Eating Out, Rome
I was near the top of the Spanish steps, and I was incredibly thirsty. I was relieved to see a beverage stand. Without thinking, I picked a bottle of Gatoraid from their cooler and began opening it while walking towards the counter. Little did I know that they were charging 6 Euros per bottle. I had no choice but to buy it because I had already opened it.
Donald de Leon
When eating in restaurants on a big piazza, the waiter will spontaniously bring you some bread to accompany whatever you are eating. Normal thing right? No! Here they will charge you just for having the bread on the table even if you don't touch it! So if you know you are not going to eat any refuse the bread politlly as soon as the waiter brings it!
After seeing the Pope in St. Peter's Square, we were starving. So, naturally, we went to the nearest restaurant. The food was good, the ambience was also--waiters wore tuxes; there was beautiful scenery (St. Peter's). However, the prices were DOUBLE (yes, double) what you usually pay.
In addition, without being told, they automatically added a gratuity charge. Not knowing that, we added on a tip. Afterwards, before we left, we were reviewing the bill and noticed the discrepancy and asked the waiter about it. He said, "No, no that is not a tip; it is a service charge."
Well, duh, I though a service charge was a tip. (This was not the charge for the bread, by the way.)
The waiter lucked out and made a "bundle", and we were "duped".
Talking with other people, we found out that
the "tourist" restaurants take any advantage possible.
Unique Suggestions: If you must eat in a restaurant near a tourist place, always ask BEFORE YOU ORDER what the policy is. Then, at least, you won't feel that you have been "ripped off".
Fun Alternatives: Instead of eating nearby famous monuments, churches, fountains, go a few streets away and choose a similar type of restaurant. You will find, as we did, that they are just as good, if not better, and so much less expensive.
This is not really a tourist trap, but it is still good to know about it . If you feel like a quick coffee and want to save money, then stand at the counter. Thats what the romans do (one has to image the coffe bar as a fuel station), stand and knock it back. It will cost you less than half the price.
The day you decide to visit the vatican Museum, try to take a sandwich with you, since te food around there is just terrible and very expensive for what it is.
Althoug there is one little cafe, cale al mio on a little square just by the swiss guards house, were they do great caffè latte, and the sandwiches are not bad either.
They stand out on the main drag going to St. Peters, with their ads in hand waiting to walk you the few blocks back to their restaurants. We said maybe later, went to St. Peters, came back out, he was still there, it was lunchtime, we were hungry, said what the heck? He walked us to the restaurant and he was so nice to us.
Unique Suggestions: Ok we had the worst waiter ever, totally rude, the other side had a very competent and friendly waiter. I manage a restaurant so I notice these things. Our meal was mediocre at best and the wine was just not good at all. Oh and expensive? si, si.
Fun Alternatives: Just say no on the street, if they were that good they would not have to go out and beg for your business.
Eating in Rome is not expensive except if the restaurant is near Vatican.
We went to one of those self-service restaurant two blocks from Vatican and I got charged E31 for a diet coke, chicken and dessert. I made a mistake of not asking for the price before ordering. So please avoid the same mistake that I did. Stay away from tourist restaurants near Vatican. I have been warned before by a friend who went to Rome before but I did not listen.
Unique Suggestions: Before ordering ask if the service charge is included 'servizio incluso?'. I have eaten near Pantheon and the service charge is not so expensive plus you are not expected to give tip anymore.
Also when going to a self-service restaurant always ask for the price of the entree. Specially if you are near Vatican.
Rome and all big touristic cities are full of "typical" (not really typical) restaurants that are traps.
If at the entrance you find a sign announcing "Turistic Menus"... don't' go there! I can tell you that Italian food could be better than that!
The location might be nice (right in the famous square or street), but much probably you'll see only tourists seating at tables.
Look for Romans!
Fun Alternatives: Look at the "Suggested Restaurants" tips...
Very generally speaking: do not trust restaurants which has pictures outside to show different kind of food; putting this picture on the streets is a typical 'tourist attraction' tip that restaurant owners use. This does not mean that for sure you cannot have a good meal in that place but why take a risk ? Rome is the city in Italy with the larger number of restaurants: ask local people for one of them and stay away from main touristic path. A 10 minutes walk is generally enough to reach a non-touristic place.
Unique Suggestions: Save money, skip wine ... it's usually overpriced
Fun Alternatives: Take away pizza and sit somewhere
...near main attractions (Vatican, Colosseum, etc)
Unique Suggestions: Order pizza. It's the only safe (and relatively affordable thing) on a menu geared to tourists.
Fun Alternatives: Eat before you go! Get suggestions from your hotel/hostel and grab lunch before you get in line for a major attraction. Don't starve yourself during museum tours, because you'll sit down at the nearest restaurant after you exit the exhibit.
Avoid to eat or drink at bars like this one (well... especially this one ... in front of Teatro Marcello) ... very close to touristic attractions. They are usually expensive (compared with normal prices)...unfriendly and if you eat outside they increase the price of what you get !!
I had a quite bad experience with this one (and I am a Roman !!)... so I don't suggest the stop... :)
Avoid any, i say ANY, of the bar, restaurant, "tavola calda" or street vendor, near any major attraction. they are reeeally expensive and what they sell have nothing to do with the italian gastronomy. U'll never see a roman or italian inside one of these places.
Unique Suggestions: Don't go!!!!!!
Fun Alternatives: Rome is plenty of bar and restaurant, just find an alternative far from the monument u r visiting. And for a quick lunch do as the roman do: find an "alimentari" a grocery and ask for a "panino" sandwich, u choose the bread (rosetta, sfilatino....) and what u want inside.
Do not eat in the main tourist areas,it will be very expensive,go up a few side streets and you will eat better and cheaper.Shops open from 9-1,then 4-8pm,so remember this.Do go to a street market and remember to wear long trousers and sleeves when going to churches.Taxi's are expensive,just walk or get the bus.HERE IS ST PETERS BASTILICA.
Here are 3 great web sites on Rome,with good tips and info and pictures.I used them for my trip and they were very helpful.I hope you find them so......'http://www.tulane.edu/lester/Western.Architect/Rome/Rome.html
There's a restaurant at the bottom of the hill from the Vatican Museum that was terribly overpriced for the boring food that they served. It wasn't bad but it certainly wasn't worth 70Euros.
Some restaurants close to tourist attractions aren't that great but sometimes, as tourists, we end up there because they look inviting and we're just plain hungry!
Restaurants around the Vatican. At least the one I ate at looked like it was going to be cheap by the menu posted outside the door, but it turned out to be hugely expensive. They charge for bread, water, etc. A big rip-off.