How to Eat Italian: Must-Try Dishes

Italian menus can vary widely depending on the restaurant’s regional specialties, but look for some of these classic dishes.

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Navigating the Menu

Heading out for Italian food? Menus can vary widely from restaurant to restaurant, but here are some classics you'll want to order if they're offered.

Caponata Bruschetta

Crostini topped with a mixture of chopped olives, eggplant, capers, garlic and tomatoes

White Bean Bruschetta

Crostini topped with a mixture of white beans, roasted garlic and pecorino 

Caprese Salad

Mozzarella (in this case, the extra-creamy Burrata) served over tomato and basil and dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and salt and pepper 

Fennel Salad

Shaved-fennel salad made with arugula, fresh herbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil

Rustic Bread with Olive Oil

Keep the bread around for sopping up pasta sauces.

Gnocchi

Italian "dumplings" generally made from potatoes, flour or farina, served here in a tomato sauce

Rigatoni with Meatballs

Rigatoni pasta served in tomato sauce with meatballs and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese

Seppie Nere

Fresh squid-ink pasta with calamari served in a spicy tomato sauce

Tagliatelle Carbonara

Long, thin flat egg noodles with a sauce composed of cream, eggs, Parmesan cheese and bits of bacon

Tagliata Toscana

Grilled or pan-seared thinly sliced skirt steak with arugula and aged balsamic vinaigrette 

Tiramisu

A dessert of sponge cake or ladyfingers dipped in a coffee-Marsala mixture, then layered with mascarpone and grated chocolate

Macchiato

Espresso with a dash of frothy steamed milk

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