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Feb 6, 2007 06:40 AM

Do Italian Restaurants Serve 1/2 Portions?

We're compiling a list of Chow-worthy restaurants for our visit to Florence & Venice next month. Just wondering if any Chowhounds have tried ordering 1/2 portions of entries because we don't want to offend waitstaff by sharing single dishes. I guess that we could order one main dish and salads or soups. We're just nervous about ordering two or three courses and having to leave food uneaten or suffer sky-high blood sugars (the wife is diabetic).

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  1. in my experience can also get wine in any quantity - not just by the bottle....

    1. Yes. If you want to split a portion, just ask for "uno per due".

      1. Splitting a portion is not the same as ordering a half portion. You can order a half portion of a pasta in most places. Never did the splitting thing myself.

        1. First, dont let yourself get hung up on the advice that you have to eat 3 (or 4!) courses in Italy. Its really not tenable to eat two good meals a day (which a chowhound will tend to want to do) this way unless you are extremely active.
          Second, portion sizes is Italy, are much more moderate than in the US. Anyway, you can share - my husband and I will often split a pasta and salad, and then an entree as a meal. The side vegetables (contorni) are excellent as are the soups.
          (3) The house made desserts in Italian restaurants arent worth the calories. Usually pretty blah. Have a cup of coffee and save your carb quotient for something worthwhile, either from a patisserie or a gelateria. I find I cant eat so many sweets any more, but go to Tonolo in Venice - just a couple of bites of one of their fritters filled with cream or zabaglione will be a great pleasure.
          (4) Im sure you can order a half portion of pasta in most places - not sure its really doable with secondi, but spitting is an option, as above.
          Neither Florence nor Venice are big pasta destinations - though the last time we were in Venice we thought the risotto quotient had declined - maybe its too difficut to prepare. You may not like the bread there either - lots of people dont like the saltlessness of Tuscan Bread and the venetian bread is unimpressive although they have started serving ciabatta, which is an improvement in recent years.
          Anyway, definitely share and be sure to have some of the delicious whole grilled fish in Venice!

          1. I had bariatric (weight loss) surgery and therefore have a teeny stomach. I had no problem sharing or splitting courses with my husband. No one was offended. We often split an antipasto, split a pasta and then I would have a bite or two of my husband's secondi. Except we didn't always order a secondi. Or a pasta. You get the idea. Be flexible with your ordering. You certainly don't have to order from each course. You will have a great time!