Cheap Rome Restaurants
Where to eat well in Rome on a budget

All the advice I see about finding cheap Rome restaurants seems to involve pizza, gelato or fried street food.

Sure, you can eat cheaply, and even eat well, by having those things.

I've been known to make a meal out of fried street food, with a gelato chaser. Ahem.

tagliolini alla gricia fiaschetteria mariniThis gorgeous portion of made-to-order tagliolini alla gricia cost 8€ at Fiaschetteria Marini, one of my go-to cheap Rome restaurants for lunch.

But what if you want a fabulous, tasty, Roman, inexpensive meal at an authentic trattoria?

Well of course, I've got you covered!

Cheap Roman Restaurants - you have options!

After more than 20 years of living in Rome (and eating out more than my share, both in the historic center and in quieter Roman neighborhoods), I really do know where the good affordable restaurants are.

What are cheap Rome restaurants like?

tourist menu romeRome fast-food tourist menu

On this page, I am not even going to discuss the places serving tourist-meals, with worse than banal food, typically made from something frozen.

Sometimes you can spot these by the large easel out front, with pictures of pasta and a can of Coke next to it, in English, accompanied by bold-lettered low low prices.

Instead, let's talk about restaurants where you can sit down and enjoy a freshly prepared, delicious Roman meal, but not spend a lot.

These are not going to be upscale, romantic restaurants, with table-cloths and waiters in half-tux jackets.

The reason these Rome restaurants are good cheap eats, is that they have a steady, loyal clientele, they don't invest too much in decor or upgrades, and they just make the same simple foods all the time.

Simple is good. And it does not have to cost a lot.

I consider a restaurant in Rome inexpensive if I can have a sit-down meal for 30€ per person or less.

Sound improbable?

Not if you know where to go!

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Pricing of a typical meal out in Rome

The way I usually eat dinner (or sometimes lunch) out in Rome is to have two courses: either an antipasto and a primo (pasta or soup); or no antipasto, but maybe a half primo and then a secondo, or an antipasto and a secondo.

half-portion funghi porcinihalf-portion pasta
pollo alla romanasecond course
white winewine with dinner

I can’t have all three courses (antipasto, primo and secondo) - I just don’t have space in my tummy!

A secondo is either a meat, fish or vegetable course, including dishes like caprese (mozzarella and tomato), salad, and eggplant parmigiana.

Wine is almost always involved (unless we are eating pizza, in which case, it’s beer).

bill for cheap lunch in RomeCheap meal for two in Rome

So for pricing purposes, I’ll tell you more or less what I spend at the following restaurants in Rome when I have two courses, half a bottle of wine, water and coffee.

I am not including dessert either, since I don’t normally get it (too full), and also, I love a nice stroll and a gelato afterwards, so that is another story!

The bill you see here is from one of my favorite Rome trattorias that, unfortunately does not exist any more. But there are plenty more like it.

This was a meal for two, with two bottles water, one pasta that we shared, two shared second courses and coffee.

There was no wine at this meal, but even if we'd had a couples of glasses each, it would still have been pretty cheap, as good (or pretty good) wine is not expensive in Rome.

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Cheap Rome Restaurants for dinner

Let’s start with cheap Rome Restaurants for dinner. 

I've broken this down into two categories: Really Roman trattorias, and excellent cheap pizzerias in Rome.

Cheap trattorias in Rome - eat well for less

Osteria Della Suburra

You’d think a restaurant right in the Monti neighbourhood near the Colosseum would be touristy and expensive. But Suburra is neither.

carciofo alla romana osteria suburraThis outrageous Roman-style artichoke was so delish my friends each had two. This one deserved the full "scarpetta", in which we sop up all the juices with bread.

First of all, it’s been around for decades, and has a loyal local clientele. The decor is pretty out of date, but who cares. I go for the food. It’s nice that they have tables outside. But beware, it can get crowded and also busy out there when we have nice weather, and service can be slow. (Also people are smoking.)

Osteria della Suburra outsideEating outside at Osteria della Suburra. Complete with accordion player!

You will find excellent pasta dishes like carbonara and gricia, superb artichokes when in season, and a great selection of meats, fish and vegetables. 

veg plate osteria della suburraMy lunch appetizer - veg plate for six Euros. Worth every penny.

