Food & Drink

The Best Italian Restaurants in Indy

Published On 09/28/2016 Published On 09/28/2016
Osteria Pronto
Pizza from Osteria Pronto | Courtesy of Osteria Pronto (edited)

Iozzo's

Stadium Village/Babe Denny

See those enlarged photographs of burly Italian men on the walls? Those Iozzo guys have a robust, almost folklore-like story, which the Iozzo family is happy to share once you settle in. Their great grandfather Santora “Fred” Iozzo came to America in the 1910s with a vision, settled in Indy, and started a small grocery empire that grew into a restaurant in the 1920s. With the help of his two sons, Fred's business was so successful that it could hold more than 850 people in multiple banquet halls. But then drama ensued, with gunfire: Al Capone got involved (you’ll have to hear it from the Iozzos), and the restaurant closed in 1940. Keeping to the family tradition, Fred’s grand- and great-grandkids re-opened the restaurant in 2009, invigorating those recipes at a new location with a romantic, secluded garden in the back. Famous for its meatball martinis, barrel-aged Manhattans (grandma’s recipe), pesto scallops, and goat cheese appetizer, pork osso buco, Iozzo's above all has possibly the best origin story in town.

Vito Provolone's

Greenwood

The history of this family-run joint is in the garlic bread, which has made people salivate since Vito Provolone's opened as Pasquale’s Pizza in 1974. The garlic bread recipe stayed the same after a 1992 name change, but the menu has been built out to include home cooked classics such as Vito’s spicy vodka sauce and the richest alfredo sauce you’ve ever tasted. Vito's bright green sign is a nod to The Godfather films, so you know they're gonna make you a pizza you can't refuse.

Napolese

Napolese

Meridian Kessler, Monument Circle & Fashion Mall

While Italy may be a plane ride away, the locally sourced ingredients at Napolese are something right out of Tuscany. All three Napolese locations make our list for their modern take on Italian food, with an old-school flair. You can expect stone hearth-baked pizzas, cleverly inspired salads that change every month, and appetizers that highlight local farmers. The Italian-heavy wine and local beer list is not to be overlooked. What else would you expect from a joint owned by Martha Hoover, the founder of the successful, brunchy Patachou restaurant brand?

Osteria Pronto

Downtown

Osteria Pronto opened with the JW Marriott for the Super Bowl in 2011 and remains a fan favorite. While the name means “tavern ready,” the Italian flair felt at Osteria Pronto is much more modern and focused on process, like a trendy Milan eatery. The gnocchi is hand-rolled by sous chef Angelo every day, while the Bolognese with fresh basil and shaved ricotta is simple but perfect. But careful of that chic scarf or silk tie, and get your napkin ready, because the food is estremamente buono.

Sangiovese Ristorante

Sangiovese Ristorante

Keystone Crossing

Named after the wine varietal that translates as “blood of Jove,” (Jove being "God of the Sky"), Sangiovese brings that same romantic and historic robustness to the dining experience. Dark and cozy with sultry lighting, Sangiovese is a glass spilling over with date night. Be sure to try the veal scallopini piccata or the penne alla Emiliana, served with sautéed Italian sausage, prosciutto, and caramelized red onions in a tomato and butter sauce. Having originally opened in 1994, Sangiovese changed ownership in 2007 and is supposedly a staple restaurant for several Pacers basketball legends.

Iaria's Italian Restuarant

Iaria's Italian Restaurant

Fletcher Place/Holy Rosary

When you’ve been around since 1933, you know you’re doing something right. Family-owned Iaria’s is most famous for its fresh and sweet tomato sauce, homemade dishes, and homey decor -- its black-and-white family photos on the walls, plush vinyl red booths, and neon lights are a throwback to another time. Regulars typically order the same thing every time they swing in, so we’ll plead the fifth on which dish is best here. Be prepared for a wait, because this place gets poppin’ fast.

Mama Carollas Old Italian Restaurant Indianapolis

Mama Carolla's Old Italian

Broad Ripple

Mama knows best, and knows a lot about Italian cooking. Originally from the Italian pocket of Omaha, NE, Mama (and Papa) opened Mama Carrolla’s in a little house that they turned into a restaurant -- which is still family-owned and -run. The Misto Mare -- linguine mixed with shrimp, scallops, clams, squid, and crab meat sautéed with veggies -- is a favorite, but all the classic dishes are contenders. Enjoy your favorite dish on Mama’s great outdoor patio, complete with twinkly lit trees, fountains, and Roman statues.

