Italian restaurants are sprinkled across the country, some small and localized and others that are large franchises. However, what you think of when you imagine Italian food may not be exactly what you will find when you stop in at an authentic Italian restaurant. These eateries are often far more than just pasta with marinara sauces and lots of garlic. Before you stop in for a meal at a true-blue Italian restaurant, it is a good idea to get to know what you should not expect so you will not find surprises on the menu or feel like there are things missing.
Do not expect the pizza you order to be what you're used to.
You may think that pizza is pizza no matter where you are and the ingredients or structure will be pretty much the same. However, walk into an Italian pizzeria and order a pie and what you receive will likely be nothing like what you have in mind. Authentic Italian pizza is made to order in the kitchen, usually in a fired oven, and the crust will be thin and crispy. Common toppings are things like mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and anchovies. While this may sound similar, the taste is actually spectacularly different.
Do not expect an order of Italian dressing to be anything like what you buy at the store.
That oily, spicy, salad dressing you pick up on the fly at a grocery store may be labeled as Italian dressing, but this is not what you should expect if you order Italian dressing at an authentic Italian restaurant. The authentic version of this dressing will likely be a mixture of olive oil and vinegar, possibly balsamic, and perhaps salt, pepper, and a hint of lemon, which is quite different from the spice-laden variety you buy in a bottle.
Don't expect to see traditional American meat choices on the menu.
In Italy, meat is a treated a bit differently when it comes to cooking. Where Americans tend to place meat as a high priority, in Italy, the opposite is true with veggies or pastas often being the most abundant ingredient in a dish. You probably will not walk into an authentic Italian restaurant and find a huge ribeye or something similar. What you will find, however, will be things like baskets of mixed steamed seafood over rice or tagliata, which is a thin slice of beef, mixed with a healthy serving of rugola.
As a busy restaurant owner, it isn't always easy to know how to resolve problems. You might have employees that just don't work as hard as they need to or cooks who don't quite understand what you expect in terms of quality. However, this blog is here to help you to know how to hone your operation into a well-oiled machine. Read these articles to learn more about potential problems, the risks your restaurant faces, and ways to keep people from slacking off on the clock. You never know, it might save your business or keep your employees on point.