They have many traditional Roman dishes, including the offal specialties such as rigatoni alla pajata, and trippa alla romana, but also some particular ones, based on their old-time clients’ tastes and requests (lambs' brains, or "Roman style" snails.) About 25-30€ pp.

Caveat - They only take reservations for their “first seating” which means for 7:30 or 8pm.

If you want dinner after say 8:30pm, then you just need to come and wait.

They do NOT engage in the 2-seating reservation thing, which means that whoever comes at 7:30pm can eat until they are done and ready to go. 


  • Address: Via Urbana, 67
  • Phone: +39 06 486531
  • Opening hours: Monday CLOSED | Tuesday-Sunday: 13:00-15:00, 19:00-23:00
  • Reservations only for first seating
  • Outside dining
  • May be closed during August - call to confirm

Romolo e Remo

Romolo e Remo is where I eat more than any other cheap Rome restaurants on this list because it’s near where I live. So I know it very well. And it’s a winner every time.

trattoria romolo e remo tables outsideRelaxing lunch outside at Romolo e Remo trattoria

This is a “0km” restaurant, meaning they serve a lot of locally sourced foods (this is a sub-category of the Slow Food movement. Kind of like Farm-to-Table.)

At Romolo e Remo you can get all the traditional Roman pastas, plus a lot of other varieties. The menu is huge and offers fried appetisers, wood-burning oven pizza, steaks, chicken, eggplant parmesan, and typical Roman specialties like tripe, osso bucocoda all vaccinara, and on occasion, pajata.

straccetti rucola e pomodoriSuper juicy beef straccetti with rucola and cherry tomatoes at Romolo e Remo

They have excellent fresh fish (I often get their tonnerelli all scoglio, which is with a mix of shellfish, or perhaps their fried fish platter, or just a fresh grilled fish with potatoes.)

tonnarelli allo scoglio romolo e remoTonnarelli allo scoglio at Romolo e Remo

Typically, we spend around 20€ pp for full-on dinner here. Yes you read that right.

One of the best cheap Rome restaurants in a local neighborhood, although actually it's only a 15-minute walk from the Coliseum.


The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

Trattoria Dal Cavalier Gino

This restaurant right behind Parliament has been a go-to place for Romans in the know for decades. It’s especially difficult to get in for lunch, when all the politicians are eating there. 

dal cavalier gino outsideThe entry to dal Cavalier Gino, tucked on a tiny side street near Parliament

The decor is a bit kitschy and bright but it’s fun and convivial and the waiters are usually friendly and even funny.

dal cavalier gino dining roomOne of two small dining rooms at Dal Cavalier Gino

Gino is the kind of place you come if you want home cooking, without having to cook it. You will find all the typical Roman dishes there, like pasta carbonaraamatricianagricia and more. You will also find some particular local dishes such as hare in tomato sauce, and cuttlefish with peas. Very Roman. 

baccalà and potatoes in tomato sauce cavalier ginoBaccalà with potatoes in tomato sauce, a traditional Friday dish in Rome - delicious at Cavalier Gino

Oddly, they do not serve coffee. Also their dessert selections are pretty minimal, so after a meal here, your best bet is to head out and stroll around the Pantheon for a coffee and/or gelato.

They do not take credit cards (which probably helps explain the low prices), and reservations are a must. About 27-30€ pp.

Caveat - Lately they are doing the new thing which is take reservations for one of two seatings for dinner, either 8 or 9:30, and nothing in between.

I dislike this new trend in Rome, but that’s just the way it is now.


  • Address: Vicolo Rosini, 4
  • Phone: +39 06 687 3434
  • Opening hours: Monday-Saturday: 13:00-15:00, 20:00-22:30 | Sunday CLOSED
  • Reservations strongly recommended
  • No outside dining
  • May be closed during August - call to confirm

Cacio e Pepe "da Gianni"

daily menu cacio e pepe gianniThe daily menu at Cacio e Pepe da Gianni

This super-local Roman dive is reputed among locals to have the best cacio e pepe pasta in Rome.

It’s definitely up there in the top 10, in my opinion.

The menu is really limited, and the waiters will just come tell you what there is that day. But try the pasta, especially, of course, the cacio e pepe.

Their carbonara is also excellent.

It's also pretty cool that even though a regular pasta dish is already affordable, they also list a menu option for an even cheaper "mezza-porzione" - half portion.

