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Probably a silly question on Italian meals ...

Probably a silly question on Italian meals ...

May 6th, 2008, 06:49 PM
  #1  
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Probably a silly question on Italian meals ...

Can someone humor me and tell me if it is expected that you order an appetizer, a first course, and a second course in Italy?

I'm guessing I can do whatever I want, but is it frowned upon? Is it unusual to order just an appetizer and a main course?
bsingerline is offline  
May 6th, 2008, 07:11 PM
  #2  
 
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Two courses are just fine. We usually order two courses, as we do here in the States also. If it is lunch, we often order one course, say, a pasta dish and maybe an appetizer to share. Some places they sort of do a little intimidation thing if you do not order all three, but so what? They do the same thing if you do not order bottled water.

My rule of thumb is I order what I want to eat and as much as I want to eat. I do not believe in skimping. LOL

Anna Roz
anna_roz is offline  
May 6th, 2008, 07:38 PM
  #3  
 
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You don't have to order all the courses if you cannot consume it all in one sitting. But remember, the servings there are normal servings, not the ginormous American servings. As for me, I was full after a shared antipasto and a secondi (the meat portion of the meal). I went elsewhere for my dolce...at a local gelateria!
mcnyc is offline  
May 6th, 2008, 08:55 PM
  #4  
 
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Oh, don't worry.
You can order just what you want.
Now also the local people dine with the half number of courses than in the past when, to dine out was equal to: antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno, dolce.
Forget.
Many times my way is: primo, then antipasti as it were a secondo and often also to share, and then dolce to finish.

Vincenzo
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May 6th, 2008, 09:43 PM
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My husband and I often order our own antipasto, split the pasta course and then each get a main dish.
mgbleuven is offline  
May 6th, 2008, 10:03 PM
  #6  
DAX
 
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I think it depends on what type of restaurants you're in. I can just see the face of those smirking italian waiters if I ask to split a pasta dish. They would gruntle something along the line of "cheapskate" to their coworkers.
DAX is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 05:00 AM
  #7  
 
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I've only been to Italy a few times and I'm sure I've never been to the fanciest places, but I do like food and have eaten at everything from the autostrada stops to a white tableclothed restaurant. With a family of 4 I don't think we've ever ordered 3 courses (plus dessert) for each person. For dinner we usually order: one appetizer each, EITHER the pasta or the meat/fish entree, one dessert to share for all. The only thing that confused people this last year in Sicily is ordering salad as an appetizer. The Insalada Mixta is often listed at the end of the menu as this is when you are supposed to eat it - the vinegar aids in digestion - at least that's the way it was growing up with my Italian father. I still eat salad after dinner at home, not before. I don't recall having the confusion in Rome or Venice - perhaps they are more used to the American way of eating?

Bottom line is I've never felt like I was being laughed or sneered at - except when we are all laughing at our attempts to order only in Italian! Bear in mind we don't ask to "split" a dish - but if it is lunchtime and we don't want to all order an appetizer we might order 2 for the four of us to share once the plates arrive at the table.
AtlTravelr is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 05:14 AM
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There is no way I could ever eat an antipasto, primo, and secondo, never mind dessert. I'm just a little itty-bitty person, and would explode. And I've eaten hundreds and hundreds of meals in Italian restaurants and never, ever had a waiter frown or sneer or make any kind of fuss at all about me ordering only one or two courses.

It should not be an issue.
StCirq is online now  
May 7th, 2008, 05:28 AM
  #9  
 
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just got back from Rome - totally agree with PP.
danon is online now  
May 7th, 2008, 05:32 AM
  #10  
 
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Don't worry. We go to Italy once or twice a year. I have been in every different kind of restaurant. I don't eat much so I will order just one plate, like a bowl of risotto or something. No one has ever said anything to me. Not even a i Latini in Florence where they automatically serve you all courses unless you tell them not to.

I guess I must preface it by saying.....the only place I have had a problem asking for one dish is with my family in Italy. They don't take no for an answer.
Ann1 is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 05:43 AM
  #11  
 
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If you just order one dish the wait person is more likely to be concerned than angry! They will worry that you will not be happy with so little! I agree..relax..there is no rule about number of courses. And remember that you can often order a half-portion of pasta.
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 06:15 AM
  #12  
 
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You do not have to worry about the number of dishes you order. It is quite ununsual in Europe to split dishes though.
KarenE is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 07:01 AM
  #13  
ira
 
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Hi B,

>Can someone humor me and tell me if it is expected that you order an appetizer, a first course, and a second course in Italy?

Not only an antipasto, primo and secondo, but also a dessert and a coffee.

You must also buy at least one bottle of mineral water and at least one bottle of wine.

If you don't, you will be taken for a tourist.

If you do, you will be taken.


My Lady Wife often gets just an appetizer and a dessert, or an appetizer and a primo.

ira is offline  
May 7th, 2008, 06:12 PM
  #14  
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Thank you everyone for the responses (and for humoring me ira). I feel much better now.
bsingerline is offline  
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