How to order Italian like a pro

Original Italian food in an Italian restaurant

Do you know anyone who has never eaten anything Italian? Probably not, right? Everyone has tasted pizza, lasagna or some pasta dish at least once in their lives. On the other hand, this might not be the case if you ask people if they have been to an Italian restaurant. Italian cuisine is so incredibly widespread that its dishes can be bought basically anywhere in the western world.

However, if you want to know what it is like to eat something genuinely Italian, you should reserve a table in an Italian restaurant. An even better option is to travel directly to Italy and eat with the locals, but this choice is considerably more expensive. If you cannot afford a trip to the homeland of gelato, espresso, and tiramisu, don’t become disappointed; we are going to give you some useful tips so that you can enjoy a great meal in an Italian restaurant without being worried about embarrassing yourself in front of everyone. Let’s go through a typical Italian dinner step by step!


Aperitivo can be translated as an appetizer, and as you might have found out already, it is the opening course. It would be a good idea not to eat too much here since this is only the beginning of the fun. A usual aperitif can be olives, cheese, nuts or small quiches. The ideal drink with it is wine or champagne.


Antipasto is another kind of appetizer, usually cold and heavier than aperitive. It can be prosciutto, bruschetta, some vegetable or cold salmon.


This is the first course of the meal, and it is generally without meat. It is typically risotto, soup, pasta or lasagna.


Secondo is often the main course, the most important part of the meal. It can consist several kinds of fish and meat, for instance, salmon, cod, lobster, chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, beef and so on.


Contorno is the garnish (usually made of vegetables) eaten together with the main course (secondo).


In general, Insalata is served together with the meat (main course) if the side dish was pasta, potato or rice (so not fresh vegetable).

Formaggi e Frutta

As for the cheese course, something typically local will be served (in this case it will probably be something from the region the restaurant owner comes from). Along with cheese, seasonal fruits are also served.


The most well known Italian desserts are tiramisu and gelato. If you cannot find them on the menu, you are probably at the wrong place. You can, of course, try something less famous, like pannacotta, rum baba, mostarda or cassata.


Although there are many different types of Italian coffee life cappuccino and caffé latte, a strong espresso is the one that is consumed after meals.


Digestive is the last part of the Italian meal, and it is some kind of drink made of herbs or fruits, like limoncello.

Category: Recipes

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