Roman Food on the Cheap

Rome Restaurant
Rome Restaurant

Let’s face it. The American dollar is worthless, and if you’re coming from the states to Europe as a budget traveler you’re gonna be quite shocked at how little your money is going to go.

But it is still possible to have a great time without blowing all your money in a short amount of time, with this quick post on eating in Rome.

Traveling around Rome is expensive there is no way around that. Museums, Ruins, transportation, FOOD; all take away from your budget. You can better save on your budget by planning ahead and thinking things through. Most importantly however, is the food part. You need sustenance to stay alive, or so I’ve heard.

Purchase Food at the Supermarkets

If you’re traveling through major hot-spot cities, supermarkets are everywhere. Their not hard to find either. Just ask someone “Supermercato?” And you’ll be pointed in the right direction. Shopping for food in a large store is just like it is back home. It’s cheaper. Plain and simple. Second in line are convenience stores.

Less stuff, more expensive. Then of course, are restaurants, the most expensive. For example a liter of mineral water will cost you a whopping €2.50 in a restaurant. But you can get a larger, 1.5 Liter bottle of water in the supermarket for a measly 34 cents. My second day I bought two apples, two oranges, a Baguette bread and 1.5 liter of water all for €2.50. I ate that bread for two days.

Refill your Water Bottle

When you’re out exploring Rome you’ll notice these free flowing water fountains. The water coming out of the fountain is fresh and clean. Simply carry around your 34 cent water bottle and refill it at any of these watering stations.

Know Where to Go

You’re in Rome. More importantly, in Italy. You’re gonna want to sample real Italian food from the source, and you’ll have to settle for a restaurant. Or, if you’re lucky, have someone cook it for you! Most restaurants are considered pricey in the more touristy areas around Rome, where all the attractions are. But walking or taking the bus a bit further will reveal some nice restaurants at decent prices.

This tip was given to me by my Hostel desk clerk, she told me to go west across the river and that’s where all the cheap restaurants were. I did just that and I saved almost two Euros on a huge bowl of traditional Spaghetti. Pizzas are cheaper too. I knew this tactic already from having lived in Hawaii for a while. Want to eat cheaper? Move inland, away from the tourist hot-spots.

All-in-all, if you’re a tight budget traveler such as myself, you can get by on a loaf of bread and some fresh cut meat for a day. It’s easy to pack into your day pack and it’s a lot more fun to sit by a huge fountain, eat your food and watch the world go by.