Why fish is such a popular choice for Italians, and how to handle fish at home

February 21, 2022

There’s no doubt about it – Italians love their fish! And there are plenty of good reasons why this aquatic fare is so popular in the Boot-shaped country. From coastal towns to the best Italian restaurants in the heart of the country, you can find restaurants serving up some of the world’s best seafood dishes. So, what’s so special about Italian fish? Let’s take a closer look.

Fish has been a staple food in Italian culture for thousands of years. Evidence suggests fish was consumed at least 40,000 years ago. But fish didn’t become popular with the general population until 400 BCE when mass fish farming became more feasible and fish markets were established in coastal communities throughout Italy.

Now that we know fish has played an important role in the country’s culinary history, let’s take a closer look at how fish plating is done by chefs in the best Italian restaurants.

Preparation is key

One classic way to prepare fish dishes is à la carte, which allows guests to pick their own fish or seafood selection from among several options on offer. This style of serving makes it easy for each diner to choose their ideal combination of fish, sauce, vegetables and other accompaniments.

For fish dishes, à la carte is the perfect choice since it allows chefs to really hone their craft when it comes to arranging fish on a plate. The fish might be placed on top of a bed of rice or risotto or simply set alongside some fresh pasta or potatoes.

Chefs can also plate fish in the Italian style known as all’insalatina (or “in salad fashion”). This is where fish is marinated in oil infused with spices like garlic cloves, black peppercorns and parsley. The fish fillet can then be arranged atop a salad-style dish filled with fresh greens and veggies dressed with olive oil vinaigrette.

Another fish plating technique we’ve come to know and love in the past few years is alla mediterranea, which focuses on Mediterranean ingredients like seafood, fish and vegetables. One example is a fish dish served with shellfish and grilled vegetables called pesce con frutti di mare (or “fish with sea fruits”). This dish goes perfectly with a side of fluffy white rice or baked polenta.

By now you should have some ideas as to what fish dishes Italian chefs like to prepare in the best Italian restaurants! If you’re interested in learning more about how fish plating can be incorporated into your next meal at home, stop by Gary’s Restaurant and order a fish dish; the way our chefs plate it will bring you some form of inspiration.

Many popular Italian dishes include seafood, but which fish are used most often? In this blog post, we’ll explore some some of the common fishes used in Italian cuisine.

The different types of fishes

Tuna fish has historically been one of Italy’s most prized fish exports. It was commonly caught off the fishing coasts of Sicily and Sardinia. Today, many coastal towns continue to rely heavily on fish as their main source of revenue. The Atlas Atlas Mountains contain three different types of tuna fish: longfinned; bluefin and smallfin tuna fish (the fish used in canned tuna). The fish is abundant in the Mediterranean Sea and around Sicily. It also emits a strong fishy smell, similar to that of fish oil.

In Italy, anchovies are commonly consumed as part of a traditional Italian dish called bagna cauda- a sauce made from garlic, anchovies and olive oil. In the past, salt water fish were an integral part of Italian cuisine because coastal areas relied heavily on fishing. Today, many coastal towns still rely on fish as their main source of revenue . However, salted fish has been replaced by fresh fish in Italy’s cuisine because fresh fish can be found throughout the country easily due to transport accessibility. Fish from Northern Italy often have an earthy flavor due to the fish’s diet.

Bass fish and codfish are also commonly used in Italian cuisine because both fishes have a mild flavor and a firm texture. They can be pan-fried, baked or grilled, and are often served with lemon wedges or a light white wine sauce.

Red mullet fish is a type of fish that has a delicate, sweet flavor. It can also be used in fish dishes like ceviche. Red mullet fish is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, making it a healthy choice for a seafood dish. Halibut fish tastes a bit like lobster or crab. It has a sweet, delicate flavor and a firm texture.

Tuna isn’t the only fish…

These are some other types of fish we can expect to find in the best Italian restaurants that serve up Italian cuisine.






-mullet fish

-rainbow trout fish






Fish & Game

In Italy, fish aren’t consumed as often as beef or chicken . However, fish is considered a healthy alternative because fish has less calories and saturated fat. Fish is also an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, making it a healthy alternative to other sources of protein such as pork or beef. In addition, fish contains high levels of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. One of the main reasons many Italian dishes contain fish is because fish was once a staple food source for Italians.

Today, seafood makes up 18% of total fish consumption in Italy – making it the third largest market for seafood after Japan and China . Of course, fish isn’t the only seafood that can be found in Italy. Italians also use a lot of shellfish in their cuisine. For example, an Italian fish stew called cioppino often contains clams and mussels. Other types of shells commonly used include scallops, shrimp and periwinkles.

What do you think? Have you ever tried fish in Italian cuisine? Whether your answer is a yes or a no, you can expect your tastebuds to be honoured right here at Gary’s, as this is one of the best Italian restaurants serves up to you the best of our creations that centre around fish.