Primo di Pesce

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Wordspin18, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. Wordspin18 Senior Member


    How could I render Primo di Pesce in correct English? I am translating the entries of a menu.
    The Italian word indicates a first course, which either has fish and/or shellfish practically as its exclusive ingredient or which combines these with pasta, risotto or patatoes.

    First course with seafood?
    Seafood-based first course?
    - I myself do not find them convincing. Although I think that the first option comes closer than the second, it still sounds terribly awkward to me.

    Thanks for any answer.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  2. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    English - England
    If you mean it as an hors-d’œuvre, it could be called a seafood starter.
  3. Wordspin18 Senior Member

    Oh thank you for your reply!
    I just edited my initial entry.

    It is not a hors d'oeuvre: that would be "antipasto di mare".

    It is more substantial, so substantial that - I have read in a foreign comment - portions tend to be small, so that room remains for what is to follow.
    Typically visitors from the country where you live after a large portion of it will waive goodbye to the rest of the meal..
  4. lingobingo

    lingobingo Senior Member

    English - England
  5. Wordspin18 Senior Member


    Due to the innumerabe episodes of mostly American television series I watched on YouTube, upon reading your last post the second half of your WR-name jumped into my mind.

  6. symposium Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    But wouldn't people who read "fish course" assume is something like poached mackarel, smoked salmon or grilled skate? Se il primo di pesce è pasta o un risotto, magari sarebbe più chiaro e più semplice dire "pasta or risotto with a fish sauce".
  7. Wordspin18 Senior Member

    Hmm. That makes sense - the Italian original features also a Secondo di Pesce del Giorno. Credo che il Secondo di Pesce comprenda, piuttosto che i piatti da te elencati orata, spigola, tonno, pesce spada.
    And here we are talking (at least we started off with) Primo di Pesce.

    It all ends up in a kind of translational Tarantella :).

    The point of the matter is that only part of the (Western) world pays hommage to its culinary cultural roots, which go back - if I have correctly read Wikipedia, kindly introduced to the discussion by lingobingo - to 19th century France. Thus in Italy we go by "Primo, Secondo e Contorno."

    Nel frattempo ho saputo che per Primo di Pesce al ristorante s'intende anche la zuppa di pesce.
  8. theartichoke Senior Member

    English -- Canada
    Given that most (or at least many) English-speakers who go to Italy have already been told by their guidebooks about the mysteries of the Italian "primi" and "secondi," what about just heading this section with "First course: fish"? This assumes, of course, that there is also a section for "First course: meat" and/or "First course: vegetarian." If it's a restaurant with an all-fish menu (mmmm...), then "fish" would be unnecessary, but if that's the case, you probably wouldn't be asking the question.

    If several of these primi involve shrimp, squid, mussels, etc., then you could use "First course: fish and seafood," but even just "fish"--or perhaps just "seafood"-- after "First course" should do the job.
  9. Wordspin18 Senior Member

    Thank you very much.

    Even locally in different restaurants different things are intended for "Primo di pesce". The mysteries you allude to go very much into detail even for locals, hahaha.
    Moreover English is a fall-back language for many: knowledge of Italian - alas - being not near as wide-spread as your mothertongue ..

    No, fish is not the only main item on the menu.
    But the sea is not far. Although I generally prefer meat - very unhealthy, I know - I could eat deepfried local squid and boiled common octopus, I have seen them being caught by hand some 25 miles from here, 7 days a week.
  10. london calling Senior Member

    Ma... Sui menù inglesi vedo Pasta oppure Risotto seguito da 'seafood pasta' o 'seafood risotto' con la descrizione degli ingredienti.
  11. Wordspin18 Senior Member

    Menù inglesi nel Salernitano, o menù inglesi di ristoranti italiani a Londra?

    In ogni caso i menù cui ti riferisci sono piu' specifici. Qui si comprende in una parola piu' cose, che altrove vengono specificate. Il carattere vago dell'espressione lascia piu' spazio di offrire quello che in un dato momento di fresco e' presente sul mercato (di pesce).
  12. london calling Senior Member

    A Londra. Il suggerimento non sarà di tuo gradimento ma è così che si fa dalle mie parti. Quindi spetta a te decidere se vuoi fare una cosa come lo facciamo noi oppure inventarti qualcosa di più ..... italiano. :)
  13. Wordspin18 Senior Member

    Mi sono rivolto a(gli amici de)l forum (del cui numero sei anche tu) proprio perche' non intendevo essere creativo - che la creativita' sia da sempre uno degli aspetti piu' apprezzati dell'italianita' (l'Italia e gli Italiani) e cio' a livello globale, e' un altro paio di maniche. Volevo - e desidero tuttora - offrire una traduzione che un anglofono, che lui o lei sia brittannico, irlandese, canadese, statunitense, australiano, o altro ancora non importa - possa riconoscere come autenticamente inglese.

    Forse la prima frase del mio post precedente (#11) ha dato un'impressione sbagliata: era una semplice domanda che (mi) ponevo, alla quale hai risposto. Grazie! (No hurt feelings:). Ci mancherebbe.)

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