Subject: Dining in Italy (was ZINE Re: US dining)
I'd like to give my 2 cents' worth on dining....

In Italy, you are never rushed to finish your meal and leave the restaurant. In fact, when you reserve a table, even on a Saturday night, it's yours for the whole night - even if you show up a half hour late! If you meet friends for dinner in Italy, it's very common to spend 3 hours over a meal, because in Italy it's not just a meal - it's a social event. And when you ask for the bill in a restaurant, they're not in a rush to send you on your way - it usually takes about a half hour before they bring you the bill after you've asked for it (you usually have to ask twice). One time, many years ago, I actually spent FIVE HOURS in a restaurant! (from 8pm till 1am). We were only 3 or 4 people, and so engrossed in conversation, we never noticed the time. And not once did anyone hint that we should leave.

On another note: The service in restaurants here in Mexico is fenomenal. It has to be the best in the world!

Laurie in Mexico City (formerly from Rome)