The Best Italian Restaurants in Nashville

Pair your delicious Italian dish with a glass of wine.
Pair your delicious Italian dish with a glass of wine. | © rawpixel / Pixabay
Photo of Leena Kollar
16 July 2018

Although Music City is famous for its hot chicken, the local selection of Italian restaurants is sure to impress.

You don’t have to travel to Italy to enjoy Italian cuisine. If you’re in Nashville, there are several amazing restaurants that serve classic Italian dishes, desserts, and drinks. Whether you’re in the mood for pasta, seafood, or pizza, you’ll find something on the menu at these hot spots that will please your palette.

Caffé Nonna

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Shrimp pasta | © RitaE / Pixabay
Tucked away in Nashville’s Sylvan Park neighborhood, this Italian eatery has a small, homey atmosphere that makes it feel less like a restaurant and more like a dining room in someone’s home. All menu items are made from scratch with fresh ingredients, using recipes inspired by Chef Daniel Maggipinto’s grandmother (Nonna). The made-to-order dishes include pastas, salads, calzones, and seafood, as well as homemade desserts and even a few gluten-free options. One highlight from the menu is the mix-n-match pasta, which allows customers to choose their pasta type, sauce, and additional meat and veggies.


Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, Italian, $$$
Bruschetta Amerigo | © Ashley Hylbert

With locations in both Mississippi and Tennessee, this Italian eatery serves dishes for lunch and dinner, using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Classics like shrimp scampi, pasta carbonara, and chicken piccata adorn the menu, as well as salads, pizzas, and gluten-free offerings. In addition to providing tasty Italian food, the restaurant hosts a monthly dinner series with Chef Steven Robilio. Using seasonal ingredients from local farmers, Robilio creates a five-course menu, paired with drinks chosen by the beverage manager, followed by dessert. The goal is to give guests a complete, intimate dining experience at the events, which are held from April–October inside the restaurant.


Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Plate full of spaghetti | © SylwiaApatacy / Pixabay

With a romantic ambience and menu full of decadent Italian cuisine, this restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a date night or special occasion. Menu items include grilled salmon, veal chop, broiled oysters, tagliatelle bolognese, and a variety of pizzas. Guests will enjoy award-winning wines—red, white, and dessert—hard liquor and a small selection of beers.

Porta Via Ristorante e Bar

Pizzeria, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Spaghetti with meat sauce | © BuffetColosseum / Pixabay

Headed by Chef Giovanni Giosa, this Italian restaurant is the only one in Tennessee to be recognized by Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN). The organization is based in Naples, Italy and gives special designation to pizzerias that respect and uphold the tradition and art of Neapolitan pizza making. Giosa crafts all pastas, pizza dough, and sauces in-house daily and uses ingredients imported from Italy for the pizzas. Favorite menu items include fettuccine Alfredo, calamari, lobster ravioli, and veal marsala.


Pizzeria, Restaurant, American, $$$
Pepperoni pizza with black olives | © StockSnap / Pixabay

Located in the trendy 12 South neighborhood, MAFIAoZA’s is a family-friendly Italian restaurant with a setting that’s perfect for romantic dinner dates. An outdoor enclosed seating area is great for those who enjoy a breath of fresh air with their meal. You’ll find plenty of dishes to choose from, including fried cheese ravioli sticks, pasta dishes, salads, and a variety of pizzas. Beer and cocktails are also available, as well as a kid’s menu.

Valentino's Ristorante

Restaurant, Restaurant with Rooms, Italian, $$$
Pasta with mushrooms | © Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

From classic dishes like lasagna and gnocchi to less traditional ones like veal parmesan and grilled Scottish salmon, Valentino’s has been serving Italian cuisine to the Nashville community since 1991. With private dining rooms, a wine cellar, and a patio, the intimate environment creates a cozy ambiance suited for romantic dinners or corporate functions. Guests can enjoy glasses of red or white wine and indulge in tiramisu for dessert.

Finezza Italian Bistro

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Cheesy lasagna | © Bru-nO / Pixabay

Serving Nashvillians since 1991, Finezza prides itself on making Italian authentic dishes that please. Pizzas, pastas, and seafood can all be found on the menu, with a “create your own” option for both pizzas and pastas. Additional entrees include meat lasagna, Tuscan salmon, and chicken Bellissimo. Start with a small plate of bruschetta or calamari and end your meal with a glass of wine and a slice of cheesecake.

Carrabba's Italian Grill

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Linguine with ham and tomatoes | © RitaE / Pixabay

This restaurant was founded by two Sicilian brothers who combined their Texas roots with the Italian recipes their grandparents passed down from their experiences living in the south. The menu has a wide range of Italian dishes like linguine Positano, chicken marsala, wood-fired pizzas, salmon cetriolini, and Tuscan grilled sirloin steak. For dessert, guests can choose from tiramisu, a mini cannoli, and strawberry cheesecake. Wash it all down with a fruity cocktail or a glass of wine.

Giovanni Ristorante

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Italian salad | © Anestiev / Pipxabay
Named for Chef Giovanni Pinato, this restaurant is spread out over two floors and resembles an Italian villa. The expansive menu features homemade pastas, seasonal fresh seafood, and homemade Italian bread. Begin your meal with calamari fritti or crispy artichokes and finish your meal with a glass of wine or a tasty Italian dessert.

Trattoria Il Mulino

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Rigatoni with meat sauce | © takedahrs / Pixabay

This downtown Italian restaurant is part of the New York restaurant brand, Il Mulino and has a location in the Big Apple as well. Founded by two executive chefs that hail from New York and Nashville, the menu draws inspiration from the New York location’s offerings and combines them with local flavors of Music City. The foods used to make dishes at this eatery are imported from Italy, with many ingredients sourced locally. Unique creations like grilled octopus and the Caprese burger can be found on the menu, but most dishes reflect traditional Italian cuisine staples.

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