Food & Drink

The Best Italian Restaurants in Louisville

Published On 07/13/2015 Published On 07/13/2015
Volare scallops
Courtesy of Volare Ristorante
At the Italian Table

At the Italian Table

Clifton

This Frankfort Ave restaurant has two communal tables, so diners can opt to bring a large group -- or enjoy the company of their neighbors -- as they sample the prix-fix menu. Each day, Chef Gina Stipo chooses a five-course menu of dishes featuring what’s fresh and in season. The recipes are straight from Italy -- Stipo recently moved to Louisville after spending 13 years in Italy, cooking and conducting food and wine tours. The communal dining experience offers a chance to partake in authentic Italian food in the spirit of community and family, if only for a night.

Volare Ristorante

Volare Ristorante

Clifton

Not only does Volare’s Executive Chef Josh Moore craft an exceptional menu, but he also operates a small farm that sources most of the produce used at the restaurant. Fresh-caught fish comes in every few days -- the hauls often as big as the chef himself. Order a pasta or pork loin with Italian-influenced cocktails from the bar, or pair your food with a selection from the extensive wine list.

Come Back Inn

Germantown (& Jeffersonville)

The Come Back Inn is some wonderful hybrid of dive bar and delicious Italian restaurant, with all the ambiance of a hole in the wall, but the delicious (and cheap) food of your new favorite restaurant. The antipasto wontons are an absolute must.

Courtesy of Mercato Italiano Trattoria & Market

Mercato Italiano Trattoria & Market

Norton Commons

Another home run restaurant from Fernando Martínez (Mussel & Burger Bar, El Taco Luchador, Guaca Mole), Mercato’s beautiful atmosphere, fantastic bar, and upscale Italian fare will make the drive to Norton Commons worth it. Start with the cheese and charcuterie board -- from there, the menu has plenty of delicious options, from squid ink pasta to deep-fried goat cheese.

Courtesy of Vincenzo's

Vincenzo's

Downtown

This elegant, upscale dining experience from Vincenzo and Agostino Gabriele, brothers from Sicily, is a Downtown must (and don’t be surprised if Vincenzo himself serves you dinner). This place does justice to each course, from the Caesar salad made right at your table to the tender veal, and rich tiramisu.

DiFabio's Casapela

Clifton

Warm and inviting, DiFabio’s is easy Italian dining with a big menu, and the option to custom-order your pasta. The baked goat cheese and the house salad make a great precursor to a big plate of pasta, or check out their happy hour deals, when drinks and some appetizers are half-price.

Porcini

Porcini

Crescent Hill

For almost 25 years, Porcini has been serving Crescent Hill with dishes derived from Northern Italy. Cozy and inviting, the interior will transport you to an intimate dinner in Italy, complete with fresh pasta, delicious wine, and a beautiful outdoor patio.

Anselmo's Bistro and Bar

Anselmo's Bistro & Bar

Highlands

Cooking up Grandma Anselmo’s family recipe, Anselmo’s is the Highlands' answer to the need for homestyle Italian. Start with the mozzarella-stuffed breadsticks, and work your way to the entree -- nobody ever went wrong with the classic spaghetti and meatballs.

Martini Italian Bistro

Paddock Shops

Martini’s many gluten-free options make it a great choice for those who might usually have to opt out of Italian food, and the Paddock Shops location is extremely convenient. Check out their seasonal menu for some of the freshest and best options, like scallops arrachian, with an orange beurre blanc sauce.

Caffe Classico

Caffe Classico

Clifton

In the style of European corner cafes, Caffe Classico is the perfect spot for a delicious lunch. Highlights include the coffee, the Belgian-style pommes frites, and the Spanish ham. Come back for dinner and order the chicken roulade, or pork tenderloin finished with a honey and Grappa reduction.

Amici Cafe

Old Louisville

A neighborhood joint just off Central Park, Amici features a fun cocktail menu and a killer eggplant parmesan, as well as a lot of other options for vegan and vegetarian diners. Pro tip: grab a salad with the sweet basil dressing. It’s so much better than something this simple has any right to be.

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1. Volare 2300 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Clifton)

This modern Italian spots is one of the best in Louisville, complete with weekly wine nights, plenty of farm-to-table fare, and a side of Southern hospitality.

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2. Porcini 2730 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Crescent Hill)

This local spot has been serving up Northern Italian fare for years, and it's showing no signs of stopping. Get the espresso chocolate cake -- it's some of the best anywhere.

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3. Caffe Classico 2144 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Crescent Hill)

At this Spanish-Italian joint, you can get a quick lunch, a shot of espresso, or a full dinner. And don't forget to order a side of frites!

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4. Come Back Inn 909 Swan St, Louisville, KY 40204

This hole-in-the-wall spot is worth writing home about, but if you blink twice you'll miss it -- but the food is unforgettable.

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5. Amici 316 W Ormsby Ave, Louisville, KY 40203 (Old Louisville)

Amici has the perfect backyard patio to enjoy a nice glass of wine, tucked away off a quiet street in Old Louisville. Get a hearty order of the lasagne and you'll feel just like you're in Italy.

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6. Anselmo’s Bistro & Bar 1511 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40205 (Highlands)

From the crimson colored walls to the white linen-covered tables, Anselmo's has the feel of a Little Italy joint -- and all the robust flavor of one, too. Here you'll find fresh takes on beloved Sicilian staples: opulent antipastos, mozzarella-stuffed breadsticks, flatbread pizzas, and spaghetti and meatballs, the house signature. Like any self-respecting Kentucky restaurant, the bar is well-stocked with American whiskeys, but we suggest you opt for the tried and true combination of pasta and wine, as the list spans selections from Italy and California.

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7. Martini Italian Bistro 4021 Summit Plaza Dr, Louisville, KY 40241

Conveniently located within the Paddock Shops, this Roman-styled spot offers authentic Italian food and a dining experience that is at once relaxed and refined. Everything from the sauce -- whether mariana, orange buerre blanc, or alfredo -- to the pasta is made in house, ensuring ultimate freshness, and you can taste the difference. Of the appetizers, the baked goat cheese with parmesan crostinis is the obvious standout; insofar as entrées go, it's impossible to go wrong with the scallops arrachain. Whereas other Italian spots rely on wine lists (which isn't to say the offerings at this one aren't equally reputable), Martini boasts a solid cocktail program, with a mixology-driven menu that includes classic libations and signature standouts like the "Moulin Rouge," a winning combination of Bombay Sapphire, red plum, and orgeat.

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8. DiFabio’s Casapela 2311 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Clifton)

This family-owned locale serves hearty Italian comfort food like spinach alfredo lasagna, lobster ravioli, garlic mayonnaise salmon, and coquille St. Jacques, in a charming, cozy bistro. Everything from the complimentary breadsticks to the decadent desserts (Somoa cookie cheesecake, anyone?) is made in-house by the DiFabio family themselves, and it's the time-honored family recipes that account for the robust flavor in each dish. The ambience is casual and welcoming, and the air of Italian hospitality is undeniable -- if you're craving something not listed on the menu, the kitchen will be happy to make it for you if they've got the necessary ingredients on hand.

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9. Mercato Italiano Trattoria & Market 10640 Meeting St, Louisville, KY 40059

Designed with a spacious full bar, this 100-seat Italian restaurant attracts after-work crowds and families alike for a meal of Italian classics. Expect all the beloved comfort entrees, including pizza, a bevy of pasta dishes, and a massive 32oz bistecca fiorentina. As the name states, there is also a market for casual shopping, ensuring that Norton Commons’ residents will never have to go far to stock their pantry with artisanal Italian fare.