Amalfi

Greenbriar Northwest

We might be somewhat landlocked here in Indy, but at Amalfi you may feel like you’re on a part of Italy’s most iconic coast. Founded and owned by Italian-born American dreamers the DiRosa family, and tucked away off the main strip, Amalfi is warm, cozy, intimate, and authentic to back home. Amalfi is so family-focused that original family members are often cooking up the Italian specialties. Some say the eggplant Parmagiana is the best in the city, others debate that it’s the lasagna, and then there’s the gnocchi that is raved about as well. The Amalfi Coast is nice, but an evening at Amalfi is equally worth the trip.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Iozzo's Garden Of Italy 946 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46225

Iozzo's has quite the storied history: the restaurant first opened in 1930 by the Iozzo family, whose patriarch had emigrated to Indy in the 1910s and built a grocery empire that turned into a bustling restaurant with multiple banquet halls. The restaurant closed in 1940 in a drama that involved Al Capone and gunfire, and didn't reopen until 2009. The same family is behind the newer iteration -- albeit, the younger generation -- and the recipes are similar as well. Famous for its meatball martinis, barrel-aged Manhattans (grandma’s recipe), pesto scallops, and goat cheese appetizer, pork osso buco, Iozzo's above all has possibly the best origin story in town.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Vito Provolone's 8031 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46217 (Greenwood)

The history of this family-run joint is in the garlic bread, which has made people salivate since Vito Provolone opened as Pasquale’s Pizza in 1974. The garlic bread recipe stayed the same after a 1992 name change, but the menu has been built out to include home cooked classics such as Vito’s spicy vodka sauce and the richest alfredo sauce you’ve ever tasted. Vito's bright green sign is a nod to The Godfather films, so you know they're gonna make you a pizza you can't refuse.

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3. Napolese Artisanal Pizzeria- 49th and Pennsylvania 114 E 49th St, Indianapolis, IN 46205 (Meridian Kessler)

Part of the Patachou family of restaurants, Napolese serves farm-to-table food on a seasonally updated Italian menu. This casual trendy spot offers a great selection of pasta and salad, but the real winner here is the wood-fired pizza. We suggest the Napolese Broken Yolk: a Margherita pizza with a quail egg on top. Aside from the artisanal selection, this spot offers some "freestyle" options, which gives diners a choice of up to three toppings per pizza.

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4. Osteria Pronto 10 S West St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Osteria Pronto opened with the JW Marriott for the Super Bowl in 2011 and remains a fan favorite. While the name means “tavern ready,” the Italian flair felt at Osteria Pronto is much more modern and focused on process, like a trendy Milan eatery. The gnocchi is hand-rolled by sous chef Angelo every day, while the Bolognese with fresh basil and shaved ricotta is simple but perfect. But careful of that chic scarf or silk tie, and get your napkin ready, because the food is estremamente buono.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Sangiovese Ristorante 2727 E 86th St, Ste 110, Indianapolis, IN 46240 (Keystone At The Crossing)

Sangiovese has been epitomizing date night with its dark and sultry ambience since it first opened in 1994. The restaurant changed ownership in 2007 and moved locations in 2015, but the classic Italian menu is still intact, featuring hits like veal scallopini piccata, the penne alla Emiliana, and rich but simple bruschetta.

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6. Iaria's Italian Restaurant 317 S College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (Fletcher Place)

When you’ve been around since 1933, you know you’re doing something right. Family-owned Iaria’s is most famous for its fresh and sweet tomato sauce, homemade dishes, and homey decor -- its black-and-white family photos on the walls, plush vinyl red booths, and neon lights are a throwback to another time. Regulars typically order the same thing every time they swing in, so we’ll plead the fifth on which dish is best here.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Mama Corolla's Old Italian Restaurant 1031 E 54th St, Indianapolis, IN 46220 (Broad Ripple)

Originally from the Italian pocket of Omaha, NE, Mama (and Papa) opened Mama Carrolla’s in a little house that they turned into a restaurant -- which is still family-owned and -run. The Misto Mare -- linguine mixed with shrimp, scallops, clams, squid, and crab meat sautéed with veggies -- is a favorite, but all the classic dishes are contenders. Enjoy your favorite dish on Mama’s great outdoor patio, complete with twinkly lit trees, fountains, and Roman statues.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Amalfi 1351 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260

Founded and owned by Italian-born American dreamers the DiRosa family, and tucked away off the main strip, Amalfi is warm, cozy, intimate, and authentic to back home. Amalfi is so family-focused that original family members are often cooking up the Italian specialties. Some say the eggplant Parmagiana is the best in the city, others debate that it’s the lasagna, and then there’s the gnocchi.