When you go out to eat in Italy, it is an experience. First off the bread comes and then the menu. Now you have the anti pasta, the first dish, the second dish and then fruit and cheese or just right to the desert. O’ yea, let us not forget the caffe at the very end. Of course they will ask you if you want water, natural or gas and what type of wine? This also comes with its own menu in some places. Wow you say to yourself and wonder where am I going to put all this food.
In Italy you are not pushed to eat in a hurry, as a mater of fact, you will be completely done and they will let you sit there. You must ask for the check if you want to go home. If you do go to a nice restaurant, don’t just order the pasta. This is not looked well upon and you really come off as a cheep tourist. Fine out what the specials are, or if you are in a fish area, order some thing with seafood. The same goes for meat, find out what is good from a local before you go. When I go out to a favorite of mine and I order something special, the heads all turn to what is being brought to me. Sometimes the person I am with orders something different and we share, this is allowed in Italy. Share the pasta and get 2 different main courses. You don’t have to order everything, but remember this is not an everyday occurrence.
When the bill comes, check it out to make sure you got everything on it. The first thing is the contra, this is also called service in some places, but it is not for your server. This to pay for the table wear, napkins, table cloth, and bread. You will not see the word TIP on there. It is customary to leave 10% at place like this. Not at pizzeria or bar who offers food. If you go to big cities like Rome and hit a tourist place you will find tip on the bill and some will say so on the menu. You can always ask as well. For many years no one ever left a tip at a bar and now they have tip jars. This is from the young Americans who started to leaving them. If you do this in England, they will throw the money back at you, it is insult to leave a tip. The waitress or waiters make good money compared to the US, but they can still use a little help. Of course if you feel your server wasn’t that attentive, well less tip. Try to see how busy the place is when you do consider this and how many tables they have. If I see them on the cell phone just talking and I need something, ask another wait person. They will get it for you or tell your server.
So now you are ready to go out and eat in Italy. The final word to get your check is ” Contro Preffeviore” You might find out that they will offer you a free after dinner drink.