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Several white bowls filled with various pastas, salads, and hunks of bread on a wooden table
A selection of various Italian pastas, salad, and bread.
Nicky’s Coal Fired/Facebook

15 Incredible Italian Restaurants in and Around Nashville

Satisfy cravings for house-made pasta, wine, wood-fired pizza, and meatballs for Sunday supper

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A selection of various Italian pastas, salad, and bread.
| Nicky’s Coal Fired/Facebook

They say that the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach. Italians know this — and so do Southerners. We’re kindred spirits in that way.

These local restaurants — both new and long-standing favorites — showcase the best Italian food in Nashville, from Neapolitan pies to decadent plates of seafood-studded linguini. It’s a great time to be a pasta lover in Music City.

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Pasta Galifi

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It’s a slight trek north to Goodlettsville, but what awaits is some of the finest Italian fare in the area. Founded by Andrea and Annabella Galifi in 2018, the restaurant brings Andrea’s culinary upbringing in Rome to full focus with over 20 types of pasta that are available in bags to take home. On the menu: cacio e pepe topped with black truffle zest, polpette al sugo with four homemade meatballs, and a decadent tiramisu.

Rolf and Daughters

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While it technically doesn’t bill itself as an Italian restaurant, Philip Krajeck’s Rolf and Daughters has been consistently putting out some of the best pasta plates in the city for years. The award-winning Germantown spot is known for its perfectly chewy sourdough with seaweed butter and its seasonally rotating pasta menu that currently includes tonnarelli with octopus and rigatoni in a heritage pork ragu.

City House

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City House has been a staple for over 15 years, and its Southern riff on rustic Italian fare made Nashville native Tandy Wilson the first Music City chef to take home a James Beard Award. The belly ham pizza, Sunday supper’s meatball special, and desserts from talented pastry chef Rebekah Turshen are all crucial to the success of this cozy essential in the heart of Germantown.

Nicky's Coal Fired

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Nicky’s is a hands-on affair — all the charcuterie, pasta, bitters, infusions, and shrubs are made in-house at this lively Nations favorite. While the coal-fired pizza is the obvious centerpiece, dishes like three cheese tortelli, cavatelli bolognese, and Mama G’s meatballs are absolute showstoppers as well. Be sure to wrap up the meal with one of Nicky’s cannolis or the raspberry tiramisu.

Mimo Restaurant and Bar

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Michelin-starred chef Aniello Turco is shining the light on Southern Italian cuisine and techniques from the bright, airy expanse of the Four Seasons lobby downtown. Potted palms and trees lead the way to a stark open kitchen, where you can watch the staff carefully plate your beef carpaccio, clam risotto, and charred branzino. Don’t forget an order of Mimo’s house-made focaccia bread with olive oil-whipped butter — you’ll want it for sopping up the intricate sauces on your plates.

Nashville scored big when James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and wine/hospitality expert Cathy Mantuano, life and business partners, brought Nashville the fine-dining Italian menu it had been missing. Not to mention the standout service and welcoming atmosphere inside the Joseph Hotel. The tasting menu with wine pairings is always a solid move, as are any and all of the a la carte pasta options. Just try to save some room for pastry chef Noelle Marchetti’s jaw-dropping desserts.

Valentino's Ristorante

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Though Valentino’s Ristorante relocated from West End to Hayes Street several years ago, it didn’t affect the charming atmosphere or traditional Italian fare that this Midtown classic has honed over 25 years. Bucatini, cioppino, and house-made lasagna with osso bucco over saffron risotto — these are all perfect accompaniments to the live music that frequently serenades diners here.

Luogo Restaurant

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Anthony Scotto has brought his white-hot New York eatery to the Gulch with a focus on Mediterranean coastal cuisine. The white-washed dining room accented in royal blues evokes a seaside estiatorio, perfect for indulging in fritto misto, whole-milk burrata, Mediterranean sea bass, and grilled shank osso bucco with a creamy polenta. Pair your meal with Luogo Limoncello Cider, a clever take on a classic digestivo from local Diskin Cider.

Pastaria

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The brainchild of St. Louis chef Gerard Craft, Pastaria serves some seriously delightful carbs from its bright and airy shop in the OneC1ty complex. Watch as dishes like cacio e pepe, garganelli, pistachio ravioli, and wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas slide out fresh from chef Evelynn Hadsell’s open kitchen, and look out for the grab-and-go gelato counter by the door, a nice touch for a post-pasta sweet treat.

