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Know The Difference Between These Italian Eateries

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Picture it. You’re in Italy. Rome to be exact. You’re trying to decide where you’d like to eat dinner, but there’s just so many darn choices! And to make matters worse (or better?) there’s a slew of eating establishments. And they’ve all got fancy sounding names! But are they all white tablecloths and fancy wine glasses? Nah. Not a worry. Today we’re breaking down which type of restaurant you can head to when you just want to chill out and which one to go to when you feel like impressing a first date. Oh, and we’ll throw in one that’s kid friendly too. How about that? Let’s dig in.

RISTORANTE: The most formal of sit-down restaurants, with tablecloths, higher price points, and refined service. Maybe not the place you want to take a school bus of kids, but you do you.

OSTERIA: A very relaxed eatery and often long communal tables. Fun, exciting, friendly. Most likely a greater representation of local cuisine. Way back when, an osteria was a place where locals and hungry workmen would come by for lunch to break up the day. Today, a modern osterie will have short menus with simple foods and moderate prices. it’s a great place for a first date, a girls’ night, or for a meetup with friends. Bring the kids, they’ll be welcome here.

TRATTORIA: The middle ground between an osteria and a ristorante. A trattoria has tablecloths and service, but food is usually less elaborate and not as expensive. Anything goes here. Feel like dressing up for a night out but not necessarily want to break the bank? Head here.

PANINOTECA: Maybe you’re not in the mood to sit down at all. You’ve got a hankering for a quick bite rather than a full-service meal. At a paninoteca, you can enjoy a made-to-order sandwich with freshly sliced meats and homemade bread. Drooling yet? We are.

PASTICCERA: The English word for this establishment is bakery or pastry shop. At this type of cafe you’ll find sweet and savory pastries, croissants, and fresh baked breads. Some will have meats, cheeses, olives, and wines.

PIZZERIA: It’s pretty obvious what this place will serve, but we’ll give you some more details. In Italy, pizzerias are sit-down establishments that serve predominantly pizza, but also salads, some pasta selections, as well as wine.

ROSTICCERIA: If you’re looking for a spot that specializes in roasted and sliceable meats, here’s the place for you. A rosticceria, different than a butcher, offers cooked, ready-to-be-taken home meats. This is a great place to order a specialty roast or bring home cooked meals for the family.

ENOTECA: In the mood for some wine? Head to an enoteca where the only alcohol served is — you guessed it — wine. Here you’ll find local wine and, depending on the size of the bar, a small menu of appetizers. This is a nice place to sip on a nice glass of wine or have a snack before dinner.

BAR: Bars in Italy have more to do with coffee than with alcohol. In the morning you can grab a coffee and a pastry for breakfast, or have a light lunch during the day. In the evening, a bar is also where one will have an aperitif before dinner. Bars usually have quality, grab-and-go food, making it a practical option if you need a quick coffee or snack on the way to your next stop. Open all day, every day. Whenever you want.

So…what’s for dinner?

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