7 Signs You Are About to Eat In a Tourist Trap
Signs? You finally get to Italy and want to truly enjoy the culture. You want to enjoy the people, the food, and La Dolce Vita; the good life. How can you avoid tourist traps? There are easy signs to look out for – warning signs that especially in restaurants you can spot before sitting down at a table. We hope these 7 signs help you have a great experience.
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Italy is all about using items that are in season. Most of the time, the neighborhood restaurants will all be offering the same seasonal items at about the same time. The dishes may vary but the ingredients should all be about the same. Before you go, find out what is in season so you know what to look for. You will also be able to recognize these seasonal items by what is being offered at the little stands and grocery carts.
Look for the locals. If there are a bunch of people in the restaurant and no one is speaking Italian, move on. If staying at a hotel, ask the person at the desk where they go for lunch or dinner. Most of the time, this has worked for us. Remember that Italians eat later than we are used to in the United States. Dinner doesn’t start until at least 7:30 pm. We found the best restaurant in Sorrento by walking down by the harbor. Our B&B suggested a place but there were only a few people inside so we continued our stroll and came to a small restaurant. We peeked in and listened to only Italian being spoken. The best dinner of our trip was at this restaurant.
If there are pictures of the food on the menu, it’s a good chance tourists eat there. Why would a good Italian restaurant need to show its customers what Spaghetti Carbonara looks like, I would assume they would know!
7 Signs You are Eating in a Tourist Trap continues…..
If there are a variety of menus in different languages that would be a sign that they are catering to tourists.
Location, or should I say, close proximately to a tourist attraction such as the Colosseum are probably going to charge higher prices to cover their expensive rents. Eating outside and gazing at the beautiful historic site is all part of what the owner is hoping you want to do. Most locals will not eat at a restaurant closely located to one of these. Keep walking down the street a bit and you will find something better suited to your taste buds and wallet!
Generally speaking, we don’t like when employees are standing outside and asking you to come inside. We have found that if you are in a large piazza, such as in Verona or Siena, the people standing outside are really there to answer any questions you have such as if something particular is on the menu. But again, the location is something to be aware of as the prices will probably be higher.
A big red flag is if you hear a waiter offering a cappuccino to a patron after a lunch or dinner has been served. Italians considered it very bad for the digestion to drink milk after a meal. Cappuccino is strictly for breakfast only. There are many other coffees you can have after a meal; espresso is a good example and traditional.