Our Top 10 Italian Foods
When planning your trip to Italy, don’t forget to make a list of all the dishes you’d like to try there! You don’t know where to start? Here are our best Italian food recommendations, made just for you
1 – Arancini:
One of Sicily’s most traditional foods! Arancini are fried rice balls made with risotto and stuffed with various fillings. Usually, you can find them stuffed with ragu (meat-based sauce) or cheese and veggies like peas and mushrooms.
The name itself means “small orange” and you can find different sizes of Arancini depending on the region you are in. For example, in Sicily they are quite a bit bigger than the ones you would find in say, Rome. What’s great about Arancini is that you can find them quite easily anywhere- Imagine the Italian version of a famous NY Hotdog.
2 – Pizza:
No need to explain what a pizza is right? It’s probably the most iconic Italian food and you can find it anywhere in the entire world.
The great news is that in Italy not only is the pizza absolutely delicious, it’s also super cheap!
You can find pizza pretty much everywhere in Italy, but some places are considered to have much better pizza than others- such as Rome and of course Napoli (Naples). If you have time to travel around, don’t miss your chance to try the delicious pizzas from Naples which are probably the best pizzas in the whole country.
3 – Pasta alla Carbonara:
Can you even imagine yourself going to Italy and not trying authentic Pasta alla Carbonara? Do we even need to describe it to you?
One of the most iconic Italian dishes, carbonara is such a simple dish: pasta, pancetta, eggs and cheese (usually parmesan), yet it’s something that can be pretty hard to master. You’ll often find versions which include cream, but don’t be fooled, for a traditional carbonara only egg should be used!
4 – Pasta con Pesto alla Genovese:
After you’ve munched your way through piles of Carbonara, you have to try pesto pasta. The simplicity of the dish here is what makes it the best: pasta, basil, garlic, parmesan and olive oil. But Pesto alla Genovese is definitely something you don’t want to miss, so take some time to try this Genoa speciality.
You might want to avoid eating Pasta con Pesto during a date though… You don’t want to have basil all over your teeth!
5 – Risotto alla Milanese:
Risotto is famous all around the world, but in Italy you’ll find a different variations of the dish that might surprise you- such as Risotto alla Milanese.
Risotto alla Milanese is unique due to its golden colour and delicate saffron-infused flavour. It’s something you really don’t want to miss!
Where can I try it? The Trattoria Milanese has been serving local food since 1933, and its risottos are so good you’ll be planning your next trip before you’ve even finished!
6 – Gelato:
You can’t expect to travel around Italy without tasting Gelato at some point! Even if Gelato is the Italian alternative to Ice Cream, it’s not quite the same… for a start, it’s way less calorific than Ice Cream, as it doesn’t use as much butter fat, giving you the perfect excuse to eat twice as much!
Why is Gelato tastier than ice cream? Ice cream usually has air and water added to increase its volume, eventually making it less flavourful. However, this practice is actually illegal in Italy! This makes gelato much more dense and flavourful in comparison.
7 – Focaccia:
A flat oven-baked Italian bread which is quite similar in style and texture to pizza dough. Original focaccia doesn’t have any additional ingredients, although you can find a huge number of regional variations, including la focaccia alla Genoves in Genoa, la focaccia alla Barese in Bari, or la focaccia alla Mesinese in Messina.
You might think this dish is just too simple to be tasty- you’d be making a mistake! It’s the one of the best solutions for when you need a quick bite to fill you up.
8 – Cacio e Pepe:
One of Rome’s many distinctive pasta sauces, this dishes simplicity was born out of poverty. Like so many Italian foods, the simplicity of this dish is what makes it so delicious. Even if it seems too simple for you, give it a try- we’re sure you won’t regret it!
Where to try it? « Le Cave di Sant’Ignazio-Da Sabatino »! A pretty little place only a few minutes from the Pantheon in Rome. Here, you’ll find the best Roman specialties, including Cacio e Pepe.
9 – Cannoli :
Cannoli is a must-eat when you’re exploring the southern islands. This dish will give you a wonderful taste of what Sicily. If you haven’t experienced these cream-filled shells of pastry, don’t wait any longer!
You’ll find different sizes and types of Cannoli, and we definitely recommend trying as many as possible. Be sure to taste the original one with the classic ricotta flavour first!
10 – Tiramisu:
If you’re not really fond of Gelato or Cannoli and you’d like to try a different type of Italian dessert, we recommend you try tiramisu! Multiple layers of sweetened mascarpone and coffee-soaked ladyfingers be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. What’s that? You can get tiramisu wherever you want in Europe? True, but same with Pizza right? You still want to try the best Italian pizza, so why not try the best Italian tiramisu at the same time?
Where to try it? You’ll find various places selling tiramisu in Italy, but we’d recommend I Tre Mercanti in Venice for some of the tastiest!
Of course, you’ll find many more Italian dishes, each one tastier than the last. Our first tip here is to try as many specialties as possible! Some might not be your cup of tea, but what’s the harm in trying them! Food has a lot of importance in the Italian culture, so it would be a shame to miss this side of the culture during your trip there.