Europe | Italy

A Guide To The Best Food In Italy

Food in Italy is undoubtedly a magnet for crowds of tourists to the country. Beautiful Italy attracts thousands of travelers eager to explore its breathtaking scenery, unique culture, and gastronomic delights. With its rich cuisine, this splendid Mediterranean land offers countless traditional dishes not to be missed. 

I have traveled to Italy many times, and each time I am pleasantly surprised by Italian cuisine. Each time, I’ve had the pleasure of trying different Italian dishes. And you’re probably wondering what Italian food is considered the best. I’ll give you a hint: all of them!

A Guide To The Best Food In Italy

Italian food near me

Once your plane lands in Italy and you leave the airport and head to the city center, you will definitely think about food. In my case, Google Maps helps in finding restaurants. It is worth noting that there are other ways to search. Just google the phrase “italian food near me“. The search results will display all restaurants operating in the location. 

This is one of the most effective methods of searching for restaurants. You can also quickly verify opening hours. There is sometimes unreliable information, and when you go to a restaurant, it turns out that it is closed. It is worth keeping this in mind when planning your stay.

In Italian cuisine, there are a multitude of renowned specialties and typical Italian sweet and savory dishes. The traditional dishes are deeply rooted in Italian culture, and the recipes are often passed down from generation to generation and appreciated for their authentic origins.

The most famous typical Italian dishes are pasta, pizza, and risotto, all prepared with intense aromas and flavors typical of the Mediterranean diet, which make Italian cuisine the best in the world. 

In addition to the variety of its dishes, the typical Italian cuisine allows you to learn about a part of its history and culture. Here is a quick overview of the 10 most famous Italian dishes.

Top 10 Italian dishes

But what are the top 10 Italian dishes that are most familiar to the millions of visitors who come to our country every year? In this blog post, you will discover the most popular typical Italian dishes in the world and the most requested by foreign travelers.  

Italian cuisine is undoubtedly one of the most fashionable cuisines in the world. It never goes out of style. Its dishes are varied, tasty, colorful, and easy to prepare. Many tourists come to Italy to experience the famous Italian food. 

I’ve put together a top 10 list of the best Italian dishes that should definitely inspire you in the kitchen… or the next time you go to a restaurant! Among the most famous foods in Italy are those I’ve listed below. It also offers traditional Italian cuisine.

  • Pizza
  • Lasagna 
  • Spaghetti Carbonara
  • Pesto
  • Ravioli, Tortellini e Agnolotti
  • La Focaccia
  • Risotto
  • Polenta
  • Minestrone
  • Fiorentina
A Guide To The Best Food In Italy

Bologna food capital of Italy

From Sardinia, I decided to go to Bologna. This decision was quite obvious. I have visited this city before, but it has been a long time. The idea of visiting Florence was also floated.  Additionally, the two visits were prompted by Italian pasta.

Food plays a very important role in the lives of the people of Bologna. In fact, Bologna is considered the food capital of Italy—even by Italians! The list of foods that come from here reads like a what of Italian cuisine (think tortellini, lasagna, mortadella). 

Be sure to try the croissant that you may have never heard of, but is definitely worth a taste. Be warned though – don’t ask for spaghetti bolognese! It’s an Anglo-Italian dish (kind of like garlic bread). If you want to try authentic “spaghetti bolognese”, ask for Ragu. 

Trending Italian food

Why is Italian food trending? Italian cuisine is the most popular and best appreciated in the world. There are several reasons for this, the first being the large number of Italian restaurants present in many countries. 

Indeed, over the centuries, Italian immigrants have exported their gastronomic know-how during their travels in Europe, North America, and Australia. Many countries have the chance to know and consume Italian dishes easily!

A second reason is the quality-to-price ratio of most of these dishes. In general, when you want to eat well on a small budget, you naturally go for Italian food. In particular, towards a good pasta dish or a big pizza!

