Italy: Food Guide - Dining Out
Way more than just good spaghetti bolognese.
Eating out in Italy is one of the greatest things about visiting the country. Although pasta and pizza are the most famous Italian dishes, the cuisine of Italy is extremely varied, with big differences from region to region. Italian chefs place great emphasis on the freshest ingredients, so even a green salad in a small town bistro can taste out of this world. Eating out in Italy is generally inexpensive, although this isn’t always true of the big cities – restaurants in Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan can be notoriously expensive if you pick the trendiest places.
The best dining experiences in Italy tend to be the intimate ones, rather than the big and flashy options; always try the local eatery in whichever town you find yourself in. There are gastronomic delights to be discovered there. Restaurants in Italy tend to be friendly, family-run places, especially in the country. Italian is one of the world’s great wine making nations – you can take great wine tasting tours of Tuscany and Umbria, in particular – so you can be reasonably sure the house wine in Italian restaurants will be of a high quality. Try gelato for dessert – it’s how the Italians make ice cream, and quite delicious. One last thing: coffee is very important to the Italians, but there are a couple of things that, as an outsider, you should know. If you’re having coffee at breakfast, don’t order it with milk. Also, don’t order cappuccino before lunchtime. Either will get you laughed at. Also, you’re liable to pay up to four times more for a coffee if you sit down.