From Pizza to Pasta: What Is the Most Popular Italian Food?

Italian cuisine is world-renowned for its various flavours, textures, and ingredients. There are many delicious options, from traditional Italian dishes like pasta and pizza to lesser-known Italian foods.

If you’re the owner of an Italian restaurant, knowing what the most popular Italian food is can be a great way to get inspiration for your restaurant menu. Guests will appreciate the authentic Italian foods that are the hallmark of Italian cuisine.

So, whether you’re a lover of Italian foods looking to try something new or an Italian restaurant owner seeking inspiration for your menu, this article will provide the information you need!

8 Popular Italian Foods To Try

If you’re eager to taste the flavors of Italy, there are countless options available.

However, by consulting our list of the most famous Italian foods, you’ll have a more targeted understanding of the dishes that best represent this beloved cuisine.

1. Neapolitan Pizza

Neapolitan Pizza
Neapolitan Pizza

Undeniably the most famous Italian dish, pizza, originated in Naples and has become a beloved food worldwide.

Neapolitan pizza is characterized by its thin, chewy crust, tomato sauce, and simple toppings such as San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.

2. Pinsa (aka Roman Style Pizza)

Pinza Roman Style Pizza with spinach
Pinsa (Roman Style Pizza)

Pinsa (Roman Style Pizza) is one of the oldest and most popular types of Italian pizzas. It is made with a special dough that is cooked until it’s crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Pinsa can be topped with any type of topping but typically consists of high-quality ingredients like cheese, tomatoes, olives, vegetables, spinach, fresh herbs, meat or seafood.

The ultimate result is an exquisite pizza that will bring out the ingredients’ flavour. Pinsa can be served as a starter, main course or snack. It’s definitely one of the most delicious ways to enjoy Italian cuisine. Enjoy!

3. Gnocchi

Gnocchi Alla Romana
Gnocchi Alla Romana

Made with potato, flour, and eggs, these delicate dumplings are soft and pillowy in texture. Gnocchi can be enjoyed with a range of sauces, including classic options like tomato and basil or more adventurous options like pesto.

4. Risotto

Risotto alla Milanese with a Parmesan Cookie
Risotto alla Milanese with a Parmesan Cookie

Risotto alla Milanese is a rich and creamy Italian rice dish created by simmering Arborio rice in broth and gradually incorporating Parmesan cheese, butter, and other flavorful ingredients.

This popular dish hails from Milan, and variations include mushrooms, shrimp, and saffron options.

5. Polenta

Polenta in a Wood Plate
Polenta in a Wood Plate

Polenta, a Northern Italian staple, is a savory porridge made from ground cornmeal that can be enjoyed either creamy or firm in texture. This versatile dish pairs well with various meats, vegetables, and cheeses, making it a perfect addition to any meal.

6. Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe
Cacio e Pepe

This classic Roman pasta dish features spaghetti or bucatini tossed with Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. Cacio e Pepe is a simple dish yet delicious.

7. Focaccia

Rosemary Focaccia
Rosemary Focaccia

Focaccia is a delectable Italian flatbread made with a blend of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and herbs, giving it a crispy crust and a soft and chewy center.

Toppings for this savory bread can include anything from fresh tomatoes and olives to flavorful pecorino cheese. This versatile bread is perfect as an appetizer or a side dish and will delight anyone who tries it.

8. Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta on a White Plate
Pesto Pasta on a White Plate

This pasta dish features fresh pasta tossed with a sauce made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Pesto pasta is a delicious and flavorful meal that’s easy to make at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pizza the most popular Italian food worldwide?

Yes, pizza is the most popular Italian food worldwide. If people are asked ‘What is the most popular Italian food?’, most will answer pizza. It’s loved by people all over the world and has become a staple in many countries.

Are there any lesser-known Italian dishes that are also very popular?

Yes, there are many lesser-known Italian dishes that are also very popular. There are various traditional Italian dishes, such as osso buco, a braised veal shank dish from Milan, and bagna cauda, a savory dip consisting of anchovies, garlic, and olive oil, among others.

What are some regional variations of the most popular Italian food?

Italian cuisine is highly diverse and can vary significantly by region. For instance, the pizza you get in Rome differs from what you’ll find in Naples, located in southern Italy.

In Naples, pizza is generally known for its thin, crispy crust and minimal toppings; in Rome, it’s thicker and fluffier. Similarly, the risotto in Milan is often made with saffron, while it may feature seafood in Venice.

Can the most popular Italian food be found in Italian-American cuisine?

Italian-American cuisine is heavily influenced by Italian cuisine, but it has developed its own unique identity over time. For example, dishes like spaghetti and meatballs are not typically found in Italy but are popular in Italian-American cuisine.

In addition, Italian-American cuisine often features meat sauce, a tomato-based sauce with ground meat, a less common variation in traditional Italian recipes.

Are there any particular ingredients that are essential to making the most popular Italian food?

Using fresh and premium ingredients is essential in Italian cuisine. Neapolitan pizza, for instance, is composed of San Marzano tomatoes cultivated in the rich volcanic soil surrounding Mount Vesuvius.


Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide for its fresh ingredients, diverse dishes, and delicious flavors. With so many options, it can take time to decide what to order.

However, by exploring the best Italian food options from the list of what is the most popular Italian food above, you can enjoy the most popular Italian dishes.

Italian cuisine is a rich and flavorful cuisine that offers something for everyone. If you’re looking to inspire the menu at your Italian restaurant, these Italian dishes are a great starting point.

Plus, if you’re seeking to boost the online visibility of your Italian restaurant, look no further than Seo for Restaurants – we’re here to help!

Andrea Abbondanza

Andrea Abbondanza, born in Milan (Italy) and now a proud Australian citizen, is a passionate food lover and the dynamic CEO of With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes around the world elevate their online presence. His journey from Italy to Australia has infused his work with a unique blend of European flair and Aussie charm, making him a go-to resource for cafes and restaurants looking to elevate their digital presence and grow their businesses.

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Andrea Abbondanza is a passionate food lover and the CEO of Seo for Restaurants. With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes worldwide elevate their online presence and increase

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