The Best Traditional Italian Dishes

Eating is part of the fun of visiting Italy. There are several contemporary Italian dishes in restaurants, but nothing beats the traditional ones. Here are some of the best Italian dishes you should taste.

Caponata – Sicily

Caponata is a brilliant Sicilian blend of eggplant and other vegetables. Apart from the aubergine in this warm vegetable serving of mixed greens, the sweet and sour sauce makes it such an exceptional meal for veggie lovers. It, for the most part, contains capers, celery, onions, and whatever vegetables you choose as there is no standard formula for caponata. Some people even add octopus in theirs.

Panzanella – Tuscany

Panzanella is a Tuscan staple with origins in the stale bread and onions eaten by farmers some centuries back. It is a healthy summer food consisting bread with delicious tomato salad and lots of other ingredients including fresh basil, red wine, vinegar, olive oil, lettuce, carrot, mozzarella, etc.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara – Rome

This classic Roman specialty can be enjoyed in any restaurant in Rome. The carbonara is a delicious meal prepared from any pasta, pork (fried in olive oil), raw eggs, black pepper, and grated pecorino Romano cheese.


This is a tasty bread usually prepared from a blend of wheat flour, salt, yeast, water, olive oil, and often seasoned with garlic, caramelized onions, herbs, basil, and some slices of tomato. While there are several variations of the bread all through Italy, the classic focaccia alla Genovese that you get in Genoa and some towns along the Italian Riviera are seen as the best. Get the focaccia al rosmarino for some great antipasto.

Cicchetti – Venice

Like Spanish tapas, Cicchetti is a little plate of food usually served in a bacari (bars that sell traditional wines) in Venice. They vary from artichoke hearts to chopped creamed cod (baccalà mantecato) and are customarily served with Ombra (a little glass of wine). With the abundance of touristy restaurants in Venice, the Cicchetti bars found in the backstreets are a much-needed refresher, offering you the chance to blend with the locals and experience the real taste of Venice.

Ossobuco Alla Milanese – Milan

A plate of ossobuco is a generous and delightful mix of veal shanks slow-cooked in a soup of white wine, vegetables, and meat stock. The conventional recipe, conceived presumably in late nineteenth-century osteria, does exclude tomatoes and is done with gremolata (a fresh flavouring prepared from lemon pizzazz, parsley, and garlic).

Burrata – Puglia

This is a great meal for lovers of mozzarella. Prepared from mozzarella and crisp cream, it is best served with crusty bread within 24 hours. You can also enjoy it with pasta, a plate of salad or sandwiches.

Gelato – Some Italian Ice Cream

Italians have greatly perfected the art of ice cream making and you can find some of the best Italian ice cream like gelato anywhere you go. There are over 30,000 gelaterias in Italy. However, a portion of the best is said to be found in Rome, Bologna, and Florence. This is a must try if you are ever in Italy.