Antipasto buffets - how do they work?

Mar 15th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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Antipasto buffets - how do they work?

I'm not sure how antipasto buffets in Italy work in regards to serving and price. If the waiter serves you is it one price for as many plates as you like? How about if you serve yourself? any comments would be appreciated! We leave for Italy in a month. thanks
Tuni01 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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I have not seen these type of buffets much in Italy. I my own experience, you pay for each plate that you eat. The only place that I remember a buffet type situation where you could serve yourself from a long table of antipasti was in a restaurant in Agrigento, Sicily.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 15th, 2007, 07:33 PM
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I don't think I've ever seen an antipasto buffet in Italy. But if they exist, I imagine you pay eitehr by the plate or by the item. Where are you expecting to find these?
StCirq is online now  
Mar 15th, 2007, 07:51 PM
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I saw one, but it's part of a Brazilian churrascaria dinner, which is all-you-can-eat anyways. At the Mediterraneo Palace hotel in Ragusa. Excellent deal at 20€.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 15th, 2007, 08:08 PM
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Are you talking about the aperitivo happy hours? We did this in Milan and it was great -- cheap or free buffets of a large spread of food with reasonably priced cocktails.

Of the four bars/lounges we went to, there were plates next to the spread at the bar and we just went up and served ourselves. We watched to see if people were re-using their plates and we did the same (people didn't get new plates each time they went up). I think three places were free, the last place was trendy and posh and I think we paid 6 Euro in addition to the price of drinks. The food reminded me of tapas except for some great Moroccan type lounge which served the best food.

We only saw this in Milan and we really enjoyed it. I think we also went to Puck (?) one night for a good dinner and they also had the aperitivo set-up at the bar.
fishee is offline  
Mar 15th, 2007, 08:46 PM
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They have these types of buffets in Rome especially in the tourist areas-one is a Rick Steves place by the Spanish Steps called Rampa. They charge about 9 euros for ONE plate only. Some of the buffets are really nice looking that I have seen-I am just too busy stuffing my face with a full meal and red wine to enjoy an antipasto buffet!
dutyfree is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 12:51 AM
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Hi there! Let me tell you about "antipasto buffet" and "Aperitivo happy hour". They are NOT the same thing.
You can find the "antipasto buffet" in restaurants and pizzerias: you are allowed to go up to a long table where various items of antipasti are, take a dish and a fork, serve yourself with as much items as you want. Nobody counts the items you have taken and the price is fixed: for example 5/6 euros per person. You are supposed to order other plates to the waiter, before you go up to the long table, such as pizza or pasta and/or meat/fish and so on.
Not all restaurants and pizzerias have "antipasto buffet": in the most of them there is not a long table with antipasti, the waiter asks you if you want an antipasto before the first course, and they will serve you. In this case, each item has their own price.
The "Aperitivo happy hour" happens in lounges and bars: you eat some chips and tapas and drink some cocktails for a reduced price. You are not supposed to take anything else than another cocktail. This happens mostly in Milan and Rome about 6-8 p.m. when people go out of offices and spend some time together relaxing before going home.
Axel71 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 03:27 AM
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I have had many antipasto buffets in Italy. They are part of a four-course-menu that is ordered in the beginning of the meal. After the waiter has taken your order you go to the buffet and help yourself for a prix fixe.

The items and plates are not counted, but it would be regarded as rather uncivilized

a) if you do not order a complete menu but just the buffet and maybe a dessert,

b) if you heap your plate with food,

c) if you go several times to the buffet.

I have read (American) travel guides where buffets where recommended as an economic way to consume enormous amounts of food for a low price - that would be quite barbarian. For a full meal in Italy, you have to order four courses: antipasti for vegetables, pasta or risotto for carbohydrates, meat or fish for proteine, and dessert for sugar.
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 03:48 AM
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We had an antipasto buffet at a restaurant (more of a pizza place) in Castellina in Chianti. We each filled a plate and were charged a fixed rate (6 euros or something).

