Are you looking for the best Italian restaurants near you or in your city? You can explore and find the best Italian restaurants by entering your zip code or city name below.
If you have no idea what to eat at Italian restaurants, we have also listed the top 10 Italian dishes below. You can try the Italian dishes listed below near your Italian restaurant.
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Top 10 Italian Dishes to Try in Italian Restaurants
Bruschetta is one of the most popular appetizers in Italian restaurants across the United States. Its greatness lies in its simplicity since it is practically a toast. The most important thing when preparing bruschetta is the quality of the bread. Its success depends on its being made with excellent quality homemade bread.
In American-Italian restaurants, the bread is cut into medium-thick slices, toasted with garlic and high-quality extra virgin olive oil, mostly. The toppings are often placed raw on top of the toasted bread slices and the toppings can only be limited by the imagination, tomato or mushroom sauce, slices of fish or ham, pesto, olives, fresh spices such as basil or sage leaves, succulent Italian cheese, a little mozzarella or Parmesan.
2. Caprese Salat
Caprese salad, as the name suggests, comes from the island of Capri. Its colors and aromas are absolutely reminiscent of sunny Italy. It consists of a sweet triad of basil, tomato and mozzarella, often drizzled with a few drops of balsamic vinegar.
The secret of this dish is that the tomatoes have to be very sweet, ripe and juicy, there can be no compromises. The world-famous Italian cheese, juicy, thickly sliced buffalo mozzarella, perfectly complements the tomato with its subtle flavor and tops it all off with thick basil leaves.
This is how food becomes truly Italian in taste and color. Insalata Caprese is not served as a side dish, but only as an appetizer. It absolutely stays in place and perfectly prepares the stomach for the arrival of the next meal.
Minestrone is the world famous vegetable soup in Italian restaurants. It does not contain any meat, but even the largest carnivores can easily forget about it because it has a really complex flavor. Countless variations are made, almost every family has their own variety for the perfect minestrone soup.
What do they have in common?
The legumes and root vegetables are often added in large quantities, topped with a bit of tomato puree, and from then on everyone makes their own version of minestrone. In some Italian-American restaurants, the minestrone soup usually includes some type of pasta, while in other restaurants in the country this is unthinkable.
The same goes for sliced tomatoes and pesto, they are common in some Italian minestrone restaurants and left out entirely in others. The minestrone soup has been cooked for a long time over low heat so that the flavor of the vegetables is completely melted and the result is more than perfect.
4. Florentine steak
When we think of Italian restaurants, eating steak doesn't come to mind for the first time, although it would be a sin to miss out on Bistecca alla Fiorentina, also known as steak Florentine. This large slice of T-bone beef usually weighs at least 450 grams per slice, but it's not uncommon to serve a one-pound slice.
In the last few minutes of the cooking process, the slices of meat are cooked standing up on the bone. It is important that the slices are thick enough for the meat to rise. It can be placed on your table as a rare or medium steak.
The perfect Florentine steak is seriously crispy on the outside, yet tender, juicy, and bright red on the inside. When you order meat dishes in Italian restaurants, the focus is really on the meat. They don't eat substantial side dishes, usually something light like a small amount of salad.
The bistecca alla Fiorentina is usually served with cannellini beans flavored with a little olive oil, simple but excellent, and of course a glass of wine is a must.
5. Ossobuco Milanese
Ossobuco first appeared under this name in Milan in the 19th century. It used to be poor man's food, a big piece of veal leg cooked in a thick creamy sauce along with root vegetables. It was quick and very easy to make, cheap and very substantial.
In the middle of the pieces of meat is the bone that contains the marrow, which is a real delicacy. The meaning of osso buco is bone with a hole, indicating that most of the time during preparation, most of the marrow drains from the bone and mixes with the sauce, leaving the bone with a hole in the center. of the calf leg.
The traditional osso buco is made by adding white wine and chicken broth, the modern version includes tomatoes, which thicken the sauce. It is usually served with a delicious Italian risotto or polenta, which is a thick porridge of cooked corn and makes a very nice side dish along with such hearty meat.
In addition, they are usually served with gremolata, a mixture of chopped parsley, garlic and lemon juice with a very intense and refreshing flavor.
6. Regional Italian pizza
Pizza is the national dish of Italy. It is also a very popular dish in the United States and you will easily find it in all Italian-American restaurants. There is no one who has never heard of it, its history goes back to ancient times. In the past, the so-called flatbread was baked on a hot stone, brushed with honey and sprinkled with fresh aromatic spices, mainly rosemary and basil.
