I've been going over the reviews of Italian restaurants on this page, and most of the time it seems possible to divide restaurants mentioned into two categories; unknown family-run trattorias in little towns, and then the michelin-awarded restaurants like Il Postale, Le calandre, Al Covo and Alle Testiere. Now, I've never eaten in a restaurant with a Michelin star, although I did once eat at Il Falconiere in Cortona, which I think garnered an honourable mention from the Michelin Guide. It was probably the best meal I have ever eaten (a green bean and pecorino souffle stands out). On that occasion, I was the guest of a very generous uncle, but at the moment I am unfortunately 'uncle-less' in Italy,and I want to know how much going to a restaurant like one of the above would cost, without wine (because including wine creates an enormous range in price). Is it much cheaper going for lunch?
I would also like opinions on whether it is better to save for one meal at one of those restaurants, or have many meals at much cheaper places. It is something very difficult to quantify, of course, but I am interested to hear what others would do if in the situation of someone with a small budget. The memory of that souffle is still with me three years on, after all...