Who needs to fly overseas when some of the best Italian food is right in your backyard?
Italian food is one of the most versatile cuisines out there, but we don’t usually see it that way. Most of us think of classics like pasta and pizza when we think of Italian food, but their traditional dishes go so much farther than that. Think of fresh bread and tomatoes straight off the vine. Think of meatballs soaked in marinara. Think of capers. All of these are classic elements of some traditional Italian meals.
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That being said, pasta and pizza are still Italian staples, so if that’s what you’re craving, here are some of the best restaurants in Nashville to check out this week:
Address: 4427 Murphy Rd, Nashville, TN 37209
Neighborhood: Sylvan Park
Looking to find a regular Italian restaurant in Nashville that is truly one of the best? Well, look no further than Caffé Nonna! Since they first opened in 2011, Caffé Nonna has been voted the best Italian restaurant in Nashville seven times.
And with the dishes they have to serve up for you, we can see exactly why voters love them so much. Their menu is limited when it comes to official recipes that they offer for you to choose from, but their option for you to “mix and match” your pasta is a fan favorite.
If nothing really speaks to you when you stop by, be sure to check out all the different ways you can create your own pasta - from choose which type of pasta you want to pair with which sauce to the different extra ingredients you can add to make your pasta uniquely yours (and delicious).
“If you're looking for authentic and great tasting Italian, do yourself a favor and try Caffe Nonna. Danny and his team in the kitchen are top notch! The mussels Roma are out of this world good.” - Yelp Review
Address: 1920 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203
The best Italian restaurants make sure to use as many fresh ingredients as they possibly can in their recipes. When it comes to fresh, nobody does it quite like Nashville’s Amerigo Italian Restaurant.
Their menu is seemingly endless, packed with both Italian classics and some inventive new twists on old favorites. Because Amerigo has a few different locations scattered throughout different states, you’re likely to find some flavors infused in your dish that are Nashville favorites.
Don’t be afraid to try something a little different from what you’d usually get when you stop by. The Pasta Pomodoro combines spaghetti noodles, fresh veggies and herbs, capers, and olive oil marinara sauce into one absolutely delicious dish you won’t want to miss out on.
“We have been eating at Amerigo since its founding and never tire of it. All the pastas and salads are flavorful and fresh, and the service is timely and friendly. And don't forget the best tiramisu in town!” - Yelp Review
Address: 3106 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203
Neighborhood: West End Park
Don’t let the name of a popular chain fool you into thinking this is just another mediocre attempt at commercializing Italian food. Maggiano’s Little Italy truly has some of the best Italian food in all of Nashville.
At Maggiano’s they’re not just serving up some tasty Italian food that you’ll dream about for weeks to come. It’s their mission at this Chicago-based Italian chain to make you feel as special as they possibly can.
Come on your birthday and they’ll help you celebrate with a special birthday dessert on the house, but don’t expect the birthday treatment to only be a special occasion. Maggiano’s will treat anyone who walks through their doors like another member of their big Italian family.
“For a chain Italian restaurant you cannot go wrong. The calamari is fantastic and I cannot get enough of the butter cake. I literally dream about it. The food is consistent and the wait staff is amazing!!” - Yelp Review
Address: 1808 Hayes St, Nashville, TN 37203
Some of the best Italian food always has a wine pairing to go along with it. If you’re looking for a place to have a lovely night out filled with delicious food, great wine, and even better company, you want to pass on the opportunity to visit Valentino’s Ristorante.
Since they opened up their first Nashville restaurant in 1991, locals have been flocking to Valentino’s in pursuit of fine wines, a place to dine, and good times - and their regulars are truly loyal to them.
At Valentino’s, they are dedicated to giving back to the same local Nashville community that supports them. They frequently donate to local organizations, such as the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Dining Out for Life, and Operation Troop Aid.
“By far the best Italian Restaurant in Nashville. From the cocktail to the cappuccino. The building is beautiful and the service was top notch.” - Yelp Review
Address: 8 City Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209
If you’re looking for a place where everything on the menu is truly homemade, look no further than Nashville’s Pastaria. As they cleverly point out in their slogan, Pastaria is “sorta close to Italy.”
What they lack in proximity, they make up for in the quality and authenticity of their menu items. You won’t want to miss out on their crispy risotto balls, which come packed with mozzarella, herb aioli, and marinara sauce.
You’ll love both the tasty dishes and the soothing ambiance you’ll encounter when you stop in to dine here. As a part of Niche Food Group, Pastaria offers one of the best Italian dining experiences in the Midwest.
“When you walk into Pastaria, you're greeted with smiling faces, the smell of fresh baked bread and butter, and an aesthetically calming environment...10/10 would recommend- go bold with your order!” - Yelp Review
Address: 701 Porter Rd, Nashville, TN 37206
Sometimes all you’re looking for is some simple, classic Italian food to scratch that itch you haven’t been able to shake for the past few weeks. If you’re a lover of the simple things in life, you have to try Pomodoro East.
Located in East Nashville, Pomodoro East operates under the motto “simple is better” - and that motto permeates throughout both their menu and their ambiance.
Self-described as “rustic,” you can enjoy your meal inside their dining room amongst some classic country decor or out on their patio with some strung up lights that will make you feel like you’re enjoying a nice meal in your backyard.
“Great Brunch! Bloody Mary's were delicious and one friend had the $5 Mimosa. I had the Meatball Polenta. Amazing. Brown buttery goodness and perfectly poached eggs.” - Yelp Review
Address: 1222 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208
Pasta is a common staple in most Italian meals, but that doesn’t mean they exclusively eat pasta. In fact, if you were to hop the ocean over to a rural town in Italy, you’d probably discover that they eat a lot more meat and fish than they do pasta.
At Nashville’s City House, they like to embrace a lot of the more traditional meals that you might see an average Italian family making in their homes. They do serve pasta, of course, as well as pizza, but you’ll also find plenty of dishes without any pasta at all.
Try their catfish or their chicken sausage to see how City House has altered their flavors to represent a meal you might see in Italy!
“We came to town from Las Vegas and our local friends took us here as it is one of their favorite spots. They raved about the seasonal menu items; we can't wait to go back and try it again!” - Yelp Review
Address: 115 16th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203
Neighborhood: Music Row
Everybody has a preference when it comes to the style of pizza they prefer to eat, but that doesn’t mean you should completely discount other styles. Whether you’re a fan of Chicago deep dish, New York style, or even Detroit style, don’t forget where pizza originated.
Italy saw the first emergence of pizza, and it’s thanks to those early Italian innovators that we even have the opportunity to enjoy our favorite pizza. Traditionally, Italian pizzas are cooked in a wood-burning oven, which allows the dough to form a crispy exterior while remaining light inside.
At DeSano Pizza Bakery, they’ve brought the traditional Italian methods of baking a pizza right to Nashville. You can enjoy a classic margarita pizza or any one of their specialty pizzas inspired by popular flavors throughout the different regions of Italy.
“Always the best pizza ever. Never disappoints. Also great cannolis. The staff is friendly. I love the dining room as you can easily watch tv or the kitchen making the pies!” - Yelp Review
Sometimes you just get a hankering for some Italian food. Let us know which one of these restaurants is your favorite in the comments below!