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How to Order at an Italian Restaurant Without Sounding Dumb (Or Pretentious)

How to Order at an Italian Restaurant Without Sounding Dumb (Or Pretentious)


Italian restaurants are date staples: They're widely available, often inexpensive, usually have a romantic atmosphere, and the food is consistently delicious. But sometimes the thought of ordering (or pronouncing) words from an Italian menu can be intimidating, and no one wants to sound fumbling or silly in front of a date (and risk ruining your chances for a second one).

Click here for the How to Order at an Italian Restaurant Without Sounding Dumb (Or Pretentious) Slideshow.

Because Italian food is such a big part of American culture, by now most dishes have perfectly acceptable English pronunciations — but there are a few dishes that are frequently, well, butchered by well-meaning diners.

While you definitely don't have to sound like Super Mario when you order your food (Is there anything more annoying than the one person who makes a big deal out of rolling his or her "R's" when ordering spaghetti carbonara?), here are some basic pronunciation guidelines to help you feel reasonably confident.

— Chiara Atik, How About We

RELATED LINKS
• Dating Etiquette: Sushi 101
• What Your Drink Says About You On A Date
• The New 50/50: How To Split The Check In 2011


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).


Help me order sushi without looking like a moron

I like sushi. I have a friend who I will go with occasionally for sushi and I end up ordering spicy tuna rolls and Alaskan rolls because I can pronounce them and I get very intimidated by the whole sushi process. Several new sushi places have opened near my office and all I have tried are the tuna and other things that I don't have to worry about mucking it up or pronouncing Japanese words and offending the staff. All of the places have lunch specials which will include a set number of pieces of sushi, but give no indication if I can choose the ingredient (such as tuna, salmon or eel) or if the chef chooses it. I often end up getting sushi from the grocery store because I don't have to "face" anybody. I can just read the boxes and "see" the sushi. Also many place have "cute" names for various rolls and no indication of what they are made of. is it okay for me to ask or with they think I am a sushi idiot (which I am but just don't want to look like one).