Italian vacation without trying out mouth-watering local food is unimaginable. Food goes hand in hand with the their culture, must try Italian food like pizzas, steaks, fine cheeses, risotto, and pasta. On the other hand, I absolutely loved to taste the delicious t-bone Steak in Florence. You can find all the top-of-the-line, delicious dishes in central, north in southern Italy, as well as in southern Italy, especially in Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi coast.

The treasure in Sorrento’s culinary crown is the favored shellfish. One of the popular dishes is spaghetti e Vongole (Spaghetti with Clams) and fried lightly floured calamari and fresh shrimps.

Most Popular Pasta in Italy

Pasta is probably one of the famous Italian dishes that is most favored in the world. And with pasta, you will have a variety of options to choose from. It can be saucy, creamy, vegetarian, or seafood, meat, and more. To cook carbonara, spaghetti, rigatoni, fettuccine, linguine, and bucatini you can use varity of pasta. Here is a list of pasta you definitely need to try in Italy to compare the taste you usually used to in your home country.

Spaghetti with garlic and oil

This traditional Roman dish includes spaghetti, olive oil, and garlic. I saw people adding red pepper for a kick to enhance the taste. Try it with extra virgin olive oil with red chili flack.

Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagna Bolognese is a typical Sunday lunch dish originating from the Emilia region. The original traditional recipe of lasagna Bolognese contains three main ingredients: fresh egg pasta (Lasagna Noodles), Bolognese Sauce, and bechamel.

Spaghetti with clams or Mussels

If you are traveling in the southern part of Italy, particularly the Sorrento and Amalfi coast, you must try some of their well-known seafood pasta. One of the popular dishes is Spaghetti with Clams. Spaghetti with Mussels or mixed seafood is equally delicious and most ordered dishes.

Ravioli alla Caprese

Ravioli alla Caprese are one of the quintessential dishes in Capri! Pillowy, ricotta-filled ravioli with a homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil. The shape of each Ravioli reminds you of the shape of the island of Capri. Simple ingredients to make delicious Ravioli are flour, hot water, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Mixed together then rolled into thin strips, on top sponnfuls of a mix of grated caciotta di Sorrento, eggs, parmesan and marjoram 

Spaghetti With Mixed Seafood

Spaghetti (Linguine) with mixed seafood is famous mostly around coastal Italy very much popular for its mix of fresh seafood. Usually include clams, mussels, shrimp, and squid. You must try this flavourful seafood dish, especially if you are visiting Sorrento, Naples, Capri, and Amalfi coastal areas.

Photos of Pasta in Italy

Best Pizza in Italy

When we first visited Sorrento in 1988, most of our memories from that trip had already faded away, but I still remember the taste of pizza I had there. As you know in Italy there are a plenty to choose from, and keeping track is hard. So, this time before visiting Naples, Sorrento, and Amalfi Coast, I researched what type of pizza I should try for similar memories that will last even longer. Here is a list of them we tried.

Neapolitan pizza

As its name indicates, Neapolitan pizza originated in Naples, one of the most famous Italian pizzas. You can use the basic dough, Mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil, and olive oil to make a thin, crusted pizza. Usually, they use San Marzano tomatoes or their unique taste. Or Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio (Piennolo tomato from Vesuvius), which grows on the volcanic plains around Mount Vesuvius.

Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita traditionally consists of sliced mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. The toppings portray the colors of the Italian flag, originating in Naples. This Thicker fluffy crust pizza is one of the most popular and well-known.

Romana Pizza

Pizza Romana is another thin crust pizza similar to Napoletana, and the edges are thin as well. The typical ingredients are flour, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, yeast, and extra virgin olive oil. You will definitely like the authentic Roman pizza in Rome.

White Sauce Pizza

White pizza is also known as pizza bianca, a classic pizza made without tomato or marinara sauce and topped with garlic and white cheese. Mozzarella and Ricotta are the typical white pizza choices, and they often sprinkle either Parmesan or Pecorino Romano on top. Try it once for a great Italian experience.

Photos of Pizza in Italy

Italian Steak and Other Popular Dishes

Thinking about Florentine steak, it is one of the most popular dishes in Tuscan cuisine. So naturally, almost all Tuscan home cooks are Florentine steak experts, a tradition that traces back for generations. Traditionally the specific cut of meat from a typical cow is prepared in a particular way. It is by default served “rare,” but we don’t be afraid to ask for medium if you are not comfortable with their authentic style. On the other hand, if you are traveling to the north of the country near lake come, you absoulately need to try Risotto served with Perch fish and cuttlefish ink.

