Usually when we go out to eat, we do not pay too much attention to the name of the place where we go, but only to its menu. However, in Italy there are different types of places, where the food service varies, though little. Among the most popular eating options we find the restaurant and the trattoria, but what are the differences between them?
The term restaurant indicates a rather elegant and formal place where food and drinks are served by specialized staff. The menu usually has a wide choice of both local and international dishes and the wine list is always well-stocked, even with major brands. The dishes are elaborated and served by experienced waiters. The restaurant has a large dining room that accommodates a large number of people, usually chosen to celebrate important occasions, such as weddings and baptisms, for example.
The trattoria is a typically Italian, family-run eating place. These are rustic and traditional places where service and furnishings are simpler than a restaurant, but that does not mean that the quality – and above all the quantity – of the food is smaller. The menu consists of typical food of local tradition, presented in a way not too elaborate, but genuine and with good quality ingredients. The wines that you can find here are home-made wines, served almost always in carafes. The dimensions are also smaller: the trattorias are small dining rooms, we can say intimate, where service is more welcoming and colloquial. Another difference from the restaurants is in the prices: the trattoria is cheaper, often frequented by workers during lunch breaks and by families or groups of friends in the evening and during the weekends.
The trattoria is a very sought after place for tourists on holiday in Italy and looking for traditional food in the area.