clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Chef Daniel Maggipinto has been charming guests at this Sylvan Park spot with his grandmother’s (the titular Nonna) traditional recipes for years. 
Caffe Nonna/Facebook

Where to Eat Italian Food in Nashville

All of the carbonara and risotto fit for print

View as Map
Chef Daniel Maggipinto has been charming guests at this Sylvan Park spot with his grandmother’s (the titular Nonna) traditional recipes for years. 
| Caffe Nonna/Facebook

They say that the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach. Italians know this. That’s why no one can seem to get enough of their heart-warming, soul-fulfilling plates of pasta goodness — keto diet and all. In fact, it’s safe to say that Italians have the market covered when it comes to the universally beloved comfort food.

Luckily, Nashville has several savory Italian standbys ready to fill that lasagna or carbonara craving. Here are 16 local options that showcase some of the best that Nashville’s Italian restaurants have to offer, from Neapolitan pies to decadent plates of seafood-studded linguini.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

City House

Copy Link

A staple since opening nearly 15 years ago, Nashville native Tandy Wilson’s Southern riff on rustic Italian fare made him the first Nashville chef to take home a James Beard Award. The belly ham pizza, Sunday supper’s meatball special, and talented pastry chef Rebekah Turshen’s desserts are all crucial when dining at City House.

City House/Facebook

Nicky's Coal Fired

Copy Link

Nicky’s is a hands-on affair — all the charcuterie, pasta, bitters, infusions, and shrubs are made in-house here. While the coal-fired pizza is definitely a thing, dishes like spicy Gulf shrimp spaghetti, gnocchi and beef shank sugo, and cavatelli bolognese are absolute showstoppers. Be sure to wind up the meal with one of Nicky’s house-spun gelatos or sorbets. There’s also a temporary plant-based menu featuring BeHive products.

On the current menu: spaghetti, bay scallops, roasted corn, corn cream, lemon, basil, Grana Padano
Nicky’s Coal Fired/Facebook

Trattoria Il Mulino

Copy Link

The Nashville outpost of this upscale New York-based Italian restaurant lives up to its reputation with both flawless service and exquisitely presented dishes. Start with the calamari picante, then move onto one of the pasta dishes, like the goat cheese ravioli or fettuccini with Parmesan cream sauce. The filet is another standout for those avoiding pasta. Finish with the warm brioche budino with grappa-soaked raisins — just think of it as a digestif.

Nashville scored big when this husband-and-wife culinary powerhouse moved to town (and when it got a see-thru cheese cave). James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and wine/hospitality expert Cathy Mantuano brought Nashville the fine dining Italian menu it had been missing alongside standout service and a welcoming atmosphere inside the new Joseph Hotel. The chef’s tasting menu (plus expert wine pairings) is always a solid move, as are any and all of the pasta options. And save some room for pastry chef Noelle Marchetti’s jaw-dropping desserts.

Haas & Haas Photography | Yolan

Ask any local about their top three favorite Italian joints around town, and this Gulch date night contender consistently sweeps the list. And it’s no surprise — one look at the sleek midcentury modern decor, discreet wraparound booths, and warm candlelit glow practically clinches its spot on those lists. But the black spaghetti with lobster ragu and Heritage pork chop (with FatBack bacon) on the menu are proof that Moto has just as much substance as it has style.

Moto/Facebook

Valentino's Ristorante

Copy Link

Though they relocated from West End to Hayes Street, this Midtown staple has been serving up Italian classics to hungry locals for over 25 years. Think homemade lasagne with wild boar bolognese, bucatini, and cioppino.

PennePazze

Copy Link

This more casual, counter-service pizza and pasta spot sits on the street-facing side of the new L&L Market. On the menu, find plenty of pinsa (pizza) options plus signature pastas and salads

all available for dine-in, takeout, or delivery.

PennePazze/Facebook

Coco's Italian Market

Copy Link

Visitors can load up on fresh burrata, heaps of fettuccine with meatballs, and deep-dish timpano at this restaurant/market hybrid. Post-carb-feast served either indoors or on the covered patio, diners can enjoy a glass of wine or beer while perusing the Italian market. You can also find a smaller outpost at downtown’s Assembly Food Hall.

Amerigo Italian Restaurant

Copy Link

This longstanding West End location of the mini-chain is one of the only familiar restaurant faces in the area in this day and age. Here, find pizza, pasta, salads, and meaty entrees — plus an entire menu for gluten-sensitive diners, including a tasty peanut butter blondie made with rocky road ganache.

