How to eat cheap in Rome

Eat Cheap In Rome: Best Cheap Eats in Rome Neighborhoods

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This city can get pretty pricey, but it is possible to eat cheap in Rome.

However, once you’ve sorted your flights and hotels, then perhaps bought a city pass, the cost starts to add up.

After that, you’ll need spending money for food, drinks, and of course gelato!

We will give you some tips and tricks to manage your budget, especially if you are trying to keep it low cost.

Perhaps you are a backpacker, retired or a young family, or are just watching your pennies. In this Cheap Food Rome guide, we will show you how to navigate costs for food in the eternal city.

What Is Considered Eating Cheap in Rome?

Delicious food near Roman attractions
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Of course, what is “cheap” to you is expensive to someone else, so the usual answer to this question would be “ it depends”.

But in this guide on cheap eats in Rome, we will assume that anything under €12 is cheap. That’s because an average pasta plate in a standard restaurant will cost between €12 and €15, and the main courses can often approach €20.

Even a nice pizza can be over €12. So let’s set that as our benchmark and try to get the costs lower!

Our Top Tips on How To Eat Cheap In Rome

Breakfast

Unless you get a really good deal (some Booking.com travel genius members get free breakfasts on certain stays for example) don’t add breakfast to your room.

With a stand up espresso costing only €1 and a pastry not much more than that, why would you pay €15 for a hotel breakfast?

Perfect for Tourists – Free Guide of Rome on Your Mobile

Stand Up

As we are talking about coffee remember this really useful tip.

In Italy – you can pay up to or even over €2 more for your coffee if you sit down at a table. So, a cappuccino is around €1.30 standing up and perhaps €3 or even €4 if you sit down!

That’s because an automatic table cover charge is added no matter what you order. Whilst that’s OK if you are having a long leisurely lunch, it’s a bit steep if you just want to knock back a coffee in between sightseeing.

And by the way, stand up can apply to food too – street food or those little cafes that serve pizza by the slice through the window will be much cheaper.

Make Use of Daily Specials

Particularly the lunch menus are cheaper than dinner. You can get a 3 course menu of the day for around €16.

That is more expensive than the €10 budget we set at the beginning of this guide – but considering it will include a starter, main, and a dessert or coffee it's not a bad option!

Where To Eat Cheap In Rome

Eating in Rome on a budget
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Good cheap places to eat in Rome can be tricky to find – even overpriced restaurants can serve mediocre food and offer rubbish service in the peak seasons.

That’s because demand is so high when Rome is busy…

So, there are lots of nice looking but terrible tasting restaurants in Rome.

And when you are on a budget you need to be even more careful if you want to find good quality at low prices.

Tip – Stick to things like street food or sandwich shops if you want to keep the budget down. Here are a few we have found in each example.

Buy Pizza By the Slice – Pizzarium

If you click on the link for the website for this pizza shop you will see instantly why it makes the list. The cover photo shows the store crammed with people lining up for a slice of this renowned pizza maker's delights.

Expect to pay around €3-4 euros for a slice – but be careful – it is weighed and charged by the pound, which can get expensive if you load up on heavy toppings. Eat it outside on the road with the rest of the locals.

  • Location – Via della Meloria – near the Vatican
  • Website – here

Pick Up a Grab and Go Sandwich – La Sandwicheria

Located right near the Trevi Fountain, this is a great little street food sandwich shop that will save you money over traditional restaurants.

Pop in and have them make you your favorite sandwich! You will be able to pick up bread filled with delicious Italian hams or cheeses from between €4 – €6.

  • Location – Largo del Nazareno 16-17 – near the Trevi Fountain
  • TripAdvisor – here

Get a Batch Cooked Bowl of Pasta – Pastificio

This pasta restaurant should definitely be on the cheap places to eat in Rome list!

A gorgeous dish of fresh pasta – they batch make just 2 flavors every day – is sold over the counter for €4 and includes a little cup of house wine or water! What a steal.

Note there are a couple of rules – if you want to drink the wine you need to remain in the store to eat.

