Even though the dollar is low compared to the euro you don’t need to spend a fortune on eating and drinking in the Eternal City. 


Take these tips to lower your budget while still enjoying great food.



Pizza, Panini and Pasta:pizza in rome

These staple meals are such an inherent part of Italian life and food that you’ll see tons of Romans walking around with either a panini (small sandwiches) or a couple of pieces of pizza folded up like a pizza-sandwich.  It’s a much healthier form of “fast food” and the Romans have made an art form out of making panini and pizza with few toppings and a lot of flavor.  Panini run about 4-5 Euro and are good size; definitely filling.  Pizza is usually sold at little pizza-on-the-go shops found all over the city.  Many sell paninis too.

Hit a paniniria or sandwich shop as well and remember that you’ll likely spend a bit more if you sit down there and eat, but with all of the beauty of the city you could just take it to go.

Pizza shops charge by the weight for pizza so for a couple of slices you’re looking at about 4-5 euro as well.  They’ll cut as much as you want and throw it right in the oven. 


If you’re looking for a cheap dine-out solution then pizza and pasta are the way to go. 


You can get a great pizza that’s about 12 inches for around 7 or 8 euro.  Plates of great pasta Amatriciana or Carbonara, amPanini Shop in Romeong others, should only run you about 7 or 8 euro as well.  A glass of house wine is usually about 3 and many of the house wines are decent.  A glass of better wine can run you around 5 or 6 euro and a local beer like Peroni or Nastro Azura about 5. So dinner and a drink shouldn’t cost you more than about 12 to 15 euro.



Many restaurants in touristic areas and main piazzas will often have lunch specials that include pizza or pasta and a glass of wine or a beer for about 11 euro.  These are good deals when you can find them.  There are usually one or two at Campo dei Fiori for sure.Remember that most places will ad a Euro or two to your bill just for sitting down and especially if it's on the Terrace so if you want to shave a couple off of your bill you may try sitting inside or getting your food to go.  The way to say "to go" is "porta via" and they also understand "Take-Away" in a lot of places.  Many Pizzarias might not do Take-away if they're slammed and especially if they don't know you.  Show your face once and make a friend of the manager or staff and you'll find they'll accomodate even when they're busy.



Another great choice is to hot one of the local bars that offer Aperitivi.  Aperitivo has become a cool trend among many of the best bars around town.  Walk in and buy a cocktail, glass of wine or a beer and taste – for free - the many little dishes they have setup (often buffet-style).  Many will bring you out a little dish of cold cuts, fruit and cheeses or you can grab a plate and munch-away!

Aperitivi in Rome


Great places to find Aperativi include Friends in Trilusa; Piazza Trilussa, 34, 00153 Roma.  This is a very cool bar/café/restaurant right at the heart of the hip Trilussa area.  Another of our favorites is Aristo Campo in the North-East corner of Campo dei Fiori.  Aristo Campo has a great Panini shop and next to it they have a full bar with a great terrace.  They have huge plates of Aperativi that include pizza, grilled potatos, shrimp and rice and a variety of other dishes.  Just grab a little plate and dig in! 


The best way to save money on food is to eat at home.  When you go to the store though be careful to not hit a supermarket like Carrefour for all of your food needs.  They’re great for some things and even sell peanut butter, tobacco and other American foods like real hamburger buns, frieds, and some familiar beers like Becks, Corona and Heineken, but they also have stuff for the home like TP, toothbrushes, shower-stuff, deodorant, etc.   For meats, breads, wines, etc, you can also go directly to the many specialty shops that will have better quality and cheaper prices.  For meats you can hit a macelleria or butcher-shop.  There are tons of them around.  For bread you can hit one of the local bakeries or panificio, though bread is really cheap here anyways.  You can get a half loaf for about a euro.  For wines it’s good to hit a small wine shop, though check the prices first.  Many won’t have anything but Italian wines so don’t expect to see your favorite California Merlot, French Bourdeaux, or Australian Shiraz on the shelves.  What you will find though is a great selection of Italian wines from local Lazio and Tuscan vineyards and others from Sicily, Sardinia, and other regions throughout the country.  You can expect to pay 5 to 8 euro for a really decent bottle of wine. 


Cooking at home is easy if you go Italian style.  You can make a pasta carbonara or come up with your own.  You can also grab some cold cuts like salami and prosciutto crudo (Italian ham) and some cheeses like mozzarella di bufala or buffalo mozzarella, some tomatoes and some fresh basil.  Add some fresh bread and a glass of wine and you’re in business!


You can also find fresh fruits and vegetables at markets and especially at the open air market at Campo dei Fiori most mornings. 


With these tips you can save enough to hit a really nice restaurant once a week to try some truly amazing Italian food.

Best of luck and let us know if you have any comments or feel we should add something.