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Every year, millions of tourists flock to Italy. Unfortunately, in many restaurants and trattorias, frequented mostly by tourists, the quality of food and service can be disappointing. Therefore, try to choose eating establishments which are away from the popular excursion routes. 

Go to the restaurants which are simple in decoration but filled with locals. The atmosphere at such places is relaxed, the dishes are delicious and generous. The food is prepared from fresh ingredients. 

In Italy, you will encounter many types of eating establishments, and for your wallet and satisfaction, it is helpful to know the difference between them.

Restaurants in sightseeing areas are geared to serve mostly tourists.

The restaurants located in the busy sightseeing areas are geared to serve mostly tourists. At such places, the menus are long, portions are small, but the prices are quite high. Keep in mind that your bill will include the tip.

Trattorias are small and homely.

This is where the Italians themselves prefer to eat. A trattoria is small and homely. Usually, it is the owner who greets and serves customers.

The menu in a trattoria is shorter than in the restaurant, but it includes the typical regional cuisine. In this modestly looking eating establishment, you will get the tasty, high-quality, and inexpensive food served by generous portions.

Trattorias serve pizza and can be called Trattoria/Pizzeria. In the establishment called “Pizzeria” besides pizza, you can order different sandwiches.

Prices in osterias are affordable for the tourists on a tight budget.

As in the trattoria, osterias serve home cooked food, typical for a particular region. Prices here are affordable even for the tourists on a tight budget. The hot snack buffet (Tavola Calda) serves mostly pre-made food that you carry to your table on a tray.

For breakfast, you can go to the Italian bar.

In the Italian bar, in addition to beer, wine, and liquor, you can order coffee and soft drinks. For breakfast, they serve pastries and sandwiches (panini).

Pastries to take home.

In the morning, you can go to pasticceria for a breakfast pastry. Italians often eat a cornetto for breakfast (Italian variation of the French croissant). In the afternoon, Italians go to pasticceria for a sweet treat, or to buy pastries to take home.

Gelateria (ice cream shop)

Gelaterias in Italy offer Italian-style ice cream.

Gelateria offers many varieties of gelato (Italian-style ice cream).

Enoteca (a wine bar)

In enoteca you can have wine with snack.

In enoteca, you can drink wine with simple snacks. The selection of wines is large. Also, you can buy a bottle to go.

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In Italy, if you come to the restaurant for dinner at the same time you do it in the US, most likely the restaurant will be empty. At that time, do not except warm and fast service from the waiters. Italians eat late. Stop for dinner not earlier than at 8:30 – 9 pm. For lunch better to come after 1:30 pm.

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