In Italy you'll find numerous establishments ranging from simple alimentari (grocery shops) to elegant restaurants. A typical Italian breakfast is a café and brioche (croissant) which you'll find available at every bar and café. Typically, you'll pay around 2.90€ for the two items, but always remember that if you sit down at a table in a café or bar this price will be more than double. So remember to do as the Italians, and have your breakfast standing-up.
In between meals, in every location throughout Italy you'll find plenty of places offering light snacks including pizza, ice-cream, sandwiches and fruits. To get the best prices you should try to shop in supermarkets where the prices are a fraction of what you would pay at a food-stall. As an example a can of Coca-Cola in a supermarket would cost .50€, in a cafe it would cost around a 3.00€.
After the supermarkets, and especially in smaller communities you should try a local alimentari where you can select the ingredients to make a delicious sandwich with fresh-bread and local meats and cheeses. Typically, a filling-sandwich or Pannino as the Italians call it would cost around 3.50€.
At least once a day you should consider dining out to savour the delicious cuisine that Italy is so famous for through the world. A simple Margherita pizza (tomatoes and cheese) would cost around 6-7€ in a Pizzeria. Always beware of hidden costs when you dine out in the for of cover charges and service charges that can increase the cost of your meal by 20% or more.
Osterias typically offer the best value for money. Their menu's often feature a wide variety of home-cooked dishes that enable you to sample the local cuisine without breaking the bank. A typically Osteria in Italy would charge around 15 - 20€ a person for two-courses with wine & water.
Trattorias, are one-step up from Osterias, and are like budget-style restaurants. Which basically means good food at low prices! Although, this a bit of a generalization as there are some very expensive Osteria's & Trattoria's that cater to an up-market crowd. We recommend when you go looking for a restaurant in Italy that you avoid dining at an establishment completely deserted of people. Try to listen out for Italians dining inside, as you know if local are dining at a restaurant you've probably found the right place.
Restaurants are typically the most expensive places to eat, but there is no guarantee that you'll get your monies worth. There have been many occasions where we have dined at a plush restaurant and felt we had been better returning to the cosy Osteria we had visited the night before! Below we have some links to pages on website where you'll find information on restaurants and other dining establishments in Italy.
SELECTION OF RESTAURANTS IN ROME, ITALY
SELECTION OF RESTAURANTS IN FLORENCE, ITALY
SELECTION OF RESTAURANTS IN VENICE, ITALY
In addition to the various types of Italian eating establishments you'll find throughout the Italian peninsula, you might also consider dining at an Ethnic restaurant. Italians are very patriotic people when it comes to their cuisine and so Ethnic cuisine is slowly, but surely growing in popularity.
Typically, the best choices for Ethnic cuisine are found in the big cities where the population is more diverse. In every town you'll find a Chinese restaurant, but these offer low-price and low quality meals. Which is why Italians have been a little slow in trying other cuisines - once bitten twice shy!