Whether you’re a first-time tourist straight off the plane, or a well-seasoned traveller friendly with the locals, letting your taste buds guide you around a city is a great way to explore.
If you’re on a budget don’t think you have to miss out either! Especially not in a food obsessed city like Rome. It’s completely possible to eat cheaply without sacrificing quality. Here are our favorite budget conscious spots to seek out. Find out where to eat under €10 in Rome, with no tourist menus in sight.
Who says you can’t try traditional Roman dishes just like Nonna used to make for under €10? At Trapizzino you can, and what’s more it comes in a convenient street food format. A crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside pocket of pizza bread is generously filled with classic Italian slow-cooked, sauce-based dishes.
Be sure to try pollo alla cacciatora; succulent pieces of chicken in an intense rosemary flavoured gravy, or polpetta al sugo; a juicy meatball in a rich tomato sauce. Adventurous eaters will enjoy lingua in salsa verde; beef tongue in green sauce and trippa alla romana; braised tripe in tomato sauce.
Each trapizzino costs just €3.50 or €4 if you visit the branch situated in Mercato Centrale in Termini station.
Healthy, natural and sustainable aren’t the first words that spring to mind when thinking about fast food, but head to Banco for proof that it can be done. Local ingredients, organic where possible, are sourced from carefully selected producers and turned into burgers, fries, wraps and other tasty offerings.
My trusty favorites are the fish burger made from baccalà (salted cod) with a herby lemon sauce, and the Mononoke Roll; a smoked salmon wrap with seaweed, sushi rice and marinated cucumber. If I’ve chosen a soup or salad, I’ll add a little something fried on the side, usually in the form of fries or vegan nuggets. Rolls and burgers cost €6.80 while prices for salads and nuggets start at €3.80.
3. 200 Gradi
Gourmet sandwiches are on the menu, all named after the piazzas, monuments, and neighborhoods of Rome. There are no gimmicks here however, just quality ingredients sourced from across Italy which are stuffed into crusty yet soft bread, baked fresh on the premises.
Ask for a Campo de’ Fiori and spicy salami, smoked scamorza cheese, grilled eggplant and rocket will be loaded into your sandwich, all finished with a dash of Tabasco sauce. Prices start at around €5.
4. Mordi e Vai
From healthy salads and smoothies to home-cooked soups and pasta dishes, a satisfying lunch under €10 is easily achievable at Testaccio Market. The main attraction though, is Mordi e Vai. If it’s particularly busy take a number as soon as you arrive and explore the market while you wait (just don’t miss your turn!)
The sandwiches at Mordi e Vai are all rooted in traditional Roman cooking so expect meat and offal based fillings. Some, such as the polpette della nonna al pomodoro (meatballs in tomato sauce) are absolute classics, while others like the bocconcini di vitella alla carbonara (veal in a carbonara sauce) are newer inventions. Expect to pay €4-5.
Address: Nuovo Mercato Comunale di Testaccio Box 15, Via Beniamino Franklin, 12/E, | Hours: Monday-Saturday 8.00am – 3.00pm | Website: www.mordievai.it | Phone: +39 339 13 43 344
Stake your place in the queue at Pastificio and you’ll be duly rewarded. For just €4 you can enjoy a generous portion of freshly cooked pasta to eat in or take away. Eating in can be a squeeze but (if you ask nicely) your meal will include a small glass of wine for free. With or without wine, it’s great value, especially considering the shop’s prime location close to the Spanish Steps.
There are two different types of pasta on offer everyday, but don’t count on there always being a vegetarian option. Generally, you’ll find simple no-nonsense dishes like amatriciana or fettucine ai funghi.
Address: Via della Croce 8 | Hours: 1pm – 9.30pm | Phone: +39 06 679 3102
6. Dar Filettaro
For fish without the chips, head to Dar Filettaro close to Campo de’ Fiori in the historical center. There are a handful of other items on the menu but it’s specialty, and the whole reason for visiting, is the filetti di baccalà.
Fillets of cod are given a protective coating of batter and deep-fried until crispy. If there’s space grab a table in the no fuss restaurant and add some extras like puntarelle, curly strips of chicory in an anchovy dressing.
Otherwise grab one of those crispy battered cod fillets to take away for just €5. Go and enjoy it in the picturesque piazza outside.
Address: Largo dei Librari, 88 | Hours: 5.30pm – 11pm | Phone: +39 06 686 4018
7. Mercato Centrale
With some of Rome’s best food producers and restaurateurs all under one roof, Mercato Centrale is a real treat for food lovers. Whilst it’s possible to spend big here, there’s plenty to suit smaller budgets.
Grab a plate of cacio e pepe pasta for €7 or a premium chianina beef burger for €8. Carcofi alla giudia (deep fried artichokes) cost €4 each and the arancine siciliane are a steal at just €3.
You can even try the much-hyped pizza from Gabriele Bonci, just be aware that prices are a little higher here than the average pizza by the slice joint.
They might be less well known than the thin-crust Roman pizza but pinse are just as traditional and just as delicious. Head to Pinsere and enjoy some of the lightest dough in town. It is cooked until it’s just the right amount of crunchy.
Prices vary but for around €4-6 you can select a pinsa from the counter and have it cooked right in front of you. Try the award-winning crema di zucca, pancetta e provola; pumpkin puree, bacon and provolone cheese.
You shouldn’t leave Rome without tasting supplì, balls of cooked rice that are breadcrumbed and then deep-fried. They are as delicious as they sound, but the frozen variety offered by many pizzerias and fast food joints simply don’t do this Roman classic justice.
Head to Supplizio for the real deal, served up in a chic, vintage-style interior. Supplì rosso (€3) made with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese is the classic choice, but the entire menu of street food treats is tempting.
10. Le Foodie
There’s plenty of bars around town offering good aperitivo but Le Foodie, in San Giovanni, is my current go-to spot. For €10 you can take your pick from all kinds of fresh pasta, cooked veggies, meats, cheeses, and salads. Fresh plates come out of the kitchen throughout the evening so the buffet always looks full and appetizing. Order an Aperol Spritz and don’t be shy with seconds!
If you’re interested in learning more about the food culture of Italy check out 6 GREAT PLACES FOR SEAFOOD IN ROME. Or if you’re looking for a local foodie experience, sign up for our brother The Roman Guy’s Local Rome Food Tour!