9 Italian Restaurants Breathing New Life Into Classic Cuisine

There's more to Italian food than never-ending pasta bowls and cheap delivery pizza. Each of these restaurants takes painstaking care to uphold the traditions of this cuisine, keeping the Italian legacy alive while adding their own spin on classic dishes. The result is vibrant, delicious food made from fresh ingredients that delivers something you won't forget. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Restaurants Serving Delectable Italian Food

Name Location
Marta New York, NY
Michael's on Naples Long Beach, CA
Anaheim White House Restaurant Anaheim, CA
Alidoro New York, NY
Quality Italian Steakhouse New York, NY & Denver, CO
Jianna Greenville, SC
Love & Salt Manhattan Beach, CA
Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse Boston, New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Irvine
Nostrana Portland, OR

Chicken Parm Pizza at Quality Italian

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In Depth

In the United States, Italian food is one of the most familiar and beloved styles. But this cuisine has a lot to offer beyond just the neighborhood red sauce joint. This list, presented in no particular order, looks at Italian restaurants across the country that are pushing things forward.

#1 on the list is Marta, located at The Redbury New York hotel just north of Madison Square Park in Manhattan. Chef Lena Ciardullo's food is inspired by the rustic cooking of Rome and the season's freshest local produce. She's best known for family-style roasts, grilled seafood, and vegetables cooked over open fire, alongside thin, crackly-crusted pizzas.

Cultivating warmth and communal energy, the restaurant is a central gathering place for the neighborhood. It shares a building with two other Roman-style eateries from the same restaurant group. These spots offer a transporting taste of the Eternal City. Caffe Marchio pays homage to the city's stand-up coffee bars, and Vini e Fritti celebrates the culture of the Roman wine bar, coupled with fried snacks.

Cultivating warmth and communal energy, the restaurant is a central gathering place for the neighborhood.

At #2, Michael's On Naples in Long Beach, California partners with local farms to source fresh, seasonal produce. Its team is committed to making everything from scratch, from pasta to sauces, mozzarella to gelato. They know where everything on your plate came from and believe it's your right to know as well. It has been Zagat rated multiple years in a row.

Serving dinner and brunch, and offering a full-service bar, the menu features a chef's tasting, as well as a la carte items like pastas, antipasti, salads, and a variety of mains. The restaurant hosts monthly events, such as Meatball Monday, and both the dining room and rooftop lounge are available for private functions. Michael's Dining Group maintains a handful of other Long Beach eateries.

#3, Anaheim White House Restaurant, is an Italian steak and seafood house in Orange County, California. Located in a 1909 national historic landmark building, it was opened in 1987 by chef Bruno Serato, a native of San Bonifacio, Italy. In addition to the meat and seafood items, the menu features classic fare like pasta, pizza, and calamari.

In addition to the meat and seafood items, the menu features classic fare like pasta, pizza, and calamari.

Boasting of being the only restaurant in the world that serves more than 5000 free dinners to children in need every night, the restaurant is also home to the Caterina's Club charity, which provides warm meals, affordable housing assistance, and job training to homeless and low-income families throughout Southern California.

In the #4 position, Alidoro is an Italian specialty sandwich shop originally founded in 1986 in the heart of New York City's Soho neighborhood. Now with additional locations in Midtown Manhattan, it offers 40 different sandwiches made fresh daily from authentic Italian ingredients. It has been called the best sandwich shop in New York by Zagat.

The menu features signature sandwiches, both cold and hot, as well as the option to build your own. All locations also serve salads. The restaurant's cheesesteak, made with truffle cream sauce and sirloin steak, has drawn particular attention. It has been praised in outlets like Thrillist, The Infatuation, Insider, and Time Out New York. Alidoro offers a full catering menu and hosts private events.

The restaurant's cheesesteak, made with truffle cream sauce and sirloin steak, has drawn particular attention.

Coming in at #5, Quality Italian is a modern take on the Italian-American steakhouse tradition. It references the flavors, style and tableside flair of this classic genre with unique design and food that appeals to contemporary tastes. Based in Midtown Manhattan, there's a second location in Denver. It has a sister restaurant, Quality Meats, based on old world butcher shops.

On top of the steak dishes, the menu offers pasta, salad, greens, and fish. Featuring a full bar, it also serves cocktails and items from the raw bar. Both locations have drawn a lot of attention, with coverage in The New York Times, The Denver Post, and other major publications. The Manhattan outlet functions as a swanky event space for meetings, presentations, and social gatherings.

For #6, we've got Jianna. In the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina, it's a modern Italian Osteria with a bustling open kitchen and an unpretentious and approachable style. Renowned chef Michael Kramer draws his inspiration from the cuisine's classic dishes, using fresh, seasonal ingredients from farmers, artisans and friends throughout the region.

Renowned chef Michael Kramer draws his inspiration from the cuisine's classic dishes, using fresh, seasonal ingredients from farmers, artisans and friends throughout the region.

The team makes pasta in-house daily. A lunch menu features sandwiches and panini. Main dishes for dinner include items like steak tagliata and pan roasted red snapper. A raw bar serves oysters from all over the country on a regular basis. Among a full range of drinks, Jianna highlights Negroni-inspired cocktails.

In the #7 spot, Love and Salt, located in the Manhattan Beach section of Los Angeles's South Bay, works from the philosophy that food needs only two ingredients to be great. That sensibility informs the feeling in the restaurant and the dishes on the menu, Italian fare with SoCal flair. An approachable wine list and classic cocktail program also reflect its pier-side setting.

Menu items include wood oven meatballs, whole roasted branzino, roasted chicken, prime ribeye, and a range of pastas. Love and Salt offers catering with a large selection of food options and opens its space for private dining and special events. The team has been praised in wide press coverage, with notices in outlets such as Eater and KTLA.

Love and Salt offers catering with a large selection of food options and opens its space for private dining and special events.

The #8 entry is Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse. First opened in 1985 in Boston's Back Bay by ambitious young chef Steve DiFillippo, it has grown into a chain with more than ten locations across the country. The idea behind the restaurant was simple, regional Italian foods with a focus on the grill. Everything is made by hand with high-quality ingredients.

Davio's serves everything from aged steaks to straightforward, yet unique pasta creations. The philosophy of simplicity is mirrored in both the kitchen and the dining room, which is managed by an expert and attentive staff. DiFillippo, who in 2008 was inducted to the Massachusetts Restaurant Hall of Fame, has published a book called It's All About the Guest to share his wisdom about the industry.

Concluding the list at #9, Portland, Oregon's Nostrana lets farmers and ingredients drive the menu. It specializes in wood-fired, hand-tossed pizzas, creative seasonal pastas, robust meat and fish dishes, and an award-winning selection of wines from Italy and the Northwest. The team is led by Executive Chef Brian Murphy and General Manager Tellina Kuhlman.

It specializes in wood-fired, hand-tossed pizzas, creative seasonal pastas, robust meat and fish dishes, and an award-winning selection of wines from Italy and the Northwest.

After opening in 2005, it was quickly named restaurant of the year by The Oregonian. The restaurant, and six-time James Beard Award finalist owner Cathy Whims, have been featured in outlets like Food and Wine and Saveur. Dinner and lunch menus change daily, evolving with the seasons, and in line with what purveyors have to offer, but there are recurring themes, such as Meatball Monday and Fish Friday.