10 Regional Bites of Italy Slideshow

Get these classic Italian dishes from the top-reviewed spots around the country

1. Pizza in Naples

Restaurant: Pizzeria Da Michele

Pizza is one of the world’s favorite dishes, so naturally it tops our list of dishes from around Italy. A trip to Naples wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t try at least one original Neapolitan pizza. Without a doubt, the best place to go is Da Michele. Five generations of master pizza-throwers have ensured that Da Michele makes the very best pie in Naples. As they use only fresh, all-natural ingredients, it’s no surprise that the flavor at Da Michele is revelatory. Order a classic margherita or something a little fancier; it doesn’t matter. You won’t be disappointed.

2. Zabaione in Turin

Restaurant: Caffe al Bicerin

Zabaione is sort of like an Italian version of eggnog (or eierpunsch or advocaat) and consists of creamy egg yolks, sugar, and sometimes a dash of wine. Caffe al Bicerin has been perfecting Italian drinks for centuries, and their zabaione is no different. Freshly whipped by hand into a heavenly cream and served with lady finger cookies, this delicious concoction is not to be missed. A stop off at Caffe al Bicerin for a zabaione in Turin is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth.

3. Salumi in Parma

Restaurant: I tri Siochètt

In the rolling countryside of Parma, Italy, you’ll find this quaint osteria serving the best Italian cured meat for miles around. I tri Siochètt serves a variety of Italian cold cuts, ranging from traditional Parma ham to deliciously fatty salami and salty, rustic bresaola. Come in for a glass of wine and some antipasti or take some to go. At I tri Siochètt, enthusiastic carnivores will find some of the world’s best cured meats.

4. Ice Cream in Rome

Restaurant: La Gelateria Frigidarium

Ice cream has been around for a long time; centuries ago, people would flavor snow with syrups. However, since then, we’ve come a long way, and Italy has led the pack with their spectacular gelato. Often handmade in small batches, gelato is less fatty, less airy, and is kept at a lower temperature, which gives it a softer and more intense flavor. And what better way to observe the hustle and bustle of Rome than to sit outside a gelateria with a heaping up of perfectly creamy gelato? For those lucky enough to enjoy this sweet treat in Rome, make a point of stopping at La Gelateria Frigidarium. La Gelateria Frigidarium makes both traditional and more modern, funky flavors like tiramisu and lemon pound cake. There’s definitely a scoop for every palate!

5. Risotto in Milan

Restaurant: Trattoria Temperanza Da Abele

Tucked away from the city center and frequented almost exclusively by locals, Trattoria Temperanza Da Abele is a gem worth tracking down. With their rotating daily menu of three different risottos, as well as spectacular meat and fish dishes, this hideaway is the place to go to sample risotto in all its traditional glory. Da Abele is open for dinner only, and while they do take some reservations, they keep most tables for walk-ins, so put on your walking shoes and pay this cozy little restaurant a visit for some of the best risotto in Italy.

6. Carpaccio in Venice

Restaurant: Harry’s Bar

Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry's Bar in Venice, has been serving beef carpaccio for decades to generations of Venetian high society and such notables as Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, and Truman Capote. A true Venetian legacy, Harry’s exudes class and sophistication and offers excellent customer service. Come in for one of their special house drinks, order a plate of the classic beef carpaccio, and savor some authentic Italian luxury.

7. Arancini in Palermo

Restaurant: Antica Focacceria San Francesco

Thought to have originated in Sicily, arancini are fried rice balls usually filled with a ragù, tomato sauce, mozzarella or vegetables. Just outside of the gorgeous 13th-century church of San Francesco, you’ll find Antica Focacceria. What better way to take in the Sicilian sun, smells and sights than in a picturesque square with a classic order of arancini? Lovingly made, the arancini at Antica Focacceria will have you planning your next Italian escape before you finish the last bite.

8. Tortellini in Bologna

Restaurant: Trattoria dal Biassanot

With fillings composed of fresh meats, cheeses, and vegetables, there is a tortellini for every taste. Supposedly fashioned to resemble the goddess Venus’ navel, you’ll sometimes find tortellini being referred to as umbellico in Italy. In the heart of Bologna, Trattoria dal Biassanot serves this classic dish to locals and tourists alike. Whether you have yours in soup or as a pasta plate, the house tortellini here are truly heavenly.

9. Ravioli in Florence

Restaurant: Trattoria 4 Leoni

Having filled millions of stomachs since the 14th century, it’s no wonder that ravioli is a popular dish the world over. Each region of Italy adds its own flair to this traditional pasta dish. In Florence, the Trattoria 4 Leoni serves up hearty portions of their creatively concocted signature dish, ravioli with ricotta and pear. Come early for a seat outside for wonderful people-watching in the piazza or reserve a table indoors since Trattoria 4 Leoni fills up fast. 

10. Cannoli in Catania

Restaurant: Pasticceria Savia

Founded in 1897, this pasticceria, or pastry shop, has been putting smiles on faces for generations. Whether you come for an espresso and an almond cookie, or some of their famous cannoli filled with ricotta, the Pasticceria Savia is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Walk down to the water’s edge and indulge in one of these outstanding confections.