Are you looking for ways to pick out an Italian restaurant that will deliver a genuine taste of Italy?

Nowadays, authentic food and fresh ingredients can be hard to come by and even harder to pick out. If you’re tired of being disappointed when you bite into frozen veggies and soggy pasta, you’ll want to read on.

Dive into Fine Italian Cuisine

If traditional fine Italian cuisine is what you seek, you’ll have to steer clear of places that overembellish food with spices that don’t match the natural flavor of the meat or vegetable.

You also don’t want anything that is over or under cooked.

True Italian cooking is purely about bringing out the essential flavor of the food with light cooking techniques, specific spices, and seasoning combinations that proud Italians have used for many hundreds of years.

You should also know that fresh, in-season ingredients are essential to produce the perfect bouquet of flavors. Anything that is frozen or processed will take away from the authenticity of your experience, so seasoned Italian chefs source the freshest resources locally wherever possible.

No Two Italian Places Are Exactly Alike 

What makes credible Italian places stand out from the rest? First, you should know that every town and village in Italy is bejeweled with local recipes that combine the same types of ingredients to produce local recipes that are personalized variations of traditional favorites.

This evolution process has produced some of the best variety options your tastebuds will ever encounter. However, it can be hard to select a menu item that is just right for you. Talking to your waiter about the ingredients in each dish can help you find exactly what you are looking for, so we recommend doing some research before making a reservation.

These Italian Dishes Will Delight Your Senses

When cooked by an experienced chef, these Italian dishes are designed to delight your tastebuds and deliver essential nutrients to your body:


The translation of the Italian word, ‘antipasti’ into English produces the term, ‘before pasta’. In Italy, these are the appetizers that are designed to get your digestion system revved up for the main course.

Classic Italian antipasti selections can include:

  • Tomato Bruschetta
  • Caprese Salad
  • Zucchini Fritti
  • Popette di Casa (meatballs in tomato sauce)
  • Muscles
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Calamari
  • Clams
  • Cured meats
  • Vegetables in oil or vinegar
  • And more!

As we mentioned above, variety is one of the staples of classic Italian food, so there are many options to choose from. Just be sure the ingredients are fresh, and you see in-season items on the menu. Aside from using your sense of taste, this is how you’ll know you’ve hit the jackpot.


When you bite into an Italian pizza, you’ll know why pizza became so popular the world over. While there are now many variations on this classic, a traditional Italian pizza features the following ingredients:

  • Flatbread
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Olives
  • Tomato
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese

Traditionally, if there is going to be a topping selected to adorn the pizza in addition to the ingredients mentioned above, only one extra topping at a time will be applied.

Make sure you look out for these fresh ingredients, so you’ll know you’re getting the true authenticity you’re after.

Italian Pasta

When you want to indulge in traditional Italian pasta, you’ll need to make sure each noodle is made from 100% durum wheat. This is tough wheat that is prized for its ability to produce exceptional noodles, and Italians have recognized this since the first century AD.

Some of the most recognizable types of Italian pasta the world over include:

  • Lasagna
  • Spaghetti
  • Fettucine
  • Ravioli
  • Bolognese
  • Penne
  • Linguine
  • Fusilli
  • Rotini
  • And many more!

If you’re in an Italian restaurant that doesn’t serve these foods or isn’t clear on the wheat content, you’re likely in the wrong place. A genuine Italian restauranteur would never leave these staples off the menu.

Check the Menu for Seafood

Particularly in the south of Italy, where the seafood is a staple diet item, you’ll find that most menu items feature:

  • Shrimp
  • Flounder
  • Salmon
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Bass
  • And many other types of seafood

These lean meats are nutritious and add essential nutrients and minerals to your diet. Don’t be surprised to find these offerings on an authentic Italian menu. If the restaurant you are considering has seafood on offer, consider this a good sign.

Special Italian Deserts

By the time you get to the dessert menu, you should have a fairly good idea of whether or not you’ve successfully chosen an authentic Italian dining experience.

Just in case you need more signals that you’ve found what you’re looking for, be sure the check the dessert menu for these staples from the heart of Italy:

  • Homemade Tiramisu
  • Tartufo
  • Cannoli
  • Affogato
  • Gelato
  • Biscotti
  • Panna Cotta
  • Panettone
  • And more!

Once you’ve experienced the taste of customary Italian deserts it will be hard to look at ordinary treats the same way again.

Tips For Getting Best Italian Food

Now that you are familiar with authentic menu items, let’s move on to the tips our experts have put together to help you locate the best Italian food:

  • Look for restaurants that serve meals that are heavy in vegetables, cheese, and lean meats and low in sauces and spices.
  • The menu should feature only or predominantly Italian food.
  • Menu items should be listed in Italian and explained in English below or by the wait staff.
  • Ingredients should be notably fresh and in season.
  • Italian chefs should oversee the kitchen.
  • Check the opening time. Genuine Italian restaurants typically open for lunch and supper only and have specific hours.
  • Ask your Italian friends for tips.

Conclusion: Selecting an Italian Eatery Made Easier

We’ve hopefully made it much easier for you to embark on an authentic Italian eatery experience with these tips.

Now that you have these tools in your toolbox, you’ll be able to sort through the imitators and identify the cuisine that is true to the taste of the country of Italy.

Let your taste buds loose and enjoy!

If you found this advice helpful, we’d like to hear about it in the comments below. Say hi and let us know what your favorite Italian dish is.