I hesitate to use the phrase “fast food” and Italy in the same sentence. To do so would border on the sacrilegious. Although there are American fast food restaurants in Italy (most notably McDonalds and Burger King) Italians are not a Fast Food Nation. Even Italian restaurants that promote so called “fast food” are still making traditional Italian slow food – just a little faster. Stuzzicando, an Italian food manufacturing company who franchizes and promotes high technology food services attests to doing this in a slow food way sharing traditional Nonna-style recipes.
So yes, there is the Italian version of American Fast Food but not at all like what we have here. The food is of a much higher quality with great attention to freshness and regional ingredients. Food served is often equal to or better than what you would find in white table restaurants in the States. Here are a few we seem to frequent.
The Autogrill – a cafeteria style restaurant and caffe’, located every 30-50km off the Autostrada, is the Italian equivalent of our fast food but the quality and assortment is far from any fast food restaurant in the US. The restaurants at the Autogrill serve fresh pasta, grilled meats, fresh salads and chef inspired desserts. Italians are very particular about their food no matter where it is being served.
Bauli Grills – similar to Autogrills and also have great pizza by the slice and cafeteria style food service as well.
Porchetta Food Trucks – roasted pork panini, succulently seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic and wild fennel, cooked on a stainless steel pole in an oven until the skin is crispy and the meat is silky and tender.
Luini’s Panificio – Via S.Radegonda 16. City dwellers and in-the-know tourists line-up by the dozens for Luini’s famous doughnut-like pizza, the panzerotti.
Garbagnati – midway between Castello Sforza and Piazza Duomo in Milan, a famous bakery and a self-service style restaurant. Daily specials, lots of veggies.
Spizzico – is a self-service fast food pizza chain owned by Autogrill that not only serves 13 different types of pizza but fresh fruit and pastries. The Spizzico I usually find myself at is the Spizzico in Milano by the Duomo and the Galleria on my way to and from shopping!
Piandina Stands – in Emilia Romagna for piandina, a classic Italian flat bread filled with local meats and cheese.