It can be very difficult to get a reservation here, especially in nice weather.

carbonara da gianniSuperb carbonara at Cacio e Pepe
outside dining cacio e pepe da gianniA packed house at Cacio e Pepe da Gianni

Expect to eat at rickety wooden tables close to other diners, but just enjoy. Around 20€ for dinner.


Sora Lucia

Sora Lucia is surprisingly local, homey and very Roman, despite its proximity to the Trevi Fountain. When you come inside Sora Lucia and are greeted by the owners, it almost feels like you've gone into someone's home.

I almost always start with a big plate of veggies. You can pick out what you want by going to look at them at the counter, or, even better, just tell them to bring a mix of them. It's all good.

veggie bar at sora luciaThe veggie bar at Sora Lucia

They have a pretty vast menu, considering they serve pretty much local Roman dishes only. Pastas, fish and meat are all good here. Check the daily specials written on the chalkboard, and if they have homemade dessert, I strongly recommend saving room for it!

grilled anchovies sora luciaGrilled anchovies at Sora Lucia

One of the best cheap Rome restaurants near the Trevi fountain.


Disco Volante

The name of this restaurant in English translates to “Flying Saucer.” Not sure why it’s called that.

But it’s one of the go-to restaurants in my group of friends when we want to meet out for dinner and enjoy a good, casual Roman meal and not spend too much.

There is a varied antipasto bar with lots of marinated grilled veggies and some fish appetisers, and they have good pizza, pasta, fish and meat options.

spaghetti allo scoglio disco volanteSpaghetti allo scoglio at Disco Volante


Save money in Rome by Taking a Food Tour

If you take one of the fantastic food tours offered in Rome, you will kill several birds with one stone:

You will learn about Rome Cuisine, you will get to eat as you go (so the tour pays for itself basically!), you get a little exercise to walk OFF the food (ha!), you get to sightsee, and hopefully, you get to have fun!

Click here to book a Rome Food Tour with Get Your Guide.

Taverna Romana

Another simple little no-frills Roman trattoria, serving good basic Roman food, at very fair prices...and once again just around the corner from the Coliseum. About 30€ pp including drinks.

taverna romanaTaverna Romana - a great option for an inexpensive, homemade meal near the Coliseum


Da Augusto

rigatoni amatriciana da augustoRigatoni amatriciana at Da Augusto

If you are looking for a very simple, casual, no-frills cheap meal in Trastevere, this is the place.

The menu is limited to what is available that day, although you can usually count on the typical Roman pastas like cacio e pepe or amatriciana.

They don't take reservations, and the wooden tables are not that comfortable and pretty squished near each other. 

It's very homey, the food is good and the prices are really really low.

About 20€ per person.

One of the best cheap Rome restaurants in Trastevere.


Cheap Rome restaurants - where to go for good, cheap pizza

Typically a basic Roman pizza should cost around 6-9 Euros (one whole pizza for one person). It will cost a bit more if you get special toppings like buffalo mozzarella, porcini mushrooms or truffles.

Romans usually have some fried appetizers before their pizza: supplì (tomatoey rice balls stuffed with mozzarella, then breaded and fried; fried zucchini flowers; olive ascolane (green olives stuffed with minced pork, then breaded and fried); fried baccalà (codfish); or fried veggies.

Add a beer and you have a full meal, usually for under 20€ a person anyway. So you can go to just about any pizzeria in Rome and spend less for dinner than you would at a trattoria for a full meal. But there are a couple of places where the Romans go, where the pizza is seriously cheap, and seriously good.

Click here to visit my page about Pizza in Rome.

Pizzeria Alle Carrette

Pizzeria alle Carrette is one of my all-round pizzeria's in Rome. I love it for the pizza and fried apps, but it also happens to be inexpensive. 

suppli and other fried apps alle carretteFried appetizers at Pizzeria Alle Carrette

This is a true pizzeria, with wood-burning oven, and a limited menu of only calzone's bruschetta, fried apps, salads and of course pizza. The simplest pizzas start at 4€ but even if you get toppings like zucchini flowers and anchovies, it's still under 10€. When we go as a group and get a bunch of fried apps, pizza, beer (or wine), we always spend around 15-18€ per person.

pizza fiori di zucca pizzeria alle carretteLove my fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers) pizza at Alle Carrette


Navona Notte

This place can probably be classified as a bit touristic, being right behind Piazza Navona but also on the most touristy street in that area.

