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What Makes a Good Italian Restaurant?

Where can I find the best Italian restaurant near me? This is a question that Italian cuisine connoisseurs ask themselves every day. As lovers of all things Italian, restaurant owners, and foodies, we take quality Italian restaurants seriously. In fact, we spent years exploring Italy and absorbing its authenticity and organic flavors to create our own modern versions of the dishes we loved the most. And we still aren’t done! 

As former Bravo’s Top Chef contestants, we’ve dined at some of the finest and most authentic Italian restaurants around the world. We believe in being lifelong learners of our craft and have taken extensive notes on what it takes to have the best Italian restaurant. After years of tasting the best Italian cuisine, we’ve put together a few recommendations. 

How to Find the Best Italian Restaurant Near Me

We’ve done the hard work of tasting delicious Italian food around the world and have come back with numerous insights on discovering the best Italian restaurant in your area. After consulting with many authentic Italian chefs and welding many forkfuls of spaghetti garnished with authentic parmesan cheese, we’ve gathered recommendations on what you should look for in a quality Italian restaurant. You’ll want to save this somewhere on your smartphones for future use when you are traveling: 

Authenticity  

Before you walk out your front door to dine at Italian restaurants, you should check for authenticity. Otherwise, it’s not worth the trip if you could make an Italian dish at home while remaining in your pajamas and watching Netflix. For the real thing, you’ll want to check if the restaurant provides authentic Italian food. If not, it’s best to save your money. 

Tasty and Authentic Italian Pasta and Pizza

Research

This leads us to our next important observation. To ensure authenticity, you’ll have to do some homework. We all have easy access to smartphones nowadays and can get a list of the best authentic Italian restaurants in our area through a quick Google search online. Reviews are a transparent way of establishing whether Italian restaurants are good or not so they are a good reference when choosing the best one. Another great place to check if your chosen location is the best italian restaurant is their social media presence. Everyone is on social media these days so chances are high that the restaurant you’re interested in has a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter presence that will give you a good idea of what the locals think. 

Dining hours

Do you plan on visiting Italy? We love Italy, especially the plethora of authentic Italian restaurants! Even in Italy, you’ll find fake and subpar Italian restaurants posing as the real thing. You’ll want to look for authentic Italian restaurants that are not open all day long. Bonafide Italian restaurants only serve during specific times because Italians are picky about meal times. Typically, you’ll see true Italian restaurants open for lunch between the house of 12:00 pm and 2:30 pm. Dinner hours are usually scheduled between 7:30 pm and 11:00 pm. When you see an Italian restaurant open all day, it is not the real thing. 

Warning signs

There are certain warning signs you should be aware of when looking for authentic Italian restaurants. First, if the host is overly friendly, you may want to make a detour. Secondly, if the menu is in English, it is not authentically Italian. Lastly, if you are given a welcome drink on the house, it’s time to run. Authentic Italian restaurants are generally fully booked with reservations and may not have a table available for you. You’ll also notice a number of Italians enjoying authentically Italian food. 

No pictures

Authentic Italian food places do not have pictures on their menus. It’s just not something that is done. There is more of an emphasis on great service than expertly staged Italian dishes in pictures. Italian restaurants that use pictures in their menus are looking for a way to lure customers to spend more money than they should on inauthentic Italian cuisine. Don’t waste your time or money at these places. 

Only Italian

The best Italian restaurants only serve Italian food. You won’t find cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, fries, or pad thai on an authentic Italian restaurant menu. If the menu is translated into numerous other languages, it is a sign that they cater to tourists and are not truly authentic. 

Seasonal 

Authentic Italian food varies from region to region and a true Italian restaurant will reflect this with seasonal and fresh ingredients. Every region has its own unique Italian flavor that is defined by the seasonal produce and other staples characteristic of the area. You’ll know the establishment is authentic if the menu reflects and highlights seasonal items. 

Pizza for lunch

In America, we have pizza any time of day or year. You can find recipes for a variety of pizzas including breakfast, gluten-free, and everything in between. Italians do not do this. In fact, it may surprise you that it is not an item that is regularly consumed for lunch. Like many other Italian dishes that are served at specific times, pizza is a dish that is served after 9 pm at a pizzeria for Italians. For Italians, pizza should be cooked by a pizza expert in a wood-burning oven. It should be consumed immediately after it’s cooked and never considered takeout. If you run into an Italian restaurant that serves pizza for lunch, it caters to tourists. 

Italian Pizza Is Cooked in a Wood-Fired Oven.

Ambiance

When you pay good money for great food, you want a great experience. When searching for the best Italian restaurant, you’ll want to know what to expect from the ambiance. You can get a good idea of an authentic Italian restaurant’s ambiance from its pictures posted on the website but you don’t really know until you arrive. If you feel uncomfortable or don’t care for the location, the quality of the food will be meaningless.

Service

Great Italian food places provide exceptional service. The way the staff treats you from the moment you enter the restaurant makes a huge difference in your overall experience. Timely and attentive service coupled with great authentic Italian food can make or break your dining experience. 

One of the Best Italian Restaurants in Miami

Speaking of finding the best Italian restaurants, our restaurant brings authentic Italian cuisine to you with a modern twist. When you dine with us, you’ll notice exceptional service with an unmatched Miami ambiance. Our menu features stone oven artisanal pizza ready to consume immediately with traditional Italian cocktails and premium wines from our Reserve Selection. Our most popular dishes like Mama’s Meatballs and Not Your Nonna’s Bolognese will send your taste buds on a trip to Bologna. When you return, you’ll want to finish your evening with something light and sweet from our dessert menu like Tiramisu, Baked Ricotta Cheesecake, or any one of our gelato flavors. 

Have you wondered “where is the best Italian restaurant near me during the week”? We welcome you to dine with us during the week and take advantage of our one-of-a-kind promotional specials every day. On Monday, start the week off with friends over half-priced bottles of wine. Come back on Tuesday for specials on 11-inch signature gourmet pizzas. You’ll want to make another trip on Wednesday for $12 pasta dishes. Monday through Friday, pair your pizza and pasta with happy hour specials on your favorite drinks from 4 pm to 6 pm. 

Check out our website for live jazz events and take your Italian experience to the next level and give us a call to reserve your table today!

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