Pastaria.
Spencer Pernikoff/Pastaria

Giovanni Ristorante

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After 27 years in Manhattan, Giovanni Ristorante found its way to Nashville and firmly planted its flag near Midtown with a snappy bi-level space. Murano glass chandeliers, Venetian plaster, and a Hermes (yes, that Hermes) upholstered bar provide immediate eye candy, followed by plates like pappardelle alla Norcia with black truffles and tagliatelle with veal, which taste as good as everything looks.

Il Forno

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Chef Egidio Franciosa and partner Jannah Franciosa gave their popular mobile pizzeria a permanent location in Wedgewood-Houston, serving up Neapolitan-style pies like the diavola with calabrese salami in an open, airy, industrial-feeling spot. But the menu doesn’t stop at pizza — you’ll also want to dig into the restaurant’s carpaccio, antipasto spreads, risotto with seasonal mushrooms, and pasta dishes like bucatini with wild-caught octopus ragu and cherry tomatoes.

Caffé Nonna

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For years, chef Daniel Maggipinto has been charming guests at this quaint Sylvan Park eatery with traditional recipes from his grandmother, the titular Nonna. After a recent remodel, the space feels modern yet cozy, befitting of an eternally hip Italian grandmother. Starters like arancini and a hearty Tuscan bruschetta segue smoothly into mains like the lamb shank Toscana with spinach, tomatoes, white beans, and feta. There’s also an option to build your own pasta plate featuring rigatoni, gnocchi, and risotto with an abundance of sauces, meats, veggies, and cheeses for topping.

iggy’s

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Matthew and Ryan Poli have taken their talents to Wedgewood Houston with a 70-seat dining room that’s laser-focused on inventive Italian cuisine. Which is to say, expect the unexpected. A large open kitchen allows guests to watch as the chefs prepare housemade brioche garlic bread with whipped cheese, Maine crab tortellini, and seaweed garganelli with Japanese green chiles and scallop bottarga. Gluten-free pasta is also available as a substitute for most dishes.

Chrysalis Modern Italian

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Chrysalis Modern Italian snuck into the Cool Springs/Carothers stretch in 2021 and quickly became a neighborhood favorite. The restaurant strikes a nice balance of cozy and chic, offering an extensive menu of classic and house cocktails, pouring interesting wines, and dishing out customizable antipasti boards alongside house-made rosemary focaccia, pasta, seafood, and meat specials with modern flair.

Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar

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On Franklin’s Main Street, the little alcove that is Culaccino bustles with couples, families, and solo diners indulging in chef-owner Frank Pullara’s rustic menu. Whether you’re perched at the indoor bar or soaking up a Tennessee evening on the heated outdoor patio, the restaurant’s 72-hour-fermented pizzas, ricotta fritta, and house-made cacio e pepe tonnarelli pair seamlessly with bourbon cocktails and good conversation.

Pasta Galifi

It’s a slight trek north to Goodlettsville, but what awaits is some of the finest Italian fare in the area. Founded by Andrea and Annabella Galifi in 2018, the restaurant brings Andrea’s culinary upbringing in Rome to full focus with over 20 types of pasta that are available in bags to take home. On the menu: cacio e pepe topped with black truffle zest, polpette al sugo with four homemade meatballs, and a decadent tiramisu.

Rolf and Daughters

While it technically doesn’t bill itself as an Italian restaurant, Philip Krajeck’s Rolf and Daughters has been consistently putting out some of the best pasta plates in the city for years. The award-winning Germantown spot is known for its perfectly chewy sourdough with seaweed butter and its seasonally rotating pasta menu that currently includes tonnarelli with octopus and rigatoni in a heritage pork ragu.

City House

City House has been a staple for over 15 years, and its Southern riff on rustic Italian fare made Nashville native Tandy Wilson the first Music City chef to take home a James Beard Award. The belly ham pizza, Sunday supper’s meatball special, and desserts from talented pastry chef Rebekah Turshen are all crucial to the success of this cozy essential in the heart of Germantown.

Nicky's Coal Fired

Nicky’s is a hands-on affair — all the charcuterie, pasta, bitters, infusions, and shrubs are made in-house at this lively Nations favorite. While the coal-fired pizza is the obvious centerpiece, dishes like three cheese tortelli, cavatelli bolognese, and Mama G’s meatballs are absolute showstoppers as well. Be sure to wrap up the meal with one of Nicky’s cannolis or the raspberry tiramisu.

Mimo Restaurant and Bar

Michelin-starred chef Aniello Turco is shining the light on Southern Italian cuisine and techniques from the bright, airy expanse of the Four Seasons lobby downtown. Potted palms and trees lead the way to a stark open kitchen, where you can watch the staff carefully plate your beef carpaccio, clam risotto, and charred branzino. Don’t forget an order of Mimo’s house-made focaccia bread with olive oil-whipped butter — you’ll want it for sopping up the intricate sauces on your plates.

