Those Meatballs May Very Well Be Spicy at These Italian Restaurants in New Orleans

Take traditional Italian food, add a classic New Orleans twist, and what do you get? These restaurants!

New Orleans is a far cry from Italy, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never have the chance to catch a glimpse of the Boot amidst the saxophones and voodoo and bayous. In fact, New Orleans is home to some of the best Italian food in Louisiana - as well as the best cajun-Italian fusion you’ve never had the forethought to imagine. Finding these Italian gems isn’t always easy, however, especially if you don’t know where to start looking, but that’s where we come in. Below, you’ll find some of the best Italian restaurants New Orleans has to offer.

Italian meatballs

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If you’re from the area, you might just be in the mood for something a little different than the usual this week. If you’re from outside the area, you might be looking for something that takes the best of everything New Orleans has to offer and what you’re familiar with. Regardless, GiftYa understands that dining out in a big city like New Orleans doesn’t always come at an affordable price. That’s why they’ve come up with a way to help you find restaurants near you and also offer up e-gift cards to help you keep some spare change in your bank account. Order one for someone you think needs some Italian food soon!

Josephine Estelle

Caption. Image courtesy of Josephine Estelle Instagram

600 Carondelet St | Warehouse District |

Italian culture has always been consistent when it comes to one thing in particular: the love that they have for their families. Think about every movie you’ve ever seen that features a big Italian family and what the common tropes you saw across each one were, and what do you see?

Perhaps the occasional squabble that you’ll find among most families around the world, but more than anything you’ll probably picture a big family dinner cooked up by an Italian grandma who loves everyone there with equal measure.

While you won’t find any Italian grandmas in the kitchen at Josephine Estelle, what you will find is an absolute admiration for everything family. Named after eachafter the each of the respective owner’s daughters, Josephine Estelle prides itself on providing a family friendly atmosphere to everyone who walks through their doors - as well as some pretty delicious Italian food.

“Being located in, and looking like, an elegant hotel and pairing that with southern classics that have an upscale twist made my breakfast here a class act all the way.” - Yelp Review

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Paladar 511

Caption. Image courtesy of Paladar 511 Instagram

511 Marigny St, Ste A | Marigny |

Despite the traditionally American method of saving time with premade ingredients such as dried pasta or jarred sauces, they prefer to do things on the more traditionally Italian side of cooking by making everything that they possibly can from scratch.

In fact, they make all of their pastas in house, which means that you’ll be receiving some of the freshest pasta in the city when you dine here. And if we’re being honest, fresh pasta is exponentially better than dried pasta.

Experience every individual flavor as it quite literally soaks into the homemade pasta here at Paladar 511, and you may just find yourself not walking, but running back at the next chance just to taste another bite of it. They also have a mission of trying to use the freshest ingredients possible, which means you may just see some new menu items pop up as the seasons change.

“Everyone at the table was raving about every bite being delicious and more delicious and more delicious. It was apparent that the ingredients were quality as you could taste the complexity.” - Yelp Review

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Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar

Caption. Image courtesy of Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar Instagram

715 Saint Charles Ave | Warehouse District |

If you could imagine the quintessential Italian meal that you’d find in any family home throughout all of Italy, what would you see? Probably, undoubtedly, some dish involving pasta and wine glasses filled to the brim with red wine are in the forefront of your mind.

At Marcello’s Restaurant & Wine Bar this traditional Italian meal is exactly what they strive to bring to each and every table. Founded shortly after Italian man Gene Todoro arrived in New Orleans in 1961, Marcello’s became one of the first traditional Italian restaurants in the city that still stands today.

Born and raised in Sicily, Italy, Gene brought along many of the elements that you’ll specifically find in traditional Sicilian cuisine. That means capers, spices, and lots and lots of pasta to fill you up until you’re practically bursting at the seams. 

“We found this gem on Yelp and we're so glad we stopped in. We had the ravioli and mussels along with a bottle of 2014 Rosso Di Montalcino. Everything was excellent. I highly recommend this place for great food and wine.” - Yelp Review

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Caption. Image courtesy of Avo Instagram

5908 Magazine St | West Riverside |

I think this one needs a little blurb here! 

“Don't walk... run to Avo. I came here the other day for happy hour and had an incredible time...I want to relive this meal over and over again. Until you've been to Avo, you have no idea what you're missing out on!!” - Yelp Review

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Mosca’s Restaurant

Caption. Image courtesy of Mosca’s Restaurant Instagram

4137 US Highway 90 W | Westwego |

Most Italians will tell you that a traditional Italian family dinner goes beyond just sitting around the table together and telling each other about your days. If you truly want to experience what it would be like to dine in an Italian home, stop into Mosca’s Restaurant, where they serve up everything family style.

Family style works a bit differently than what you might find at most restaurants. Rather than having each of your individual meals plated separately, dishes will be made in larger batches like you might make them at home, and you and your family or friends can simply serve yourselves.

Mosca’s has been around for over sixty years now, so we think it’s pretty safe to say that they’ve got a solid grasp on how to run a restaurant. Expect friendly, attentive service when you stop in to eat here, and perhaps some red wine to round out the meal.

“Was delightful to dine Italian and not have everything covered in tomato sauce!  The gravies were rich and hearty, using the bread to mop up.” - Yelp Review

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Vincent’s Italian Cuisine

Caption. Image courtesy of Vincent’s Italian Cuisine Instagram

7839 Saint Charles Ave | East Carrollton |

If there’s any place in this country where Sicilian Italian cuisine in particular should dominate amongst all the other regional cuisines you might find throughout Italy, it is most definitely New Orleans. With its own creole cuisine, New Orleans is already very familiar with pungent spices that bring a kick to any meal.

Sicily is pretty well-known for its bold flavors and can-do attitude, so it would make sense that a man who grew up eating home cooked Sicilian meals should fit right into the New Orleans restaurant scene when he decided to open up his own restaurant.

With a wide range of chefs on hand, each new dish that is brought to the menu comes with its own personal flare. If you stop by for one meal and decide it’s your new favorite Italian restaurant, don’t be surprised if everyone greets you by name after that first visit. They treat you like family here at Vincent’s!

“Vincent's Italian Cuisine New Orleans is one of our favorite restaurants. The staff is always friendly as well as knowledgeable of the menus...special shout out to Tony the manager, a hard worker who ensures customer service is over the top.” - Yelp Review

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Venezia Restaurant

Caption. Image courtesy of Pixabay

134 N Carrollton Ave | Mid-City |

Some Italian restaurants prefer to stick to one specific type of Italian dish when they put together their menus - think of an all pasta menu, and all seafood menu, or an all veal menu. Here at Venezia Restaurant, however, they prefer to let you keep your options open by offering up a little taste of everything for you to try.

Whether they’re showcasing some fresh local seafood, some chicken parmesan, or even a whole pizza pie they’ve cooked up in their traditional stone oven, they’ve got a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy here at Venezia.

They even have a few vegetarian options! Each dish has been cooked up in a traditional Italian style, but that doesn’t mean they’ve completely forgotten about New Orleans in the process. In fact, each dish has been fused with just enough of a taste of New Orleans that you can’t possibly forget where you are.

“I was brought there by a friend and the food was excellent. The pasta was perfect and the seafood and steaks are a wonderful treat that you usually do not see in an Italian restaurant.” - Yelp Review

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Sometimes, amidst all of the cajun cuisine you could possibly dream of, you just have a craving for some Italian food instead - and that’s perfectly okay. If you’re not sure where to start exactly, these are some of our absolute favorites in the city. Let us know which one curbed those Italian cravings in the comments below!

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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