Restaurant Italian: What you need to know before you order
“No man is lonely while eating spaghetti; it requires too much attention.”
– Christopher Morley
Italy is home to 130,000 square miles, 55 million people, and some of the finest food on earth. Americans know spaghetti, but do they know their il dolce from their il contorno? If you are planning a trip to Italy, you may need to brush up on a few simple terms to help you get around in and out of the city. Since Italy is home to some of the best foods, the best place to start learning Italian is with the food phrases.
Italian You Have to Know to Survive in a Restaurant
Some phrases you just have to know. While most will be able to understand and speak English, there are some key phrases that every food loving tourist must know.
Potrei vedere il menù? – May I see the Menu?
Cosa ci consiglia? – What would you recommend?
Cameriere/cameriera! – Waiter/Waitress
Puà portarci il conto, per favore? – May we have the check please?
Mezze portione – half portion
Seggiola, per favore? – high chair please.
Know Italian Menus
Most Italian restaurants do not need reservations called in for dinner arrangements, and you should expect the food to be brought out to you in a specific order. Just remember that expresso is a train; if you want a coffee you order espresso.
L’antipasto – appetizer- example: crostini or bruschetta
Il primo – first course- example: pasta or zuppa (soup)
Il secondo – second course- example: meat or fish
Il contorno – side dish- example: eggplant or salad
Il dolce -dessert- example: tiramisu
Eating in Italy Tips
Breakfast is mainly continental
Coffee is not served with a meal or with dessert, only after
Milk based coffees (lattes, etc) are not drunk after noon
Food and drinks at a bar are cheaper than at a table
“Chiuso” shows the day the restaurant is closed. All restaurants must close one day a week.
Now that you are ready to read a menu in Italy, go book a tour and get yourself a vacation. Some tours are food specific and will treat you to different sites and tastes along the entire countryside. From Sicily to Florence, you will taste it all. For more information on food specific Italian tours you can contact:
Cantalupo Tours To Italy
1500 Lexington Avenue, Suite 10B
New York, NY 10029
Tina Samuels is a freelance writer and book author out of Rome, GA. She can be reached at [email protected]