Yolan

Nashville scored big when James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and wine/hospitality expert Cathy Mantuano, life and business partners, brought Nashville the fine-dining Italian menu it had been missing. Not to mention the standout service and welcoming atmosphere inside the Joseph Hotel. The tasting menu with wine pairings is always a solid move, as are any and all of the a la carte pasta options. Just try to save some room for pastry chef Noelle Marchetti’s jaw-dropping desserts.

Valentino's Ristorante

Though Valentino’s Ristorante relocated from West End to Hayes Street several years ago, it didn’t affect the charming atmosphere or traditional Italian fare that this Midtown classic has honed over 25 years. Bucatini, cioppino, and house-made lasagna with osso bucco over saffron risotto — these are all perfect accompaniments to the live music that frequently serenades diners here.

Luogo Restaurant

Anthony Scotto has brought his white-hot New York eatery to the Gulch with a focus on Mediterranean coastal cuisine. The white-washed dining room accented in royal blues evokes a seaside estiatorio, perfect for indulging in fritto misto, whole-milk burrata, Mediterranean sea bass, and grilled shank osso bucco with a creamy polenta. Pair your meal with Luogo Limoncello Cider, a clever take on a classic digestivo from local Diskin Cider.

Pastaria

The brainchild of St. Louis chef Gerard Craft, Pastaria serves some seriously delightful carbs from its bright and airy shop in the OneC1ty complex. Watch as dishes like cacio e pepe, garganelli, pistachio ravioli, and wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas slide out fresh from chef Evelynn Hadsell’s open kitchen, and look out for the grab-and-go gelato counter by the door, a nice touch for a post-pasta sweet treat.

Pastaria.
Spencer Pernikoff/Pastaria

Giovanni Ristorante

After 27 years in Manhattan, Giovanni Ristorante found its way to Nashville and firmly planted its flag near Midtown with a snappy bi-level space. Murano glass chandeliers, Venetian plaster, and a Hermes (yes, that Hermes) upholstered bar provide immediate eye candy, followed by plates like pappardelle alla Norcia with black truffles and tagliatelle with veal, which taste as good as everything looks.

Il Forno

Chef Egidio Franciosa and partner Jannah Franciosa gave their popular mobile pizzeria a permanent location in Wedgewood-Houston, serving up Neapolitan-style pies like the diavola with calabrese salami in an open, airy, industrial-feeling spot. But the menu doesn’t stop at pizza — you’ll also want to dig into the restaurant’s carpaccio, antipasto spreads, risotto with seasonal mushrooms, and pasta dishes like bucatini with wild-caught octopus ragu and cherry tomatoes.

Caffé Nonna

For years, chef Daniel Maggipinto has been charming guests at this quaint Sylvan Park eatery with traditional recipes from his grandmother, the titular Nonna. After a recent remodel, the space feels modern yet cozy, befitting of an eternally hip Italian grandmother. Starters like arancini and a hearty Tuscan bruschetta segue smoothly into mains like the lamb shank Toscana with spinach, tomatoes, white beans, and feta. There’s also an option to build your own pasta plate featuring rigatoni, gnocchi, and risotto with an abundance of sauces, meats, veggies, and cheeses for topping.

iggy’s

Matthew and Ryan Poli have taken their talents to Wedgewood Houston with a 70-seat dining room that’s laser-focused on inventive Italian cuisine. Which is to say, expect the unexpected. A large open kitchen allows guests to watch as the chefs prepare housemade brioche garlic bread with whipped cheese, Maine crab tortellini, and seaweed garganelli with Japanese green chiles and scallop bottarga. Gluten-free pasta is also available as a substitute for most dishes.

Chrysalis Modern Italian

Chrysalis Modern Italian snuck into the Cool Springs/Carothers stretch in 2021 and quickly became a neighborhood favorite. The restaurant strikes a nice balance of cozy and chic, offering an extensive menu of classic and house cocktails, pouring interesting wines, and dishing out customizable antipasti boards alongside house-made rosemary focaccia, pasta, seafood, and meat specials with modern flair.

Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar

On Franklin’s Main Street, the little alcove that is Culaccino bustles with couples, families, and solo diners indulging in chef-owner Frank Pullara’s rustic menu. Whether you’re perched at the indoor bar or soaking up a Tennessee evening on the heated outdoor patio, the restaurant’s 72-hour-fermented pizzas, ricotta fritta, and house-made cacio e pepe tonnarelli pair seamlessly with bourbon cocktails and good conversation.

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