Also, if you want to take the pasta away (sans wine) you should need that it is not permitted to eat around the monuments – so you need to move away from the Spanish Steps to eat it.

  • Location – Via della Croce 8 Piazza di Spagna – Near the Spanish Steps
  • Facebook page – here

Let’s go through the best affordable restaurants in Rome by location now!

Cheap Places To Eat In Rome Near Vatican

Cheap places to eat near Vatican City
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Starving after a day pounding the halls of the Vatican Museums? Then you may want something nearby to curb your cravings.

Let’s check out the best affordable restaurants in Rome near the Vatican.

Bono Bottega Nostrana

This amazing restaurant near the Vatican gets 5 circles on trip advisor!

Paninis, sandwiches and pizza slices are on the menu here. A fully stuffed delicious panini such as Italian ham, olives and mortadella costs just €5 if you do the takeaway option.

  • Location – Via di Porta Cavalleggeri 109/111, 00165 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – 10 am to 1 am (2 am on weekends)
  • Website – here

Vulio

Another top best cheap eats in Rome Italy is Vulio.

A range of street food delights are on offer here, including open sandwiches loaded up with tasty toppings.

Don’t let the slightly brash menu put you off – order the 4 sandwiches for €12 and split it for a light dinner. You can also order sharing boards and tapas platters.

  • Location – Via Degli Scipioni 55, 00192 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – Open daily from 10 am to 9 pm (11 am to 4 pm on Sundays)
  • Website – here

La Nicchia Cafe

This cute little shop near the Vatican offers paninis, salads, antipasti and sandwiches for under €7.

La Nicchia Cafe also offers wine tasting and sampling of small plates. It’s a small casual place so you don’t need to reserve in advance, but it can get busy so you may need to get your sandwich to take away.

  • Location – Via Cipro, 4L, 00136 Roma RM, Italy
  • Opening hours – Open Daily from 10 am to 3 pm, closed Sundays
  • Website – here

Cheap Places To Eat In Rome Near Colosseum

Cheap places to eat near Colosseum in Rome
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The Colosseum – and the nearby Roman Forum – are great sights to see in Rome before Lunch!

Hitting up a few hours of Roman Ruins can really work up an appetite.

Check out these best cheap eats in Rome Italy near the Colosseum.

Ristorante Cleto

This is an amazing taverna style family run restaurant.

Inside, vaulted ceilings create a traditional atmosphere. Tables outside sit in a pretty cobbled courtyard. Pasta and pizza dishes galore in a typical Italian fashion.

It is best to make a reservation for this little gem near the Colosseum. You can easily find a few dishes on the menu that cost below €12 – including the carbonara and other spaghetti dishes that are just €10.

  • Location – Via del Buon Consiglio, 17 (angolo Via del Cardello), 00184 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – Open 11.45 am to 10 pm, closed Wednesdays
  • Website – here

Trattoria Pizzeria Luzzi dal 1945

This is a cheap eat place in Rome and worth a stop if you want to have a restaurant experience on a budget.

Plain margarita pizzas here for just €6 and pasta dishes from €6 too. Note this restaurant gets a mixed bag of reviews.

People generally agree it is cheap and portions are good value for money, but service and waiting times are called out as often long.

Either way, for a few euros you may decide to wait for your food!

  • Location – Via di San Giovanni in Laterano 88 Colosseo, 00184 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – Open daily from 7.30 am to 12:00 am!
  • Website – here

Cheap Places To Eat In Rome Near Termini Station

Cheap places eat in Rome near Termini station
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Just arrived in Rome and waiting for your room to be ready?

Or perhaps you have time for a quick meal before your train back to the airport.

Then check out where to eat in Rome Italy on a budget near Termini Station.

Ristorante Pizzeria Andrea

Traditional Italian food in a stunning streetside location – eat outdoors to enjoy the vibe in the summer or indoors in winter under the vaulted ceiling.

Best to reserve this little place. You can pick up a basic pizza or pasta dish for under €12 here easily.

