Rome is a city for any budget. Yes, you can really live it up when you have unlimited funds but it is not really necessary. To save money, you can visit free sights and find budget accommodation. One thing you can’t really skip entirely is food. So how much does it cost to eat in Rome?
The cost of eating out in Rome depends, naturally, on the type of restaurants you plan to visit. However, it is entirely possible to eat well for around €12 (approximately $14) a person for pasta or pizza and wine or water at a restaurant. Street food in Rome is an even better deal and you can easily find a meal for less than €5 ($6).
Here is a break down of the cost of eating out in the Eternal City, from gelato to fancy dinners in the center of the city.
What it Costs to Eat in Rome
Average cost of coffee in Rome: A regular espresso should be about €1, while a cappuccino should be €1.30 or less. These prices assume that you are having your coffee at the bar. If you sit at a table, the cost is more likely to be €3-4 per drink.
Average cost of breakfast in Rome: A typical Roman breakfast is a coffee and a cornetto pastry. Coffee should be €1 and the pastry should be €1 more. A sit-down breakfast or brunch buffet is more of a novelty and thus only common in hotels and certain restaurants. These meals will range from €15-€20. (Here is more on what to eat in Rome for breakfast).
Average cost of a sandwich in Rome: Panini to take away should cost about €5.
Average cost of a slice of pizza in Rome: Pizza by the slice in Rome is sold based on weight so the price depends on the toppings as well as the size of the slice you select. Two small slices will usually cost around €6.
Average cost of pasta in Rome: A plate of pasta in Rome will usually cost €10-€12. This can, of course, be higher if specialty ingredients are used such as fresh seafood, porcini mushrooms or seasonal produce. More gourmet plates of pasta will cost closer to €15.
Average cost of a second course: In Rome, second courses after pasta are usually meat. These dishes average around €15-€20 a plate. Sides of vegetables or potatoes are always served separately and cost an additional €5.
Average cost of a pizza dinner in Rome: Thin and crispy Roman-style pizza usually costs about €8-€10 depending on the toppings. Add a large beer for around €4 euro more.
Average cost of water in Rome: It is rare to serve tap water in Italian restaurants (and asking for it will probably make you look like a tourist). A liter of water costs about €2 at a restaurant.
Average cost of wine: House wine with a meal in Rome generally costs around €8-€10 for a liter (which is larger than a bottle of wine). Wine by the glass at both a wine bar or in a restaurant starts around €5/glass and will go up from there depending on the quality.
Average cost of a date night in Rome: Want to try something a little fancier? A starter, first and second course plus wine and water will average around €40-€50/ person at a nicer restaurant in Rome.
Average cost of gelato in Rome: €2-€2.50 for a small cone with two scoops of gelato.
Average tip: Usually what you see on the bill is what you pay in Rome. There should not be service added unless you are with a very large group. A tip of a few euro per person is more than sufficient and actually not necessary. More on tipping in Italy.
Prefer street food? Here is where to eat in Rome for seriously cheap.
What it Costs to Shop for Food in Rome
Want to save any more? Then you can shop at the markets to make your own meals in Rome.
Fresh markets tend to be cheaper than supermarkets, and the price of produce is also advertised in kilos (2.2 pounds). These prices fluctuate greatly depending on what is in season.
The average cost of food in Rome:
- Milk: €1 for a half-liter
- Eggs: €2.50 for 6
- Apples: €3 for a kilo
- Bread: €1 for a cheap loaf
- Yogurt: €1.50 for two small pots
- Parmigiano: €18 a kilogram, or about €6 for a good-sized wedge
- Olive oil: €10 for a liter of high-quality EVOO
- Wine: €5 for a bottle (but can be much higher depending on quality)
- Water: 50 cents for a two-liter bottle
What was your experience with how much it costs to eat in Rome? Were the prices higher or lower than you expected? Any tips for others?
If you are ready to dig in, here are Rome restaurant reviews to start your meal planning.