Italian Street Kitchen

10 of the best Italian food options you absolutely have to try

Isabella from Italian Street Kitchen talks about 10 of the Best Italian Food options you have to try. From familiar classics to delicacies you may not yet have heard of and all of them showcase on our delicious menu.

1. Pizza

Pizza

I simply couldn’t have a list of the best Italian food without including pizza. Often considered the most popular dish in the world, pizza comes in many forms. 

 Whether you’re making it yourself at home or enjoying it at the very best Italian food restaurant.

Pizza usually starts with a round base made of dough, topped with a tomato sauce, cheese, and whichever other ingredients your heart desires. 

What really makes this one of the best authentic Italian dishes though, is having it expertly cooked in a woodfire oven. Want to know more? I explain why the woodfire makes it so much better here.

2. Fiorentina

While I’m sure you’ve had a number of pizzas in your time, you might not yet have experienced the delight of a Fiorentina. 

This glorious thick cut T-Bone is so large that sharing it isn’t just tradition, it’s a necessity for the vast majority of diners no matter how hungry you are. 

One of the best traditional Italian dishes you’ll find, it has a history almost as old as the city it came from; Florence. 

Beef taken from only particularly tasty breeds of cattle is aged for weeks before it’s cooked for 5-7 minutes either side, turning only once. 

The thickness of the cut means it will always be rare and juicy on the inside, making it pure bliss for true steak lovers. Order it on your next night out at an Italian restaurant Sydney and thank me later.

10 of the best Italian food options you absolutely have to try

3. Lasagna

Originating in Naples all the way back in the Middle Ages, lasagna is a baked dish with a heritage as rich as its wonderful flavours. 

While there are numerous variations, I like to combine the layers of fresh pasta with beef ragu, bechamel, mozzarella, parmesan, and Napoli sauce to create the ultimate comfort food.

4. Arancini

Arancini BallsArancini is another delicious favourite which involves balls of rice that are stuffed with various ingredients, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried to crunchy perfection. 

Believed to have originated in Sicily during the 10th century, its name translates to ‘little orange’ due to the round shape and beautiful golden colour. 

Whether served as an appetiser or main meal, the popularity of arancini is so widespread that you won’t only find it at the best Italian restaurant.

5. Gelato

Italians aren’t only known for our many savoury delights; we can have quite a sweet tooth too.

Although they look similar and gelato actually translates to ‘ice cream’ it’s quite different to the more common frozen dessert. 

For one thing it’s much lower in fat, so while no one is going to claim it’s in the ‘healthy’ category, you can feel a little less guilty about indulging than you would with regular ice cream…or so I always tell myself. 

Gelato also has a higher density because of the air and water added to ice cream to increase the volume. As a result, gelato is really bursting with flavour in comparison. 

Lower in fat AND more flavourful, I don’t know why you would ever go back to ice cream after having gelato.

6. Carbonara

Carbonara

With it being one of the most famous dishes from Rome where my family has lived for generations, I just wouldn’t feel right about this list of the best Italian foods if it didn’t feature carbonara. 

Authentic carbonara uses fresh eggs, guanciale, pecorino cheese, and black pepper. That’s right, not a trace of cream or bacon despite them being included in countless disappointing imitations.

If you’ve only had underwhelming carbonara, you most likely just haven’t had the real thing, so be sure to try it at an Italian restaurant near me.

7. Meatballs

In Italy, meatballs are traditionally served as a side dish or appetiser rather than with spaghetti, but regardless of how you have them, the critical components are the quality of the ingredients and the way they’re prepared. 

I always use fresh, top-quality meat that is then methodically mixed with salt, pepper and herbs by hand before slow cooking. 

It’s essential that you simmer the meatballs in sauce (I serve them in a classic sugo) for at least an hour on low heat, as this allows the ingredients to combine properly and accentuates their beautiful, robust flavours.

8. Polenta

Although not as well-known as pasta, polenta was actually the more commonly eaten food in Northern Italy for many years. 

Originally made from whatever starches were available, corn became the primary ingredient in polenta once it was introduced to Europe in the 16th century. 

Traditionally, corn flour is boiled in water which results in a tasty mash that superbly accompanies a variety of meats and stews. 

However, my favourite way to have polenta is to fry it until golden which transforms the mushy texture into a crispy delight.

9. Porchetta

This mouth-watering roast pork belly dish originated in Ariccia but soon became widespread throughout Italy. 

All fat and skin remain attached to the meat, preserving its juiciness throughout a cooking process that customarily takes more than eight hours. 

The pork itself is savoury, but we like to serve it with an apple and fennel puree which brings just the right amount of sweetness to complement the richness of the meat.

Porchetta 

10. Tiramisu

Developed in Treviso during the 1960s, tiramisu quickly gained popularity all over the world and is now perhaps Italy’s most adored after-dinner dessert. 

It showcases alternating layers of soft, sweetened mascarpone cream and coffee-soaked savoiardi biscuits to provide the perfect ending to a meal at an Italian restaurant and an appropriate ending to this list of the best Italian food.

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