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Children's portions for adults

Is it possible or order a child'S size or smaller portions at restaurants throughout Italy? I hate to waste food and can't take home the leftovers.
Thanks

Posted by
1839 posts

I often eat very light (especially in the evening), and in Italy I tend to just order one course, while my husband will order 3 courses. I might enjoy a bite of his primo or insulada (sp?).

If you are not in a restaurant where English is highly understood, it might cause a huge translation issue trying to order from a child's menu (if they have one) or even request one.

Posted by
4964 posts

Just tell them you don't want a lot. It just takes learning a few words. Note that the portions in most places are not "American" sized, and its not common to take leftovers anyway.

Posted by
2353 posts

We generally order 1 appy, 1 salad, 1 entree, and 1 dessert and split. has never been a problem. At lunch we'll split a sandwich or similar. Some places may charge a fee for splitting some do not.

Posted by
20600 posts

You might wait to see the portion. Portions are generally much smaller than the typical Am portion. Second haven't seen children menus even when traveling with our children. One might order a salad and the other a main and share it. Sometimes we will ask for an extra plate to make our sharing easier. Sometimes I have asked for smaller pasta portions by simply asking for less. Paid the same price as a full portion. Generally the waiters try to accommodate your requests if they understand.

Posted by
3937 posts

You don't need to worry about takeaways, I've never had a meal in Europe that comes anywhere near the portion size of the US.

I have seen children's menus in restaurants but they're typically average fare and I would much rather eat the food aimed at adults.

Many Italian meals consist of multiple courses, I usually omit some, typically the pasta ones.

Posted by
5645 posts

Taking leftover food home from a restaurant is not common in Europe.

Posted by
11153 posts

"You might wait to see the portion. Portions are generally much smaller than the typical Am portion."

Exactly. Only once, in Siracusa in Sicily, have I seen large American portions in a restaurant in Italy. Judging by the reactions of the other diners when their dishes were brought out, the locals were as surprised as I was. Everywhere else, the portions were much smaller than in the US. I can get a primo, a secondo, and a dessert - and still not be too full.

To answer your question directly, no, adults can't order children's portions. But you can, as everyone said above, order fewer courses, since everything is a la carte.

Posted by
3230 posts

If you are asking this because you are used to the portion sizes in American Italian restaurants, you need not worry. Portion sizes in most of Europe are considerable smaller than in the US. While I have never left a restaurant in Italy hungry, I have never had difficulty eating everything I was served.

Posted by
440 posts

Portion sizes are normal (small compared to american) you should have no trouble with them. Food is rich and flavoursome so small portions are all thats needed. Enjoy

Posted by
313 posts

European restaurants tend to be more a la carte. You can order a salad and a starter, or just a main, if you don't want to eat too much. It won't be like Olive Garden, don't worry.

Posted by
484 posts

Having just returned from France, I disagree about portion sizes. We had HUGE salads and most meals. I also like smaller portions and will typically share a meal with my husband. At one restaurant they explicitly stated that "this is a restaurant and sharing is not allowed".... Sharing a dessert or first course is okay.

Posted by
3987 posts

You can also try asking for a "mezza porzione" (mEdza portsiOneh) - a half portion. It may work, especially with pasta. One of the language disks we were using to brush up our Italian had the speakers asking for half portions of linguine or lasagne. It's worth a shot.

Posted by
11613 posts

Jane beat me to it. Your half portion of pasta will cost more than half the full portion. If half-portions aren't available, or if you want a smaller portion of a non-pasta course, you can say "non abbondante" when ordering, price will be for a full portion .

Another trick is to order one course at a time and see how that goes. Note: Sometimes an appetizer plate will be enough for two. I usually order one course at a time if I contemplate having more than one course.

Posted by
11416 posts

Tgreen , in France "salad composees" are a meal salad. I often order them for lunch .

Posted by
3793 posts

I've seen some HUGE meals in Italy - we were in Venice and someone at another table ordered a calzone - it would have fed me for 3 days! But generally I find the portion sizes manageable...and I don't eat as much as I used to (not that my waistline would agree with that). If hubby and I were getting pizza, we'd order one and share it between us. That's after a half dozen times of both of us ordering one then wasting 1/3 of it. I'd rather share one and have a little room left over for gelato ;)

I've never felt I had to order all the courses - I'd never get thru them.

And more than a few times in France I ordered a salad as a meal...and they were 'big' salads...I never left hungry!

Posted by
484 posts

Pat, Yes I ordered these salads as a lunch meal and still could not finish. I was absolutely in LOVE with the Nicoise Salad! I could eat one every other lunch!

Posted by
3937 posts

Try to select restaurants where locals eat

What if the locals don't know what good food is?

How do you know if they're locals? They might be tourists from another part of the country.

I've made the mistake in Italy of choosing a restaurant based on its apparent popularity with other Italians. The food was poor and it turns out that many of the customers were Italian tourists. Restaurant advice is all very subjective and it's one reason why I never ask for recommendations. What constitutes a good meal for one person could be a poor one for someone else. Judging one based on its apparent popularity is also not a guarantee of quality. I was in Valdemossa in Mallorca in June and I found a restaurant for lunch which was empty however I liked the look of the menu so we chose to eat there, it was one of the best meals I've eaten in Mallorca and it later transpired that it was highlighted in the Lonely Planet as one of the best in the area. I'm sure however that I could recommend it to 10 people and several of them would not enjoy the food for one reason or another. If there were other guests there I certainly wouldn't be able to tell without asking them directly if they were locals or not. My advice is go for your gut instinct.

Posted by
3937 posts

JC, my comment for Bart was meant to suggest heading away from the tourist restaurants and go to the more authentic restaurants where locals will likely be eating. Those restaurants typically have better (smaller) portions, plus higher quality food.

But Jean, how can you tell they're locals? I've eaten some good food in the tourist spots and I've eaten some poor food likewise in restaurants off the tourist track. If you and I can go off the tourist track to eat at a restaurant then so do many other tourists therefore rendering the assumption that an off the track restaurant is full of locals as redundant. There is no sure fire way to ascertain whether a restaurant is good or not, I take so much into account and don't go on a single 'identifier' of what guarantees a good restaurant.

I recall reading glowing reviews about a restaurant in Rome, it was off the tourist track and required a bus journey and a hefty walk to get there from my hotel. When I arrived I discovered that it was closed for the week so I opted for a restaurant opposite which was full of Italians, possibly local. The meal was incredibly disappointing and proved that one cannot rely on the assumption that out of the way, locals only restaurants are a safe bet.

Posted by
3357 posts

Bart, enjoy your trip to Italy! Other than a few hit & misses in Venice, we've had many wonderful Italian dinners across Italy. And, you are able to stay at your table to savor the evening and enjoy the atmosphere.

Posted by
11506 posts

What if the locals don't know what good food is?

That's so true. What's "good" can be very subjective? My idea of good BBQ or Mexican, say, can be very different that someone else's . Anyway, we've had some pretty bad meals at places locals recommended but some really good ones at random spots we've stopped into just because we were tired and hungry.

As well, places we go to locally, with regularity, can have their off nights because of one thing or another, like new kitchen staff.