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The Italian Lunch

Mangia! Mangia! | Eat! Eat!

The Italian Lunch

'Pranzo' - Lunch

In Italy, 'pranzo' - lunch, is the most important meal of the day. It usually happens between 12:00 - 14:00 and almost everything closes for the lunch 'pausa' break. In my opinion, more people bring their lunch to work than in the USA, but many Italians also go out to eat for lunch at a local restaurant or bar - as takeaway isn't really a thing.

The typical lunch (also for people who pack lunch) consists of 'il primo' (the first course) and 'il second' (the second course) which is served with 'il contorno' (the side dish).

This all may sound like a lot of food, but it is surprising affordable! Many restaurants and bars have 'il menu' special, where you can get a first, a second, a side, a drink and a coffee and it usually costs about 10€.

When I first moved to Italy I was SHOCKED by the amount of food people ate for lunch... a first + second AND a side, sometimes followed by fruit + a dessert + coffee?? HOW?! But, as I got more into the routine of eating "the Italian breakfast" I quickly understood, as a coffee and brioche truly aren't enough to hold anyone over until lunch time.

Il Primo - The First Course

The first is always something served hot. You'll usually never find any dishes with meat in them unless there is some meat mixed into a sauce used over pasta.

First courses usually consist of dishes like rice, risotto, pasta, gnocchi, polenta, lasagna, and soups.

Il Secondo - The Second Course

This second usually is the "heart" of the meal, consisting of meat or fish.

Second courses usually consist of different meats and or types of seafood.

Il Contorno - The Side Dish

The side is usually always a vegetable or salad. This is served at the same time that the second is brought to the table.

Side dishes can be served hot or cold, depending on what it is you ordered and the season.

The side dish usually consists of different raw or cooked vegetables always, always served on a different dish than the second course.

* Notes *

The photo above is basically the Italian equivalent of Panera, which is a chain that can be found in the USA.

It is a great spot to start your day by grabbing a coffee + brioche, a mid-day snack, lunch or aperitivo!

Panini Durini

Price € - €€

Food: Italian

Address: Via Durini, 26, 20122 Milan

(There are several located around Milan, this is just one location).

Hours: Monday - Sunday 7:30 - 20:30

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