Food & Drink

The Best Italian Restaurants in San Antonio

Published On 09/28/2016 Published On 09/28/2016

While the flavors of SA generally run heavier on cumin and chili powder than oregano and basil, San Antonians do not have to live on Tex-Mex alone... or even Tex-Mex, BBQ, and chicken-fried steak alone. For those times when Italian fare is in order, here are a dozen of SA’s best spots to try.

South Alamode Panini & Gelato Company

South Alamode Panini & Gelato

Southtown

Can an eatery that is at its heart a simple sandwich & gelato joint truly be classified as an Italian restaurant? Um, yeah, it can. Located in the Blue Star complex, Alamode is a welcome addition to Southtown, offering a tight, creative menu that changes daily. Ingredients are top-notch, flavors are bold, and portion sizes are substantial.

Dough Pizzeria Napoletana

Castle Hills

The king of local pizza making is no slouch when it comes to other Italian fare, as evidenced by its delightful Burrata Bar, substantial salads, and amazing desserts. Sure, you’ll have to battle throngs of other Dough-philes pretty much any time you go, but the rewards are well worth the sacrifice.

Tre Enoteca

Tre Enoteca

North Central

The newer Italian eatery from uberchef and restaurateur Jason Dady, Tre Enoteca is great any day of the week, but is an especially ideal spot for Sunday brunch. Ordering family-style brings an added layer of intimacy to enjoying these familiar dishes with an Italian twist, including brown butter-basil hash browns and Tuscan-marinated steak.

Aldino at the Vinyard

Aldino at The Vineyard

Northwest Side

Drive in any of three different directions from Aldino and in five minutes you’ll hit an Olive Garden, with its competitive prices, endless breadsticks, and food that, like a Quarter Pounder, is comforting in its sameness regardless of what city you find yourself in at any given time. Or you could just say no to chain purveyors of bastardized Italian food, and instead opt for the elegant, consistently satisfying Aldino, an SA favorite for more than 20 years.

Il Sogno Osteria

The Pearl

If Goldilocks lived in the Alamo City, Il Sogno would be her favorite restaurant. Everything is just right -- the menu, not too big or too small; the dishes, a mix of familiar and exotic; the setting, as casual or as formal as each party would like for it to be. Two areas in which there is no middle ground: the service and the food quality, both of which are consistently sublime.

Tre Trattoria

Tre Trattoria

Alamo Heights

Fresh, seasonally inspired dishes -- including an astoundingly good gnocchi -- and a setting that is gorgeous both inside and out are the hallmarks of this mainstay along the bucolic Broadway corridor. Regardless of what you select for an entree, though, make sure you save room for dessert -- Nutella X3, perhaps.

Paesanos Lincoln Heights

Paesanos

Alamo Heights, Northwest side, River Walk

Known for its extensive wine list and signature shrimp dish, Paesanos' original location has been serving up thoughtfully prepared Italian comfort food to ‘09ers since 1969. While its offshoots have a ways to go when it comes to longevity, each has developed its own following and distinct personality. Heck, thanks to the River Walk location, SA might start getting a rep among tourists for its standout pasta.

Rossini Italian Bistro

Castle Hills

Since an ownership change in 2015, Rossini has consistently lived up to its promise of delivering “authentic Old World preparations with a contemporary twist.” Stellar antipasti is just one highlight of a menu full of dishes that would be familiar and welcome in any true Italian home kitchen.

Guillermo's

Guillermo's

Downtown

Casual and homey, Guillermo’s is a solid choice, especially for lunch; decent prices and a lengthy menu of pasta, pizza, hearty salads, straightforward sandwiches, and unique daily specials will satisfy a large group with eclectic tastes. Launched in 1995 by an SA native, the popularity of Guillermo's can be attributed to the genuine thoughtfulness that goes into every dish.

Louie Italian Restaurant

Medical Center

Yes, the building in which Louie’s is housed resembles a diner or abstract art representation of a tub of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla more than a traditional Italian restaurant. But Louie’s lengthy menu is dominated by classic Italian dishes, all of which are served up with an attitude of unpretentious friendliness (and with friendly prices).

Aldo's Ristorante Italiano

Aldo's Ristorante Italiano

Medical Center

Housed in a converted farmhouse and boasting a charming front patio, Aldo’s is a great setting for a special occasion. The prom-night crowd must be absolutely tremendous, but what’s unclear is how all the young girls in tight, pretty dresses eat here and then go dance. This is the kind of place where you linger over a huge meal, then waddle out to the car so you can go home and put on sweats.

Umberto's Italian Grill

Far West

Hidden away in a strip mall a few miles south of Ingram Park Mall, Umberto’s won’t win any awards for decor. But locals who crowd Umberto’s love this place for its hearty portions of rich, filling Italian favorites, as well as the staff’s ability to make every patron feel like a valued regular.

