Italy has to be the culinary mecca of the world! If you are planning a trip to Italy soon, we advise dieting beforehand. There as so many delicious foods to try all through your journey. Each of Italy’s 20 regions has many Italian food dishes on offer, each unique to its place of origin.
Get educated by reading our article below on mouthwatering Italian Food Phrases, but beware after eating, you will be sono pieno come un uovo – “full as an egg.”
Understanding Italy and its Food Culture
Italian cuisine has taken the world by storm and even goes as far as saying that there is an art in Italian food. Not only does it provide sustenance, but it’s a way of life and loved all over the world.
Accompanying the food should be the key Italian food phrases.
Your Departure Point
Let’s get you started with the basics, shall we?
- Ciao – Hello
- Come stai? – How are you?
- Grazie – Thank you
- No – No (even in Italian no means No! Lols)
- Per favore – Please
- Prego – You’re welcome
- Si – Yes
- Sto bene – I’m fine
Pranzo and Cena Vocabulary
During the week, pranzo (lunches) are eaten un pranzo veloce (a fast lunch) either al lavoro o a casa (at work or at home) due to time constraints.
Cena (dinner) tends to be eaten at a slower pace as they enjoy every crumb on their plate – we don’t blame them one bit, of course.
When, where, and at what time you eat will greatly depend on where in Italy you reside. If you live in the northern regions, they animatedly call “è ora di cena!” (it’s dinner time!) between 19:00 and 19:30, mostly during wintertime. It is very seldom for inhabitants to andare a cena al ristorante (to have dinner at the restaurant) before 20:00. The Southern regions tend to eat later the deeper you are located.
Italian Proverbs and Expressions about Food
- Dire pane al pane e vino al vino – Calling “bread bread and wine wine.”
- Essere buono come il pane – When someone is a “piece of bread,” meaning they are a really nice person.
- Essere come il prezzemolo – “To be like parsley” – meaning something or someone is found everywhere.
- Tutto fa brodo – Meaning “every bit helps.”
- A tavola non si invecchia – This phrase means that “you don’t get old a table.” This implies that fun is had at the table in terms of good food and good company.
- Andare liscio come l’olio – This means” to go as smooth as oil.” It means everything is going perfectly fine.
- Non c’è trippa per gatti – Translated as “there is no tripe for cats,” meaning no matter how nicely you ask Nonna, you are not getting what you want!
- Non puoi avere la botte piena e moglie ubriaca – The Italian way of saying that “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
- Tutto finisce a tarallucci e vino – Means “it all ends with biscuits and wine.” The Italian version of “all’s well, ends well.”
Describing Full Course Meals
- Antipasto – Translated from Italian, this means “before the meal.”
- Aperitivo – Also called an Apéritif and eaten before a larger meal.
- Caffè – Means “coffee.”
- Contorno – Means a side dish.
- Digestivo – Refers to the “liquors” consumed after dinner.
- Dolce – Refers to “sweets” or “dessert.”
- Formaggio e frutta – Means “cheese and fruit”.
- Primo – Refers to the “first course.”
- Secondo – Refers to the “second course.”
- Buon appetito! – “Enjoy your meal”!
- È delizioso! – “It’s delicious!”
- Mangiamo – “Let’s eat!”
- Passa il sale, per favore. – “Pass the salt, please.”
- Posso assaggiare? – “Can I have a taste?”
- Potrei vedere il menù – “May I see your menu?”
Italian Food Phrases to use at a restaurant
- Buongiorno, avente un tavolo per due? – “Good afternoon, do you have a table for two?”
- Scusi, vogliamo orinare – “Excuse me, we are ready to order.”
- Cosa mi raccomanda? – “What can you recommend?”
A typical conversation would look something like this:
Cliente: “Buongiorno, vorrei un pezzo di margherita, per favore”
Customer: “Hello, I would like a slice of margherita pizza, please.”
Venditore: “Va bene. Te la riscaldo?”
Vendor: “Right, can I warm it up for you?”
Cliente: “Si, la mangio adesso.”
Customer: “Yes, I will eat it right away.”
Venditore: “2 euro, per favore.”
Vendor: “That will be 2 euros, please.”
Customer: “Here you are!”.
Venditore: “Ecco la tua pizza, buon appetito!”
Vendor: “Here is your pizza. Enjoy your meal.”
Cliente: “Grazie mille, buona giornata!”
Customer: “Thank you. Have a great day!”.
Venditore: “Anche a te!”
Vendor: “Same to you!”
Other phrases that can be used at a pizzeria:
“Com’è il calzone?” – “What is your calzone like?”
“Ci può portare il conto?” – “Can we have the bill please?”
A typical list of questions a barista would ask a customer:
- “Buongiorno, dimmi?” – “Good afternoon. What can I get you?”
- “Cosa volete ordinare da bere?” – What would you like to order?”
- “Un caffè?” – “Coffee?”
- “Volete anche un cornetto?” – “Can I get you a croissant with that?”
Some other coffee-related phrases:
- Andiamo al bar. – Let’s go to the bar.
- Prendiamo un caffè? – Would you care for a cup of coffee?
- Vorrei un espresso, per favore. – I would like to have an espresso, please.
- Vorrei un doppio espresso. – I would like to have two shots of espresso.
- Per me un cappuccino – For me, cappuccino.
- Prendo un caffè – I would like a caffè lungo.
- Prendo un caffè corto – I would like a caffè corto.
- Vorrei un caffè corretto – I would like a caffè corretto.
- Potrei avere lo zucchero? – Could I have sugar?
- Potrei avere un cucchiaino? – Could I have a small spoon.
- Un bicchiere d’acque liscia/frizzante, per favore – A glass of water without/wit carbonation, please.
- Mi piacerebbe un panino – I would like a sandwich.
- Prendo un cornetto alla crema – I would like a brioche with cream.
- Vorrei un tramezzino – I would like a tramezzino.
- “Che dolci avete” – “Which desserts do you have?”
- “Vorrei un tramisù e un bicchiere d’aqua” – “I would like tiramisu and a glass of water.”
- “Che dolci avete?” – “Which desserts do you have?”
- “Vorrei una panna cotta, per favore” – “I would like panna cotta, please”.
- “Quale dolci mi consiglia?” – Which dessert would you recommend to me?”
- “Vorrei assaggiare la torta la limone. Ma anche la torta alle mele” – “I would like to taste the lemon cake. But the apple cake also.”
- “Che gusti di gelato avente?” – “Which gelato flavors do you have?”
- “Ci sono tanti gusti di gelato. Al cioccolato, al pistacchio, al limone, al caffè” – “We have many gelato flavours. Chocolate, pistachio, lemon and coffee.”
- “Preferisco un gelato alla nocciola” – “I prefer the hazelnut flavor.”
The Final Word
We are sure that you can’t wait to pack your bags and go to Italy to practice what you have learned from this article. Buona giornata di festa!