But if you fancy one of the 3-course meals you may want to splurge a bit. It's really good value – about €20 per head including wine and even a glass of Limoncello at the end.

  • Location – Via Dei Mille 37/39, 00185 Rome Italy
  • Opening Hours – Open Daily 11 am to 12 am
  • TripAdvisor – here

Pizzeria Il Grano

Amazing artisan style pizzas, pastas and deserts here.

You can get a small pizza for around €6, start off with one of their croquettes too for a few extra. Il Grano gets very busy here later in the evenings – from around 8 or 9 pm – so make sure to reserve.

  • Location – Via Degli Equi, 39, 00185 Rome Italy
  • Opening Hours – Evenings Only – 6.30 pm to 11.00 pm
  • Website – here

Cheap Places To Eat In Historic Center Rome

Cheap places to eat in Historic center in Rome
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The historic center of Rome can be a real tourist trap sometimes.

Poor quality food, bad service, and high prices are unfortunately all too common.

Here are a few little diamonds we found amongst the rough for our eat cheap in Rome guide.

Pasta In Corso

Open daily, Pasta in Corso serves up AMAZING pasta dishes at reasonable prices.

The majority of these gorgeous and creamy Italian meals cost below €10! Decor is modern. Casual, drop in restaurant with no need to reserve.

  • Location – Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 273, 00186 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – 10:30 am to 10:30 pm daily
  • Website – here

Pizza E Mozzarella

This little hole in the wall shop has a few seats inside, but is best known for serving pizza on the go in slices.

It is a great cheap eat option in and around the old town Rome. Top tip to get a bargain – the pizza is sold by weight, so pick light toppings! Average slices cost €3.

  • Location – Via del Piè di Marmo 32, 00186 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – 10 am to 10 pm Mondays and Tuesdays, 7 pm to 10 pm rest of week
  • TripAdvisor – here

Grano Trattoria

Pizza, pasta, and salads – all are on sale here.

We enjoy sitting outside on the few tables available so we can enjoy the views of the Piazza del Gesu. There are plenty more tables inside, decorated in modern style.

Head here for the lunch deals which offer a starter, main, and a jug of water for €10-12.

  • Location – Via Celsa 7 Piazza del Gesù, 00186 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – Sun-Thurs 10am – 5pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am
  • TripAdvisor – here

Cheap Places To Eat In Trastevere

Cheap places to eat in Trastevere area
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Known as a place for nightlife and foodies, Trastevere is jam packed with great places to eat.

Er Pizzicarolo

Cute little place that offers sharing platters and a gorgeous street location.

You can get a panini here for as little as €5! Try Roman Tapas – plates of cold cuts – or an artisan panini.

An informal little joint, perfect for a quick lunch – no need to reserve, grab a little seat outside

  • Location – Vicolo del Cinque 39, 00153 Rome Italy
  • Opening Hours – 11 am-11.45 pm daily
  • Facebook page – here

Amerina la Pizzetta

Come here for delicious pizzas the size of your hand – allowing you to try a few different flavors.

Sit outside on the street on one of the cafe tables and enjoy the Trastevere vibe. Here you can easily get 2 pizzas and a drink for under €12.

  • Location – Largo Dei Librari 82 Incrocio con Via dei Giubbonari, 00186 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – 11 am – 11.45 pm, except Tuesdays when it is 6 pm to 11.45 pm
  • TripAdvisor – here

More Quality Cheap Places To Eat In Rome

Affordable food Trastevere
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If you still don’t know where to eat in Rome Italy on a budget then we have even more options!

We listed them here by their general area, so hopefully this can help you plan your route in line with the attractions you will be viewing.

Pinsitaly Trevi

Consistently voted as one of the best places in Rome, Pinsitaly offers AMAZING pizza in a range of interesting flavors.

Expect to queue here for a table even at lunchtime – around a 15-20 minute wait, but the food, service and vibe is well worth it. Get one of the Menus for €12 that includes also a drink.