We ordered with the waiter and then went up to the buffet and then the waiter brought the drinks and pizza to our table.
travelgirl2 is online now  
Mar 16th, 2007, 03:53 AM
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In Piedmont you can find antipasti buffet in pizzaria and restaurant's, often only when there is a lot of people expected (weekend's and holidays) - price is fixed and you can help yourself. No one would mind multiple visits as long as you had ordered another course, might be frowned upon if you didn't. BTW antipasti can be many things including meat and fish - not just vegetables!

Aperitivo varies from town to town, but expect complimentary "nibbles" when you order a cold drink in most bars from late afternoon to early evening. In Torino there is great competiton to get people into the bars and cafes, so some of the "free" aperitivo's rival the best buffets. In some bars the drinks price can be high due to the quality of the aperitivo (Cafe Norman in Torino for example - circa 9 Euro for any chosen drink - but can eat as much as you like, including hot food).

Piedmont_Phil is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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I recall and antipasto "buffet" at the La Campana in Rome, November 01'. It was listed as Antipasto mista on the menu. It looked beautiful and I was starved! It took all my will power not to go back for another load up. It seemed a bit too American to do that.
tico is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Orso 80 is supposed to known for their antipasto.

One evening in Rome we went to L’orso 80 located at Via dell'Orso 33 just north of Piazza Navona. Nikki and I sat down and the waiter brought in a plate of proscuitto, roasted red peppers, fried rice croquettes (supplì?), roasted eggplant etc. We started eating but then all of a sudden the waiter came back with more! We also had bread, beans in tomato sauce, balls of fresh mozzarella, cauliflower, marinated mushrooms, and slices of melon. We had lots on our table and it was time to taste all the different dishes. But hey, the waiter came back a third time as well and it was now starting to become a bit embarrassing because we had so many plates that the waiter had to stack stuff on top of each other
09jersey is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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thanks everyone. 09Jersey, Orso 80 is a restaurant I've read about on this board and would like to try it. The antipasto sounds yummy!
Tuni01 is offline  
Mar 18th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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So 09jersey, did you quit with the antipasto or did you also order other food? Just pasta or meats? Any idea how much this all cost? Was it a set price for the antipasto? Not being big eaters, I love the antipasto, but hate to do that as I'm too full to order anything else.

I looked at their website, but there's not much information.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 05:52 AM
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I love Orso 80 in Rome with their antipasto buffet that is brought to your table but it is not cheap. The last couple times that I have ate there it has been between 20-25 euros for each of us with the buffet,water and hour wine.
dutyfree is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Make that HOUSE WINE!
dutyfree is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 06:14 AM
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What do you mean by a buffet brought to your table? Do you mean a waiter prepares a plate from the buffet and brings it to you? Or do you mean they bring a bunch of different plates to your table and you help yourself? Again, was that your full meal or did you order after that?
NeoPatrick is online now  
Mar 27th, 2007, 06:15 AM
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I saw those a lot in Bologna but it was happy hour only. I didn't have a drink in those places but passed my windows were people were filling their plates.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 06:20 AM
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In my role as the Unoffical L'Orso 80 Wet Blanket on this board, I do have to report that I personally witnessed a waiter dumping the remains of bowls of antipasti that had been served to customers back into the common bowl (to be served to others later). If that sort of thing freaks you out, you have been warned.
missypie is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 06:55 AM
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The first few days in Italy I am always looking for these buffets as they are hard to come by here in the US. In Rome they have one at La Carbonara (in the Campo di Fiori) There you chose what size plate you want and they charge accordingly - I think it is just small or large and it is nowhere near 25E! we usually get one large plate and then a pasta (we are two women, not big eaters), the waiters seem pleasant enough about it. But I have been other places where you order and they put the plate together for you - I am not always sure how it is meant to play out. The other restuarant where we have eaten this (that I remember at least) is La Gemma in Capri - again, you get a plate and fill it up yourself. I hae never gone back for more - I get a big plate and load up the first time! also it seems to be OK to share - at least at La Carbonara but I can't remember why I have that impression. I live in Atlanta and would love to find a restaurant here that offers this - they do have something like this at the Brazillian meat restaurant but that place is too pricey!
suec1 is online now  

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