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How to order food, the Italian way…

By February 28, 2012 Travel Advice No Comments
Local Italian food

Now this may seem like a bit of a silly post but believe me ordering food in Italy is not as simple as it would seem.

The main issue is how the menu is layed out. Every menu has a antipasta, primi course, secondi course and then a desert. The first two are normally priced the same, and the ‘second’ is more expensive.

Firstly lets break down the jargon:

Anti-pasta – Cold meat, cheese, bread and olives.

Primi – Pasta dishes

Secondi – Meat dishes. These really are only meat dishes. There are no accompaniments. None. Just meat!

Now comes the time for ordering. Don’t be afraid to mix and match the dishes (this is what the locals do) and to share a dish if there are two of you, or even have them all at the same time. It’s all very flexible. So rather then have the anti-pasta followed by the primi and then finish with the secondi. Why not share and anti-pasta, have a primi each and then finish by sharing a secondi (with a couple of sides). Or what about sharing an anti-pasta, one person has a primi, the other has a secondi (with sides) and then both finish with a desert. Or you could go really crazy and not have an anti-pasta at all!

Family run restaurant

Family run restaurant

Also don’t be afraid to ask about the menu and the dishes. This is what locals do and it’s is almost expected.

When it comes to the wine the Italians are way ahead. So don’t try and muddle through a list of local wines that you’ve not heard of. Instead order a half litre of “Vino della casa” (house wine). This stored in massive vats and not bottles. This means that it is normally half the price of a bottle (one place we went to a half litre was 4 Euros) and is always really tasty. In fact I have yet to have a bad wine in an Italian restaurant. To drink like a true Italian always ask for a bottle of water as well.

When it comes to beer again always ask for draft. It’s cheaper and tasty.

If you are in a bar of coffee shop and on a budget always sit at the bar to get a better price.

Many cafes in stations and airports have a strange operating system. You go to the first till to pay for everything before you have got your coffee or food.You then take your receipt to the coffee bar to get your coffee and then over to the pizza stand to get your pizza and then over to the sandwich counter to get your sandwich. It’s a strange and inefficient way work working but when in Rome…..

What you need to do is scout out what you want first (even make a note of it) and then go pay. Expect the till person to be short and impatient but just ignore it, if your confused it’s the silly systems fault not yours!

Finally tipping, only tip if you think they deserve it. It’s not expected. Some places add on a cover charge or service charge so make sure you check your bill before you leave a tip.

Thanks for reading, we hope it helps and if you have any tips of your own then please let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this!

What our clients have to say

Dan and I Just returned from a spectacular 7 day cruise on the Nile River on the Explore Egypt Dahabiya Dream.
We have enjoyed many previous Nile river cruises on board the large cruise boats, but a dahabiya is the ultimate way to sail the Nile!
A dahabiya is a two Masted sailing boat. By definition, it must not have an engine. It has a tender which is able to tow the boat when the wind is either non- existent or not conducive to travelling under sail. Dream has six large cabins with either twin or double beds. They are large and have their own individual en-suite shower rooms with the most up to date sanitary ware.
There is an onboard generator to provide electricity (240 volts) for lighting, air conditioning and power.
There are 12 crew for a maximum 12 passengers! Rest assured you will be treated royally!
The boat manager is Mahmoud; his English is excellent and he runs his boat with precision. Indeed, the crew are well established and need no direction to perform their individual tasks. Our chef has spoilt us by preparing a very delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea
Teeto our waiter was excellent and has provided us with lovely cocktails and fresh drinks on our return from each tour and he does anticipate your every need!
The house keeper is extremely efficient and everything was kept disinfected at all times. In fact the whole boat was spotless and everyone was very professional in their approach to the current covid situation making us feel very safe and at ease, it was very impressive.
Mahmoud, the boat manager is also adept at manning the rudder in order to steer the boat and clambering the masts whenever the boat is moving under sail!. He is also the King of dancers whenever the crew break out into impromptu entertainment.
Our Egyptologist Ahmed was extremely knowledgeable and very passionate about his field, he manged to bring the life back to all these amazing monuments we have visited. We were lucky to have most of the ancient sites to ourselves to enjoy as the number of tourists are small.
Another advantage of dahabiya Dream travel is that it is able to moor at sites inadmissible to larger cruise boats.
Needless to say, I cannot recommend this holiday highly enough and Thank you to all the Dream team who made us feel safe, healthy and most importantly gave us a break to forget what is going on the world right now
Would I do it again: certainly!
Kind regards,
Barbara and Dan
Travel Date February 2021

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