And if I had to give a third reason for its success, it would obviously be because it is good for your health! Italian cuisine is built on the basis of Mediterranean cuisine, which is well known for its benefits since it reduces the rate of cancer and cholesterol, cardiovascular diseases and stress.

For good reason, this ingredient is a staple of both Italian and, more broadly, Mediterranean cuisine.

What to eat in Italy for breakfast?

Italian breakfasts are brief, sweet, and light. For a delicious breakfast pastry, try the cornetto. It resembles a croissant but is actually much sweeter and more brioche-like. It is frequently topped with cream, jam, or Nutella.

Cereals, yogurt, toast, spreads, and other healthy breakfast options are also available. The next point is that having an espresso or cappuccino in the morning is a great way to start the day.

In Italy, the two most important rules to remember when it comes to coffee are not to drink cappuccino after 10am if you really want to avoid looking like a tourist, as it is strictly a breakfast drink.

After mid-morning, you can order any other type of coffee, but try to avoid milk. Then, don’t ask for coffee to go; it would be a crime of lèse-majesté. Italians celebrate their coffee culture and make it a social event to be enjoyed—whether with friends or through some reading.

The second rule is that when you order a coffee, you are served an espresso—two sips of coffee. It’s a quick and robust energy boost, ideally consumed standing at the counter. In some places, if you sit down to drink your coffee, you will be charged a service fee (since someone will be serving you), so be careful.

I believe that sightseeing is closely linked to eating local cuisine; without experiencing local specialties, you will not get to know a region properly, and this remains true not only for Italy but for the entire world. 

Where should you eat in Italy? Eating locally but cheaply

Here’s my opinion on eating out when traveling. The basic rule of thumb is that the more modest-looking the bar and the more locals it has, the cheaper and better the food.

Taking this to its logical conclusion, if a bar served pricey dishes aimed at visitors, residents accustomed to decent and affordable food would not visit.

My advice is to pay a little more for a hotel that has a breakfast buffet. The price difference is minor, and you can eat to your complete satisfaction while saving money on food during the day.

But be cautious: pay attention to what is mentioned about breakfast in the hotel description, comments about it, or images. A buffet is not equal to a buffet. If a hotel offers a quality breakfast that includes more than just popular Italian sweets, but also cheese, cold meats, or other concrete, it usually boasts about it in the offer description or shows it in a photo.

What to order when seeking Italian food

Italian cuisine is distinguished not only by its unique flavors and aromas but also by its traditional preparation.

According to Italians, one of the key characteristics of Italian food is “fresh pasta, completely handcrafted, an artisanal manufacture of ravioli dough, pizza, and homemade ice cream.”

There is a drink etiquette: red wine for pastas with meat, white wine for pastas with seafood, or water for everything. Before you eat, get an aperitif and a Spritz, a light drink made of soda and white wine that is typical of the Italian summer. You might take limoncello cream or limoncello cream made from macerated lemon after meals to help with digestion.

Gelato has a long history in Italy, dating back to ancient Rome, and you should never leave a restaurant that serves it without trying it. Tiramisu and panna cotta, a pastry based on milk cream and cinnamon, are the most popular sweets.

What not to do while ordering Italian food

I’ll explain you in simple terms and bullet points so there’s no confusion. Never, under any circumstances.

  • Do not cut the pasta into small pieces.
  • Do not mix the pasta with rice or tortillas, because pasta is eaten alone.
  • Worse still ask for meat together with pasta because pasta is a first course and meat is a second course. Ordering them together denotes ignorance.
  • Don’t ask for parmesan for your pasta with seafood.
  • Don’t ask for a spoon to roll the pasta.
  • Never order tomato sauce or mayonnaise for your traditional dishes.
If you are planning a trip to Italy or want to impress an Italian friend, you should be familiar with the cuisine of this European country. 

It is important to understand what to order while ordering Italian food. Not only may doing it incorrectly ruin your eating experience, but you may also insult someone. Keep in mind that Italians have deep respect for their food because it is an important element of their identity and culture.

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A Guide To The Best Food In Italy

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