Atlanta
1. Varuni Napoli
Multiple locations
$$$$
For some people, Italian food means gourmet pasta, but for those who prefer a more casual take on Southern European cuisine, pizza is probably the first Italian dish to come to mind. That’s why it’s only right to highlight Varuni Napoli—a restaurant that treats pizza like the delicacy that it is. Whether you choose to visit the Midtown or Krog Street location, prepare to enjoy one Varuni Napoli’s various pies—the white Mamma (smoked mozzarella, vesuvian cherry tomatoes, black pepper, fresh arugula, Prosciutto di Parma DOP, and shaved Pecorino Romano) or the red Porreca Piccante (fresh mozzarella, hot soppressata, Nduja, vesuvian cherry tomatoes, hot Italian peppers, Pecorino Romano, and basil) are both great ones to start with—alongside a cocktail or a bottle of limonata.
2. Baffi
Westside
$$$$

Since its opening at the beginning of 2021, Baffi has been gradually putting in the work to merit its placement on this list. The Italian-inspired eatery’s starter selection—from the charred cauliflower and braised pork meatballs to the heirloom tomato and brussels pizzas—is absolutely dynamic, and among the main plates, there are several vegetarian and gluten-free options, such as the manicotti with spinach, ricotta, marinara, and mozzarella as well as the smoked salmon risotto with lemon, dill, artichoke, chili, and parmesan.

3. a mano
Old Fourth Ward
$$$$

Whether you need to grab a quick bite for lunch or are hoping to sit down for an incredible evening meal, a mano has you covered with pasta and saucy classics as well as creative takes on traditional Italian cuisine. During the day, go for the meatball parmesan sandwich with pomodoro sauce and provolone or the scrumptious chef salad that comes with greens, tomato, onion, cucumber, fried prosciutto, mode hard-boiled egg, and basil buttermilk dressing. And for dinner, make sure you order the charred octopus, eggplant parmesan, or the fusilli (diver scallop, mushroom, spinach, cream). a mano is open from Tuesday to Saturday, and reservations are recommended.

4. Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante
Buckhead
$$$$

For one of the most intimate Italian dining experiences that you can have in Atlanta, head over to Storico Fresco. The subsidiary of the Storico brand—which also encompasses Forza Storico and Storico Vino—invites guests to dine-in at one of its kitchen tables, and like you’d expect, they’re literally tables set up in the kitchen. That means close interaction with the Storico chef and, depending on how hungry you are, a special four- or five-course pre-fixe menu that oozes history, culture, and tradition.

5. Osteria Mattone
Roswell
$$$$
The Italian at O.M. is Roman, and the flavor is worth the drive even if you live in Rome, GA (actually, especially if you live there). There are select pies like the truffle/mushroom/fontina Funghi, handmade pastas like the Tagliolini Bolognese (traditional savory beef ragu, and ricotta salata), and standard specialties like wood-finished Mediterranean branzino. Don’t worry about picking the right wine, either—there is a wide range of over 150 bottles that your server can help you navigate.
6. Bellina Alimentari
Old Fourth Ward
$$$$

Since Bellina is partially an Italian deli/market and part-cafe/-ristorante, you can stop in and purchase imported Italian sauces, pasta, and whatever else they’re selling, or sit down for a full-service meal. It also offers pasta-making classes and private dining, and the bar features inventive buzzers like The Great Giuseppe cynar, sweet vermouth, grapefruit, orange bitters), natural wines (nothing but grapes), and a few hard-to-find Italian beers.

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