Read it in Italian
One of the most interesting aspects of the trip is the edible part. The food of this or that restaurant is one of the aspects that more sediments in the memory of those traveling in Italy, whether Italian or foreign tourists.
But it is not always easy to decide, especially when the local restaurant suggested by the hostel manager or receptionist is full or too far away.
So here are three ways to understand where is the case to try and where not, based on my experience.
1- the name
Really want to taste the ancient and authentic local flavors? Well, avoid places that are called inn / tavern / hovel of the ancient local flavors.
In fact this names were given quite recently by local managers in response to the needs of customers to taste something very typical in tourist cities where fast foods, restaurants and supermarkets have made the flavours quite plane.
Try those places named like they used to be in the roaring seventies, like Ristorante Europa (very popular name at that time), or the names based on the places, like Trattoria del Duomo, close to the cathedral. These were in fact some methods for facilitating the return of the customers, when there were no google maps and navigators or internet. The insignia as the names will be outdated but often these are places that have been working for decades and therefore often attended by locals. And this is this a quality indicator.
2- less is more
If a restaurant or tavern clearly indicates that some dishes on the menu are served only on certain days of the week, probably the food served is always fresh. The thing is especially true for the fish. For the vegetables instead, learning about seasonal products will be of some help in choosing the best dishes and to discover whether the prices are fair. It takes but a smart phone connected to the internet to know what period each vegetable belongs to: technology and happy decrease, association to eat better, even outside.
3- house wine
I learned one thing: when you ask ‘what wine do you have?’ And the first and only answer is ‘house wine’ count to three, then get up and run away.
If they won’t tell us immediately what kind of wine it is, it could be supermarket boxed wine as a red pencil dissolved in vinegar.
They’lI settle it on the table regardless of the Italian code of the drunk-traveler, which provides the opportunity to taste the wine before accepting it. As befits kings and queens.
Postscript. Throughout South and especially in Puglia and Sicily is better not say ‘I am a vegetarian’ because you will cause unnecessarily panick to the waiter, almost always unaware of the fact that 70% of the dishes on the menu is actually veg. Better to find a plate and ask for the exact recipe for curiosity and ensure that no fried meat, human fingers, traces of sausage are in the gravy.