When tomatoes arrived in Italy after the discovery of America, the history of modern pizza began. The world's first pizzeria opened in Naples and still exists. The base of the pizza is yeast-raised pizza dough, which is made very thin in Italian restaurants. Traditionally, pizza dough is topped with tomato puree, so all you need is mozzarella and basil.
This variety is called Pizza Margherita, the simplest and most famous pizza in Italy and America - Italian restaurants and pizza ingredients are only limited by the imagination. Instead of the tomato base, it can be a sour cream, cheese or honey mustard base.
It is followed by different types of meat, ham, vegetables, olives or even slices of boiled egg. And what crowns the pizza is, of course, the fresh basil on the excellent Italian cheese, mozzarella and Parmesan.
7. Italian pasta
We tend to think that the homeland of the different types of pasta is Italy, although this is not the case. Archaeological excavations show that people in China and some other countries in the world consume pasta before people in Italy.
What Italian restaurants can do with pasta, however, is another matter entirely. And besides pizza, pasta is what makes Italian cuisine world famous. Dried pasta made from wheat was popular with traders centuries ago because it had a long shelf life and could be taken on long sea voyages.
Italian pasta dishes went on a journey of world conquest when people started eating them with tomato-based sauces. Everyone knows the classic spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti al dente with a rich ragù alla bolognese, sprinkled with grated hard cheese, usually Parmesan. Equally popular is lasagna, which is made with layers of flat pasta, ragù bolognese and creamy béchamel sauce and baked in the oven.
Italian restaurants also produce excellent quality stuffed pasta, such as tortellini and ravioli. These noodles can be filled with anything. The most popular are variations with meat, fish, cheese, mushroom or spinach and ricotta filling. They are so delicious on their own, they just need a small amount of creamy sauce, some cheese on top, and they are ready to eat.
Potato gnocchi are just as popular and delicious as the previous ones. The flour is mixed with boiled mashed potatoes and shaped into the typical gnocchi shape, then boiled in hot salty water and usually served with a little hot butter and sage leaves.
These pasta dishes are so popular in the US and around the world that October 25 has been declared World Pasta Day.
These stuffed rice balls are very popular street foods in Italian restaurants. Arancini was originally eaten on the island of Sicily, but can now be found in other parts of the country. There are many local versions, all of them have in common that a little stuffing is added to the cooked rice, shaped into bowls, covered with breadcrumbs and fried in hot oil.
It is prepared with a variety of fillings, including stew, fish, cheese, ham, vegetables such as eggplant or mushrooms. Each one is very juicy and very filling. Italians really like risotto and if they have any left over they usually make perfect arancini the next day.
The meaning of Arancini is small orange, which refers to its shape and color. On the island of Sicily, on the contrary, they are more conical and therefore resemble the symbol of the island, Mount Etna.
9. Sicilian cannoli
Cannolo also comes from Sicily, originally a festive cake and now one of the symbols of Sicily. Its history is over a thousand years old, it was first made around the 10th century. Cannolo, plural Cannoli is a tube of sweet, crispy, oil-fried dough with a ricotta-flavored filling inside.
The dough is traditionally mixed with Marsala wine, a sweet Sicilian dessert wine that makes the cannolo exceptional. The ricotta filling may contain cinnamon or orange zest and a pinch of sugar. The cannolo is usually decorated with candied fruits, oranges or cherries and sprinkled with the famous Sicilian pistachios of excellent quality.
Today, the chocolate versions are also very popular. In addition to the mandatory ingredients, cocoa powder is added to its dough. The two ends of the fried tubes are dipped in melted chocolate and then in chopped pistachios.
A small amount of chocolate chips is often added to the ricotta cream just to make sure it's really full of chocolate.
Gelato is not a simple ice cream that you can taste in all corners of the world. Gelato is a true Italian specialty compared to the usual gelato. Ice cream contains less cream, instead it is fortified with milk, which has a much lower fat content. Instead of 20, the fat content of ice cream is around 6 to 8%.
Unlike ice cream, ice cream is slowly stirred, so it contains less air and is much creamier than ice cream, which is served at a slightly higher temperature than ice cream. This cold, silky creamy sweetness instantly melts on the tongue.
The number of variations is, of course, endless. It can be made with any type of fruit with large pieces of pulp, but ice cream made with spices or seeds is also common. So when you're in Italian restaurants, it's not surprising to see ice cream flavored with basil, rosemary, or pineapple.