What is an ‘osteria’?

What is an ‘osteria’?

A winter stay in Valpolicella would be incomplete without a few visits in the local restaurants. There is a lot to choose from! Even if the AirBnB house we rented is located in a small village there is a variety of places that serve a high-quality food. Italy is famous for its food and sometimes you might get lost is a variety of names. You might wonder what is the difference between ‘osteria‘, ‘trattoria‘ and ‘restaurant’ thus here is a simple explanation.


The least formal of all places that offer you food in Italy. It sometimes is run by a family and offers you a place at the common table, shared with other guests. The food is always fresh, prepared from the local ingredients and often there is no menu: the owner of a waiter tells you what is served today and you choose from it.

Food of Valpolicella, Osteria del Bugiardo, Italy

Food of Valpolicella, Osteria del Bugiardo, Italy

It serves wines, often produced by the owners (‘produzione propria‘), brought to the table is carafe rather than a bottle. Recently there is a new trend to make the osterie more attractive by using a modern design or hosting ‘aperitivo‘ in late afternoons.

The one I visited here, in Negrar, was called Osteria del Bugiardo and it was fabulous!

Food of Valpolicella, Osteria del Bugiardo, Italy

Food of Valpolicella, Osteria del Bugiardo, Italy


Less formal than a restaurant more formal then osteria. It always serves local food but the main focus is on wines. The food is always simple, the choice is limited and the customers are in major part locals. It has been always an important place for the meetings of the residents and a common space for exchanging the ideas and gossips.

Venezia in wintertime, Italy

Excellent food of Venice, Italy.


Obviously, there is a huge variety of the formality here. There are exclusive restaurants that serve a high quality, expensive food but there are also those less expensive and well connected with the area. It is true especially in Italy where many people visit a restaurant with their families, friends and colleagues. It is worth checking with the locals which restaurant is good but if you can’t do it just pass the restaurant in the evening (20:00-21:00) and judge it out of the number of cars parked in front of it. If the restaurant is not in the city centre, next to the famous touristic spots, this strategy works just fine. Especially in the countryside: good restaurants are always full of locals!

Bar or pasticceria

Pssst! I know that there’s a lot of people who love sweets thus I would strongly encourage you to visit bar or pasticceria in the morning. The best place to start a day in Italy is the one that bakes their sweets in situ, in their backyard. Fresh, warm sweet brioche in the morning will lift your spirit!

Awesome italian breakfast!

Italian cappuccino and brioche. Only for breakfasts!

About the author

I get easily fascinated with people and places. I am passionately curious. I get often seduced with the beauty of nature. Blue sky, pure water, white snow and endless horizon seams to be enough to make me happy.

View all articles by Agata Mleczko