Out of all the native cuisines from around the world, nothing has captured the fancy of the public more than Italian food. It comes in many forms and shapes with countless options in veg and non-veg options. So, there is always a great thing for everyone, no matter the dietary orientation or restrictions.
The problem is that with immense popularity came a long string of imitations. If you live in a metropolis, chances are you have seen too many “authentic Italian” places and received brochures from around your neighborhood each day.
It is hard to know which joint is fake and which is real, especially if you are already hooked on fake Italian dishes and think of them as the real Italian.
In this post, we are going to go through some of the pitfalls or signs that you must avoid or look for while searching for real Italian restaurants.
No Italian in Popular Italian Restaurants
Regional authentic cuisine has always been brought by natives when they move to new places. They carry a little part of the motherland with them and manifest that love in the form of the art they represent. Since food is a great form of expression, you can always expect people from native heritage to run such joints.
If a place appeals to you as a real Italian joint but you see no Italians, either in a chef’s place or manager’s or waiters, there is something spooky about it. It is best to dig a little deeper about the history of the place or just leave it for another option.
Menu Is Littered with Mistakes
This is a big red flag you must look out for. Everyone is proud of the heritage and carries it with pride. Having spelling mistakes or other irregularities on a menu can make the hotel, and ultimately Italian cuisine, a laughing stock for all. Real Italians would never stand for that and consider it blasphemy.
When you are going through a menu, look for subtle signs like spelling mistakes or fake Italian dishes. Authentic cuisine may borrow some elements with the passage of time and space but it retains its originality because this is what separates it from the mainstream things.
Non-Existent Italian Recipes
Italian cuisine is often straightforward with rigid boundaries. It means it has little to no place for experiments and you can only get the best of it if you are only doing it the right way.
For instance, Alfredo Sauce does not exist in authentic Italian cuisine and hence is unavailable in best Italian restaurants. Similarly, garlic bread, spaghetti with meatballs, and other ridiculous items are not real Italian. If you see them proudly written and represented in the menu of an Italian place, it is best to leave it for someplace real because this one has no clue what real Italian food is.
Too Much of Italian Element
When something is imported from a place, it is often recognized from its birthplace. But the people from the original place know and understand what it is and do not need to add extra labels to avoid confusion.
So, when you enter one of the “best” Italian restaurants and find the word “Italian” written everywhere, such as Italian dressing or Italian-style, there is a big bright red flag for you. People in Italy do not recognize their native things with the word Italian, it is the outsiders who need to make a distinction.
Another thing is that there is no single Italian recipe or dish. Italian culture is sporadic and regional and it can vary a lot depending on the origin of that specific Italian food.
Ingredients At Popular Italian Restaurants
One thing that will help you in knowing the authenticity of real Italian food is that it has simple ingredients. The essence of Italian food lies in the material that is used to prepare certain dishes. For instance, a chef would never try to make fish taste like chicken by adding ingredients or spices from a chicken recipe, no matter how tasty it is.
Generally, Italian food has four to six ingredients and then some salt and pepper for added taste. If you are continuously bombarded with recipes with a long list of ingredients, you can be sure that this is not authentic Italian food.
Excessive Use of Traditional Ingredients
This is, again, a mistake that people who do not have real Italian heritage do when they try to work things out in Italian restaurants. There are some things like balsamic vinegar or sun-dried tomatoes that do not go in every other Italian recipe. Their use is limited and highly controlled. Such is the case with pesto.
Steer clear of the Italian place that is putting these signature items in almost everything because they are doing it wrong.
Italian restaurants are a must for foodies who love to try out new exciting places. The signs in this post will help you in spotting a fake Italian restaurant from the real one. So, make sure you understand them and apply them in your research for swift and quantifiable results.