Your Italian Restaurant Guide

Your Italian Restaurant Guide

I LOVE Italian food. There's nothing better than a big fat plate of pasta smothered in a meaty, creamy or cheesy, sauce. When I really don't want to splurge or watching my waistline and end up going to an Italian restaurant here is what I do...

Bread: everyone loves the bread baskets especially when it's served warm out of the oven. It's even better when you dip it in olive oil and Parmesan cheese. My advice, skip the bread all together. If you MUST then only eat the outside (crust) of the bread. Another tip is to choose between the bread basket and pizza. That way you're not depriving yourself but also not going to town on the carbs.

Soup: Order a bowl of minestrone soup, 99% of the time the minestrone soup won't fail you. It's packed with TONS of veggies, low in calories, and fills you up!

Salad: Skip the cesar and go with an italian/house salad with balsamic dressing on the side. My friends and I also love caprese salad which is also on the lighter side.

Pasta/Pizza: This is the hardest part! I always want to feast on penne a la voda, spaghetti bolongese, or margarita pizza.  Here are your options:

  • first things first, always order thin crust pizza. It has fewer calories, duh!
  • split the entree with a friend or family member
  • order what you want and ask for a to go box right away. Put half of the entree into the to go box and give it to a  homeless person on your way home.
  • go to town but make sure you hit the gym extra hard the next day

Sides: roasted veggies are your best best and they are usually very flavorful. Do you really even need a side with all that other food?

Desert: Ohhhhh desert, tiramisu is my fave! I take ONE big bite or two small bites and savor the moment. It's so hard to resist but if you're doing so well, don't ruin it with desert. It's not worth it.

What do you do to stay in control when dining at Italian restaurants?



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  • I think with 'desert' you'll have to drink plenty of water.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Viva la Italiano festas!! There's good reason why Italian food is number one in America. My wife complains: "But you can't eat Italian every day..." I reply: "They do in Italy..." But then with a proud Italian name that goes back to 1058 AD -- and Al Pacino as a cousin -- I may be a little biased.

  • Was that a "spatafora" I saw on the menu at the Olive Garden the other day?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    The family name Spatafora first appears in recorded history in the Byzantine capitol of Constantinople in 1058 AD. The empoeror bequeathed lands to the family in Sicily. Many counts, countesses, vineyards, shoe store chains, etc all with the Spatafora name. My Dad was born in Corleone Sicily in 1897. As to the Olive Garden menu -- well, I'll have to check that out

  • Of course, I was only kidding. Jack, your genealogy rekindles my interest in that historical period. Who was that emperor? Frederick II?

  • There is definitely so much that you can get from this training. I see such a great future coming from it. Keep up the good work.
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