How to Budget for Food in Rome: Average Cost of Food Per Day

Any trip to the Eternal City will become a culinary one.

Amidst thousand-year-old wonders and cobblestone streets, you’ll find terrific food joints in almost every Roman corner.

But how much should you be factoring in for food during your Roman holiday? Rome offers a myriad of eating options, from budget street food fare and trattorias to moderately priced bistros and gourmet restaurants for the occasional splurge. The cost of food per day in Rome depends on your budget, so let us show you how to plan meals out no matter what’s in your wallet.

Want to figure out the cost of food per day in Rome? This guide has got you covered.

Budgeting for food in Rome

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend and the type of holiday you’re wanting to have, your food budget in Rome could greatly change. So before we get into the cost of food per day for the various types of travel styles, let’s set some ground rules! 

Average price of breakfast in Rome

The first main difference in terms of cost of food in Rome begins with breakfast. Italians tend to shoot their espressos and eat their cornetti right at the bar. Coffee usually costs €1, a cappuccino around €1.20 and pastries are usually €1–2. So plan out an average of €3 for breakfast. 

The price changes quite a lot if, instead of having breakfast at the bar, you want to sit down and get served—from €3, the price could easily skyrocket to €5–10 depending on where you are. Rule of thumb: the more central the bar is, the more you should expect for table service fees to rise! 

This, of course, changes wildly if you’re searching for breakfast buffets or a la carte options in hotels or restaurants. Breakfast in Rome’s more luxurious venues can cost anywhere from €12–30, depending on where you are. 

Cornetti (Italian croissant-like pastries)
Cornetti are the best of both worlds: cheap and delicious!

Average price of lunch in Rome

Lunch in Rome comes with a variety of options for you to choose from! And depending on whether you’re in a hurry or on a budget, there are great quality-price formulas for lunchtime. 

Let’s start off by saying that if you’re in a hurry—whether you need to catch an entry to a museum, a tour or a train—your best bet is one of Rome’s street food joints. From supplì and pizza al taglio to the Trapizzino, street food in Rome is fast to order, cheap and delicious. 

For this example, let’s assume you’re craving some pizza al taglio. Pizza by the slice is sold based on the weight of the pizza and the type of pizza you order. Budget in around €5 for two slices of pizza al taglio

Pizza by the slice in Rome
Slice pizza from one of our favorite spots in town: CasaManco at the Testaccio Market.

If you want to have a sit-down lunch without spending much and it’s a weekday, take advantage of the great lunch buffets! In central neighborhoods like Prati, you will find restaurants offering lunch buffet formulas, especially in areas with a concentration of offices. You can find great deals as low as €9 that include water and coffee. 

Other great lunch options are the classic trattorias and osterias, offering pasta dishes ranging from €9–14, and second courses from €12–20. For a sit-down lunch at a traditional Roman restaurant, budget around €15–20 per person. 

Average price of dinner in Rome

Dinnertime options are endless in Rome for any budget! If you’re on a tight budget, we’d suggest you book dinner at a local pizzeria. Ordering a round pizza costs around €8–13, and a chilled beer or a glass of wine to go with it is around €4–6. 

As we mentioned before, trattorias and osterias are great options for sit-down budget-friendly options in Rome. For a heartier dinner, including a starter, first course, dessert and house wine, expect to pay around €25 or more. 

Eating pasta at a trattoria is a great way to keep the cost of food per day in Rome low.
Join the locals at a neighborhood trattoria for a traditional meal that won’t break the bank.

If you’re not on a budget and you’ve decided to try some higher-priced restaurants, expect to pay around €40–50 per person. Central restaurants with great seafood and meat options usually cost around €60–80 per person, while the Michelin-starred restaurants, hotel and gourmet restaurants could range from €80–120 per person.  

Note: Another cost to keep in mind is the cover charge. Not all restaurants have one, but many do. The cover charge in Italy usually includes bread and the price of the cover but not water, and it’s an amount paid per person that usually ranges in between €1.50–3 (in more touristy places). This applies to lunch, too.

Average cost of aperitivo, drinks and snacks in Rome

Eventually, all of us get a gelato craving during the day as we walk through Rome. Good thing it’s a guilty pleasure that comes at a great price! Gelato prices are calculated on whether you get a cone or a coppetta, and on the number of gelato scoops you want. For a two-scoop gelato on a cone, budget around €2.50. 

Aperitivo in Rome comes in various formulas. You could pay for the price of your drink, a drink plus a buffet formula, or a drink plus a la carte options. Usually, some food is always served with your drink, either chips or olives. A glass of wine usually costs €5, while a cocktail can cost €8 or more, depending on where you are.

At more upscale establishments like hotels, rooftop bars and trendy venues, expect to pay around €10–20 for cocktails.

Bartender making Aperol spritzes
You haven’t really had an Aperol spritz until you’ve had one in Italy.
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