Essential Italian words for your food journey

“Everything you see I owe to pasta.” – Sophia Loren

If you’re looking for a quick cheat sheet on ordering some Italian grub, you’ve come to the right place.

This week we’re celebrating all things Italian, and so I thought it’d be quite useful if I dished out some essential words to use if you ever find yourself in Italy (or at least for when you’re reading an Italian menu!).

Please note that this is a very basic guide and is just to act as mini-list to help you recognise words on a menu! I’m far from fluent in Italian.

Breakfast: Colazione ~ Lunch: Pranzo ~ Dinner: Cena

At the restaurant

  • Appetisers/Starter: Antipasto
  • First Course: Primo
  • Main Course: Secondo
  • Dessert: Dolce
  • Side Dishes: I contorni
  • The Bill: Il conto
  • Service charge: coperto
  • Excluded: Escluso
  • Included: Compreso

On the menu

  • Bread: Pane
  • Soup: Zuppa
  • Meat: Carne
  • Chicken: Pollo
  • Pork: Maiale
  • Lamb: Agnello
  • Fish: Pesce
  • Prawns: Gamberi
  • Mussels: Cozze
  • Squid: Calamari
  • Octopus: Polpo
  • Vegetables: Verdura
  • Potatoes: Patate
  • Rice: Riso
  • Green Salad: Insalata
  • Cheese: Formaggio
  • Wine: Vino
  • Beer: Birra
  • Red/White: Rossa/Biano
  • Water: Acqua
  • Caffè: Coffee
  • Latte: Milk
  • Salt and Pepper: Sale e pepe
  • Ice Cream: Gelato

(Image via Wikimedia Commons/Alpha)

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