The traditional Italian Aperitivo is a pre-dinner. That means a light alcoholic drink that Italians have before dinner combined with finger food. The best time for the Aperitivo, at most coffee shops/bars, is from about 6.30 p.m. until 9.30 pm.
In recent years, the Aperitivo has become very popular and, depending on the location, can substitute a real dinner. Many places offer a large buffet with every kind of food from Pasta to Pizza to the famous Crostini. You will also find vegetables and, if you are lucky, some places serve fruit and dessert!
The great thing about the Aperitivo is that the food is unlimited, so you can serve yourself until you are full. It can also be really fun because they will provide a small plate to put as much food as possible in order not to have to return to the buffet too many times. 🙂
Together with the buffet a drink is included. Typical Italian drinks are Spritz (very light, made with Prosecco, Aperol and Soda) or the Negroni (very strong). This last one has Florentine origins (which I will share its story in another post).
The cherry on the cake is that the Aperitivo will cost only between 8 and 10 Euros for one drink and as much food as you like (so you basically get the food for free). Yes, free food! If you don’t like alcohol drinks you will find a large selection of soft drinks, or you can choose a classic glass of red wine!
Here is a list of places to have a good Italian Aperitivo around Italy:
Florence: Obika, for a healty Aperitivo in a romantic setting! – Via dé Tornabuoni, 16
Soul Kitchen, full of young students – Via de’ Benci, 34R
Milan: Cafè Sans-Ègal Brera, a lot of different food and great drinks!
Via Vicolo Fiori, 2