How to eat in an Italian restaurant

Breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Just like at many other places in the world, there are three main courses in Italy as well, namely breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is also quite common to eat a snack between meals, usually around afternoon. It is, of course, possible to enjoy any of these meals in a restaurant (or something similar): breakfast in a coffee shop on your way to work, lunch at a place close to your job and dinner in a nice, elegant restaurant downtown.

If you are lucky enough, you have at least one or two Italian places in your area, so you have the opportunity to eat like an Italian on a regular basis. You can read some tips and trick below about how to consume all the three main meals in an Italian way.


If you choose to have breakfast like Italians do, find a nice coffee shop first. These places are getting more and more popular these days, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one. Let’s start with the most important part of Italian breakfast: coffee. It can be a cappuccino, caffé latte or espresso (kids can drink hot chocolate). You will probably find the following foods on the menu: pastry (this is a must), biscuits, rolls, and bread. Apart from these basic things, you can often choose from cereal, muesli or fruit salad, too.

Chicken, pan seared with garlic and rosemary.
Angel hair pasta and Italian tomatoes.


In Italian culture, this is the most important meal of the day. Many people have home cooked lunch at work from lunchboxes, or they simply go home to eat. However, there are many Italian restaurants that offer a lunch menu for those who prefer eating something different.

Traditionally there are three main parts of an Italian lunch. They start with a first course, which is very often pasta. Since there are over 500 different kinds of Italian pasta dishes available, we cannot give you the whole list. Don’t worry though, there will be a long list of them on the menu, and if you don’t know some of them, you can always ask your waiter.

The second course is considered the main course, and it is usually a meat or fish dish with vegetables. The last course is typically fruit, so we should maybe call it a half course. Although you can enjoy this traditional, two and a half course meal in most Italian restaurants, you have some other options as well. Pizza, the most famous Italian food is also a very popular choice for lunch. Just like in the case of pasta, you will probably find a long list of different kinds of it on the menu.


If you want to follow Italian conventions, eat something light at the end of the day. Salads can be mentioned here, and different kinds of soups like Minestrone, the most well-known kind of all Italian soups. In addition to these, many restaurants offer a huge variety of Italian specialties for dinner, like lasagna, various pasta dishes, a huge pizza selection and some delicious desserts.

Category: Recipes

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