Amerigo/Facebook

Pastaria

Copy Link

The brainchild of chef Gerard Craft, Pastaria serves up some seriously craveable carbs from its bright and airy outpost in the OneC1ty complex. Watch as dishes like cacio e pepe, garganelli, and pistachio ravioli pile out fresh from Zane Dearien’s open kitchen. The grab-and-go gelato counter by the door is a nice touch, for a post-pasta sweet treat.

Spencer Pernikoff/Pastaria Nashville

Giovanni Ristorante

Copy Link

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 some visual eye candy while plates like pappardelle alla Norcia with black truffles and tagliatelle with veal tempt the taste buds.

Giovanni/Facebook

Bella Napoli Pizzeria | Pizza Nashville

Copy Link

While Bella Napoli is known for its perfectly blistered pies using ingredients imported directly from Italy, the rest of the menu is worth its weight in pasta gold. Especially when it comes to dishes like rigatoni salsiccia and the pork saltimbocca with Parma prosciutto and fontina cheese. During happy hour, glasses of the house red or white go for $5; well drinks are only $4.

IL Forno

Copy Link

Chef Egidio Franciosa and partner Jannah Franciosa recently gave their popular mobile pizzeria a permanent location in Wedgewood-Houston, serving up Neapolitan-style pies like the diavola, topped with pomodoro, fior de latte, and calabrese salami. The menu doesn’t stop at pizza, though, folks are also raving about the restaurant’s carpaccio, antipasto spreads, and pasta features like the bucatini with wild-caught octopus ragu and cherry tomatoes.

IL Forno/Facebook

Caffé Nonna

Copy Link

Chef Daniel Maggipinto has been charming guests at this Sylvan Park eatery with his grandmother’s (the titular Nonna) traditional recipes for years. Starters like arancini and a hearty Tuscan bean soup segue smoothly into mains like mussels served fra diavolo or apulia-style with a saffron-tomato broth. There’s also a build-your-own pasta plate option featuring rigatoni, gnocchi, and risotto with an abundance of sauces, meats, veggies, and cheeses for topping.

Caffe Nonna/Facebook

Chrysalis Modern Italian

Copy Link

Chrysalis Modern Italian snuck into the Cool Springs/Corothers stretch in early 2021. It’s not your everyday mom-and-pop style Italian joint, but a cozy neighborhood restaurant dishing out create-your-own cheese/charcuterie boards alongside housemade rosemary focaccia, pasta, seafood, and meat specials with modern flair.

Chrysalis Modern Italian/Facebook

Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar

Copy Link

Culaccino, the culinary brainchild of chef Frank Pullara, officially opened its doors in early 2021, bringing downtown Franklin its very first outdoor bar. Standouts dishes include the scratch-made veal shoulder-stuffed ravioli marinating in bone marrow, robiola cheese, and butter sauce; “Nonna’s lentil soup” simmering with aromatic vegetables, San Marzano tomato and pecorino; and 72-hour fermented wood-fired pizzas like the “L’Arrosto” with slow-roasted pork, taleggio, arugula, and fennel pollen. “

Victoria Rosa, Retrospect Nashville

City House

A staple since opening nearly 15 years ago, Nashville native Tandy Wilson’s Southern riff on rustic Italian fare made him the first Nashville chef to take home a James Beard Award. The belly ham pizza, Sunday supper’s meatball special, and talented pastry chef Rebekah Turshen’s desserts are all crucial when dining at City House.

City House/Facebook

Nicky's Coal Fired

Nicky’s is a hands-on affair — all the charcuterie, pasta, bitters, infusions, and shrubs are made in-house here. While the coal-fired pizza is definitely a thing, dishes like spicy Gulf shrimp spaghetti, gnocchi and beef shank sugo, and cavatelli bolognese are absolute showstoppers. Be sure to wind up the meal with one of Nicky’s house-spun gelatos or sorbets. There’s also a temporary plant-based menu featuring BeHive products.

On the current menu: spaghetti, bay scallops, roasted corn, corn cream, lemon, basil, Grana Padano
Nicky’s Coal Fired/Facebook

Trattoria Il Mulino

The Nashville outpost of this upscale New York-based Italian restaurant lives up to its reputation with both flawless service and exquisitely presented dishes. Start with the calamari picante, then move onto one of the pasta dishes, like the goat cheese ravioli or fettuccini with Parmesan cream sauce. The filet is another standout for those avoiding pasta. Finish with the warm brioche budino with grappa-soaked raisins — just think of it as a digestif.

Yolan

Nashville scored big when this husband-and-wife culinary powerhouse moved to town (and when it got a see-thru cheese cave). James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano and wine/hospitality expert Cathy Mantuano brought Nashville the fine dining Italian menu it had been missing alongside standout service and a welcoming atmosphere inside the new Joseph Hotel. The chef’s tasting menu (plus expert wine pairings) is always a solid move, as are any and all of the pasta options. And save some room for pastry chef Noelle Marchetti’s jaw-dropping desserts.

