I hear the cost of food in various contries debated all the time. Plus, folks ask me what to expect in restaurants in Italy. So, is the cost of a meal in Italy higher than in the US?
The answer-and I’m sure you’re ready for this-is “it depends.”
I drink wine with dinner. When I go to da Remo in Monzone, I get the house red. You know what they want for half a liter? Last time the tab was a cool 2 euros. So when I look at a San Francisco wine list, like you might find at favorite Zuni Cafe, I’m shocked to see wines that are way too expensive at $9 on the supermarket shelves are going for almost $40 at the restaurant. The markup that the restaurants in the US place on wine they haven’t done anything to but open is nuts.
And the thing is, da Remo’s red is homemade and delicious.
Then there’s the food. In the Lunigiana I can get a three course worker’s lunch for 8-12 Euros, with wine. That’s a steal. Of course, if I go to the big cities, I expect to spend lots more. Yet I’ve still not yet managed to spend as much on a meal in Italy as I have in San Francisco.
Other folks find food really expensive in Italy. I have no idea where they eat, but it ain’t where I’m eatin’.
Of course, they could be comparing the cost to one of those American corporate fast food restaurants—you know, the ones that have to keep expanding into places unknown so they can keep their stockholders happy with increasing profits, like the one where the mystery meat is festooned with a “secret sauce” that tastes suspiciously like spackle. Then all bets are off.