Ristorante, trattoria, osteria, pizzeria… These are the staples of Italian restaurant dining, each with clearly defined roles. But how can we truly know the difference between them, culturally and in terms of cuisine? In the era of informality, the contour lines are somewhat blurred.
For example, all bars in Italy serve soft drinks, sandwiches and alcohol, but also espresso coffee and pastries: it’s a given, and locals aren’t fazed to see someone at the counter drinking beer or Sambuca for breakfast. Conversely not all osterie will provide you with a reasonably priced meal in unpretentious surroundings. Pizzerie obviously serve pizza, but the majority won’t be open for lunch.
The variety, quality, sheer depth and range of eating establishments in Italy are something most other countries can only dream about. Here’s my shortlist of Italian restaurant categories, with a pinch of history thrown in. Continue Reading, “Telling Them Apart” as appeared on The American Magazine in Italia.