Haas & Haas Photography | Yolan

Moto

Ask any local about their top three favorite Italian joints around town, and this Gulch date night contender consistently sweeps the list. And it’s no surprise — one look at the sleek midcentury modern decor, discreet wraparound booths, and warm candlelit glow practically clinches its spot on those lists. But the black spaghetti with lobster ragu and Heritage pork chop (with FatBack bacon) on the menu are proof that Moto has just as much substance as it has style.

Moto/Facebook

Valentino's Ristorante

Though they relocated from West End to Hayes Street, this Midtown staple has been serving up Italian classics to hungry locals for over 25 years. Think homemade lasagne with wild boar bolognese, bucatini, and cioppino.

PennePazze

This more casual, counter-service pizza and pasta spot sits on the street-facing side of the new L&L Market. On the menu, find plenty of pinsa (pizza) options plus signature pastas and salads

all available for dine-in, takeout, or delivery.

PennePazze/Facebook

Coco's Italian Market

Visitors can load up on fresh burrata, heaps of fettuccine with meatballs, and deep-dish timpano at this restaurant/market hybrid. Post-carb-feast served either indoors or on the covered patio, diners can enjoy a glass of wine or beer while perusing the Italian market. You can also find a smaller outpost at downtown’s Assembly Food Hall.

Amerigo Italian Restaurant

This longstanding West End location of the mini-chain is one of the only familiar restaurant faces in the area in this day and age. Here, find pizza, pasta, salads, and meaty entrees — plus an entire menu for gluten-sensitive diners, including a tasty peanut butter blondie made with rocky road ganache.

Amerigo/Facebook

Pastaria

The brainchild of chef Gerard Craft, Pastaria serves up some seriously craveable carbs from its bright and airy outpost in the OneC1ty complex. Watch as dishes like cacio e pepe, garganelli, and pistachio ravioli pile out fresh from Zane Dearien’s open kitchen. The grab-and-go gelato counter by the door is a nice touch, for a post-pasta sweet treat.

Spencer Pernikoff/Pastaria Nashville

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 some visual eye candy while plates like pappardelle alla Norcia with black truffles and tagliatelle with veal tempt the taste buds.

Giovanni/Facebook

Bella Napoli Pizzeria | Pizza Nashville

While Bella Napoli is known for its perfectly blistered pies using ingredients imported directly from Italy, the rest of the menu is worth its weight in pasta gold. Especially when it comes to dishes like rigatoni salsiccia and the pork saltimbocca with Parma prosciutto and fontina cheese. During happy hour, glasses of the house red or white go for $5; well drinks are only $4.

IL Forno

Chef Egidio Franciosa and partner Jannah Franciosa recently gave their popular mobile pizzeria a permanent location in Wedgewood-Houston, serving up Neapolitan-style pies like the diavola, topped with pomodoro, fior de latte, and calabrese salami. The menu doesn’t stop at pizza, though, folks are also raving about the restaurant’s carpaccio, antipasto spreads, and pasta features like the bucatini with wild-caught octopus ragu and cherry tomatoes.

IL Forno/Facebook

Caffé Nonna

Chef Daniel Maggipinto has been charming guests at this Sylvan Park eatery with his grandmother’s (the titular Nonna) traditional recipes for years. Starters like arancini and a hearty Tuscan bean soup segue smoothly into mains like mussels served fra diavolo or apulia-style with a saffron-tomato broth. There’s also a build-your-own pasta plate option featuring rigatoni, gnocchi, and risotto with an abundance of sauces, meats, veggies, and cheeses for topping.

Caffe Nonna/Facebook

Chrysalis Modern Italian

Chrysalis Modern Italian snuck into the Cool Springs/Corothers stretch in early 2021. It’s not your everyday mom-and-pop style Italian joint, but a cozy neighborhood restaurant dishing out create-your-own cheese/charcuterie boards alongside housemade rosemary focaccia, pasta, seafood, and meat specials with modern flair.

Chrysalis Modern Italian/Facebook

Related Maps

Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar

Culaccino, the culinary brainchild of chef Frank Pullara, officially opened its doors in early 2021, bringing downtown Franklin its very first outdoor bar. Standouts dishes include the scratch-made veal shoulder-stuffed ravioli marinating in bone marrow, robiola cheese, and butter sauce; “Nonna’s lentil soup” simmering with aromatic vegetables, San Marzano tomato and pecorino; and 72-hour fermented wood-fired pizzas like the “L’Arrosto” with slow-roasted pork, taleggio, arugula, and fennel pollen. “

Victoria Rosa, Retrospect Nashville

Related Maps