How to Eat Bread in Italian Restaurant Properly? Best Tips For Tourists
Food & drink

How to Eat Bread in Italian Restaurant Properly? Best Tips For Tourists

A lot of people would think that there would be no regulations regarding something so familiar as eating in Italian. In fact, if there’s one aspect of Italian culture that you should know about, it’s the importance of food. While it may seem odd to say that there is a right and a wrong way to eat, the truth is that if you’re planning to spend time in Italy, you’ll want to learn some culinary guides – starting with the bread. So how to eat bread in Italian restaurant? We will answer this interesting question right here, right now for you.

How to eat bread in Italian restaurant?

Well, this is really a list of rules about how and when to eat bread in Italy. You would think it would be simple, but eating bread in Italy is an almost very common theme similar to ‘when to have a cappuccino‘.

How to eat bread in Italian restaurant?

  • In general, Italians do not eat bread before the start of a meal, as any bread brought to the table is intended to be eaten with other food. This means that when you sit in a restaurant, the bread basket brought to the table is not a pre-dinner snack.
  • Besides, asking for olive oil and vinegar for your bread in particular is not a common thing in Italy. Because it will completely ruin your taste buds for the rest of the meal. Instead, enjoy pieces of bread to clear your plate of leftover meat, soup, vegetables, or even pasta sauce. In Rome, this is known as ‘fare la Scarpetta and is especially essential when ordering the Amatriciana pasta which always has a lot of sauce.

eat bread

  • If the bread was toasted in the kitchen, then drizzled with olive oil and brought to the table, it is now considered an appetizer called bruschetta, and you can continue to eat and enjoy it without fear of harm violating any law. Next, if the bread is in the form of focaccia or pizza Bianca and you buy it in slices at the bakery, then not only can you eat it yourself, but you can also eat it while walking around.
  • Here are some things that professionals advise against doing. Pasta is a starch, so don’t eat bread (a starch) with pasta (another starch.) Just eat bread with the first course, not pasta (soup or appetizer), main course (meat) or side dish (vegetable). You are also allowed to use your breadcrumbs to serve any non-pasta food on your fork.
  • Don’t throw away stale bread. Italy is a country that has been through two world wars, and the older generation will still be annoyed if you throw away half a loaf of bread that has gone stale. Instead, use stale bread to make other dishes.
  • If you are traveling in central Italy, you may complain that the bread has no taste because there is no salt. The reason is that the bread here will be eaten with the food. And the food in some of these regions is very salty.
  • Italians don’t like toast in the morning. Instead, they prefer a hard-shaped toast called fette biscottate.


Don’t things to do when eating in Italy

  • Don’t be surprised by additional charges on your bill. Restaurants usually charge between €1-2.50 per person for pane e coperto (bread and side fees) even if you don’t want to eat bread.
  • Don’t expect to be served American service style. Restaurant staff can be a bit grumpy, especially in big cities.
  • Don’t feel obligated to order every dish. Please choose what you want. You can also order antipasto or primo and then decide if you want to order something else.
  • Do not order Cappuccino after 10am
  • Don’t expect too much for a breakfast. A coffee and cornetto (croissant, called brioche in northern Italy) is a standard breakfast here.

standard breakfast

  • Do not go to a restaurant with a tourist menu or with someone outside encouraging you to enter.
  • Don’t eat pizza for lunch. The best places are open only in the evening because wood-burning pizza ovens take a long time to reach the right temperature. During the day, eat pizza by the slice (pizza al taglio) served from takeaways.
  • Make a pizza request for chicken or pineapple.
  • To dip your bread in oil and vinegar, ask for them. That’s not common in Italy. Bread is also not served with butter.
  • Don’t eat bread with your pasta
  • Ordered spaghetti bolognese. It does not exist in Italy. Instead, ask for tagliatelle al ragù in her hometown of Bologna if you want meat pasta.
  • Don’t be surprised when your salad comes after the main course. It is not eaten as a side dish in Italy.


Above are some guidelines to answer the question at the beginning of the article: “how to eat bread in Italian restaurant?” Before traveling to or relocating to this historic and picturesque nation, you should familiarize yourself with all of Italy’s distinct eating and drinking customs. We also provide some more notes not to do when eating at the restaurants here. Pocket the tips above and wish you happy travels!

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