Good & Cheap Eats: Siena edition!

Siena’s historic center is filled with numerous restaurants, cafes, and gelato stores. Visitors can easily get lost in the intricate labyrinth of the city (I know I do, and it’s been almost a month), but there’s always a restaurant or cafe around the corner!

After doing a quick search online, I noticed that there isn’t one website that mentions the good, cheap eats (and drinks) that you can get in Siena which is a necessity for students and budget travelers! To fill the void, I compiled a list below of some places I’ve frequented with friends and I think is worth trying out. This list is by no means comprehensive. For the most part, it follows a touristic route from the Siena train station to the city (via the upward escalators in the mall). [As always, pictures to come!!]

1. Dost Kebab
Location: Vittorio Emanuele 21 (on street out of the escalators to the city center)
Type: Snack/Meal, Standing room only, Take-out
Insight: If you’re craving something that isn’t pizza, pasta, or Italian in general, this kebab place is great! The guys who run the joint are really friendly and you can get a good-sized kebab burger-style or wrap-style. The red spicy sauce has a great kick and the yogurt sauce cools it all down. A meal with the kebab burger and soda/water is only €5, and I even got a free falafel as an appetizer one time while I waited 🙂

2. One Euro Pizza!
Location: Via Montanini 59
Type: Snack/Meal, Standing room only, Take-out
Insight: Yes, their real name eludes me, but this is the name plastered all around their entrance. Regular square pizza, with toppings, for only €1! They also have more expensive pizza, but why not take what’s being advertised? The sausage one is pretty good. It can get quite hot inside so buy what you want, shake on some black pepper and make your way towards the city (you’ll probably finish the 1 or 2 slices you get before you hit Il Campo though :P).

3. Pizzeria Da Bobbe
Location: Piazza Gramsci 15 (in front of the bus stop)
Type: Snack/Meal, Standing room only, Take-out
Insight: The square pizza with toppings (my favorite is the sausage with zucchini) and soda/water “meal” is around €3,50! If it’s not busy, you can watch tv and eat at the counters that line the interior of the pizzeria.

4. KopaKobana Gelateria website
KopaKobana gelato!Location: Via dei Rossi 52/54
Type: Gelato shop, Take-out
Insight: The “coppa grande” is only €2,30 and it comes with a whopping 3 scoops of whatever you like. There’s enough flavors to choose from that would float anyone’s boat. The line moves quick, you can get samples first, and every time I went, I was surrounded by native Italian speakers–that’s how I know it’s good! It’s also as good and less expensive here than the Grom Gelateria, which is popular and located Via de Sopra, aka the main road. Also, it’s in/by the Giraffa Contrada, so you can see lots of cute giraffe flags!

5. ??? Bar
Location: Via del Porrione, the first open storefront to the right when you enter the street from Il Campo
Type: Bar, outdoor/indoor seating, dance space
Insight: It’s a great place to get cocktails for €3,00 (spritz) or €3,50 (“pesca limone vodka” is a favorite, and gin&tonic). The music is very up-to-date with the dance and clubbing scene and there’s enough space to really have a party there. It can get hot indoors though, so you can take your drink outside or to the Campo.

6. Il Vicolo Osteria Pizzeria
Il VicoloLocation: Via del Porrione 46/48 (if you’re Campo facing the tower in the Campo, go all the way to the left and it’s the street going directly ahead)
Type: Restaurant, Take-out
Insight: An individual pizza pie (cut into 4 large slices) is around €5 and €7 tops! Adding rucola (aka arugula) is an extra €1, but gives a good twist! Peruse the menu at the entrance and then make your selection, pay inside, and either wait inside or sit outside for the breeze on the steps facing the restaurant–just make sure you get the right pizza when it comes out! It’s also worth dining there; I saw customers with big plates of pasta chomping away happily.

7. Bella Vista Social Pub
Location: Via San Martino 50
Type: Bar, some indoor seating
Insight: Think music from the 80s and 90s, sometimes soothing and sometimes funky, the grooves are definitely a flashback for the student/young crowd at night. The walls are plastered with posters and magazine clip-outs. People socialize outside the door. €5 gets you a really, really good mojito!

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