Why is good Italian food and a great Italian language restaurant? This is what I think.
Italy has a wonderful tradition of fine meals. Italian food’s importance to Italian culture cannot be overstated. It is among the central elements, and why should not it be? Think about Italy’s location for a second:
It runs quite a distance from north to south. Therefore , it has a wide array of growing seasons plus soil types. This means a wealthy diversity of ingredients for foods.
It is a peninsula, meaning it is nearly surrounded by the sea but also connected to the great Eurasian land mass. It comes with an abundance of fresh seafood and foreign ingredients from neighboring countries.
It sits between Europe plus Africa in the Mediterranean. All Mediterranean cultures have excellent food customs from North Africa to Lebanon and Israel, France, Greece, The country of spain and, of course , Italy.
When you think of noodles and pasta, you probably think about Italy, but those wonderful inventions came to Italy from China because of Marco Polo. It tells you a great deal about Italian food culture that will something so basic became associated with Italy even though it did not originate there.
Anyway, food is a key element of Italian culture. Therefore , the food is the most important section of the restaurant. Of course , a great Italian eating place will have a great wine list, a clean and elegant decor, and great service, but a good Italian eating place can get by on great foods alone, even if they have a crummy wine list, poor service, and a dingy decoration scheme.
By the way, if you leave an “Italian” restaurant starving, it’s definitely not authentic. A whitened tablecloth and high bill tend not to a great bistro make. Frankly, I can stand those fancy Italian dining places in Manhattan that charge you $400 for a morsel that makes you want to quit for a slice of pizza along the way home. A great Italian ristorante may leave you full, not stuffed, but full.
The second aspect of a great Italian language restaurant is the service. The assistance will be warm and professional, however, not overly friendly. After the orders are taken and the meal gets moving, the service should be nearly unseen. Run — don’t walk — from any Italian restaurant in which the waitperson address the table like this:
“How you guys doin’ this evening? ” when ladies are seated at the table. This is most un-Italian of them.
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An Italian would never contact a woman “guy. ” Even in spaghetti-and-meatballs-type places, the waiter might state, “How is everyone this evening? ” The won’t tarry with little talk in the white-tablecloth places, not the good ones, anyway. It is about the meal and your comfort.
The third aspect of a great Italian restaurant may be the ambiance. I don’t know what it is, but Italians seem to be able to create an amazing atmosphere anywhere. I have eaten from places in strip malls within the suburbs of Denver — as un-romantic a setting as there is — that come close to great. A truly outstanding Italian restaurant will just have a certain feeling from the minute you walk in the door, a heat and a glow that can’t really be described.