Two kids holding their index fingers up to their cheeks, the hand gesture for 'delicious' in Italian. They're sitting on a stone surface in front of a stone wall.
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Delicious In Italian – Italian Pronunciation + Audio

Do you love eating Italian food but would also like to express your enthusiasm for it – in italiano?

‘Delicious’ in Italian is easy to say with a little practice. 

I have lived in Italy for 10+ years and after studying the language for over 20 years, I am confident in helping you learn how to improve your Italian one word at a time, starting with ‘delicious!’

In this article, I will cover:

  • exactly how to say delicious in Italian, including phonetic, audio and visual guides
  • when exactly you might use it
  • when not to use it
  • hand gestures (if you really want to eat like an Italian, you will need a lesson in the Italian hand gesture to say delicious!)

Let’s get started!

How To Say Delicious In Italian

Cured meats on wooden cutting boards set up on a linen-covered table.

There are several ways to say delicious in Italian. The most common way to say delicious in Italian is che buono! 

Other ways to say delicious in Italian:

  • Che bontà! – How good!
  • Squisito! – Excellent!
  • Delizioso! – Delicious!

To read more about Italian food phrases and when to use them 20 Italian Food Phrases (That We Actually Use in Italy).

How To Pronounce Delicious In Italian

top view of white plate with gold board full of little tortellini with sage on a marble countertop

Che buono! in Italian is pronounced keh bwoh-noh in Italian. 

Listen to the pronunciation of che buono here:

Note that in the Italian language, you must change the ending of buono to reflect the correct number and gender of the word. You can either say che buono independently or say it with the actual dish you are eating to be more specific. For example:

Che buona questa pasta!
“This pasta is delicious!”

Che buoni! Questi biscotti mi piacciono.
“Delicious! I love these cookies.”

Che buone le crocchette!
“These potato croquettes are delicious!”

Other ways to say delicious in Italian pronunciation: 

  • Che bontà, pronounced keh bohn-tah in Italian
  • Squisito, pronounced skwee-zee-toh in Italian
  • Delizioso, pronounced deh-lee-zeeoh-zoh in Italian

Listen to the other pronunciations of delicious in Italian here:

How To Say Delicious In Italian With A Hand Gesture

Child making the 'delicious' hand gesture in Italian. She's putting her index finger up to her cheek. She's sitting on a stone bench in front of a stone wall.

Here in Italy we use two specific hand gestures to show that you are enjoying what you are eating. 

I have most commonly seen these gestures being used by parents or grandparents with children. It’s the first step for kids to show enthusiasm for what they eat before they can even talk, which I have always found such a testament to Italian food culture. 

What other country teaches sign language to every baby with the sole purpose to say delicious in Italian without words? Only Italy!  

These gestures are not something one adult makes to another. We just use our words!

The first gesture is much more common then the second and it’s done by pushing your index finger into the side of your cheek and rotating it with a big smile on your face.

The second hand gesture, much less common, is to gently pat your chest repeatedly with an open palm.

When To Say Delicious In Italian

Dinner table with plate of lamb, potatoes, spinach, and beans.

Delicious in Italian should be used in any circumstance to let someone know you are enjoying what you are eating. 

Here are some common scenarios in which we say delicious in Italian:

In essence, anytime you are enjoying something to eat in Italy and you want to express it, you can do so by using one of the above words, phrases, or hand gestures for ‘delicious’ in Italian. 

When Not To Say Delicious In Italian

side view of table set outdoors on a wooden table with grass and people sitting in background

There is really no time you shouldn’t be expressing your excitement about food in Italy unless of course, you actually don’t like it. Be careful here – if you say this to be kind at someone’s home, it’s not uncommon for them to insist you take seconds!

I have found this especially to be true with older Italians. I have been guilty of wanting to be polite and say che buono! in Italian, only to find myself knee-deep in a second helping that I really wasn’t interested in. And once it’s on your plate in Italy, you really should finish it so as to not offend the cook! 

Another time you don’t really want to say delicious in Italian is with the hand gesture to other adults. It’s a kiddy thing and it’s just weird to do it between adults. 

How To Compliment A Restaurant

Outside entrance of a trattoria in Italy.

When you want to pay compliments to the cook or waiter at a restaurant for a particular dish or plate, you wouldn’t say che buono but rather, complimenti (pronounced cohm-plee-mehn-tee in Italian). 

If you are speaking directly to the chef, you can just say complimenti but if you are saying it to the waiter, you can say complimenti alla cuoca, meaning compliments to the chef. 

Listen to the pronunciation of complimenti here: 

close up of white dish with tagliatelle with zucchini on a table with a yellow paper mat with bread in background on small white plate and glasses with water in background at a table