The Search for Something Genuine
by Brian Alex | December 2, 2022
We talk a lot around here about the “Real Italy”, and that’s because sometimes it can be hard to find.
Hidden behind fancy facades, trendy tablecloths, or velvety veneers, one can hardly recognize L’Italia when she appears. But for Italophiles who crave the genuine article, their search is often rewarded in the most amazing ways.
In an upcoming coming series, we’re going to be sharing some of our favorite insider secrets. We’ll give you an Inside Look, showing you exactly what we look for when we choose a restaurant, a hotel, or even a golf cart tour around Rome!
But today, let’s zero in on a few tips that will make your next trip more memorable, in a good way.
Finding the genuine article is a tricky task
Whether you’re marching up Mott and Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy, or you’re sauntering along the lungomare in Salerno, you’ve probably been approached by a smiling restauranteur inviting you to try a steaming plate of pasta or any sort of local specialty.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although more reputable restaurants typically shy away from such tactics. Now, I’m not saying you should never eat at a restaurant with the iconic red and white checked tablecloths, but… yeah, you should at least think twice.
Tell-Tale Signs That Something’s Amiss
What might be more of an indicator of a “bad idea about to happen” would be one or more of the following:
- Is it suitable just for people-watching?
- Is there a “tourist menu” printed in English?
- Is there a “fixed fare” price that’s all-inclusive?
- Is there a physical display of a pasta or meat tray?
- Do they tell you that they like your smile as you walk by?
- Is it located in the main piazza and named “Restaurant of the…” (wherever you are located)
- Are there already a fancy flock of fabulously-dressed French people sitting in the outside seating area smoking way-too-thin cigarettes?
Ok, so the list kind of got away from me there, but you get the point 😉 And, here are a few twists to the list I just mentioned.
- People watching is always a bonus, so don’t miss the opportunity!
- Having Italian first, then an English translation, on a menu is helpful.
- You might find a great deal on a fixed-price tasting menu: “degustazione”
- Ironically, having fish on display (on ice) IS actually a very traditional thing
- A smile and a courteous nod is always welcome, as long as it’s not bossy
- A restaurant named for it’s location is fine, just beware of the tourist appeal
- As for the French folk… eh, I prefer french fries; very popular before a pizza!
Well, that’s all for this addition, stay tuned for our new Inside Look series coming up next! And, remember… don’t waste time dreaming of Italy without planning for your dream vacation.
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