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A very typical trattoria in Tolmezzo, Friuli

A trattoria is an Italian-style eating establishment, less formal than a ristorante, but more formal than an osteria. There are generally no printed menus, the service is casual, wine is sold by the decanter rather than the bottle, prices are low, and the emphasis is on a steady clientele rather than on haute cuisine; the food is modest but plentiful (mostly following regional and local recipes) and in some instances is even served family-style, at common tables.

Trattoria sign in Tuscany

Trattorias that are faithful to this stereotype have become fewer in the last 20 years and many have adopted some of the trappings of restaurants, with just one or two concessions to the old rustic and familiar style.

Optionally, trattoria food may be bought in containers for taking home; the word is cognate with the French word traiteur—meaning a caterer that only makes take-out food.

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