When it comes to food Italians have strict rules.
Menus in Italy
Traditional Italian menus have five sections. A full meal usually consists of an appetizer, first course and a second course with a side dish. It’s not necessary to order from every course, but usually people order at least two courses. Traditional meals may last one or two hours or even longer.
Traditional Italian breakfast consists of cappuccino or espresso and sweet pastry. So forget about fried eggs and bacon for breakfast in Italy as it considered weird. Eggs in the country are usually eaten hard-boiled on a lunchtime salad or sandwich.
What to expect?
Appetizers in Italy come before the main meal. Usually there will be a plate of cold cuts or regional specialties. The first course consists of pasta, soup or risotto. Usually you will be offered several types of pasta. The second course consists of poultry, meat or fish. Usually it doesn’t include any potato or vegetable. At the end of your meal, you will be offered a dessert. You may be offered fruits or cheese. After dessert you will be offered coffee for digestion.
How to eat pasta?
It is important to remember that if you are served pasta, do not use a spoon to assist yourself while eating it. Use a fork and the sides of the bowl or plate against which to twirl the pasta onto the fork. Do not slurp the pasta strands into your mouth. Place the entire forkful into your mouth at once. And, of course, cutting pasta will also be considered very rude.
Most Italians drink wine and mineral water with their meal. Often the waiter will take the drink order before your food order. There may be a house wine that can be ordered by the quarter, half, or full liter and will not cost much. Traditionally, white wine goes with fish, red wine goes with meat. White wine is traditionally chilled and red wine should be served at room temperature.
Asking the bill
If you are dining out you should know that the waiter will never bring the bill until you ask for it. When you are ready for the bill, simply ask for it. The bill will include a small bread and cover charge but the prices listed on the menu include tax and usually service. You may leave a small tip if you want to. Not all restaurants accept credit cards so prepare cash.