Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
May 26, 2010 02:28 PM

Eating reasonably in Central and Northern Italy

I just graduated college and am spending two weeks in Italy with a couple friends as a postgrad vacation. Being poor college students, we can't afford to eat well every night and would like to spend no more than 60-70 euros per day on food (even less would be better).

We're spending 4 days in Rome, 4 in Florence, and 2 in each of Bologna, Cinque Terre and Venice. Obviously there are tons of threads on eating in these places, but I'd like to consolidate a shortlist of reasonably priced restaurants in these cities (rather than look at 50 different threads with 1000 different restaurants named).

So, if everyone who answered here could just give 2-3 restaurants in each city (and any attractions they may be near), that'd go a long way.

Also, we're planning on having 3-4 nice dinners total (let's say 60 euros per person), so if anyone knows any worthwhile restaurants in these cities that fits that bill, add those too. The less touristy for any of this, the better. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Ciao leftover_salmon,
      let me start out by saying that being poor doesn't equate to not eating well in Italy! And let me follow up by saying if you have to be picky (in this case bcs. of budget concerns), you need to put some effort into research, meaning, you will get the best info if you search the boards. Some pointers have been given to you already. There have also recently been some threads on budget dining.
      As a general idea, look for trattorie, and look for them away from the tourist attractions, that will deliver budget friendlier results. Except for Venice, you won't have problems staying within your budget. You don't have to eat a full 3 course meal anywhere. Sharing dishes is ok - not ordering one pasta for 4 people and calling it a dinner; but for example ordering 2 antipasti, 2 pasta, 2 secondi for a table of 4. Tip is not a concern, it is just small change.
      And after searching the forums for a while (read maybe the newest 5 threads for each city, that will already give you a good shortlist), visit also Katie's great blog parlafood. Concentrates on Roma, but you'll also find up to date info on 5 Terre and Venice.

      1. To add to the above good advice. Below are links to earlier posts on eating on a small budget in Venice:
        If posters just drop 2 to 3 names, they are just names and doesn't give any kind of details or description of the places. Searching for earlier post will give a fuller picture of named places. It is a necessary research in order to eat well while traveling.
        This sight is food related only and other unrelated posts such as sights will be deleted.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          I think OP was asking for locations of the restaurants - like what the restaurants were near -thats not offtopic. the roughguide map is good for venice and it even has good value restaurants noted on it, so that when you are ready to eat there is a restaurant to fall back on, all over the city. the Rome version is not as good, unfortunately.
          If you are spending a morning at the Accademia, the chuster of restaurants around Campo San Barnaba are reasonable and useful for lunch- some have been or are slowfood picks, 4Feri,la Bitta, etc. and you can cruise them all and make a pick.
          Near the Frari, Osteria al Ponte (al Patatina) is cheery and not too expensive. There are a number of less expensive trattorie in that general area, because of the number of students - maybe not the best. Some of the back canals and campos of Cannareggio also have good places, like Anice Stellato, dalla Marisa, alla Frasca. (the latter nearest to San Marco area)

          1. re: jen kalb

            for Rome, our Restaurant database now has all the Slowfood listed restaurants coded in. Slowfood is a great resource for reasonable price (within your proce range) charactistic and good tasing meals in Italy.

            If you go to a trattoria for lunch and have pizza for dinner a few times, you will stay well within your budget.

            Sora Margherita in the Ghetto (lunch) is a good relatively inexpensive choice
            Testaccio and Trastevere are two areas where you can eat well for less in Rome, but Trastevere is like the Village in NY - crowded with tourists and kids- so you have to pick carefully. Volpetti Piu is a tavola calda/cafeteria in Testaccio where you can have a good meal for little money.