  • Location – Via della Panetteria 12, 00187 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – Open 10:30 am to 11 pm daily, closed for siesta from 16:30 to 18:00
  • Facebook page – here

Grano – la cucina di Traiano

Informal deli that offers small portions of pasta, salads and pizzas.

Pizzas start at around €6. There are a few seats and you don’t need to reserve – but do expect queues at peak times.

Most people eat the pizza away from the store on the steps nearby in the Piazza Venezia.

  • Location – Via Magnanapoli 9, 00187 Rome Italy
  • Opening Hours – Daily 10 am to 10 pm
  • Facebook page – here
Affordable restaurants in Rome
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CasaManco

Pizza is sold here by the slice in some weird and wonderful flavors!

Try the lemon pizza recommended by the owner. You can eat extremely cheaply here – 2 people, some slices – for under €10!

No need to reserve just drop on by

  • Location – Via Aldo Manuzio 66C Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio, Box 22, 00153 Rome Italy
  • Opening Hours – Tuesday – Saturday 9 am-3 pm
  • Website – here

Trattoria Vecchia Roma

Beautiful vaulted ceiling and taverna style restaurant offering traditional Italian food.

Be sure to reserve. If you are sharing between 2 you can expect to get 2 pizzas and a liter of wine for about €25.

Be sure to reserve here – the queues often go up the street and walkins sometimes have to be turned away.

  • Location – Via Ferruccio, 12B/C, 00185 Rome Italy
  • Opening Hours – Monday – Saturday 12pm:11pm, closed for siesta between 3 and 7 pm
  • Website – here

Pizza della Madonna dei Monti

Expect to pay around €6 per head for this over-the-counter pizza by the slice place.

There are a few tables outside if you are lucky enough to grab on. Located near the Colosseum.

  • Location – Via della Madonna Dei Monti 110, 00184 Rome Italy
  • Opening Hours – Daily 12 pm to 10 pm
  • Website – here

Pinsere

Delicious artisan pizzas in a range of flavors to grab on the go.

There are no tables or chairs here so this is pure street food. The small 1 person pizzas cost just 5€!

  • Location – Via Flavia, 98, 00187 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – Monday-Friday 10 am-4 pm
  • Facebook page – here

Affordable Michelin Star Restaurants Rome

Affordable Michelin Star restaurants in Rome picks
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As a bonus section, we have included a couple of Michelin Star Restaurants that can be deemed “affordable”.

Perhaps you can eat at the other restaurants in this list all week and save your money for one of these on the last night!

Il Ritrovo

Known especially for its fish and other seafood, it is possible to eat at Il Ritrovo for about €30 per head! Reserve in advance to be sure of a table.

  • Location – Via la Spezia 36/42, 00182 Rome Italy
  • Opening hours – Daily 6.45 pm-11 pm closed Mondays
  • Website – here

Acquolina Ristorante

Amazing dishes and an elegant atmosphere make Acquolina Ristorante one for a special treat.

But, do expect to pay around €80 for a tasting menu or more. Still, it is one of the more affordable options!

  • Location – Via del Vantaggio 14 Piano terra The First Luxury Art Hotel, 00186 Rome Italy
  • Opening Hours – Wednesday – Saturday 7 pm-9.30 am
  • Website – here

 Eat Cheap In Rome Frequently Asked Questions

faq roma pass travel blog

How expensive is food in Rome?

Rome can get expensive to eat in - there are a lot of tourist traps that offer overpriced food for not great quality In addition, note that most proper restaurants charge a cover of around €2-3 for bread.

How much is lunch in Rome?

You can grab a pizza by the slice from an over the counter place for a few euros, or a menu in a restaurant for about €12-15.

How much is pizza in Rome?

By the slice, about €3-5€ In a restaurant - anything from €6-€12 depending on the restaurant.

Is Rome expensive to eat and drink?

Rome can be expensive if you fall for tourist traps. Follow our eat cheap in Rome guide to keep the costs of your trip down.

Conclusion

Don’t fall for tourist traps and make your money work smarter for you with our handy cheap eat guide.

Now, perhaps consider something like a city pass or travel card to make your budget handling even easier!

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