[Italy: Instructions for Use] How Italian Restaurants Work

As announced in the podcast, I began writing for my friends at Experience Italy Travels – a new challenge that makes me very happy! As my usual, I will be talking about Italian traditions and culture, but I’ll also give my tips to help travelers get by in Italy, and think like Italians!

The first post in this series is about dining out in Italy. What time do Italians have dinner? Is it OK to check out the menu before sitting at the table? Is bread included with service? How about water? Is tipping expected in Italian restaurants? Why doesn’t someone bring the bill??? Click here to get all the answers☺.

2 thoughts on “[Italy: Instructions for Use] How Italian Restaurants Work”

  1. A question regarding my time in Italy back in the olden days. In the average trattoria, we would order a primo (antipasto or soup or pasta), and only once it was set on the table and we had a chance to evaluate the size of the portion (and sometimes not until a few minutes after we were eating), would the waiter would come by and ask what we wanted for our main course. The main course arrive after we had finished our first.

    On numerous return visits starting about 20 years later (mid 1990s), that sequence just seems to have disappeared. Orders are not taken separately, and pasta servings are main-course size, killing any appetite for a main course.

    Was I seeing the end of a vanishing tradition, or something peculiar to the really cheap places I could afford as a college kid?

    Also, was I overturning the system by ordering my salad after I had finished my main course?

    This was in the days of chalk on the house wine bottle, and when a basket of bread was passed from table to table and we were charged only for what we took from the basket. Oh, and even Rome shut down from noon or 1:00 until 3:00 for an agrarian-style main meal.


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