How to Tell a Real Italian Restaurant
If you want to know if a restaurant is truly Italian, look for the Ospitalità Italiana Seal of Quality. Promoted by ISNART, Italy’s National Institute of Tourism, the certification recognizes Italian restaurants worldwide that function as ambassadors of Italian culture and cuisine.
Among other factors, selected restaurants carry Italian products with certified DOP (protected designation of origin) and IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) appellations; carry a certain percentage of DOC (controlled designation of origin) Italian wines; exclusively use extra virgin olive oil in their preparation; and have at least one Italian-speaking employee on staff.
This year, the recipients of the Ospitalità Italiana Seal were diverse.
Bar Eolo and Pastai, whose owner Melissa Muller Daka learned to make fresh pasta under the tutelage of her Sicilian grandmother, earned the designation. At Pastai, diners find little treasures like whole wheat torch-shaped pasta, paired with sausage, or tagliatelle made with squid ink, or saffron ravioli stuffed with lobster and mascarpone.
Other restaurants served to showcase artisanal products.
At Osteria del Principe, the dishes and drinks are meant to highlight Principe’s products, the star of which is the famed, meltingly tender prosciutto di San Daniele. Paired with burrata, it makes for possibly one of the most perfect aperitivos around.
At Academia Barilla Restaurant, COO Stefano Albano said there is only one ingredient, out of Barilla’s many products, that the restaurant uses: its Academia Barilla dried pasta, extruded with bronze die, which creates that all-important rough texture for the sauce to hang on to.
The following restaurants were given the Ospitalità Italiana Seal:
Academia Barilla Restaurant
Fino Wall Restaurant
Osteria del Principe
Via Della Pace Villa
A number of restaurants have previously been awarded the Ospitalita’ Italiana Seal of Quality. They include Eataly, Asellina, Eataly New York, Salumeria Rosi, and San Pietro.