The Top 10 Dishes You Shouldn’t Miss at an Italian Restaurant in the US

Italian is the most popular and widely-eaten type of food in the world. It’s no surprise that it makes a great restaurant menu choice everywhere, from Italy to the US. If you love Italian food as much as we do, prepare to be inspired with these top 10 best dishes you shouldn’t miss at an Italian restaurant in the US. There are so many Italian restaurants—from trattorias and pizzerias to osterias and bistros — that it’s hard to know which one to visit first! Fortunately, wherever you go, there will always be delicious pasta, pizza, risotto, gnocchi, pesto, prosciutto…and much more!

1. A Fresh Start with Frittura

Frittura (fried things) is an essential part of the Italian menu. This might seem odd, but it’s typical for people to start with an antipasto of fried fish, vegetables, and other foods. Frittura is not limited to fish; it can also include meat, vegetables, and cheese. Try fritters at an Italian restaurant, and you’ll taste Italy’s traditions in one bite!

2. Pizza by the slice

If you’re feeling a little peckish, try a slice of pizza at an Italian restaurant. It won’t be a full portion, but it’s enough to satisfy your craving and get you by until the main course. The best pizza toppings are whatever you like; however, there are a few classics that you shouldn’t miss. A Margherita pizza is the most popular one. It’s made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil.

3. Pasta with Tomato

What’s the perfect accompaniment to a pizza? Well, if you’re going for a classic Italian meal, then a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce is the way to go. This pasta is always on the menu, and the tomato sauce is a versatile addition to any pasta, from spaghetti to linguine. Of course, you can also get pasta with other sauce or cream. You can try Pomodoro alla Genovese (vegetarian pasta with tomato sauce and basil), Pomodoro alla Napoletana (tomato sauce with garlic, olive oil, and basil), Pomodoro alla Romana (tomato paste with basil, garlic, and oil), or Pomodoro alla gricia (vegetarian pasta with tomato sauce and basil).

4. Penne all arrabbiata

Penne all arrabbiata is a spicy tomato and pepper pasta. It isn’t as common as tomato spaghetti, but it’s worth trying! If you love spicy food, go for penne all arrabbiata, much spicier than normal tomato pasta. It’s a really interesting dish, and the spices give it a unique flavor you won’t find in any other dish. Add a few scallions for a fresh touch, and you’ve got yourself a unique pasta. This pasta is great to order with people who like spicy food.

5. Risotto with Nero d’Avano and Mussels

Risotto is a classic Italian dish, but you can make it differently every time. You can choose Italian and make it with any vegetable or meat you like. One risotto you shouldn’t miss when eating at an Italian restaurant is made with a black van, a type of Italian grape. You can also make it with white wine, but we recommend a grape-based risotto. Add some seafood, like mussels, and you have a delicious dish on your plate. Add some herbs, and you’ll have a perfect bowl of Italian food.

6. Rotini with Basil Pesto

The ultimate comfort food, pasta with pesto, is a must-try for any Italian food lover. You can get it with spaghetti, fettuccine, or rotini, but make sure you don’t miss this classic Italian dish while at an Italian restaurant.

7. Cannelloni al Forno with Ricotta and Spinach

Cannelloni al Forno is baked stuffed pasta shells with ricotta and spinach filling. They are an Italian version of Mexican empanadas, but you can’t miss out on them at an Italian restaurant. They’re perfect for any occasion, with a crispy crust and a warm, cheesy interior. You can get them with meat, vegetables, or even both. There are no wrong choices when it comes to cannelloni al Forno!

8. Spaghetti with Squid and Clams

Order spaghetti with squid and clams if you want to try something a little different. The squid is tender, and the clams are soft and flavourful, so this combination is surprisingly delicious. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, make sure you order it without the chili peppers in the sauce.

9. Carbonara

Carbonara is a creamy pasta dish with bacon, eggs, and plenty of cheese. If you visit an Italian restaurant in the US with ‘pizza and pasta’ on the menu, they will likely serve carbonara. If you get it at a pizzeria, it will be served as pasta prima, and if you get it at a trattoria, it will be served as a pasta secondo.

