Italy's Restaurants - From Pizzeria to Trattoria...

Trattoria, osteria, pizzeria, rosticceria, ristorante, paninoteca or spaghetteria! So many restaurant types, so many menus: Where to eat in Italy? Italian gastronomy in fast forward...


From the offer of a Piadinieria: crispy Italian flatbreads


No longer an insider tip, but still incredibly delicious: Agriturismo are farms where you can also stay overnight and/or eat. Most agriturismi run a trattoria on their farm.

agriturismo, tuscany, italy
Farm holidays: This is how beautiful agriturismo looks, here Tuscany

It doesn't get any fresher than this: agriturismo offer almost exclusively food from their own cultivation or breeding (for this they have tax advantages over normal restaurants in Italy). The selection is usually clear due to the freshness. There are usually changing menus and daily specials.

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Sounds like alcohol, but in fact most people here drink espresso first, with a quick croissant and the news of the day.

a bar in gallipoli in apulia
A traditional bar in Gallipoli

In the bar, you usually drink your caffé standing up, accompanied by sweet and savoury little pastas. After work, they have an aperitivo on the way home. Some bars now also offer a hot plate at lunchtime. Sometimes a bar is also called a "café".

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Cheers! The birreria offers a selection of different beers, plus snacks and often pizza.

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Typical breakfast in the café: an espresso and its sweet pastry

A café is basically the same as a Bar, but with more choice of pastries (usually). In less touristy regions, "cafés" are rarely found.

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Welcome to the tasting room. An enoteca is a combination of upmarket wine shop, delicatessen and catering business. You can taste the wines, drink them on the spot and of course take them home. There are also delicious snacks. 

bruschetta, alberobello
A round of delicate bruschetta, accompanied by a few good wines Vino...

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Fast food like Mc Donalds & Co.

McDonalds in Italy have the lowest turnover in Europe. In fact, the fast food outlets are often relatively empty, even in busy places. It feels like 8 out of 10 diners are not from Italy. The classic restaurant types are better received in Italy.

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This is what McDonald's in Rome looks like...


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ice cream
Ice cream creations from Florence

Welcome to the ice cream paradise, welcome to the masters. Italian ice cream is considered the best in the world, and the recipes are closely guarded secrets. Most ice cream parlours offer a myriad of flavours to choose from, including many you've probably never heard of. Just try it.

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In the past, an osteria was a classic tavern. You only got wine, you brought your own food. Nowadays, you can also get simple dishes from a clear menu, often with changing daily specials. Simple, traditional décor, reasonable prices. 

The term "Osteria" is experiencing a renaissance in the big cities. There are now also trendy restaurants that call themselves "Osteria" in Italy. You can recognise these disguised upmarket restaurants by their prices and furnishings.

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paninoteca in gallipoli in apulia
Panino with fried octopus was invented here, seen in Gallipoli


A paninoteca offers a wide selection of "panini caldi". The warm rolls are topped with sausage, cheese or tuna and garnished with vegetables or salad. You can also get toast, "focacce" or pieces of pizza.

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A pastry shop with tarts and cakes, cannoli, cornetti and treats of all kinds. The delicacies are available to take away or to eat on the spot. Accompanied by a café or, for the very sweet, a "cocoa". In fact, it's more like liquid chocolate - and not just for those with a sweet tooth.

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croissant in italy
Welcome to the chocolate paradise...


The Italian flatbread, the piadina in dozens of variations. A piadina is filled with various ingredients (grilled vegetables, cheese, ham and more) and folded together. Invented in Romagna, now common in many restaurants throughout Italy. A 

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Pizza al taglio 

A snack bar where you can buy slices of pizza or even foccacia to take away or for a quick meal on the spot. 

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pizza with fries
It has to be nice and thin and crispy...


The name says it all. Even if you don't speak a word of Italian, you'll probably halfway understand the menu here. By the way: In Italy, you usually drink beer or cola/water with pizza. 

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The classic restaurant in Italy - without pizza and panini, sometimes without Coke. From starters, the antipasti to the first course, the primo to the "secondo" to dessert, coffee and digestif. Here you get the full menu, in all price ranges.

scaloppine in rome
Saltimbocca alla Romana"Veal cutlet with butter and sage from the Ristorante

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Quite a lot of pizza, but also meat and vegetable dishes, pasta and risotto - generally simpler cuisine than in the Ristorante.

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A Rosticceria is a kind of snack bar, more of a shop than a restaurant. During normal shop opening hours, it serves hot and cold - mainly deep-fried or grilled - take-away food, especially meat dishes. Rosticceria derives from the word "arrosto" (fried). You can also eat on site, often at bar tables.

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spaghetti in italy
Spaghetti in all variations, here with fromgole


The name says it all: Pasta dishes of all kinds, but also a small selection of other dishes. The spaghetteria is still relatively new in the Italian gastronomic offer, not yet widespread everywhere. 

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Sprizzeria , Spritzeria

Sprizzeria, or alternatively Spritzeria, is still relatively new on the gastro scene. As the name suggests, there is plenty of Sprizz here, as well as other cocktails and long drinks, plus snacks. Suitable for those with a bigger thirst and a smaller appetite.

Aperol Spritz
A little bitter, a little sweet, refreshing: an Aperol Sprizz

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Tavola calda

A classic Italian snack bar. The food can be eaten on the spot (usually standing up) or taken away.

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gastronomy snack
A food truck in Gallipoli: seafood in all variations


A family-run inn with traditional, mostly regional or local cuisine. A complete meal here consists of four courses. The inexpensive alternative to a restaurant.

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fresh mozzarella, florence
Plump and juicy: fresh mozzarella, here at the market in Florence


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written by Pietro Perroni, first published 10 July 2022, updated 4 September 2022

Source: own research and a lot of eating

Cover picture/Montage - Photo:LA BELLA VITA club / Kayser

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