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A characteristic trattoria in Tolmezzo, Friuli

A trattoria (plural: trattorie) is an Italian-style eating establishment that is generally much less formal than a ristorante, but more formal than an osteria.[1]

Trattoria sign in Tuscany

A trattoria rooted in tradition may typically provide no printed menu, casual service, wine sold by the decanter rather than the bottle, and low prices, with an emphasis on a steady clientele rather than on haute cuisine. Food tends to be modest but plentiful, mostly following regional and local recipes,[2] sometimes even served family-style, at common tables. This homely tradition has waned in recent decades. Many trattorie have taken on some of the trappings of a ristorante, providing relatively few concessions to the old rustic and familial style. The name trattoria has also been adopted by some high-level restaurants.[1]

Optionally, trattoria food could be bought in containers to be taken home. Etymologically, the word is cognate with the French term traiteur[3] (a caterer providing take-out food). Derived in Italian from trarre, meaning 'to treat' (from the Latin tractare/trahere, i.e. 'to draw'),[4] its etymology has also been linked to the Latin term littera tractoria, which referred to a letter ordering provision of food and drink for officials traveling on the business of the Holy Roman Empire.[3][5]


  1. ^ a b "trattoria2". Treccani (in Italian). Archived from the original on 18 July 2019.
  2. ^ Capatti, Alberto; Montanari, Massimo (2003). Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History. Columbia University Press. pp. 230–232. ISBN 978-0-231-50904-6.
  3. ^ a b Pianigiani, Pietro Ottorino (1909). "trattóre". Vocabolario Etimologico di Pianigiani (in Italian). [via Dizionario Etimologico Online]. Archived from the original on 18 July 2019.
  4. ^ "trattoria - Origin and meaning of trattoria". Online Etymology Dictionary. Archived from the original on 19 July 2019.
  5. ^ Colonna, Barbara (1997). "tràrre". Dizionario etimologico della lingua italiana (in Italian). Genoa: Newton & Compton. p. 387. ISBN 88-8129-796-5.