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Speaking of Italian: Pizzeria Pro Tips

by Sara Lepley

If you find yourself at an Italian pizzeria, you’ll want to know the Italian phrases and etiquette that will make you look like a pro.

We had the chance to catch up with a native speaker to find out a few tricks and tips to get your table manners up to speed. 

Need the waiter? Say, “Scusi.” 

Scusi is the formal way of saying excuse me. If you need a menu, it’s menu. If you need the bill, it’s conto.

Be mindful of the vowel sounds. While the word menu may look the same as it’s English translation, the “u” is pronounced “oo.” In general, Italian is a phonetic language where most words are spoken the way they look on paper.

If you aren’t quite sure of how to say it, you can use Phrasebook for a refresher on key terms. You’ll get instant feedback on your pronunciation via TruAccent™. 

Resist the urge to request extra salt, pepper, or chili pepper flakes.

When the kitchen gets a request for condiments, it wounds the chef’s pride and confidence. Was the pizza not good enough? Not flavorful enough? 

Instead, we recommend trusting that the pizza you’re about to inhale will be delicious. With so many great Italian spots available stateside or abroad, you don’t have to look far to find truly amazing pizza. So even if you always sprinkle your pizza with a few chili flakes, we challenge you to trust your chef when you make it to an authentic Italian spot.

And if you’re curious, yes, asking for ranch on the side is definitely off the table. 

Come hungry and stay awhile.

Chances are, the pizzeria will not have any “doggy bags” in stock. Rather, you should come prepared to finish everything on your plate. Doing so lets the chef know you loved every last morsel.

Once the plates have been removed, the waiter will most likely ask if you’d like a cup of espresso. Even if you typically wave away the coffee and dessert menus at American restaurants, you’ll definitely want to indulge in this post-dinner drink. 

Offering espresso after a meal is a sign of affection. It means, “stay awhile.” And like so many things in Italy, it’s sure to taste very good. 

Stand out in the pizzeria with your Italian skills. Take the Rosetta Stone free trial.

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