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Must-eat food & places in Italy

I don’t know about you, but despite being Asian, my first Italian-esque food memory was that I grew up eating a proper amount of Spaghetti Bolognese — the straight-out-of-mum’s-kitchen-with-a-side-of-love type. She used to add both sausages and mince, and my oh my, it used to be my ULTIMATE favorite (Who am I kidding? It still is). Whenever someone asks about my favorite food, my eyes will light up, my mind will whip out my mental food list, and my rambling will always begin with Pasta, and then I’ll go on and on about how it has to be ‘Al Dente’ — firm to the bite.

Ah, I could eat pasta everyday. 

But that’s enough about me. Pasta aside, today we’re here to talk about actual Italian food in Italy, and all that you should try.  

Risotto alla Milanese

We don’t want to come across as too pasta-bias, so here’s us shining a light on Risotto — which is without a doubt, just as delicious. If you’re not familiar with the Italian cuisine in general, Risotto is a rice dish typically cooked with broth (it can be meat, fish, or veggie-based) till it reaches a creamy consistency — then adding in butter, onions, white wine, and topped with cheese.  


Risotto ala Milanese is one of the most traditional dishes of the city of Milan. It’s strikingly yellow because of its saffron-infused greatness, a spice that’s no stranger in Italian cuisine. It tastes like a warm hug on a chilly day. 

You should try it at: 

The Trattoria Milanese 

Via Santa Marta, 11, 20123 Milano MI, Italy

Opening hours: 12.00pm – 3.00pm, and 7.00pm – 10.45pm. 

They have a whopping 4.5/5 rating on Yelp, just saying. This place serves plenty of traditional Milanese dishes, in the ambience of a retro-esque restaurant. It’s been doing justice with local food since 1933. The best part is that it’s decently affordable! 

Caponata

Caponata is a Sicilian dish consisting of a cooked vegetable salad with chopped fried eggplant (or Aubergine, or Brinjal, however you call it) and celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, and capers in a tangy sauce. Or in other words, splendid. Every restaurant you go to will serve you their own version of it, but the base of a Caponata is always eggplant. 

If you’re visiting Sicily, it’s only for one main reason — its food. Some of their other popular specialities that you’ll come across are Arancini (fried rice balls filled with meat or chicken liver), Granita (crushed flavoured ice), Cassata (sponge cake moistened with fruit juices, layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruit), and more. 

You should try it at: 

Il Maestro del Brodo

Via Pannieri, 7, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy.

Opening hours: 12.30pm – 3.30pm, 7.30pm – 11.30pm (Closed on Mondays) 

Seu Pizza Illuminati

Calm down, don’t let the word “illuminati” scare you away from good pizza. 

Seu Pizza Illuminati directly translates to — Your Pizza Illuminati — highly likely meaning to say it’s probably so good that you’ll pass out and go to pizza heaven, where the illuminating light is at. Jokes aside, it bears the name of Pier Daniele Seu, the pizza mastermind of this place. “Illuminati” is meant to invoke bright ideas and lightness in the dough — because Italians take their pizza seriously, so do we. 

The restaurant offers dozens of mouthwatering classics like margherita and marinara, and Seu is also known for his creative pizzas featuring ingredients like purple cauliflower, smoked salmon, pistachio, and nutmeg. Beyond the pizza, they also serve fritti (fried starters), that you would most likely have seconds of, and then struggle to have room left for desserts. But that’s okay. Your tummy can wait. 

Photo credits 

Seu Pizza Illuminati

Via Angelo Bargoni, 10 – 18, 00153 Roma RM, Italy

Opening hours: 12.30pm – 3.30pm, and 7.00pm – 12am (Wednesday-Monday) 

Da Enzo al 29

Pasta queens and kings, brace yourselves. You know a place is for tier one level when it’s popular among the locals. This quaint little spot is located on a quiet street in Trastevere, you gotta show up early if you don’t want to end up in a long queue. It isn’t a big space, and it’s most likely buzzing with customers. Bookings are taken, but only for the early evening outside seating. 

You can’t go wrong with any of their classic pasta dishes — from Carbonara, to braised artichokes, braised oxtail (pictured below), and meatballs. 

Coda ala vaccinara (braised oxtail)

Da Enzo al 29

Via dei Vascellari, 29, 00153 Roma RM, Italy.

Opening hours: 12.30pm – 3.00pm, and 7.30pm – 11.00pm (Monday to Saturday)

Trapizzino

Trapizzino is a combination of pizza, calzone (folded pizza), and pita pockets. It’s basically a triangular pocket of pizza dough stuffed with traditional Italian recipes — invented by Stefano Callegari. This invention most certainly took the world by storm back in 2009, where Stefano first introduced the Trapizzino in his pizza joint. 

Photo credits 

Trapizzino

Piazza Trilussa, 46, 00153 Roma RM, Italy.

Opening hours: 10.00am to 1.00am (Monday to Sunday)

If all of the above does not convince you to take a trip to Italy, we don’t know what will. We hope you have a lovely day. As lovely as an Italian nonna feeding her grandkid. That’s all for now. Thank you for listening to our Italian food Tedtalk.

 


Ciao Bella! Check out our Flights, Hotels and Xperience deals to inspire your trip.  

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