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Michelle Burgess is a writer and dog wrangler living and sweating in San Antonio. Follow her tweets, rare as Myanmarian painite, @MishiBurg.

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1. South Alamode Panini & Gelato 1420 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78210 (Southtown)

Located in the Blue Star complex, Alamode is a stylish sandwich and gelato shop in Southtown, offering a small but creative menu that changes daily and uses the only the freshest ingredients imported either directly from Italy or locally. To give you a hint as to what scrumptious sandwiches await you, past paninis have included the King William (pastrami, groviera, sauerkraut) and the Mortacci Tua (mortadella, pistachio mayo, provolone). As for the gelato, the sizes are substantial and the flavors are unique and rotate, like marscapone, toasted coconut, and ricotta blueberry.

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2. Dough Pizzeria Napoletana 6989 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78216 (Olmos Park)

Dough Pizzeria is owned by husband-and-wife team Doug and Lori Horn, and is known for serving the best wood-fired pizza in town. The ingredient list is simplicity itself: imported buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and locally sourced basil. Menu highlights include the house-made mozzarella and burrata bar, and a truly memorable Margherita pie.

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3. Tre Enoteca 555 W Bitters Rd, San Antonio, TX 78216 (Stone Oak)

Hearty Italian fare rules the menu at Tre Enoteca, a cozy resto and wine bar in Hill Country Village. Influenced by the warm, robust flavors of Tuscany, the menu features house made pasta dishes, cast-iron pizza, and delectable antipasti. The savory plates are perfect for enjoying alongside a glass of wine or craft cocktail.

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4. Aldino at The Vineyard 1203 N Loop 1604 W, San Antonio, TX 78258

A tried and true San Antonio favorite, Aldino at The Vineyard serves a varied menu of modern and classic Italian dishes. Expect affordable meat and seafood entrees and comforting pasta dishes in a family-friendly atmosphere.

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5. Il Sogno Osteria 200 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215

One of the best Italian restaurants in San Antonio, Il Sogno is a trendy and romantic spot in the Pearl, where Chef-Owner Andrew Weissman is cooking up a rotating menu of refined pasta dishes and fresh pizzas. Expect plates like wild mushroom lasagna, free-range oven-roasted chicken with truffle fries, and butternut squash ravioli. As indicated by the wall covered with a rack of bottles jutting out, there's a solid wine list here, too. Not to mention, classic sweet treats to top off your meal, like cannoli and tiramisu.

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6. Tre Trattoria 401 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205 (Alamo Heights)

One of the best dessert menus in San Antonio.

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7. Paesanos Lincoln Heights 555 E Basse Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209

Paesanos has been an Italian staple since 1969, offering extensive menu options for lunch, dinner, and happy hour, even if your choices lean toward gluten-free. Old-fashioned favorites like spaghetti and meatballs or shrimp marinara are joined with more contemporary dishes like braised lamb shank with goat cheese polenta, all of which will find the perfect pairing with a selection from an impressive wine list.

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8. Rossini Italian Bistro 2195 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78213 (Castle Hills)

Since an ownership change in 2015, Rossini has consistently lived up to its promise of delivering “authentic Old World preparations with a contemporary twist.” Stellar antipasti is just one highlight of a menu full of dishes that would be familiar and welcome in any true Italian home kitchen.

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9. Guillermo's 618 McCullough Ave, San Antonio, TX 78215 (Downtown)

Casual and homey, Guillermo’s is a solid choice especially for lunch; decent prices and a lengthy menu of pasta, pizza, hearty salads, straightforward sandwiches, and unique daily specials will satisfy a large group with eclectic tastes. Launched in 1995 by an SA native, Guillermo’s popularity can be attributed to the genuine thoughtfulness that goes into every dish.

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10. Louie 4979 NW Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78229 (Medical Center District)

Yes, the building in which Louie’s is housed resembles a diner or abstract art representation of a tub of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla more than a traditional Italian restaurant. But Louie’s lengthy menu is dominated by classic Italian dishes, all of which are served up with an attitude of unpretentious friendliness (and with friendly prices).

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11. Aldo's Ristorante Italiano 8539 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78229 (Medical Center District)

Housed in a converted farmhouse and boasting a charming front patio, Aldo’s is a great setting for a special occasion. This is the kind of place where you linger over a huge meal (think spaghetti with veal meatballs, linguine alla vongole, chicken marsala, and grilled lamb chops), then waddle out to the car so you can go home and put on sweats.

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12. Umberto's Italian Grill 7616 Culebra Rd, San Antonio, TX 78251

Hidden away in a strip mall a few miles south of Ingram Park Mall, Umberto’s won’t win any awards for decor. But locals who crowd Umberto’s love this place for its hearty portions of rich, filling Italian favorites and the staff’s ability to make every patron feel like a valued regular.

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