not the others you mention. As for reservations, you must make them for Teatro dinner, but not needed for Teatro lunch (and lunch is 10 Euros per person less, but no showtime as in the evening). Also be sure to check on when places are closed (Teatro is closed Sunday and Monday, as far as I know).

    1 Reply
    1. re: CJT

      Thank you. I did read your post (that's where I got the idea). From what you said, it sounds wonderful. I think we'll pick Teatro for dinner one night.

    2. Where on Lake Como? Bellagio?

      For Taormina and Palermo, check the recent posts. There have been quite a few in the last couple of months.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MBlair

        We're staying at Barchetta Excelsior

        Nearby Points of Interest
        Como railway station – five minutes drive
        Como Cathedral (with fine tapestries and painting) - 150 meters
        San Fedele Church (dates from XIIIth century) – 300 meters Palazzo Terragni - nearby
        Volta Museum - nearby
        Swiss border – 10 minutes drive

        I think we're taking a day trip to Bellagio.

        1. re: valligirl20

          We stayed in Bellagio in 05 and only day-tripped to Como to see what turned out to be an impressive Picasso exhibit at the Villa Olmo. We had lunch at Locanda Barbarossa (just outside of Piazza San Fedele), which has pretty good pizza for the North.

          In Bellagio, Enoteca Cava Turacciolo is an excellent wine bar with a very gracious and knowledgable owner. It's perfect for a tasting and a plate of cured meats and cheeses. For a full meal, I would suggest going to Bacilus (and ordering the smoked lake fish), which is located in a beautiful garden and has a partial view of the lake.

          While I'm at it, I'm going to follow-up on my earlier reccomendations for Sicily. In Taormina, Nero D'Avola. Its location is very quiet and romantic at night, and the owner and staff are extremely friendly and informative. Most importantly, the seafood and pasta are as good as it gets. Try the raw fish or the Etna mushrooms if available, and make sure you finish with a glass of Passito di Pantelleria. In Palermo, Sant Andrea or I Grilli, which are both near Piazza San Domenico, just above the port.

          1. re: MBlair

            Thank you so much for your recommendations. It's very helpful. This will be our first trip to Italy and deciding on where to eat is suprisingly overwhelming!

      2. I just called Teatro Del Sale to make reservations and they're going to be closed when we're there (we're going in August). I was really excited about that place :(

        2 Replies
        1. re: valligirl20

          Bummer! That's one place you don't want to miss. But vacations in Europe are mostly in August. If you are in the vicinity of the Duomo at lunch time, try eating at Le Mossacce on the Via del Proconsolo on the opposite side of the street from the Bargello. Good local eating place.

          1. re: CJT

            I know! Oh well, hopefully some of the other restaurants will be just as good.

        2. Ok, I found some more ideas for dinner. Please tell me your opinions and if you know the price differences.

          Rome - Armando al Pantheon, La Piazetta, L'ANGOLETTO, Matricianella, Vladimiro/Marcello

          Florence - Trattoria Pallottino, Trattoria Croce al Trebbio,
          TRATTORIA IL CONTADINO and Sostanza will be closed while we're there..

          Venice - Alla Madonna, OSTARIA DA RIOBA,


          1. None of the restaurants on your Venice list has amazing food, though all of them are reasonably priced for Venice. I think the food at Trattoria Storica is very good, a little better than Da Rioba. Both are small , traditional, well worn decor with personal service. Alla Madonna is a large bustling trattoria. The first time I ate there was 25 years ago and thought the food was tired and the service perfunctory. Decided to give it another try couple years ago; nothing has changed...the pasta with ink sauce came out two minutes after we put in our order and the vegetables were tire and limp. Al Nono Risorto is inexpensive because their speciality is pizza which are very good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: PBSF

              Thanks for your reply. I called Da Rioba and Alla Madonna and they will both be closed. Surprise, surprise. What about these? I still have to call and see if they're open though.

              Ai Tre Spiedi
              Trattoria da Remigio
              Al Promessi Sposi
              Osteria al Bomba

              1. re: valligirl20

                If I have only one day in Venice I would pick Trattoria da Remigio though I have not eaten there in a few years. It is a cut above the other three you mentioned in term of price and service. It is small, moderately priced with very good traditional Venetian seafood. Ai Tre Spiedi is no nonsense osteria serving food seafood with a no reservation policy. Al Promessi Sposi is similar but I think it takes reservations. Osteria al Bomba is crowded, lively and is best for ciccheti and pasta.
                Many of the places that have been mentioned on this board are small trattorias/osterias serving essential a similar Venetian menu. How great an experience one has sometimes depends on a bit of luck and expectation. Most of the time the food will be good and the service decent. If you are not looking for an expensive topnotch restaurant, I would just pick one that takes reservation, open when you’re there in August and enjoy your meal.