However, it is also where the young local Romans go to have a casual cheap pizza. The pizza is very good, classic Roman style: thin, simple and crispy. And super cheap. (You can also get other food too, but I suggest sticking with the pizza.) You are likely to spend under 20€ for dinner here.

navona notte pizzeriaPizzeria Navona Notte - great cheap pizza right behind piazza Navona


Cheap Rome Restaurants for lunch

Sometimes you want a nice sit down lunch, but without spending a lot.

Yes, you can eat lunch cheaply in Rome if you just go to a bar and grab a panino or tramezzino to eat standing up or to go. Or, if you have pizza by the slice, standing up, which is a traditional Roman way of eating a quick lunch. 

Click here for more about Lunch in Rome.

If you want to have a nice lunch, sitting down, and want to eat well but don’t want to spend too much (under 25€), here are my picks:

Cheap Rome restaurants - enotecas for lunch

Enotecas (wine bars) can often be an excellent source for a yummy, inexpensive lunch. I am not talking about having cheese, olives and salami (which is certainly fine, also!)

A lot of enotecas in Rome make and serve simple food as a kind of "by the way." Oh yeah, we sell wine but here's some nice food too if you want.

Fiaschetteria Marini

This is one of my fave cheap Rome restaurants for lunch.

It's not far from the via Veneto, but it's still in a pretty business-y area of Rome, and at lunchtime, it's packed with Italians who work in the area, and who love a good, simple homemade lunch.

They make everything fresh daily, and the pasta is made to order.

The menu you see at left is one of their typical lunch menus.

(At the bottom of the menu is torta al papavero which is poppyseed cake. I tried it once and now I am ruined for any other poppyseed cake.)

polpette al limone fiaschetteria mariniSimple but delicious, homemade lemon meatballs at Fiaschetteria Marini
poppyseed cake at fiaschetteria mariniThe poppyseed cake at Fiaschetteria Marini is not to be missed.

One of the best cheap Rome restaurants. Period.


  • Address: Via Raffaele Cadorna, 9
  • Phone: +39 06 474 5534
  • Opening hours: Monday: 12:00-15:00 | Tuesday-Saturday: 12:00-15:00, 19:00-22:45 | Sunday: CLOSED
  • No outside dining but lots of tables near open windows in nice weather
  • Reservations strongly recommended

Enoteca Buccone

Enoteca Buccone looks mostly like a wine emporium, but they have tables in the back, and serve some simple dishes each day (for dinner as well.) Check what's written on the chalkboard outside, but also just ask when you get inside.

baccalà with tomato sauce for lunch at enoteca bucconeBaccalà with tomato sauce and wine, of course, at Enoteca Buccone


Enoteca Corsi

Enoteca Corsi has it all: a lively, bustling dining room; friendly staff; a great selection of wines by the bottle or glass; and delicious Roman food at very good prices.

enoteca corsi interiorEnjoying an inexpensive but scrumptious lunch at Enoteca Corsi

Location, location location: It's smack in the center of Rome, so it's very easy to get to from Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, or even the Coliseum.

One of the best cheap Rome restaurants for lunch in the historic center.


Cheap Rome restaurants - lunch buffet

You can find lunch buffets around Rome quite easily. But they are not always that great. I do have one I must recommend, because their buffet is amazing, and the price is right!

Alla Rampa

The food at Alla Rampa is quite good. And the place is not as touristy as you'd think, given its location right near the Spanish Steps.

On this page, we are talking about cheap Rome restaurants, so the only way I can recommend Alla Rampa as a cheap restaurant in Rome is for the buffet lunch.

lunch buffet at Alla RampaSpoiled for choice at the 10€ lunch buffet at Alla Rampa

If you order from the normal menu, you will get very good, well prepared food, but for normal restaurant prices...and you'll wind up spending 30-40 Euros per person, even for lunch. So let's stick with the buffet shall we?

It's not an all-you-can-eat-buffet. For 10€, you can go once to the buffet. But they don't care how much you heap on there. Consider there is also bread on the table, for which you will be charged about 2€ per person.

To keep costs low, order tap water instead of bottled, or house wine. And get your coffee elsewhere because that's another thing that will make the bill start edging up (about 3€ per person.)

One of the best cheap Rome restaurants for lunch outside.


Cheap Rome restaurants - lunch with the farmers

I suppose I should not call a farmers' market a restaurant, but you can eat really well for very little money here, and you can sit down, so I am including it on this page.

Campagna Amica

You want to visit a real farmers' market in Rome?

