The standard procedures of a restaurant meal throughout Italy are different from those in the United States (and most other places). When you sit down in a ristorante, you're expected to order two courses at a minimum, such as a primo (first course) and a secondo (second course), or an antipasto (starter) followed by a primo or secondo, or a secondo with dessert. Traditionally,
a secondo is not a "main course" that would serve as a full meal. The crucial rule of restaurant dining is that you should order at least two courses. It's a common mistake for tourists to order only a secondo, thinking they're getting a "main course" complete with side dishes. What they wind up with is one lonely piece of meat. Eateries are quite used to diners who order courses to split; but, if you’re not so hungry, you might head for a pizzeria or bacaro to sample some quick bites.
All prices include tax. Prices include service (servizio) unless indicated otherwise on the menu. It's customary to leave a small tip in cash (from a euro to 10% of the bill) in appreciation of good service. Do not leave a tip on your credit card. Most restaurants have a "cover" charge, usually listed on the menu as pane e coperto. It should be modest (€1–€2.50 per person) except at the most expensive restaurants. Some instead charge for bread, which should be brought to you (and paid for) only if you order it. When in doubt, ask about the policy upon ordering.
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