Italy Eating Out

Italian cuisine is still largely regional, so try spaghetti alla carbonara (with bacon and egg) in Rome, pizza in Naples, cinghiale (wild boar) in Tuscany, or truffles in Piedmont. Nowadays, vegetarian and gluten-free options are widely available. Still, if you have dietary restrictions, ask about ingredients; not everything is listed in menu descriptions.

The restaurants we list are the cream of the crop in each price category. Unless otherwise noted, they're open for lunch and dinner, closing one or two days a week.


Although the distinction has blurred, ristoranti tend to be more elegant and expensive than trattorias or osterie, which serve traditional, home-style fare. Meals generally consist of an antipasto (starter) followed by a primo (first course), a secondo (main course) or contorno (vegetable side dish), and dolce (dessert). You can, of course, eat less (perhaps just a secondo and a dolce). Single dishes are more the norm at an enoteca or pizzeria, and you can grab affordable snacks at bars, cafés, and spots for pizza al taglio (by the slice).

Wines, Beer, and Spirits

The grape has been cultivated here since the time of the Etruscans, with Tuscany, Piedmont, the Veneto, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily, Le Marche, and Umbria among the renowned areas. Beer is readily available, and Italy has some excellent new microbreweries, so ask about local brews. In addition, Italians are imaginative with their cocktails, so consider trying the aperitivo della casa (house aperitif). There's no minimum drinking age in Italy.

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