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Get ready to embark on a pasta-filled journey as I take you through the best Italian restaurants in Tampa! From classic trattorias serving up hearty plates of pasta to cozy family-owned joints dishing out mouthwatering pizzas, Tampa’s Italian dining scene has something to satisfy every craving.
So grab your appetite and join me as we explore the flavors of Italy right here in Tampa!
Best Italian restaurants in Tampa
Rocca is serving up a slice of Italy with a sprinkle of Michelin stardust right in Tampa Heights! Imagine mozzarella being spun like whimsical edible silk right at your table, fresh handmade pasta that’s so on point, it’ll have your taste buds singing operatic praises, and a wine list so grand, you’d think you were dining with Dionysus himself. Oh, and let’s not forget about those dry-aged meats, which are basically an RSVP to a carnivore’s paradise.
Rocca presents an invigorating twist on classic Italian dishes, whisked to life by the fresh, local ingredients. The atmosphere is electric—perfect for a lively dinner with friends or a romantic night out. The pasta, made daily from scratch, is a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to authenticity and quality.
This isn’t just one of the best Italian restaurants in Tampa, but one of the best restaurants overall!
Olivia in Tampa is like that best friend who never lets you down. It’s a local gem where even the pickiest eaters become loyal fans. It’s tough to find someone who’s dined here and hasn’t walked away absolutely smitten.
Each dish that comes out of Olivia’s kitchen is like a little love letter from Italy, but with a fun, modern flourish that keeps locals coming back for more!
Olivia has this knack for taking the freshest ingredients and folding them into dishes in a way that feels both traditional and brand new. Take the mini rigatoni and grape bruschetta—talk about a taste revelation! And their artisanal pizzas are nothing short of a crispy, smoky hug from their wood-fired oven. Go ahead, try not to become an Olivia’s enthusiast—I dare you!
3. Oggi Italian
Step right up to the charming, rustic doors of Oggi Italian on Davis Island, and prepare to be wowed by a tavern where ‘locally sourced’ and ‘made with amore’ are the secret ingredients!
This cozy, authentic Italian restaurant is a treasure trove for foodies—a place where mozzarella is stretched, kneaded, and crafted into creamy bliss on the daily
We started our meal with their amazing Caprese. It’s dressed with sweety drop peppers and starring the house’s fresh mozzarella! Your taste buds will be seduced by their butternut squash ravioli; it’s nothing short of divine!
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, each pasta dish arrives with its very own entourage: a fresh salad, a warm baguette, and a shot of espresso to end your meal on a high note. Plus, with a nod to inclusive dining, gluten-free pasta, and zoodles make an appearance on the menu, ensuring everyone can dig into the delightful dishes!
Vintage glamour and fine dining collide at Donatello. From the moment you step through the doors, you’re enveloped in an atmosphere that’s rich with history and passion for cuisine.
The professional staff, adorned in tuxedos, serve up a slice of Italy with a side of live jazz, making for an unforgettable experience. You’ll find live jazz and current hits in their buzzing piano bar, the San Marco Lounge, every single night!
Indulge in their succulent veal chop or the tortellini pana prosciutto piselli, and you’ll understand why Donatello is a beacon of Italian dining in Tampa.
In the realm of Tampa’s Italian dining scene, Timpano is somewhat divisive— you either love it or you don’t. But let me tell you, their tableside pesto is the stuff of legend and a spectacle to behold. It presents buoyant flavors intertwined in a dance of garlic, basil, and pine nuts, ceremoniously spun within a grand wheel of parmesan cheese. In my humble opinion, it’s one of the best places to eat in Hyde Park.
Among its many cocktail offerings, their espresso martinis stand out as a real treat, layered with rich flavors. The buzz and energy of the bar area contrast beautifully with the dining space, which whispers intimacy and romance, crafting a seamless environment for any occasion. Whether it’s a romantic evening for two or a lively gathering with friends, this Italian restaurant in Tampa is perfect for any occasion!
Tucked away in the Westshore Marina District, Vela emerges as an ode to Italian and Mediterranean culinary artistry, pairing its inventive dishes with a selection of worldly wines and fabulous crafted cocktails.
From the Roasted Cauliflower Za’atar that infuses an aromatic Middle Eastern twist to the perfect al dente twirl of Cacio y Pepe pasta, leavened with peppery notes and rich cheese, you’re sure to find a plate you fancy. The delicious chicken kabobs skewer rounds out an already diverse menu.
Fellow mezcal lovers will enjoy the Mezcal Marino cocktail which adds a sophisticated smolder to the dining experience. And for a satisfying crescendo to a delicious meal, enjoy a sweet assortment of Macarons alongside a sharp espresso martini!
7. Casa Santo Stefano
At Casa Santo Stefano, you’re not just a customer; you’re familia. Reminiscent of a Sicilian home, the restaurant prides itself on dishes that are deeply rooted in tradition and heart. The space buzzes with the energy of a family gathering, and the menu is a love letter to Sicily.
Kick things off with a platter from their impressive antipasti selection, where every morsel is a little hello from the Mediterranean. Then, dive into the kind of homemade pasta that dreams are made of—the lasagna Bolognese is an iconic choice with layer upon layer of flavor as rich as the history of its Sicilian roots.
And dessert? You better believe you’re finishing with a heavenly slice of tiramisu, a symphony in the form of a cannoli, or a scoop of creamy gelato!
8. Bernini of Ybor
If you’re on the hunt for the best restaurants in Ybor City, a stop at Bernini of Ybor is a must. This Tampa gem is not just about savoring the finest Italian fare; it’s an experience wrapped in the ambiance of Ybor City’s storied past. Settle into this historical haven located in the proud old Bank of Ybor City.
You’re in for a feast of epic proportions, especially during their epic happy hour that has locals and visitors alike buzzing with excitement. Hello, $3 martinis and 50% off pastas and entrees from 4 pm to 7 pm!
Remi and I swung by and we just couldn’t help ourselves—the dirty martini and espresso martini were amazing. Their chicken parmesan was a love affair in a dish. And the calamari? Light, crispy, and a testament to how seafood should be done! This is an Italian restaurant in Tampa you’re not going to want to miss.
And finally, we slice into Forbici. This is where modern innovation meets classic technique. The restaurant’s focus is on delivering a unique take on Italian staples, with a spotlight on house-made ingredients.
Here, you’ll be surrounded by the buzz of happy chatter and the occasional serenade from a local band. My absolute Forbici fave is their calamari! Oh, it’s not just any calamari; it’s an $8 happy hour hero, a daily delicacy from 3 PM to 6 PM, that has me swooning every single time. Tender, crispy, and seasoned to perfection, good luck having just one bite!
Plus, their Erica kale salad with its perfect crunch and tangy punch is like a fresh high-five to your mouth. But the feasting doesn’t stop there—after you’ve conquered the appetizers, there’s plenty of pasta and pizzas calling your name. Whatever your pick at this spirited Italian spot, you’re in for a treat!
Are you ready to experience the best Italian restaurants in Tampa?
Whether you’re in search of the heartiest lasagna, the most tender osso bucco, or the freshest fettuccine, these top Italian restaurants in Tampa offer all this and molto di più (much more)! Buon appetite!
Side note: Predalina is Mediterranean cuisine, but it is one of the best places to eat in downtown Tampa and serves one of my favorite pasta dishes I’ve had in Tampa Bay
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