What makes good Italian food and a great Italian restaurant? This is what I think.
Italy includes a wonderful tradition of fine foods. Italian food’s importance to Italian language culture cannot be overstated. It is among the central elements, and why should not it be? Think about Italy’s location for a second:
It runs a considerable ways from north to south. Consequently , it has a wide array of growing seasons plus soil types. This means a wealthy diversity of ingredients for meals.
It is a peninsula, meaning it is almost surrounded by the sea but also coupled to the great Eurasian land mass. It comes with an abundance of fresh seafood plus foreign ingredients from neighboring countries.
It sits between Europe plus Africa in the Mediterranean. All Mediterranean cultures have excellent food customs from North Africa to Lebanon and Israel, France, Greece, Spain and, of course , Italy.
When you consider noodles and pasta, you probably consider Italy, but those wonderful inventions came to Italy from China thanks to Marco Polo. It tells you a great deal about Italian food culture that something so basic became associated with Italy even though it did not originate right now there.
Anyway, food is a key element of Italian language culture. Therefore , the food is the most important area of the restaurant. Of course , a great Italian cafe will have a great wine list, the clean and elegant decor, and fantastic service, but a good Italian restaurant can get by on great meals alone, even if they have a crummy wine list, poor service, plus a dingy decoration scheme.
By the way, if you leave an “Italian” restaurant hungry, it’s definitely not authentic. A white tablecloth and high bill never a great bistro make. Frankly, I can stand those fancy Italian restaurants in Manhattan that charge you $400 for a morsel that makes you want to quit for a slice of pizza along the way home. A great Italian ristorante can leave you full, not stuffed, yet full.
The second aspect of a great Italian language restaurant is the service. The assistance will be warm and professional, but not overly friendly. After the orders are usually taken and the meal gets moving, the service should be nearly unseen. Run — don’t walk — from any Italian restaurant where the waitperson address the table such as this:
“How you guys doin’ this evening? ” when ladies are seated at the table. This is most un-Italian of them.
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An Italian would never contact a woman “guy. ” Even in spaghetti-and-meatballs-type places, the waiter might state, “How is everyone this evening? inch The won’t tarry with little talk in the white-tablecloth places, not the good ones, anyway. It is all about the meal and your comfort.
The 3rd aspect of a great Italian restaurant will be the ambiance. I don’t know what it is, but Italians seem to be able to create an amazing atmosphere anywhere. I have eaten from places in strip malls within the suburbs of Denver — because un-romantic a setting as there is — that come close to great. A truly outstanding Italian restaurant will just have a certain feeling from the minute a person walk in the door, a friendliness and a glow that can’t be described.