In Italy, there are so many different names for places to eat, so here is a quick rundown on a few of the different types of places to gurb, their names, and what those names mean.

(ree-stoh-RAHN-teh), In Italy Restaurants are where you can expect a full range of culinary delights on your menu. There are many different levels of Restaurants, so just because the name of the establishment includes the word “ristorante,” it doesn’t mean it's going to be the most expensive option. The menu courses are set up as follows...


Antipasti (ant ti pass te), The Appetizer or Starter.  


Primo piato (pree mo pea ahto), The opening dish which is usually a pasta or rice dish  


Secondo (seh kon do ), A meat or fish dish.  


Contorno (kon torn no), This is a side plate that you need to order to accompany your secondo like vegetables or potatoes etc the contorno isn’t always included with the secondo.


Dolce (dolt chay), and finally the desert which is then followed with a coffee or a Digestivo, (dee jess teev oh)  a strong liquor to help your digestion like limonchello or Grappa.


Trattoria (trah-toh-REE-ah), The big question here is what is the difference between a Ristorante and a Trattoria? often they seem almost identical. Usually trattorias are more family orientated, less formal than a restaurant but more formal than an Osteria. A great tip is you can often takeaway food from a Trattoria.


Osteria (aw-steh-REE-ah) – And as a trattoria is seen as a step down from a Resturant an osteria could be seen as a step down from a trattoria but the service will be more personal and the owner will most likely be hosting. Quality is, as always the goal. An Osteria's main clientele will have a high percentage of locals while the costs to eat will be cheaper. The recipes will be local to the region and there may not actually be a printed menu. The bill might be calculated by the waiter on your paper table cloth at the end of the meal and the environment will be a lot more lively like a pizzeria.


Bar (bahrrr), The word Bar in Italy has a completely different meaning, although you can order an alcoholic beverage there it is in fact a coffee bar. In the morning this is where you take a cappuccino (kaput  chino) and a cornetto (korn net toe) on your way out the door, this is a standard Italian Breakfast on the run for all those with a busy schedule. All day snacks with the Italian sandwich tramezzino (tram ed zino) or a panino (pa neen no) are fast, quick and healthy. Italian bars are often the meeting point for everyone in their street or neighborhood, and by the way, breakfast is generally consumed standing up at the bar.  If you take a table outside there will be a fee for the table, and if you’re in a piazza like piazza Navona it could be more the ten Euros.


Paninoteca (pa neen no - tec ka) is a dedicated sandwich shop with drinks. It is often a takeaway with maybe a few tables or an outdoor seating area. It is also normal to choose what you want to put in the sandwich. There is a wide range of daily baked bread buns to choose from that are baked with combinations of oil, milk, with or with out salt, maybe olives, wholegrain, white etc. Sliced style bread isn’t used here and there won’t be any preservatives used. All good and healthy.


Taverna (tah-VEHR-nah) – A Taverna is a place where you may stop to drink rather than to eat even though there is still an emphasis placed on food, not unlike an inn or a family pub. An authentic Taverna should be rustic, inexpensive and with plenty of personality.


Tavola Calda (tah-voh-lah KAHL-dah) – meaning “hot table,” is Italian fast food at its best with pre-prepared wholesome food ready to eat-in or takeaway. If you don’t feel like cooking or going to a restaurant this is a good option for you.



Pizzeria (pee-tzeh-REE-ah) Pizza is probably Italy’s most well known meal, In a pizzeria you’ll receive round pizzas and the dough will vary from region to region. In Napoli for example the bread base in thick and light compared to a Roman base which is much thinner. What makes a good pizza? For me I prefer a wood-burning oven, it brings the best flavor to the table and once again the choices are never ending.


Pizza al Taglio – (pee-tzeh al tell-yo) – Fresh, sliced, pizza baked inPizza in Rome quadrangle baking trays and served under a counter, you choose what type you want and then you purchase it by weight.  Often the pizza is folded over upon its self (like a pizza-sandwich) and wrapped in paper or they serve it on small trays for you to eat on. you can also have it boxed for takeaway. Another brilliant Italian fast food idea and it's not just considered to be a midday or evening meal. I often eat pizza bianca (white plain pizza) in the morning while I'm on the run. Pizza bianca is great for a midday meal or you can add your own fillings or get a sandwich made to order at a Paninoteca.


Gelateria (gel larte e REE-ah) – The divine and inexhaustible experience of Italian ice cream in uncountable flavors with every imaginable resource utilized to blow your mind.  Invented in 1565 by Bernardo Buontalenti, gelato has to be one of the main tourist attractions Italy has to offer. Gelato is made from natural ingredients and is incredibly delicious here!


Rosticceria (roh-stee-cheh-REE-ah) a rosticceria will usually have roast chicken and other meats available. There will be a huge spit or rotisserie oven with several chickens roasting. It’s very much like a tavola calda style place with pre-heated food to eat on or off the premises for a quick but tasty meal.


Spaghetteria (spa  getti ah REE-ah) in a spaghetteria you don’t just eat spaghetti; you’ll eat all the shapes and sizes of pasta imaginable, you could find up to 50 different pasta dishes! Other choices will be available too but the specialties are pastas and their sources. Italians take pasta very seriously and the choice of pasta is very important for the source and the types of pasta vary from region to region.  Gelato


Porchetteria  (por ketta REE-ah ) porchetta is pork meat that has been spit roast with rosemary, garlic and seasoning. The skin is crunchy and you'll find that a porchetta panino is a favorite with Italians. If you’re driving around in the country or walking through the Porta Portese market here in Rome a porchetteria could be a caravan or a little shop with seating. You’ll might also find porchetta while browsing through the deli in your local supermarket. Porchetta is a heavenly flavor to taste and obviously very much on the meaty side.


Creperia – (Kr ep eh-REE-ah), Crepes  are ideal for a light quick lunch or dinner. Their light and tasty, usually made from wheat flour and the toppings can be sweet or savory. Crepes originate from Brittany, the northwest of France and the French claim that they are a national dish. Crepes are new way of eating, it’s yet another kind of fast food in this country that is healthy, inexpensive and fun to eat either from a takeaway or in a small Creperia.


Buono Apetito!