Food & Drink

The Best Italian Restaurants in Nashville

Published On 06/30/2015 Published On 06/30/2015
Brita Britnell/Thrillist
COURTESY OF MOTO

Moto

The Gulch

Moto features inspired rustic-modern Italian cuisine in a building that was once a mechanic’s shop. The menu’s a contemporary approach to authentic Italian cooking that utilizes consciously sourced produce from local farms and artisans balanced by premium product imported from Italy. Moto’s headliners are seasonal ‘market’ items and house-made pasta dishes. The emphasis is on small plates (as opposed to many Italian restaurants that serve family sized servings).

Trattoria Il Mulino

Trattoria Il Mulino

Downtown

This Downtown Italian joint prides itself on being “Nashville casual/NYC chic.” And that’s fitting as Trattoria Il Mulino is a New York-based Italian restaurant that’s relatively new to the scene in Nashville. It’s located right next to the Bridgestone Arena with a great outdoor patio for people watching and offers classic menu items like ricotta meatballs, calamari, and an assortment of pastas as well as a signature craft cocktail list. The kitchen also serves wood fired pizza -- a favorite of Trattoria regulars.

City House

Germantown

City House is an extremely popular place in Nashville for one big reason: pizzas. It has other delicious classics like cavatelli, but what you’re here for is the belly ham, mozzarella, grana padano, oregano, and chilies pizza. It’s by far the most popular dish, and after fighting for the last slice, you’ll see why. To complement that, check out the bourbon-heavy craft cocktail list. Or grab a wine, it has that too.

Amerigo Italian Restaurant (Nashville, TN)

Amerigo

West End

Amerigo is a casual dining spot that’s great for large family dinners and workday lunches. It has an entire gluten-free menu making it an option for those with food allergies who still want to enjoy classic Italian dishes (bring on the pasta and bread!). Among the less traditional dishes, a weekly lunch special of Nashville hot chicken pasta Alfredo. It’s one of those things that you might not expect to work well, but somehow it tastes amazing.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Savarino’s Cucina

Hillsboro Village

Savarino’s is said to have the best cannoli in all of Nashville, and we’re not here to disagree. But please, don’t stop there. Savarino’s is surrounded by herb plants which results in the most fresh and delicious plate of pesto pasta you will find anywhere in the city. To top it all off, the place probably has the friendliest Italian family staff. The newest addition to the joint is Amari, the upstairs speak-easy style cocktail lounge.

Coco's Italian Market

Coco’s Italian Market

Sylvan Park

Coco’s Italian Market is family-owned and run by chefs with vast knowledge of Italian family cooking. Much like the restaurants you’ll find in New York, Coco’s features a full market where you can peruse authentic Italian products, produce, and homemade pastas (get the ravioli). You can even play bocce while waiting to be seated.

Valentino's Ristorante

Valentino’s Ristorante

West End

Valentino’s Ristorante is an upscale Italian restaurant equipped with a full lounge, large dining area, and even a wine cellar that can be rented out for large groups or private parties. Its extensive menu has much to choose from (bucatini, antipasto, lobster ravioli, etc.) and we highly recommend going in planning to order a multi-course meal. This place is fancy which makes it a great spot for special occasions and an excuse to dress up. It also might be smart to make reservations. Most importantly, don’t leave without having a piece of the tiramisu.

Caffe Nonna

Caffe Nonna

Sylvan Park

Caffe Nonna is a traditional, family-run Italian restaurant that has been a Nashville favorite for years now. The Lasagna Nonna is one of the most popular dishes and is loaded with layers of butternut squash, spinach, ricotta, and two different kinds of famous sauces. Nonna has a particular focus on the freshest ingredients, which is reflected in every bite. It’s open for both lunch and dinner to satisfy your Italian cuisine cravings anytime of day.

Brita Britnell/Thrillist

Bella Napoli Pizzeria

Edgehill

If there’s one thing that we should endlessly thank Italy for, it’s pizza. And Bella Napoli is THE place for authentic Italian pizza in Nashville. The Parma Pizza, piled high with prosciutto, arugula, and large pieces of parmesan, is one of Bella Napoli’s most popular pies. Each one’s cooked fresh to order in a wood-fired brick oven and left uncut when it’s delivered to the table (the traditional Italian way to serve a pizza as it keeps the crust and cheese fresher). Also, the lovely outdoor patio area is always quiet and perfect for casual outdoor dining.

Mama Mia’s

Berry Hill

Mama Mia’s has an extensive Sicilian menu and the classic dishes, such as the lasagna or the ravioli, are the way to go. Everything on the menu is made with all fresh -- and homemade -- ingredients and served with a side of garlicky bread (quite possibly the best part of any Italian meal!). It also has a phenomenal list of homemade pizzas and calzones.

