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An Italian in America

Eating with Danilo Gallinari: An Italian Basketball Player in America

Appetito chats with Danilo Gallinari, a veteran NBA player from Italy, about his experiences with food in America.

NBA player Danilo Gallinari.

Danilo Gallinari is an Italian basketball player in America. The 6’ 10’’ power forward has been in the NBA for 13 seasons. After being chosen with the #6 pick in the 2008 draft, Gallinari has played for eight NBA teams. He recently signed with the Milwaukee Bucks for the remainder of the 2023-2024 season. Appetito caught up with Danilo not to talk basketball but our favorite sport: Italian food in America.

What was your first impression of the food when you moved to America?

My first impression of food in America was that it was good and that there were certainly more cuisine options than in Italy. To me, though, you can’t compete with the quality and taste of food in Italy.

What's your overall favorite non-Italian food in America?

My favorite non-Italian food will always be sushi. I enjoy going out to dinner with friends when I’m traveling with the team in away cities and always try different cuisines but always prefer sushi.

We’re you surprised by any of the Italian foods you discovered in America?

I was actually a bit surprised by how different Italian food is in America. American restaurants have more diverse options on their menus. I also feel that in Italy some of the ingredients are so fresh that they taste like they were picked that day.

On a scale of one to 10, how do you rate Italian food in America?

I’ve been lucky to go to many Italian restaurants across the country while playing in the NBA, so I would say it’s all been pretty good. I would give it a 7.

Are there any Italian products that you wish you could readily get here that you can't?

Definitely. Fresh mozzarella and prosciutto.

What is your favorite Italian dish to make at home? 

One of my favorite dishes I make at home is gnocchi with gorgonzola, but really any homecooked meal is great to me.

Are there any Italian places where you live that you like to go out to eat?

I really enjoy eating with my friends and family at home. There’s nothing better than home cooked meals. But I will also go to a few Italian restaurants nearby and when I’m traveling, I will always try new Italian restaurants that friends recommend. I’ve had the privilege of meeting a lot of Italian restaurant owners and chefs over the years. They have always gone the extra mile to make my family and me feel right at home. I'm looking forward to exploring the Italian restaurants in my new hometown of Milwaukee.

The next time you go back to Italy, where's the first place you're going to go eat?

Definitely Ristorante del Ponte in Milano. They focus on food from the north of Italy. Looking forward to going back there this off season!

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