Eating at a sit-down pizzeria in Italy

Not sure about etiquette when dining in an Italian pizzeria? Relax, pizzerie [pizzeriaS] tend to be casual places…and happy places, since everyone has a chance to enjoy this:

pizza joy

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions tourists have about dining in pizzerie in Italy:

Can I eat with my hands?  Pizzerie serve la pizza tonda [round pizza] whole, uncut, on top of a plate. If you’re new to this kind of thin, chewy crust, it might take you a little practice to cut through it with just a fork and knife. There’s nothing wrong with using a thumb or index finger to stabilize the disc as you get to work carving out pieces.

Once you’ve cut into the circle, pizza etiquette authorities recommend you continue using your knife and fork to eat your pizza. But some people switch to using their hands to pick pieces directly off their plate – perhaps not the most elegant of maneuvers, but you won’t shock anyone if you let your fingers do the forking.

Can I eat an entire pizza by myself? How many calories does a pizza have? It’s normal to see one person eat a pizza tonda by themselves; sharing is also perfectly acceptable.

An average-sized, round pizza margherita usually has about 800 calories. That number varies, depending on toppings and type of flour used, but use 800 as a general indicator of how much energy you’ll get from a single pizza tonda.

What if I don’t want pizza? A pizzeria menu usually offers more than pizza: insalate [salads], primi patti [first courses, usually pasta], secondi piatti [meat dishes], and dolci [desserts]. Feel free to disregard the pizza and order a three-course meal. Nobody will be offended.

Ahhhh it’s too much food! You can always ask for un contenitore [a doggy bag] for leftovers. If you’re traveling soon and don’t want to be haunted by extra baggage, consider whether or not the food is suitably untouched to be packed up and given to someone else.

If this is the kind of learning you like to do, pick up a copy of Italian Through Food!

© 2017


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