she in Italy, and also hunger strikes. Scanning your options, girlfriend spot every little thing from one osteria come a trattoria, no to point out a taverna and also bar. Yet what’s the difference?

The long and also short is that every one of these options represent the classic varieties Italian restaurants you will do it come throughout when you travel to Italy. For this reason the price lies not so lot in your difference however what sort of italian food she in the mood to eat.

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Italian Restaurant varieties Defined

Traditionally, the distinction between, say, a trattoria and an osteria, meant how fancy or casual you wanted your dining endure to be. The meaning of this restaurant types would represent everything indigenous the form of business you obtained to the type of food served, or whether food was even served in ~ all.

These work there are all species of different types of restaurants in Italy from ramen to juice bars and vegan joints, especially in cosmopolitan cities like Milan and Rome. So, you can wonder if there’s also a suggest in understanding the an interpretation of these timeless terms.

Yes, over there is! due to the fact that whether she a background buff craving the complete scope of italian cook or merely want to know the an interpretation of an osteria, knowledge the differences in between the country’s most classic restaurant varieties can prove at sight helpful.

We’re share the differences in between the traditional varieties of Italian restaurants therefore you understand where she most most likely to find local specialties, i m sorry spots are much more formal, and also where to walk for coffee or a fast lunch. 



In Italy, a bar (remember to role that “r”) is most comparable to what girlfriend think of as a neighborhood cafe stateside. Head come a bar because that a quick espresso or cappuccino and pastry for breakfast (while standing!) Italian style.

Or, seize a snack and also sip in the afternoon, or even aperitivo toward evening. You can get lunch here, too. In fact, it’s not unusual for locals come visit your favorite bar several time in one day.

Note: In larger cities, there may be a fee come sit at a table because that service. Opt rather to stand at the counter to prevent that. 


An Italian caffè is comparable to a bar, however they"ll most likely have an ext tables than a bar and, together the name suggests, much more coffee options. Execute like the locals and order a foamy cappuccino or milky latte in the morning, a macchiato to pep up her afternoon, and an espresso after dinner.

Traditionally, Italy’s pundits and creative society would gather at a caffè (vs. A grab-and-go situation at a bar.) Nowadays, a caffè is synonymous with a bar, though don’t miss out on an chance to remain awhile at historical spots like Caffè Gilli in Florence; they’re good places to people watch will certainly you sip and nibble.


If it’s wine you’re after ~ (which is often the case around here), beeline because that an enoteca. Traditionally, these wine-focused establishments are a tad much more upmarket 보다 an osteria and taverna, and also focus on local wines that you deserve to enjoy by the glass or acquisition to take it home. Because that context, a modern enoteca is probably closest to the American alcohol bar.

As with osteria (see below) there are modern-day Italian restaurants that usage the term enoteca to emphasize their focus on wine even though they"re full service and not simply a wine bar. Situation in point? Florence"s famed Enoteca Pinchiorri


During our team trips come Italy, the two many FAQ around restaurants room "what is a trattoria" (see below) come "how perform you pronounce osteria" and also “what is an osteria?” as for pronunciation, it"s "oh-stare-ree-ah" so currently let"s acquire into what that means.

Even less formal 보다 a traditional ristorante or a trattoria is an osteria. While osterie today serve food, back in the day they only served wine and you had actually to BYO food!

There are only a handful of old school osterie in Italy today, like Osteria del Sole in Bologna. These days you can for sure discover at the very least a simple, rotating evening menu (though most are open up for having lunch too) of neighborhood specialties come pair v the establishment’s alcohol offerings.

Those of friend who room looking to travel to Italy soon, have probably i found it that part celebrated modern-day Italian restaurants like A"Roma Osteria Lecce and the foodie destination Osteria Francescana have added the word to your names even though they"re a bit an ext formal 보다 a timeless osteria would certainly be. 


In Italy, a ristorante is code for a full-service restaurant, finish with a sommelier or alcohol expert. Traditionally, the ristorante was the most formal and also upscale dining experience. If you"re trying to find michelin star restaurants that space worth a one-of-a-kind journey, this is the category for you.

You deserve to still expect sit-down business at a ristorante today, though currently the term might be an ext of a marketing tool than a means to distinguish in between other varieties of restaurants, prefer the trattoria and osteria (and on that note, here are our tips to ensure you never have a bad meal when you travel to Italy––it deserve to happen! 


taverna, top top the various other hand, is more like a pub wherein you’ll find wine rather of beer. You will do it find food too, and also expect the to be traditional and simple. Locals usually prevent in come a taverna after work to catch up v friends over a drink and also some snacks.

A traditional taverna was usually discovered in smaller hill towns and ago in the job you could also spend the night if girlfriend wanted. 

Tavola Calda

Think that the tavola calda like a cafeteria, whereby you have the right to go for lunch––just pick what you desire to eat indigenous the "hot table.

Hot bowl like carne arrosto (roasted meat) are prepared the same day from a choice behind a counter, but likewise find insalata (salad), pasta, and pizza a taglio (pizza by the slice), and pastries.


Speaking of, a trattoria is indeed a restaurant, however the vibes are much more casual 보다 a ristorante. In ~ a trattoria expect traditional, seasonal Italian dishes, and also likely at a lower price point––and in a cozier setting––than a ristorante.

Traditionally, trattorie have been family-run eateries uncovered off the beaten route on say, a side-street rather of ~ above a main street or very trafficked area.

The -eria Trick

Sometimes, it’s simple to guess what to mean from an eat establishment due to the fact that you deserve to recognize a acquainted word in its name. For example, uncover pizza in ~ a pizzeria, gelato in ~ a gelateria, polenta at a polenteria (a northern Italy specialty ––which btw, why don’t we have actually this stateside)? Additionally, beer lovers have the right to head towards a birreria, you"ll find spaghetti in ~ a spaghetteria, and so on.

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The nation seems to have thought through all of the scenarios of just how you choose to dine, and as these classic eatery meanings illustrate, there are no shortage that food alternatives when you travel come Italy.

Speaking of, if you are heading come Italy soon, inspect out our Food travel Guides come the major Italian cities or contact us to get help v arranging your trip all from hotels to booking a table at Osteria Francescana!