The Extra You Shouldn't Expect With Bread At Restaurants In Italy

From fresh tomato sauce and pasta made by hand, to tender mozzarella cheese and salty cured meat, dining in Italy is more than just an experience, it's a call to comfort and an absolute flavor explosion. The fresh ingredients and seasonality of Italian dishes are unlike any other, and when traveling and feasting your way through the beautiful country, you'll want to do like the Italians do. 

According to Roman Candle Tours, there are many differences between Italian and American culture when it comes to food, meal times, and more. For starters, coffee should be consumed after meals, except at breakfast. Next, meat is always served with red wine, and fish is always served with white wine. And another big belief is that bread sitting wrong side up on the table brings bad luck, as superstitions are heavy in Italian culture.

Speaking of bread, it's often served as a complimentary starter to a meal at Italian restaurants throughout the United States, with olive oil for sopping on the side. But another surprising thing you may find when dining in Italy is that bread is served by itself.

Olive oil

According to MP Tours, bread is meant to be eaten with your meal, and specifically with meaty dishes for soaking up the juices, compared to a starch-on-starch combination of bread and pasta. That being said, it's rarely served as an appetizer beforehand, and therefore is not accompanied with olive oil. So, asking for olive oil could blow your cover of pretending to be a local. That said, Italians do enjoy their bread baked with a light drizzle.

Furthermore, according to Fodorś Travel, the bread is used as the perfect vehicle to showcase any exquisite sauces the chef is serving, allowing you to soak up every last drop. While the beloved bread and olive oil appetizer compliments each other well, it is rare but possible to find a place that is serving up olive oil alongside. And, if they are, it is typically to simply showcase the valued liquid.