I am not talking Campo dei Fiori, now pretty much over-run by tourists and non-food vendors.

I mean, a market where the farmers bring their produce and food products directly to the consumer? Where you can try things before you buy? And, where you can eat a homemade, simple lunch, made by the farmers themselves? 

mercato di campagna amica at circo massimoMercato di Campagna Amica - a true farmers' market in Rome

The Campagna Amica market in Circo Massimo (site only in Italian) is part of a bigger project that sets up markets, usually on weekends and holidays, in strategic areas in towns all over Italy. (See the website for Campagna Amica for more info.)

There are almost 10 of them all over Rome, but the one I go to the most is near the Circus Maximus.

fruit vendor at campagna amica farmers marketThe fruit vendors only carry truly seasonal products at Campagna Amica farmers' market

Actually I usually go there to just get food for myself, but, sometimes I like to go around and taste some of the yummy things for sale, like porcini mushroom spread or sharp olive oil with little pieces of bread. And sometimes I go with friends to the little wine section in the back, and have a little wine tasting with snacks (another cheap lunch alert!)

But one of the best ways to have a really cheap, simple, local lunch in Rome is to stand in line and get one of their hot dishes on offer, and take it in the back to eat in the garden (in nice weather of course.)

cheap farmers market lunch campagna amicaLunch is served at Campagna Amica farmers' market
veg lasagne at campagna amica 5 eurosThis veg lasagne cost 5€ and included bread and water. Wine is extra.


Cheap Rome restaurants - Tavola Calda

Tavola calda literally means "hot table." But what the phrase means is a kind of bar/caffe, where they make the food in advance, and then have it on display for you to select, cafeteria-style. Usually there are daily specials.

tavola calda lunch menuAt this excellent and very local tavola calda bar near the Vatican, you can have an inexpensive, hot sit-down lunch, cafeteria-style.

You pick up a tray, utensils, and bread, and then go down the line and pick out what you want. Depending on what you order, they will heat it up for you. Step to the cash register and pay. It's a good idea to order your coffee at this point, to avoid waiting in another cash register line again later. (So save your receipt to show them when you go order your coffee.)

tavola calda choicesLots of yummy things to pick from at this tavola calda near the Vatican

There will be spartan tables and chairs, and no waiter service. You should try to bring your tray to an appropriate place when you are done.

This is one of the best ways to eat lunch in Rome when you want something quick and cheap, but homemade and satisfying.

Cheap Rome restaurants - where to find some good tavola calda

There are not so many great tavola calda in the touristic center. You find tavola calda more easily in business-y areas in Rome.

Here are a few spots where you can find really good tavola calda in the center of Rome:

  • Not far from piazza Barberini and via Veneto, is a bustling hive of businesses and offices, and, therefore, a wealth of tavola calda places. Your best bet is to just walk around there, specifically on via Flavia but also try the cross streets.
  • Right near piazza Repubblica is a tiny, almost hidden spot called Dagnino. It's not such a secret though, because they are known for their Sicilian pastries. But, they also have a killer tavola calda. 
  • Looking for a cheap, good lunch near the Vatican? There is a cafe right on the corner of via Silla and via degli Scipioni. It's called Caffetteria Ruberto but you cannot see a name. But it's pretty big and you can enter from either street. Fantastic, cheap, fresh tavola calda. Very Roman.
tavola calda primi dagninoDagnino tavola calda pasta courses
dagnino tavola calda secondiDagnino tavola calda second courses

How to Save on eating in rome, besides cheap rome restaurants

Other than eating at cheap Rome restaurants, here are just a few more tips to save money eating in Rome. For more tips, visit my page about visiting Rome on a Budget.

  • Stay someplace that has breakfast included in the rate.
  • If breakfast is not included, you can go to a bar and have your breakfast, but if you are in Rome on a budget, you should have it standing up, not sitting down (which costs more.)
  • Eat street food for lunch (pizza by the slice, sandwiches etc.)
  • Stay in an apartment so you can make some meals at home.
  • Get some ready-made foods at just about any grocery store.
take out food at rome grocery storeThere are little city-groceries all over Rome now, and you can always find some fresh, pre-made and usually health foods close to the cash register

Cheap Rome Restaurants - a map

Click here to visit my interactive Google map showing all the cheap Rome restaurants listed on this page. It will open in a new window.

You can click each category to see only places in that section.

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