I'm in Rome on vacation and I've noticed that all the pasta carbonara I'm having looks the same, costs approximately the same, tastes the same etc. Most of the restaurants have very similar items on the menu.

I've also noticed comments such as fixed portion, frozen and we're out of it. That, combined with the waiters' reluctance to adapt the order to my request (more garlic, fettuccini instead of spaghetti, slightly bigger portion, al dente etc.) makes me suspect that something's fishy.

Is it the case that food is delivered to the local restaurants pre-made, frozen and ready to microwave?

I'm around Spanish Steps. It's obvious that some of the mentioned phenomena can be explained by competition, geographical proximity, customers' demand etc.

Still, am I entirely wrong in my suspicion?

  • Not every restaurant makes their sauces from scratch, a lot will buy prepared sauces or sauce mixes from restaurant suppliers, so tastes could be similar. That happens world wide. And spaghetti is the pasta used in traditional carbonara, do you think Kentucky Fried Chicken would make you a dinner with duck?
    – user13044
    Jul 3 '17 at 23:42
  • 1
    I am afraid that something like that only happens at bars. The fact that a carbonara looks as carbonara doesn't surprise me much. The only scenario as drastic as you describe would be if you just eat at bars. Many serve frozen food but it is normally very clear from menu cards and displays. I will never stop saying that independent of translation, not all business selling food are restaurants in Italy. A restaurant has a cook and does its own food. A trattoria does the same. Etc. Moreover a cook can be disappointed by changing a recipe on demand. It is quite normal tough the outcome may vary
    – Alchimista
    Jan 14 '19 at 10:50
  • @Alchimista I can't vouch for the establishments I've visited there as being of the rank to qualify as restaurant. It looked like one but what do I know... It's definitely some correlation between the dishes due to the factors listed in the question. It's good stuff tasting great anyway so I'm happy. Jan 14 '19 at 22:08
  • I wasn't upset! If something like that happens it would be a big surprise!
    – Alchimista
    Jan 15 '19 at 8:39

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