One of the top destinations in Europe, Rome can be a challenge for those traveling on a budget, and this is certainly true when in search for a decent meal. With its share of restaurants catering to visitors in the historic center, it can be difficult to find good value for money. Here are some places to eat in Rome that will ensure you eat well and not spend a fortune.
You’ve probably heard of pizza but what about pinsa? It’s an ancient type of pizza that’s oval-shaped and with toppings on top. One of the best places to try pinsa is at Pinsere where you will be spoilt for choice. From a plain pinsa (no toppings) which costs €3 to fancier toppings of pears, gorgonzola, walnuts and honey (costs €4), this is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch bite. They also offer some limited selections of pasta and rice salad. The place is small and mainly for people to takeaway but there are some bar stools and a wall bar table to enjoy your pinsa.
Located close to the main train station, Termini, it’s about a 12-15 minute walk. Alternatively, you can take Metro A to Repubblica or Barberini stop and it’s a shorter walk.
Address: Via Flavia 98
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays 8.00am to 4.00pm
2. Forno Campo de’ Fiori
Located as its name suggest in Campo de’ Fiori, it is renowned for its pizza bianca (plain pizza without any toppings) which is delicious as it is or it can be filled like a sandwich with cured meats, vegetables, or cheese. Here the pizza, including pizza bianca and pizza rossa (with tomato sauce topping only) is sold by the weight. Let them know how big of a slice you want and usually, it won’t cost you more than €6. The place is popular with locals and tourists alike so expect a crowd at lunch time.
Address: Campo de’ Fiori 22 / Vicolo del Gallo, 14
Opening Hours: Campo de Fiori 7.30am-2.30pm and 4.45pm-8.00pm
Vicolo del Gallo 10.30am-4.45pm
Closed on Sundays (Note: In July and August, there are also closed Saturday afternoons)
3. La Renella
If you want pizza for dinner but got to Forno Campo de’ Fiori a touch too late, fear not. Enjoy a nice stroll across the Tiber to Trastevere where you’ll find La Renella, an excellent alternative. You’ll be drooling over the display of pizza with a wide range of toppings, and don’t be surprised if you find it challenging to decide on just one slice! Average price €5.
Address: Via del Moro 15, Trastevere
Opening Hours: 11.00am to 11.00pm
Tired of panini and pizza? Then head to Pastificio to get some hot freshly prepared pasta dishes for under €5. There’s nothing fancy about this place despite being in the vicinity of Piazza di Spagna. Pastificio sells dry pasta but at lunch it offers one of the best deals in town.
For €4 you get to choose between two dishes and it includes water and the house wine. Your heaping pasta will be served on a plastic plate and expect to be using plastic utensils and cups (told you there’s nothing fancy). The place is small with some chairs and wall bar tables and when it gets crowded, you might have to wait for people to clear out.
Alternatively, on a sunny beautiful day, you can get the pasta to go (not the water and wine though) and enjoy lunch in Piazza di Spagna, a prime spot to just soak in Rome. Since it is also popular with locals, head there just a touch before 1pm to beat the crowds.
Address: Via della Croce 8
Opening Hours: Lunch from 1pm-2pm
5. Trattoria Vecchia Roma
Situated in the Esquilino neighborhood is only a short walk from the Metro A Vittorio Emanuele stop. Their specialty is bucatini all’amatriciana which they flambe and mix it up in a pecorino wheel. Portion sizes are generous and dishes start at €9. As its popular place, reservations are highly recommended.
Address: Via Ferruccio, 12
Tel: 06 446 7143
Opening Hours: Mondays to Saturdays 12.30pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm
6. Kathmandu Fast Food
If you want a change from pasta, panini and pizza, make your way to Kathmandu Fast Food also in the Esquilino neighborhood, where you can get a mix plate of rice, vegetables and meat curry for not more than €7. A hole-in-the-wall but you won’t be disappointed.
Address: Via Michelangelo Buonarroti 38
Opening Hours: Every day of the week from 10.00am to 11.00pm.
7. Hamburgerseria / Burger Bar
Craving for a burger or a late night snack? Close to Piazza Navona, you will find this burger bar tuck in a corner. They offer a choice of beef, turkey or veggie burger served with tomatoes, lettuce, and BBQ sauce for €7. It doesn’t come with fries which would be an additional €3. On the menu, you will also find hot wings, salad and chicken quesadilla, each at €6.
Address: Via Del Teatro Pace 35/3
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays 6pm to 2am / Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2am
And here’s a bonus!
Gelato is not made equal in Rome! In general it is an affordable treat, if you know where to go! Here are a few gelaterie that offer excellent gelato and for €2-€3, it will be money well spent.
FataMorgana: Various locations in Monti, Trastevere, Prati. Check their website for more details.
Gelateria del Teatro: Via dei Coronari 65-66 and Lungotevere dei Vallati 25
V-Ice: Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 96
Gelateria Corona : Largo Arenula 27
Come il Latte: Via Silvio Spaventa, 24/26
Il Gelato: Viale Aventino 59
Diana has made Rome her home for the past 7 years. Consequently, she has found herself sharing her experiences on the blog BrowsingRome.com where she now also writes about about her adventures beyond the Eternal City. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
PS: If you’re visiting to Rome, also don’t forget to check out our review of the Beehive Hostel & Hotel , my experience of renting an apartment in Rome and also how to get rich in Rome at 11am
PS: If you are visiting Florence, don’t forget to check out our cheap eats guide to Florence
The Piazza Navona location of Hamburgerseria / Burger Bar is closed for renovations. The San Lorenzo location on via dei Rieti 40 is open as usual. Check their Facebook page for up to date details.
Hey Gillian, thanks for the update! When it opens, let’s meet up for a burger.
Fatamorgana is definitely a must-eat in Rome. Great round-up – added it to my Pinterest board! http://www.pinterest.com/travelsofadam/rome-travel-tips/
Diana aka Browsing Rome is the best Adam and knows all the best places to eat plus introduced me to some great ice-cream parlours…. I’ll have a peek at your Rome board now!
Hey Kash, thank you for the kind words. So when are you back for another visit?
Ciao Adam, love love love Fatamorgana and with a branch near the house, it takes to resist the temptation. Thanks for adding it to you pinterest board….off the check it out 🙂
Tried them out
Trattoria vecchia romana is excellent: huge portions of pasta for 9 euros, stirred in a big pot of grana Padano. Half litre of wine for 3.50 and mains from 9 euros (not huuuuge portions but tasty, and enough after a pasta). They also do not charge for sitting unless you actually eat the bread.
Pastificio however is closed this February for renovations.
And hamburgerseria is shut permanently, but apparently there is another one in San Lorenzo and the owner wants to reopen in another location.
Cheers for the update Marvin and will pass this onto Diana….
Glad to hear you enjoyed Trattoria Vecchia Roma. About Hamburgeseria, yes unfortunately they have closed their location near Piazza Navona. Here is the link to their location in San Lorenzo http://www.hamburgeseria-roma.com
Rome shocked me the first time I was there because like you have pointed out I was able to find some cheap pizza and other bites. That’s a symbol of what the city is so great, it is touristy and like a museum in one respect, but real and gritty in the other, especially around the uni. Great post!
Just back from Rome last week and love the food scene there. Glad you like Diana’s post. Will be updating it soon with a few tips from the recent trip.
Thanks Diana, your advice really made our trip. Trattoria Vechia Roma was great. When we looked for la renella, we found another place at the address but looking different to the picture, trattoria ‘Augusto’ – equally an tasty and lively local spot, well worth a trip, especially for the vegetable sides.