Do you ever just feel the urge to hug an Italian and thank them for pizza and pasta? When it comes to comfort food- Italians simply do it best. But it’s more than just the staples – each region in Italy is famous for a specific local dish that any foodie simply must try at least once. Rediscover your favorite Italian food classics and some new ones with these 10 Italian dishes recommended by local Italian foodies.

Buon Appetito!

1. Orecchiette

The story goes that these ‘little ears’ first came to form in an attempt to find a new way to make pasta, using up every last inch of dough.


Region: Apulia, the southern region forming the “heel” of Italy’s “boot”.

Where to try it: Trattoria Nonna Tetti, Piazzetta Regina Maria 17, Lecce, Italy

2. Seadas

These delicious Sardinian pastries are the perfect combination of sweet and savory and can be eaten as either a starter or a dessert.


Region: Originally from Barbagia, Southern Italian Island in Sardinia

Where to try it: Su Gologone, Localita Su Gologone SNC, 08025 Oliena, Sardinia, Italy

3. Osso buco alla Milanese

Meat lovers rejoice! Osso buco in Italian literally translates as “bone with a hole”, referring to the large hole in the bone of a veal shank.


Region: Milan, northern Lombardy region

Where to try it: Osteria dell’Acquabella, Via San Rocco 12, 20135 Milan, Italy

4. Risotto al Tartufo Nero

Did you know that most truffles sold across Europe are from one mountainous region of Italy? Indulge in a classic black truffle risotto, it’s worth the extra hour on the treadmill.

risotto al tartufo nero

Region: Norcia, central region of Umbria

Where to try it: Granaro del Monte, Via Alfieri 6 c/o Hotel Grottaa Azzurra, 06046, Norcia, Italy

5. Neapolitan Pizza

If you don’t manage to eat pizza while in Naples, you’re truly missing something special. As you may have guessed, this is the birthplace of the beloved napoli sauce, and in fact – of pizza itself!


Region: Naples, southern Italy

Where to try it: Sorbillo, Via dei Tribunali, 32, Naples, Italy

6. Tortellini

Legend has it that tortellini first got its name from a peeping Tom. He was looking through a keyhole to see the navel of the woman of his dreams. Creepy, but the result is delicious.


Region: Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy

Where to try it:  Bottega dei Portici Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, 2, 40126 Bologna, Italy

7. Pesto alla Genovese

Everyone loves pasta with tomato sauce, but you don’t want to miss out on freshly made pesto. It’s truly something else.


Region: Genoa, the capital of northwest Italy’s Liguria region

Where to try it: Il Genovese, Via Galata, 35, 16121 Genoa, Italy

8. Arrosticini

 Try these mutton skewers for the perfect Italian barbecue. You won’t be disappointed.


Region: Abruzzo, central Italy and stretches from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea

Where to try it: Da Luciano Via G. Verrotti, 50, 65015 Montesilvano, Italy

9. Arancini

 These mighty tasty rice balls are some of the best things that Sicilian street food has to offer.


Region: Sicily, Southern Italian Island

Where to try it: Da Cristina, Via Strabone 2, 98039, Taormina, Sicily, Italy

10. Polenta e osei

Known as ‘polenta and birds’, this dish dates backs over a century when Amadeo Alessio wanted to make his wife a sweet treat. Romance pays off once again! 


Region: Bergamo, in the northern region Lombardy

Where to try it: Tresoldi Bakery, Via B. Colleoni 13, 24100, Bergamo, Italy

Disclaimer: If you really want to try the best cakes of your life you have to go to Massimo’s (pictured below) Mamma’s kitchen in Bergamo.    

massimo-monzio-compagnoni-foto.256x256These Italian food tips were brought to you by Omio’s own Italian experts. If you have any questions about how to travel through Europe and eat your heart out – join The Locals on Facebook!

The Locals is a community of European travel ambassadors sharing practical insider tips about their cities with one another. If you’re planning your next trip – why not join the community and travel like a local? 

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