Italy Food Highlights

Italy is seriously a foodie heaven. It’s not just that Italian food in America is so ubiquitous that the cuisine, to many, counts as comfort food. Italians take great pride in their food. And it’s different to eat it in Italy than to eat the Italian-American food we grew up with. Food in Italy is very strongly regional, with a focus on fresh, local, in-season ingredients. Perhaps it’s the high quality ingredients that make eating here a dream come true. But we hardly had a mediocre meal in our whole month there.

We plan to go in-depth for each city to highlight all the things and places to eat, but for now here are our top picks for each place we visited – our Italy food highlights.




Rachel: Venice was where we discovered tramezzini, a cheap lunch option throughout Italy. These are triangle-shaped white bread sandwiches which come with a variety of fillings. Pictured above are bresaola (a cured meat) with arugula and asparagus with egg.

Jeff: I had some sort of carbonara at Osteria La Pergola which was in Mestre near where we stayed. Eating this carbonara made me understand why it is one of the Italian dishes that has spread around the world.




Rachel: My favorite dish here was ribollita, pictured above. The name literally means “reboiled,” and it basically originated from making a soup out of leftovers. Here you have stale bread, beans, and kale making a thick, hearty soup over which olive oil is poured. It was delicious.



Jeff: This ravioli with sage and butter at Trattoria La Casalinga was incredible.





Rachel: Rome has many a good pasta dish, and my favorite was cacio e pepe. This is a very simple dish of pasta with cheese and black pepper. The amount of pepper makes the dish a little spicy.



Jeff: We tried a whole ton of gelato places in Rome. It was hard to decide which one was best – they were all so great!





Rachel: The obvious answer is of course pizza. But I wanted to feature something else, which is caprese ravioli. This takes all the elements of a caprese salad: mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, and puts it into a ravioli dish.




Jeff: This pizza from Pizzeria Trianon – the last place we tried in Naples – was by far the best. It was so soupy in the middle and just transcendent.





Rachel: We came to Genoa for the basil pesto. So it is only fair to highlight that dish! It was seriously good there. The pasta served with pesto is called trofie. Here is a bowl at Sa Pesta in the old city.



Jeff: While my favorite was probably the focaccia, I’m featuring farinata – fried chickpea flatbread – as it’s a really interesting regional dish, and tasty too.


This post barely scratches the surface of our Italy food experiences. Did you see a dish you liked? Or did we miss one of your favorites?

24 thoughts on “Italy Food Highlights

  1. “But we hardly had a mediocre meal in our whole month there.”

    I *so* wish that had been our experience during our 2 weeks in Italy, but unfortunately, we were consistently underwhelmed with the food we encountered. Despite doing tons of research as to best “non-tourist trap” restaurants in each city we visited, we consistently found ourselves unimpressed with the food we had in Italy, and we were always saying “I’m pretty sure we could make this, but better, at home.” By far the best meals we had were in Bologna, but even there our best meals were the ones we had at home with our CouchSurfing host… I was so looking forward to the food in Italy, and I couldn’t believe how disappointed I was in the end!
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