When my wife and I wish to compliment the chef of our local pizzeria on the excellent quality of the night's pizzas (pizze!) should we follow the English noun-"Bravas!", the Italian noun-"Brave!" or simply use the English loanword-"Bravo!"? If it was just one pizza, using the same logic, would it be Bravo or Brava?

Is all food in Italian feminine? This would simplify matters as I couldn't handle the complication of several courses, some masculine, some feminine, in which case I might have to say "Bravi!". Is that correct?

  • 2
    If you want to say that the pizzas were very good, you say “ottime pizze”.
    – egreg
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 23:50
  • To me, in many contexts, saying "Bravo" might not be completely appropriate, because it could convey the idea that you are superior or at least that you are specifically qualified to judge. In other words, I picture the one saying "Bravo" like a teacher that is complimenting a pupil for their work. To congratulate without passing the idea that you are a teacher in the field I would say "Congratulazioni" (invariable). Instead, if you want to refer to the food directly, you can say "Buono" or "Ottimo" (superlative). Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


When you say “Bravo”, you don't refer to the meal (or the music played, or whatever). You are saying that the person itself – chef, actor, musician, pupil – is bravo, that is, good at doing whatever they have done.

So, if the chef is a male, you'll tell him “Bravo!”, while if the chef is a female the corresponding form is “Brava!”

While not actual duplicates, you might find both this question and its answers and this one to be relevant to your doubt.

Finally, as you suggest, certainly not all food is feminine in Italian: l'antipasto, il risotto, il timballo, l'arrosto, il bollito, il contorno, il dolce, il gelato... are all masculine.

  • 1
    +1, in other words "Bravo" or "Brava" mean "(You are) good".
    – logi-kal
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 14:53

You would say 'Brava', 'Bravo' to a female, male person respectively, and 'Bravi' would be used for more than one person. These could be used for other living beings such as animals, but not for food. So to compliment the chef you'd say to them 'Bravo' or 'Brava' depending whether they are male or female.

Not all food is feminine. For example 'l'uovo' (egg) and 'il pane'.

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