10. Baked Lasagna

Lasagna is one of the most popular Italian dishes and is often served as a main course. Traditionally, it’s made with homemade pasta sheets and a meat sauce. If you’re visiting an Italian restaurant, you will likely find lasagna on the menu.

Why is Italian Cuisine So Famous?

Are you a fan of exotic and spicy foods? Are you someone who prefers simple and homely dishes? Or are you probably someone who prefers light and healthy food over anything else?

The art of cooking has no boundaries, whether it’s the spices, herbs, or unique combinations of ingredients. Some cultures have mastered the culinary arts better than others. From simple dishes to complex recipes with various flavors, there are different types of cuisines worldwide.

When we think of dining out, Italian cuisine is one of the first things that comes to mind. The first thing that comes to mind is that Italian cuisine is popular because of its authenticity, healthiness and delicious features. The traditional recipes of Italian cuisine are passed down from generation to generation.

But why is that so? What makes Italian food stand out from other types of cuisines? Here are 5 reasons why Italian cuisine will always be the king of cuisines:

Italian Food Is Just So Delicious!

Italian food mixes different flavors—sweet, sour, salty, etc. Most recipes in Italian cuisine use these ingredients in different combinations. That’s why Italian food is so delicious and addictive. The perfect blend of flavors makes it so special and memorable.

Moreover, the ingredients used to make these dishes are often fresh, seasonal and rich in nutrients. Fresh produce and herbs are something you won’t find in other cuisines. You can talk about Italian food, and it’s bound to taste good. Be it pizza, pasta, or any other dish—Italian food is always delicious.

While other cuisines are equally delicious, Italian food has something special that makes it stand out from the rest, e.g., vegetables.

The Variety of Foods in Italian Cuisine

Italian cuisine is very diverse. The sheer variety of foods in this cuisine is just amazing. There is something for everybody regarding the types of food in Italian cooking. Since Italy is a peninsula, many different regions have their traditional cuisines. The southern part of Italy is known for its rich tomato-based dishes.

Regions like Lombardy and Veneto have many kinds of cheese and cream dishes. The central and northern parts of Italy prefer simple yet classic recipes. This rich and diverse culinary heritage makes Italian cuisine so special. You can taste different cuisines depending on which part of Italy you are in.

The Health Benefits of Eating Italian Food

Many studies have shown that people who eat Italian cuisine have a lower risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Italian cuisine is rich in antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene. These are powerful antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is directly related to age-related diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Italian cuisine has a significant amount of carbohydrates. But these are complex carbohydrates that are rich in fiber. These are slow-release carbs that keep you energized for longer. Italian cuisine is also rich in proteins. Apart from being rich in essential amino acids, these proteins are low in saturated fats.

The Culture Behind Each Dish

The rich cultural background of Italian cuisine is something very unique about it. The history behind each dish is quite fascinating. Most of these unique dishes have significant meanings attached to them. While eating spaghetti might be common for many, do you know its story? It is said that during the Second World War, American soldiers were very fond of pasta. They would send special requests to Italian restaurants to include spaghetti on their menu.

Italian restaurants ran out of pasta and could not make spaghetti for the soldiers. So, they replaced spaghetti with a long, thin pasta called ‘spaghetti’. The culture and the history behind the dishes served in Italian restaurants are uncommon. This makes Italian cuisine stand out from the rest.

Decoration and Presentation of Food are Key

Italian cuisine is a celebration of the food itself. The presentation and decoration of the food served at Italian restaurants are something else. You will be surprised to know there is a science behind every dish served in Italy. Varying colors, textures and how the food is arranged on the plate reflect the dish type.

For example, red is the color that represents tomatoes, green is spinach, and the Italian flag has red, white and green in it. Similarly, textures like smooth, crunchy, creamy and hard depict the type of dish it is. Similarly, the way the food is arranged on the plate is used to tell a story.


Italian food is a delight to the tongue. It is rich in flavors, spices, and textures. It also uses fresh ingredients, which makes it more nutritious. In addition, Italian cuisine is also rich in culture and tradition. These reasons make it stand out from the rest. Whether having a casual meal with friends at home or dining at an Italian restaurant, you can never go wrong with this cuisine!