The Restaurant Experience

Five Antipasti to Try at Italian Restaurants

One of the best parts of dining in an Italian restaurant is the antipasti, those delicious small dishes that are served before the main course. They are perfect for sharing with friends or family and set the stage for a memorable dining experience. Here are five antipasti that you must try at Italian restaurants.

Caprese Salad

A classic antipasto, Caprese salad is made with fresh buffalo mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is a light and refreshing dish that perfectly balances the flavors of sweet tomatoes and creamy mozzarella. The salad originates from the island of Capri and is often served as an appetizer or a light lunch on hot summer days.


Another classic antipasto, Bruschetta is made with toasted bread, garlic, olive oil, and toppings of your choice. The most common toppings include diced tomatoes, basil, and onions, but you can also try with roasted peppers, olives, or artichoke hearts. This versatile dish is perfect for sharing and pairs well with a glass of Chianti.


Arancini is a Sicilian delicacy made with leftover risotto, shaped into balls, and deep-fried until crispy. It is often stuffed with mozzarella, peas, and meat ragù, making it a delicious and filling antipasto. The name arancini translates to 'little oranges' in Italian, referring to their round and orange-like appearance.


Crostini is a type of Italian appetizer in which small slices of bread are topped with a variety of toppings, from cured meats and cheese to vegetables and spreads. They are crispy and crunchy, making them the perfect vehicle for savory and flavorful toppings. Some popular combinations include prosciutto and figs, goat cheese and beets, or roasted tomato and ricotta.

Gnocchi Fritti

Gnocchi fritti is a traditional antipasto from Emilia-Romagna, made with flour, water, and yeast, shaped into small balls, and fried until golden brown. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and provide a perfect accompaniment to cured meats and cheeses. They are often served with a side of balsamic vinegar reduction or honey for extra flavor.

Italian cuisine is known for its delicious antipasti, and these five dishes are perfect examples of why. From the light and refreshing Caprese salad to the decadent Arancini, there is something for everyone. When dining at an Italian restaurant, consider starting your meal with one or more of these tasty antipasti and see where the experience takes you.