Finezza Italian Bistro

Finezza Italian Bistro

Belle Meade

Finezza is a true family-run Italian bistro that’s been a Nashville favorite for nearly 25 years. It’s also one of our favorite spots in the city for a good glass of wine since it has a long list of varietals from Italy and all around the world. We’re big fans of both the make-your-own pizzas and build-your-own pasta dish with several different kinds of sauce, toppings, pasta, and meat items to choose from so that you get exactly what you want.

Italia

Italia

East Nashville

Italia is an East Nashville staple and for good reason. It caters to all wants, needs, and dietary restrictions with vegan, gluten free, whole wheat, and of course, regular crusts. The menu also includes an array of pasta dishes and mediterranean cuisine. The Mediterranean, Meat Lover, and ‘Drag-it through the Garden’ pizzas are all excellent options.

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1. Moto Cucina + Enoteca 1120 McGavock St, Nashville, TN 37203

This Gulch resto is part of the MStreet empire, offering 30 rotating wines by the glass, craft 'tails, and a whole host of delicious Italian dishes.

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2. Trattoria Il Mulino 144 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203 (Downtown)

This NYC import does it best with classic Italian dishes served with finesse, an extensive wine list, and impeccable service.

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3. City House 1222 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 (Germantown)

The James Beard-nominated City House has become a Nashville staple for its creative spin on Italian dishes. The weekly Sunday Supper with its ever-changing lineup is always a hot event, but be sure to make reservations in advance. This Germantown spot is also a great place for wine lovers. Its small, secluded bar is a great place to meet with friends for a quick glass after work, and even solo diners can have a great experience sitting at the pizza bar with a glass of Sangiovese and watching the talented kitchen work the wood-fired oven.

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4. Amerigo 1920 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203 (Williamson County)

The menu at this Williamson County resto is rock solid, full of classic pasta dishes and inventive meat and seafood plates, but don’t overlook the Chef’s Seasonal Menu where the kitchen sources fresh ingredients from farmers markets to inspire entrees like a decadent Noble Springs Mac & Cheese made with regionally sourced pimento goat cheese, mozzarella, crispy country ham, fresh herbs, and a panko-Parmesan crust.

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5. Savarino's Cucina 2121 Belcourt Ave, Nashville, TN 37212

Savarino’s has always been a local favorite, but after being featured on the Food Network, its food has been in extra high demand. This authentic Italian joint makes its bread fresh and while you might have to wait a bit for your food to come out, you won’t regret it. While you’re there, be sure to pick up one of its homemade cannolis for dessert.

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6. Coco's Italian Market 411 51st Ave N, Nashville, TN 37209 (Sylvan Park)

Coco's Italian Market is family run and has insanely good fried ravioli. Plus, there's a full market where you can get authentic Italian products, produce, and homemade pastas.

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7. Valentino's Ristorante 1907 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203 (West End)

This place is pretty fancy so you might want to give your skinny jeans a rest for the night and wear something a bit nicer. And also maybe make a reservation. But most importantly, don’t leave without having a piece of the tiramisu.

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8. Caffé Nonna 4427 Murphy Rd, Nashville, TN 37209 (Sylvan Park)

Come to Nonna's for the lasagna, it's fresh, loaded with layers of butternut squash, spinach, ricotta, and 2 different kinds of their famous sauces.

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9. Bella Napoli Pizzeria 1200 Villa Pl, Ste 206, Nashville, TN 37212 (Music Row)

Tucked away in the middle of the Edgehill Village complex, Bella Napoli may have one of the quaintest courtyards in town. Enjoy a couple of slices and some Italian vino by the glass while live music entertains you under string lights on the patio. Particularly popular is the classic margherita pie— the mozzarella di bufala holds up well to the infernal 800-degree oven that creates the perfect amount of char on the bottom of salty crusts. Pies are left uncut when they are delivered to the table—the traditional Italian way to serve a pizza— to keep the crust and cheese fresher.

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10. Mama Mia's 4671 Trousdale Dr, Nashville, TN 37204 (Berry Hill)

Mama Mia's has a large Sicilian menu, but their classic lasagna is one of our favorites. They also have a killer list of homemade pizzas and calzones.

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11. Finezza Italian Bistro 5406 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205

Finezza Italian Bistro is Italian cuisine at it's finest, and has been a Nashville favorite for nearly 25 years.

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12. Italia 1600 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

Italia caters to all wants, needs, and dietary restrictions with their vegan, regular, gluten free, and whole wheat crusts. Their menu also includes an array of pasta dishes and mediterranean cuisine.

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