Differences Between Osteria, Trattoria, and Ristorante Eateries in Italy

the differences of osteria, trattoria, ristorante in italy by lifetimetraveller

Travelling to Italy is full of fun. It has everything. For example, reserved nature, architecture, art, the Vatican, amazing hotels, and yadda yadda yadda. Not only that but, full of food too! One of the reasons why visit Italy is because of its delicious and remarkable food. Everywhere you go, you see bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and other food and beverage establishments. Today, let us talk about the differences between Osteria, Trattoria, and Ristorante.

In Italy, they traditionally differentiate their food establishments in three stages. Reasons why to determine the amount of money they have to bring when they dine in. Moreover, to know easily the type of food the eateries are serving.

To clarify, Italian eateries classify their restaurants in three categories. First, Ristorante and followed by Trattoria, and then Osteria.


How ristorante is being different from trattoria and osteria? As the dictionary defines, a ristorante is a restaurant. It is a place where meals and drinks are sold and served to the customers. However, traditionally a ristorante is more prestigious and more formal. In Italy, the term came into use to describe elegant, luxurious, and sophisticated dining establishments. These are the places where high-end dinners like bankers, politicians, and celebrities eat. Declaring the most decorous service etiquette, and require many, many forks and knives. They promote high-end food for customers.

restaurant in Rome, Italy by Lifetime Traveller
© Credit image: to the owner


Less formal than a ristorante is the Trattoria. It is an easy-going and unpretentious place to eat. Although more formal than the bare-bones osteria. A trattoria makes the best of local dearest and features an ever-changing seasonal dishes. Meanwhile, there are no printed menus and the service is very unpretentious. Usually, local wines are served in a wine decanter. And the prices are economical.

Trattoria is in the middle of osteria and ristorante. Most Italians prefer going to a trattoria than osteria and ristorante. This is because trattoria has its original and authentic local food. Most importantly, the budget is safe.

Trattoria, osteria, ristorante differences by Lifetime Traveller.
© Credit image: to the owner


Firstly, osteria is written as hosteria. The Osteria was traditionally an informal dining place with very low prices. Remember the root: ospitalita (hospitality). This is the bare minimum presentation for an eating experience, like a food court or an inn. In history, Osterie were actually used until the 1960s. They were used as places where only wine is served. Not only that, but people would bring their own food too. Such places peppered the farmland, feeding and accommodating traveling pilgrims for a night in exchange for some coins.

Money and quality of food make big differences between osteria, trattoria and ristorante.

the difeerences of osteria, trattoria, and ristorante by Lifetime Traveller.
© Credit image: to the owner

To sum up…

To sum up, the differences between Osteria, Trattoria, and Ristorante are as follows. Just in case you are looking for an expensive eatery, often featuring seafood and pretension, or the odd aging celebrity stars, by all means, strike into a ristorante. When looking for enjoyment in local cuisine, captivating sidewalk beauty, and to eat in the company of interesting and bizarre locals, visit the widely adored trattoria. If you are in budget, in need of fare, and if you do not mind drunkards and jiggers, the osteria is your refuge.

Nowadays, the real meaning and definitions of these titles are becoming obsolete. You can find super luxurious and upscale restaurants called trattoria or osteria, and vice-versa. In some cases, you can find poor quality cuisine in a ristorante.

Whatever eatery your choice is, it is worth trying Italian food. So, book now your hotel room with discounts. If ever you go to Rome, Italy, check on their Classic Osterie and Trattorie.

Okay, before eating, I would like to remind you food safety. Most especailly these days of Covid19.

See also: Black Madonna Tindari, Mud Baths in Sicily.

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