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Apr 30, 2010 04:18 PM

is Lunch cheaper than Dinner in Rome?

In the U.S. a money saving strategy can be to try nice restaurants at lunch- get a taste of the cuisine and quality at a lower cost than at dinner. Does this apply at all in Italy?

At the very least we'll drink less at lunch, but are menus and prices the same at lunch and dinner?


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  1. I believe that weekday lunch deals are a trend. for example, Antonello Colonna ( offers 15 euro lunch menu on weekdays. and you can also check the blog by Katie Parla

    2 Replies
    1. re: kyeblue

      Colonna runs two operations in the same large space. Downstairs is a moderately priced buffet for lunch, upstairs the gourmet restaurant open only in the evening. The lunch menu has nothing to do with the gourmet restaurant.

      To answer the OP's question, no. There may be exceptions, but as a rule, lunch and dinner are the same.

      1. re: mbfant

        the beauty of a large lunch in Rome is that you can stroll about late at night and cherry-pick lighter fare.

    2. There is absolutely a low cost lunch trend going on in Rome. Many places are offering either prix fixe menus or lunch buffets Mon-Fri in which allow you to eat a bit cheaper than if you ordered off the a la carte menu. Compare the all you can eat lunch buffet at Filippo La Mantia (€38) to a single dessert off the dinner menu (€20). You can also find a very good prix fixe at L'Asino d'Oro in Montesacro for €12, a single serve buffet at Urbana 47 (€12 euros, I think; additional charge for seconds); La Bottega del Vino's lunch buffet is €15.

      Thanks kyeblue for the shout out!

      6 Replies
      1. re: katieparla

        Katie, love your blog, I have extensively drooled over it in my Rome restaurant research. And I totally re-thought/planned my pizza meal based on your Best Pizza in rome posts (Now shooting for Da Remo). These deals sound great, I wish I could live in Rome again to have more dining opportunities. My dream is to have a retirement time-share there. Ahhhhhhh pasta and gelato dreams.

        1. re: sarahbeths

          thanks sarahbeths! be sure to get the fritti and beans at da remo. and if you happen to be in testaccio around lunch time, i suggest grazing on pizza by the slice (pizza rossa at panificio passi, bianca at volpetti, and whatever is fresh out of the oven at 00100 and farinando). i am envisioning your trip as one massive carbo load:)

          1. re: katieparla

            Thanks for the tip, is the fritti and beans one dish or two? I'm plotting these spots in my rome moleskin!

            Yes, my trip is most definitely carb-oriented. I am actually doing Atkins right now to lose a few pounds before the trip, so the carbs will taste even better. When I want a carb now I think: you can have them in Italy!

            1. re: sarahbeths

              Sarah, the fritti are the general group of "fried" dishes - at da Remo I remember suppli (rice balls), zucchini flowers, bacala (very good!), crochette, olive ascolana, french fries (the last 3 frozen). The beans are as far as I remember two different dishes, but I didn't eat any yet, can't give more detail - we'll wait for Katie to fill in - or if I go again shortly, I'll too. But regardless of what you eat beforehand, do leave room for pizza!

              1. re: sarahbeths

                fritti are all those great things vinoroma described. you can either get misti (mixed) or choose individual portions. I recommend fritti misti so you get to try all the specialties. beans are a separate dish. they are done a few ways and are an old school accompaniment to fried things and pizza. you can find them prominently on the menu at traditional roman places like Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara, the famous fried cod joint near campo de'fiori, at Pizzeria Ai Marmi in Trastevere, and im sure lots of other classic joints, but those are where they stand out the most for me.

                1. re: katieparla

                  Ah, of course. I love suppli and fiori di zucca. Mmmm. Curious about the beans, can't remember seeing any bean antipasti dish when I was there. I can't wait, getting too excited.