Florentine-Style Steak

While in Florence, our family of three tried one of the most delicious 4 lbs T-bone steaks with roast potatoes at L’Osteria di Giovanni that I indulged so much that I would like to go back there again just for the taste of it. I absolutely recommend every meat lover to go and try one of those best traditional well-known Florentin teaks.

Risotto with perch fish

Touring around the Lake Come and thinking about what to eat for an authentic local experience during your trip, then just don’t hesitate to try one of the beloved Lake Como Risotto with perch fish dishes, cooked with cuttlefish ink. The delicious creamy taste of Risotto made with short-grain rice and perch fish goes well with a dry white wine.

Fried Seafood (Fritto Misto)

Italian Fried Seafood is a mix of lightly salted seafood mixed with flour, traditionally served with french fries or fried vegetables. They use cod, shrimp, calamari rings, and sometimes local favorite anchovy fish for delicious taste. I would definitely recommend this dish to those visiting southern Italy.

Photos of Popular Dishes in Italy

Appetizers and Desserts to Try

To cook delicious Neapolitan dishes, simply use clams and spaghetti. This is a typical summer dish but extremely popular on Christmas Eve in Naples.

Caprese Salad

Caprese salad is famous in Italy. They are tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, and sweet basil spiced with salt and olive oil. What makes it so unique is the taste of the local fresh tomatoes they use, which are absolutely delicious.

Potato Gnocchi

There are different types of potato gnocchi; my favorite one is with shrimp and spinach cooked with garlic butter sauce. The creamy taste is delicious, and I highly recommend it.

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina

Gnocchi Sorrentina recipe comes from Sorrento, a beautiful town near the Amalfi coast. Traditionally, this dish is with delicious tomato sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil.

Fried Calamari (Frittura di Calamari)

Frittura di Calamari is a popular food in Italy, especially during summer. It is best served when freshly caught squid is fried in high heat to maintain its natural meltingly tender. This is another reason southern Italy is the place for the best calamari.

Photos of Appetizers in Italy

Street Food You Shouldn’t Miss

If you are traveling through Italy, you will definitely need to try some authentic popular street food. Here is a few of them I have listed here that stands out among those I have tried.

Calzone with Cheese or Meat

Calzone is known for traditional southern Italian cooking. The bread is folded into a half circle filled with ricotta cheese, meat, etc., mostly baked or fried. It is one of the most popular street food in Italy.

Fried Zucchini Flower (Fiori Di Zucca Fritti)

Zucchini flowers tossed in a light batter and deep-fried are delicious and one of the famous Italian snacks. They sometimes fill it with mozzarella and anchovy for a different flavor. Try it for a classic Italian experience.

Potato Croquettes

The crunchy taste of Potato Croquettes with Mozzarella cheese is delicious and one of the best Italian snacks. Most restaurants have it on their menu as an appetizer. I loved this snack during our Italy trip; therefore, I tried it many times.

Photos of Street Food in Italy

Drinks and Desserts

Lemon Delight (Delizia al Limone)

Amalfi coast favorite Lemon Delight is mini sponge cakes filled with lemon custard. If you are visiting southern Italy you can’t miss it, must try it for a great Italian experience.

Limoncello cream (Crema di Limoncello)

Limoncello cream is a popular southern Italian drink served after the meal, especially on hot summer days. The one we tried was prepared with lemon, milk, sugar, and a flavor like vanilla. They offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

Gelato (Ice Cream)

Gelato in Italy is a kind of ice cream available almost everywhere and is an all-time favorite dessert after a meal. It has a traditional unique taste than what we are used to from where I live—especially the creamy soft gelato flavored with lemon zest.

Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Spritz is one of the most popular refreshing Italian drinks among locals and tourists. The cocktail is made with Aperol, Prosecco, soda water, and ice; add an orange slice for extra zest.


For a great southern Italian moment, especially if you are traveling around Amalfi Coast or Capri, you must try this drink. A perfect drink for a hot summer day.


Bellini is another Italian cocktail for a warm summer day. This Sparkling drink originated in Venice, made with simple ingredients: Peach puree and Prosecco.

Photos of Drinks and Desserts in Italy


Apart from adventure, sightseeing, and exploring ancient places, Italy is one of those countries that is best for a great culinary experience. At the same time, planning your trip, set aside additional slots just for that. If time permits, plan some walking tours, which is a great way to know joints where locals go for great food. Or take some cooking classes. Here is a list of cooking activities you can

Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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