Anything from breakfast, lunch, dinner to pastries and cafe snacks.
Italy, for what I've heard, is very expensive when it comes to food, and I'm on a very tight budget.
What are the best places to go when you don't want to spend more than 5 euros on a meal (without counting drinks or elaborate restaurante courses, just a plain simple one course meal of pasta, pizza or sandwitch), but still have a full belly and not have to rely on little snacks throughout the day to keep myself energized.
Casa del Vino
Hidden away between tacky leather boutiques along the St Lorenzo street market, Gianni Migliorini's wine bar has one of the best selections of Tuscan vintages in town. Many are sold by the glass and accompanied by an irresistible selection of hams, sausages, cheeses, anchovies and sardines, while a whole roast suckling pig sits on a marble slab, ready to be sliced up for a delicious porchetta sandwich. The place is jam-packed all day, and apart from the rickety wooden bench on the pavement, everyone squeezes inside and eats their gourmet panino, bruschetta or salad standing up.
• 16 via dell'Ariento, casadelvino.it. Average meal €10
Trattoria da Mario
The square behind the food market, the Mercato Centrale, is lined with scores of restaurants and pizzerias, most of which are best avoided. But do look out for the tiny entrance of legendary Trattoria da Mario, a friendly family-run affair that has been serving excellent, well-priced Tuscan food for 60 years. Only open at lunch and often drawing queues as they don't take reservations, it has a menu that changes daily, featuring the classic ribollita vegetable soup and a hearty bollito misto, boiled beef and tongue with a zingy parsley sauce. It's also worth splashing out for the massive bistecca Fiorentina.
• 2 via Rosina, trattoria-mario.com. Average meal €20
Il Teatro del Sale
This has to be both the best deal and most original place to eat in Florence. It was created by flamboyant chef Fabio Picchi and his actress wife, Maria Cassi, and you pay €5 to join this artistic club, open from Tuesday to Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a live show at night. A tempting buffet is laid out, then the chef shouts out dishes from the window of his open kitchen and guests line up to be served wonderful creations like pasta with artichokes and red mullet, oven-roasted with herbs and olive oil. The meal spreads over 10 dishes, with wine and coffee included in the price. Dinner costs €10 extra, as the live entertainment is included in the price.
• 18 via de'Macci, +39 55 200 1492, edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it. Average meal £17 about 5 years ago
I've been to both Florence and Rome and the best thing to do is to walk at least 5 blocks away from the main tourist areas. There are some really great value restaurants and bars in the areas with more local people.
My Favorited find in Rome was 'Enofficina Roma' (Via Trionfale, 50) - a small wine bar that had amazing wine and they would give you each a free plate of food at happy hour. about 5 years ago
I've been to all of them and the cheapest, and frankly best, eating is done away from the main touristic areas. Look for small shops (often with very few seats or no tables at all) and bars, with many Italians (you'll recognize us, don't worry: well dressed, loud, and in Rome and Florence BIG accent, not difficult) and either ask for a meal of the day "piatto del giorno", which is usually some kind of pasta the cook is a genius at making, or if you find yourself in a bakery tell them to make a costumer's favorite or an owner's favorite, "faccia lei" (= you choose) often produces the best sandwich ever, and away from the touristy places you can have that for 3 or 4€ at most. Personal advice: smile a lot, treat yourself to a glass of local wine, and if you don't understand the language do not be shy about pointing (even at your neighbors' plate) 'cause we aren't.
I hope you enjoy your time in Italy! about 5 years ago
Antico Forno Roscioli
Besides offering a large variety of traditional Italian pastries and bread, it has selection of pizzas that manage to win the locals' heart. I've heard that the mozerella with tomato is worthy of a try. Besides its pizzas, you can also choose from its menu of freshly cooked pastas that range from 6-7 euros that includes fettuccine with mushroom in a cheese sauce, risotto pomodoro, ravioli ricotta and pesto linguine.
La Renella Panificio Trastevere
This family-run bakery has an atmosphere of your grandma's kitchen. There are people coming over from all walks of life, creating a very lively ambience. Get a pizza and select your toppings which averages 5 euros only. almost 5 years ago