10 Best Italian Restaurants in Metro Phoenix
When catering to the taste buds of the masses no genre of food is a bigger culinary crowd-pleaser than Italian -- thinly pounded meats, hand-rolled pasta, rich and zesty sauces paired with red and white Tuscan wines, and oh, did we mention all the cheese?
Katie Johnson The Linguine Con Vongole at Tutti Santi by Nina comes with your choice of white or red tomato sauce.
Sorry, Phoenix, better check your no-carb New Year's resolutions at the door, because we're about to dish on the 10 best Italian restaurants in the Valley.
Nina Vincent has a way with food. So much so that the Italian specialty chef has managed to open four Valley locations in her 20-plus years in Phoenix. As Tutti Santi's Scottsdale/Kierland location is a lesser-known destination with lots of regulars, guests can be sure to spot some familiar faces as well as some very familiar dishes running in and out of the kitchen. Some favorites include the linguine con vongole, the pollo Parmigiana, and melt-worthy ravioli alla Nina.
Katie Johnson The pappardelle pasta dish at Trattoria Bianco features grass-fed beef Bolognese and Parmigiano reggiano.
An Italian restaurant list without Bianco? Please. Though many great ideas have come out of Chris Bianco's head and kitchen, our favorite by far has been his opening more Phoenix locations -- well, okay, that and the bread. No longer in fear of a long wait, Bianco's Trattoria at Town and Country has become as much a hotspot for lunch as it has for dinner, thanks to simple, quality dishes like the rustichella spaghetti and the pappardelle Bolognese made hearty with grass-fed beef and Parmigiano reggiano.
Katie Johnson Tomaso's Vongole Linguine and Slow Roasted Tomato features prawns and clams in white wine sauce.
Tomaso Maggiore has established his ranking in the Valley's restaurant hierarchy thanks to more than 35 years in business and, more important, some pretty amazing gourmet Italian fare. At Tomaso's, indulgence is key, with a multi-course meal of antipasti, primi piatti, secondi piatti, cortorni, insalata, fruita, and dolci served in conjunction on a monthly or seasonal basis. That's not to say that patrons will be left wanting on any given night at this Phoenix restaurant. Some safe but satisfying bets are the Vongole Linguine & Slow Roasted Tomato, Pollo alla Milanese, and Bolognese Ravioli.
Avanti Restaurant of Distinction
Katie Johnson The spaghetti and meatballs at Avanti is classic within a classic.
If you're looking for old-school Italian -- okay, make that 1980s Italian -- Avanti is a culinary blast from the past. The restaurant, with its black-and-white color scheme, features neon lights, a live piano bar, and enough celebrity photos on the wall to attest to its heyday. But appearances can be deceiving, and though the décor may be outdated, the flavors in the restaurant's long-enjoyed dishes are not. Avanti keeps it on the traditional American-Italian side with staples like spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, chicken parm, and meat or veggie lasagne.