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May 9, 2011 07:54 PM


I am new to this forum and I find it an amazing place to research the cuisine and restaurants of Rome and Italy. What a wealth of fantastic information here. The discussion is literate and informed and beats anything I've yet to find on the net anywhere else when it comes to food. It also seems dominated by those who have managed to make some money in their time, and are able to travel and eat pretty much anywhere without regard to cost or budget. That must be a wonderful luxury. But it is not mine.

I have rented an apt in Rome for the month of Sept. I do not have a lot of money. But I have a modest amount. I will need to watch it and budget carefully. The apt is near P. Popolo. I did not pick the place for the location, as it seems to be among the more expensive neighborhoods of central Rome. But it was a steal that I couldn't pass up, and looks charming and has a terrace and so I chose it.

My challenge is to find restaurants that serve authentic freshly prepared regional Roman and Italian food that are not tourist traps and also not high end break the bank experiences. I live in San Francisco and while there are plenty of super duper expensive restaurants here, there are also, if one knows about them, plenty of great restaurants that are either dirt cheap or very reasonably priced. There must be trattorias and enotecas and cafes and pizzerias in Rome that offer great meals at affordable prices.

Any recommendations or suggestions (including grocery shopping!!) would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Michealdempsey,

      I've enjoyed eating at the varied and generous lunch buffet at Il Margutta on via Margutta for 15 euros. If sometimes your main meal of the day is lunch, it will fill you up without breaking your budget.

      I'll also point out that if you take a short walk across the Tiber to the via Cola di Rienzo, you'll have your choice of two highly regarded gastronomie, Castroni and Franchi.

      3 Replies
      1. re: barberinibee

        Thank you so much for taking the time to offer these suggestions. I will definitely check them out.

        1. re: barberinibee

          You're right, not an easy neighborhood to find cheap and cheerful! But Rome is very small, and you can easily get to other places.
          Since you're in a apartment, then I would certainly suggest getting yourself to one of the Saturday Farmers' Markets in town. There is one on Via San Teordoro, near Circo Massimo and another in the Testaccio neighborhood. There you can stock up not only on produce, but great, local cheeses, cured meats etc (and much cheaper than the places on Colle di Rienzo).
          Also, you'll find that a lot of the more expensive restaurants (like L'Asino d'Oro, Urbana 47,) have less expensive lunch menus. So save your blow outs for lunch.
          For dinner be adventurous and go to some of the best pizza places a bit out of the center, like Gatta Mangiona or Sforno.
          An inexpensive lunch places in Testaccio is Volpetti Piu. One of the best tavola caldas in town, run by the same family that runs Volpetti.
          Rosticerri' is another tavola calda, but more expensive. they have two locations, one in Testaccio and one near Piazza Navona. Not cheap, but truly high quality and run by the same owner as one of Rome's best restaurants, La Rosetta. So, in a sense, quite a deal! At both of these places you can either eat in, or take out.
          And of course don't miss Pizzarium or 00100, much talked about on these threads.
          Have a great trip!!

          Volpetti Piu
          Via A. Volta, 8-10, Rome, Lazio , IT

          La Rosetta
          Via della Rosetta, 9, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

          Via della Meloria, 43, Rome, Lazio 00136, IT

          Via Statilio Ottato, 110, Rome, Lazio , IT

          Urbana 47
          Via Urbana, 47, Rome, Lazio 00184, IT

          L'Asino d'Oro
          Via del Boschetto 73, Rome, Lazio 00184, IT

          1. re: minchilli

            All great suggestions Elizabeth. I'm making a note of all of them. The markets will be a must for our nights eating in. Thank you thank you!

        2. Some suggestions for Trastevere that are quite moderately priced and that have good food:

          Da Lucia
          Da Enzo
          Da Olindo

          Da Enzo
          via dei Vascellari 29, Rome , IT

          Da Olindo
          Vicolo della Scala, 8, Rome , IT

          1 Reply
          1. re: jostber

            Many thanks for this list. I very much appreciate your suggestions and will investigate them in Trastevere.

          2. Hi Michael:
            Not in your neighbourhood, but if you want cheap eats head towards the university, La Sapienza, which is in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood. Lots of cheap and cheerful places off Tiburtina. One that I have mentioned in a couple of posts: Da Franco ar Vicoletto, Via dei Falisci 1/b; seafood, very local-- about 25E for three courses including wine, water, coperto. If that is still too steep, you'll find an array of options in this area. They can't rely on tourist traffic around here so they keep the students happy with low prices and satisfying food.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sinjawns

              Thanks Sinjawns for your helpful reply. 25E not too steep so thank you for the Da Franco ar Vicoletto suggestion.

            2. Michael, you dont say where your apartment is vis a vis Piazza del Popolo. N of the Piazza is the Flaminia neighborhood and across the Tiber Prati, both relatively bourgeois and with shopping and eating options (I think some of the options for Prati have been mentioned..

              3 Replies
              1. re: jen kalb

                The apt. I rented is on Via Della Penna, across the street from hotel Locarno. I am not familiar with the Flaminia neighborhood so on this trip I will definitely be checking that area out. Thank you for your suggestions.

                1. re: michaeldempsey

                  I stuck that address into the Restaurant search and here is the map and list that resulted.


                  Some items just outside the gate on via Flaminia appear. In his book on Italy for the Gourmet Traveller, Fred Plotkin recommends a shopping and eating stroll on that strip to get a feel for local Roman food shopping- Castroni and Antico Enoteca Beccaria and the Mercate Rione (local public market) are all on that strip as wll as other places he recommends that I couldnt verify online - Caffe/Bar Durante, Via Flaminia 101-103, Hostaria Elio at cor of Via Flaminia and Via Pasquale Stanislop Mancini, Bucci Alimentari, Via Flaminia,44 and Al Giardino delle Primizie, Via Flaminia 50A

                  Castroni Milledelizie
                  Via Flaminia,28-32, Rome, Lazio 00197, IT

                  Antica Enoteca Beccaria
                  Via Cesare Beccaria,14, Rome, Lazio 00196, IT

                  Flaminia Mercato Rionale
                  Via Flaminia,60-62, Rome, Lazio 00197, IT

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    This is fantastic info., and, being new here, I was not aware of that search feature so thanks for that tip. I'm intrigued by the Flaminia area and the chance to dive into a real Roman food shopping experience in a neighborhood not as widely trafficked by tourists, and so close by to my apt. Will definitely check out the Mercate Rione, and these other excellent ideas. Thank you Jen!