Monday 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Tuesday 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Wednesday 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Thursday 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Friday 4:00 pm – 2:00 am
Saturday 12:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sunday 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Defining The Different Courses of An Italian Meal

An authentic Italian dining experience isn’t a term that we throw around lightly! Different elements work together to create a successful meal. Having the highest quality and most authentic menu options goes a long way. However, you should also have some familiarity with how an Italian meal is structured. If you’ve looked through the different sections of our menu before, you’ll notice that they’re broken down into different parts of a traditional Italian meal.

So, if you’re curious to learn more about the different courses of an Italian meal, this article has what you’re looking for.

The Different Courses of An Italian Meal


In every dining experience, there’s the starter, main course, and dessert. Antipasto is the second starter course in an Italian meal plan that comes after the Aperitivo. The Antipasto course is essential to Italian dining based on various beliefs surrounding the importance of digestion and prepping the stomach properly for food. Some Antipasto recipes include seafood spiedini, focaccia with roasted squash, pinzimonio with tomato sauce, and antipasto salad. This salad can also be paired with bocconcini and green olive tapenade, and other vegetables.


Primi is where the main course in your Italian dining experience begins. Since it’s the main course, it contains foods that are heavier than what you got in the antipasto course. This usually includes fine dishes like seafood or truffle and pasta of all shapes and sizes. Primi could also include dishes like polenta or dumplings like gnocchi and rice or risotto. 


This comes immediately after the main course and is mostly filled with all kinds of protein. This is to ensure the maintenance of a balanced diet in the meal. Dishes in this category are usually named with the Italian word for the animal and the method of cooking. So, if you can look up the Italian words for the protein you like, you’re good to go. In some cases, the secondi could consist of two dishes. When this happens, you might be served a palate cleanser between both meals to create room in your stomach for more meals. 


This is an optional course that depends on what was served in the contorni dish. Contorni dishes are usually served before the insalata and are filled with vegetables which could either be raw or cooked. So, if there are many leafy vegetables in the contorni dish, the servers might skip the insalata course.


To get the most out of an Italian dining experience, you need to be familiar with how an Italian meal is structured. This experience usually contains various courses but the main ones include antipasto, primi, secondi, and insalata.

At Bricco, we understand the traditional Italian dining experience better than anyone, and we’ll use our knowledge to connect you with the most delicious Italian meals – no matter what the course! Make a reservation with us in the North End today!