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Budget Dining in Italy

What kind of prices can I expect in Italy (Rome, Florence, Venice)? For instance, how much can I expect to spend for a lunch of sandwich, veggie, drink? Mean price for dinner at a moderately priced restaurant?

Posted by
1798 posts

2 years ago the Dollar was 1.21Euro, today it's 1.36Euro. Expect to pay about $10 for lunch (sandwich or a pizza and a small drink) Dinner can be about $25 for an entree and veggie or anti pasti and pasta. Get off the main streets and find a local resturant run by a family...the food it better and less crowded, and proabably a bit less expensive too!

Posted by
1634 posts

In May 2006 I spent the equivalent of $5-15 for lunch, depending on where I ate and if it was a sit down place. $25+ for dinner. Cheapest by far is sandwich makings, etc. from a grocery or a slice of pizza. Venice is just expensive, kind of no matter where you go. But it's worth the splurge on a nice meal, even for lunch, especially lingering on a cafe patio for several hours soaking up the atmosphere. And despite USDA guidelines, gelato makes a fine meal!

The RS guides have good suggestions, but beware 90% of the people there, esp. "early" (before 9), will have the same RS guide book. In Siena, we tried to get in to a restaurant, but it was blocked by a woman standing in the doorway taking a picture of all her fellow diners with their RS guidebooks! Also ask your hotel staff and fellow tourists.

Posted by
239 posts

I still have some receipts from eating in Rome. For lunch one day, I got a slice of a sandwich for 1.60 euro and a bottle of water for 1.10 euro, and my husband had a club sandwich for 4.80 euro (must have been big!) at an alimentari. We had dinner one night at Ristorante Santa Anna, near campo dei fiori, for 28 euro.

Posted by
683 posts

When you can ,prepare your own meals from fresh veggies and fruits and cheeeses and breads. Go to small cafes and ethnic eateries (esp Turkish ""'doner" places), where the prices will be far less. Take advantage of ready-to-eat things at supermercati and utilize store cafeterias and things like Rail station cafeterias.
The best places are often off of the main streets bcuz rents are usually much higher there and so, they must cater to tourists--rich Americans and Germans and Brits

Posted by
241 posts

I am sorry, but our three days in Venice was discouraging. Prices for sit-down dining were outrageous. We spent generously at the macileria (sp) and came out way ahead. We had an apt and the gals cooked one great dinner for a 10th of the restaurant cost.

Posted by
3580 posts

If you want to save money you can. If you want to go to someplace "nice" for dinner it can cost a lot. The train stations have reasonably priced places to eat, especially in Venice. Pizza and a salad midday might be 10-12 Eu. There are many places where you can buy slices of pizza. If you eat out and skip the meat course (secondo) it saves money.

Posted by
705 posts

I was in Venice in April and I could not believe how expensive it was. I don't know in US$ but a bowl of pasta was about 13Euro entree size and a very small bowl of salad, basically lettuce and one piece of tomato, 5Euro. There are lots of "little hole in the wall" pizza places where you can get a slice for about 2 Euro. No seating area just buy and find somewhere to eat it. When I then got to Rome things seemed really cheap in comparison. A lot better value for money.

Posted by
21671 posts

One of the reasons you go to Italy is for the FOOD. Fit it into the budget. We hit the breakfast at the hotel hard, generally skip lunch or get by with a apple and ice cream or some bread and cheese and then a nice dinner in the evening. But we also did a lot spliting of dishs especially salads, pizza, and some pastas. By the way, pizza is NOT finger food in Italy. We are just back from about 30 days in around Italy. We could generally hold a nice evening meal including wine in the range of 40 euro. And that is what a nice in the states would cost you.

Posted by
934 posts

If you eat in the Rialto,Accademia,SanMarco triangle you will get high prices and poor food.Get off the beaten track and it will be with the natives and far better and cheaper.Ricks pub crawl is another way.We did it some time ago and it was excellent.

Posted by
199 posts

Eating in Italy can be very reasonable if you do not feel the need for the full dinner that is offered. We really enjoy antipasti, salads, and pasta dishes...doing without the meat and potatoes which cost the most. Many restaurants have large antipasto bars for 8-10 Euro, and these are great complete meals (if you like antipasti, as we do). Also, if you drink wine and are satisfied with house wines, they are usually very reasonable, say 5-7 Euro for a liter. We eat for less in Italy than in any of the other western European countries we visit.

Posted by
258 posts

In Venice for the third time recently, I finally found what I considered more affordable food near the train station--with your back to the station, walk to the left. There was a fantastic cafeteria-style place and a wonderful pizza/salad place. (Don't recall the names.) Also, tucked behind the Rialto market is a delicious Chinese restaurant (Il Giardino, I think). I always visit to satisfy my usual craving for tofu. Just be patient and you'll eventually find afforadble, good food. As mentioned above, though, the St. Mark's area is quite pricey. Sure--you go to Italy for the food as well as the sites, but you don't want it to break you.