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How much is a typical meal in Rome?

Travel Forums Europe How much is a typical meal in Rome?

1. Posted by lctan (Budding Member 20 posts) 4y

Hi everyone,
Im doing some budgetting and i was wondering if you could help me on how much is a typical meal in rome. What does a descent/typical italian meal consist of. Im asian btw.
Thanks

2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 4y

An original italian meal consists of

  • Antipasti: little snacks, usually involving dried meats, salted fish, olives, cheese, tomatoes and other veggies
  • Primo: a first course, but much larger than a typical first course elsewhere in Europe. Usually involves pasta
  • Secondo: a second course, but much smaller than a typical main course elsewhere in Europe. Usually only meat: side dishes are ordered separately
  • Dolci: sweet dessert

Mind you, no-one eats like this anymore. WAY too many calories. A typical meal now consists of two/three courses, much like other European cuisines. Count on spending anywhere between €20-40 pp, including (cheap) wine or other beverages. Anything over €40 pp is either exceptionally good, or - more likely - a major rip-off. If you only eat a main course (which is totally acceptable) it's gonna be less. Better not eat dessert in most venues, as it comes straight from the factory: try some authentic ice cream instead, or go to a pasticceria to sample some home-made pies and other sweets.

3. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 4y

Up near any of the uni's, a bowl of pasta with sauce, a small salad or bread and a either a beer, small wine or soft drink, will set you back about €6 - 8.
In the trendy bits you can pay 10 times that.
Basically, the choice is varied and the prices likewise. I would add, that up by the student's quarters the portions are bigger and generally tastier too.

4. Posted by lctan (Budding Member 20 posts) 4y

Hi bentivogli & BedouinLeo,

thanks for your valuable replies. This would definitely help me budget my trip.
This forum has really been a great help.

5. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 4y

Really, do steer clear of eateries around tourist attractions, especially those which display their menus in anything between 3-5 languages. Do not go near any of those, no matter how tempting the price may be. Speaking from experience (well, more like inexperience at that time, but it was my first trip there with my cousin when we were in our late teens and trying to spend less), a menu of starter, salad, main course and dessert at €12-€15 is too good to be true when it's right next to tourist attraction. Our salad was a sad plate of a few leaves and 8 specks of chopped carrots (not kidding), the starter was a mediocre minestrone soup, the main course an even sadder meal that have been left under heating lamp for too long, and to top it all off, the fruit salad for the dessert consisted of a whole apple. Yup. A whole, uncut, apple.

Since then, eating strategy in Rome (or anywhere else in Italy for that matter) is to look for eateries in smaller side streets, where the diners are mostly Italians, check menu for the price (and even better if there's no translated version whatsoever) and if happy, I'd hop in for an adventure. I don't always know what I've ordered exactly (just vague ideas), but so far I haven't been disappointed by this strategy. One place, the waiter (the only guy working there) even brought a mini Italian-English dictionary out for my friends and I to help us figure out the menu, hehehe.

If you do want to eat for less than €15-€20 per person per meal, there are these sort of fastfood, self-service Italian chain called Brek. They don't serve gourmet level food, but it's certainly better than those overpriced tourist traps, and they do often have a decent selection of dishes to choose from. There are also a large number of pizzeria around, and you should be able to find lovely freshly-baked thin-crusted pizza. It is not unusual to find places that sell pizza by slices, and the price is usually determined by the weight. So more toppings mean heavier pizza thus more expensive (but it'll normally be a meal less than €10 in places like this). Buy bottled drinks at local supermarkets.

Sitting down to dine will automatically incur a table cover charge. If a service is already included in the bill, you don't need to leave additional tip although if the service has been good, you could round up the final amount (e.g. if bill is €33.80, round to €35) or leave €1-2.

Ice cream from the many gelateria is definitely recommended. Some of the best gelaterias are near/around the Pantheon, among which my favourites are Il Gelato di San Crispino (they have several locations) and Giolitti. Most gelateria works by you ordering and paying for the cup size/number of flavours accordingly, then bring the receipt over to the counter to show the staff what you've paid for, and select the flavours you want.

6. Posted by nutsnbolts (Respected Member 143 posts) 4y

I'll take the low road on this one.

Sometimes Tourist areas are cheaper... They have prixie fixie (I think I got that right?) meals where they bundle everything into one meal and sometimes they work out better. Just look, it doesn't hurt.

Other than that, prices are usually about 20-40 euros pp. Then again I always have a half carafe of wine!