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Italian vs. Spanish Food: Who Wins?

By HannahWednesday 21st June 2017

Throughout the world, Italy and Spain are famed for their cuisine. Pizza, pasta, paella and tapas have been adopted into worldwide cuisine. You’ll find it quite a challenge to come across someone who hasn’t tried at least one of these dishes. So, when it comes to a head to head challenge of Italian vs. Spanish food, which will come out top?

Traditional Italian Food

Perhaps more famous than the Romans, Milan Fashion Week and Mario Balotelli, is the Italian pizza. All over the world, pizza is consumed with a huge variety of toppings; a far cry from the traditional Margarita and Marinara of Naples. In fact, some pizza traditionalists in Rome and Naples refuse to serve anything other than Marinara and Margarita in their pizzerias. With the fresh ingredients that’s used in the pizzas, you won’t mind a bit about the lack of pepperoni.
When you go out to dine on pasta in Italy, you’ll usually have it as a starter, or primo, as opposed to a main course, as is typical in the UK. Italians are fiercely proud of their pasta dishes, and a jarred sauce will not do. Expect freshly made pasta with minimal, homemade sauce when you dine out here.

Where to Eat in Italy

You certainly won’t be short of fantastic places to eat when you visit Italy. Whether you want to dine at small restaurants off the beaten track, or take a trip around fresh markets, there’s something to appease every food fan.


Tuscan food comes from peasant origins, using cheaper and comforting ingredients like beans, root vegetables, pasta and olive oil in their food. To sample these delicious ingredients, and maybe even take some home, then visit the San Lorenzo Market in Florence.
Opening times:
Tuesday-Saturday: 7am – 2pm


The capital city of Italy is brimming with history that stretches back a few thousand years. Come here to see the Colosseum, and more modern tourist spots like the Keats-Shelley Memorial House, where you can find artifacts belonging to the two great poets, as well as Byron, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and Oscar Wilde.
After all that sightseeing, you’re bound to be hungry. Head to Forno Campo de’ Fiori to experience traditional Roman pizza in an intimate setting. For over 30 years, customers have been coming here for heavenly, homemade pizza. If you’re still hungry, then why not stock up on their pastries too?


The true home of pizza, it would be a crime to visit Naples and not try the pizza here. As with most restaurants in Italy, family run and tiny is best, so be sure to book a table at La Cantina di via Sapienza. This busy restaurant creates the perfect pizza for a true Neapolitan experience.

Traditional Spanish Food

Spanish cuisine tells a story with every mouthful. There’s the legendary origins of tapas (some believe that King Alfonso X ordered that restaurants serve small plates of food and wine, as that’s all he could dine on when he was ill). Or the humble beginnings of paella, eaten by farm workers for lunch, made with the fresh ingredients they could find. You’re dining out on history when you visit here.
Nowadays you don’t have to be a king or farm worker to enjoy the traditional Spanish flavours that are put together to create the cuisine.


Barcelona can hardly be described as a shrinking violet. Beautiful beaches, intimidating architecture and busy streets, it’s a must-visit for anyone frequenting Spain. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a hidden trick up its sleeve.
One of the city’s best kept secrets is Mercat Galvany, a huge food market held in a cathedral like building on Santaló 65, here you can experience beautiful Spanish flavours and chat to local vendors about the ingredients.
Opening times:
Monday – Saturday: 7am-2.30pm
Friday: 7am – 8pm

Palma, Mallorca

Starting the day off in Palma means rising with the bright sun, and wandering winding, cobbled streets. The only way to make this experience even better is to have a warm ensaïmada in your hand. These spiral shaped island croissants are dusted with icing sugar, and make for a perfect breakfast.
You can pick these up anywhere for about two euros, but for a really special experience, stop by Panaderia S'estacio, on Carrer del Sindicat. This is a stunning bakery with a glass floor, where you can see the bakers underneath, creating these tasty treats.

Onboard Delicacies

When you step back onboard from a long day of exploring, you’ll certainly be hungry. And if you’re still craving Italian and Spanish flavours, not to worry. We have plenty of restaurants onboard that’ll satisfy those cravings.

Jamie’s Italian

The famous Jamie’s Italian restaurants are onboard a range of our ships, and the menu tastes just as good on sea as it does on land. Try the famous planks, serving tasty Italian treats.


Whether you just want a New-York style slice, or think you can demolish a whole pizza, then you should pay a visit to Sorrento’s.

Giovanni’s Table

Sail with the tastes of Tuscany onboard. This is family friendly food, of the highest quality.
With each country offering delicious cuisine, which one do you think should be declared the overall winner? Explore all our other restaurants onboard to help you decide.

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