Best Of Dallas

12 Best Italian Restaurants in Dallas

Bucatani alla Carbonara from 400 Gradi
Bucatani alla Carbonara from 400 Gradi Alison McClean
For many, few things are as comforting as a bowl of pasta. With that in mind, we've put together a list of great Italian restaurants around Dallas. So, grab your bib and a carafe of chianti and enjoy.

400 Gradi

2000 Ross Ave. (Downtown)
Since opening his original location of 400 Gradi in Melbourne, Australia, in 2008, founder and chef Johnny Di Francesco has worked to ensure his Italian food is as authentic as possible. The restaurant made its U.S. debut in 2019 in downtown Dallas, and while the pizza is certainly a focus of the menu, there is so much more to indulge in here. Among the best sellers are the mozarelle fritte ($13), salami board ($28), insalata bistecca ($19) and tagliatelle alla Bolognese ($20). If the temperatures aren’t soaring outside, be sure to grab a seat on the spacious, shaded patio.

Adelmo’s Ristorante

5450 W. Lovers Lane (Park Cities)
Adelmo Banchetti started his career in the food and beverage world at the age of 16. His work took him around the world, and in 1989, he and wife Eliza opened Adelmo’s Ristorante. More than 30 years later, they still offer cuisine inspired by various Italian and Mediterranean regions. Nightly specials are available in addition to classic veal, seafood, beef, chicken and pasta dishes. If you’re a fan of veal, try the scaloppini al limone ($39), which has tender pieces of Provimi veal served in a lemon caper sauce. The ambiance makes for a great date night, and the service is top-notch.

Carbone’s Fine Food and Wine

4208 Oak Lawn Ave. (Oak Lawn)
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Bolognese from Carbone's Fine Food and Wine
Chris Wolfgang
Not to be confused with the restaurant of the same name without the apostrophe, Carbone’s Fine Food and Wine is part Italian specialty food store and part restaurant with counter service. The place is filled with gourmet products sourced from small, high-end purveyors or prepared in-house. It's an ideal spot to find olive oils, wines and imported meats and cheeses. In addition to house specialties like hand-pulled pastas and fresh antipasti, you can get Italian sandwiches or pasta dishes made-to-order.

The Charles

1632 Market Center Blvd. (Design District)
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Ricotta gnudi at The Charles
Alison McLeans
Looking for an eclectic and eccentric Italian dining experience? The Charles is your place, with fabulous interior design, a wood-fired grill, fantastic people-watching and house-made pasta. Along with aspects of traditional Italian fare incorporated into the menu, you'll find unusual dishes such as charred octopus, lemon ricotta gnudi and pork blade chop. Be sure to save room for dessert because the affogato float with brown butter crumbs, caramel gelato and nitro cold brew should not be missed.

Eataly

8687 N. Central Expressway (NorthPark Center)
Eataly is an Italian lover’s dream come true. Located in NorthPark Center, the 46,000-square-foot, three-story space encompasses 10,000 local and Italian products, three restaurants and a cooking school. On the main floor, you’ll find La Pizza and La Pasta, which focuses on authentic Neapolitan pizza and pasta. You’ll also find Il Pastaio, a pasta and wine bar. Customers can order fresh pasta and watch chefs make it. The third-floor rooftop holds Terra, a restaurant with a wood-burning grill offering seasonal dishes, pastas, spiedinis (grilled skewers), smoked cocktails and an extensive wine selection. No time for a sit-down meal? Head to the walk-up counters where you can order sandwiches, pizzas, desserts and espressos to go.

Il Bracco

8416 Preston Center Plaza (Park Cities)
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Crispy baby artichokes
Courtesy of Il Bracco
Nestled among fancy shops like Kendra Scott and Bachendorf’s in Preston Center is Il Bracco, the perfect place to lunch with the ladies and enjoy a glass of Champagne or rosé while indulging in homemade pasta and other Italian fare. The crispy baby artichokes ($17) with olive aioli and fresh-squeezed lemon is a perfect start to a meal and is the most popular appetizer at Il Bracco. The pasta is homemade, including five different styles and five sauces. The cacio e pepe ($19) is saucy and spectacular, and the pasta al limone ($23) is especially refreshing on a hot summer day.

La Stella Cucina Verace

2330 Flora St. (Arts District)
La Coda, an oxtail tomato and white wine sauce served with rigatoni
Chris Wolfgang
Looking for an authentic upscale Italian place to dine before an evening at the symphony or the opera? Look no further than La Stella Cucina Verace. It's led by executive chef Luigi Iannuario, and the menu offers comforting recipes with a modern twist from regions across Italy. Start your culinary journey here with an antipasto (appetizer) like the Che Burrata ($19) with Sicilian sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, leek and garlic chips. For the first course, try the Spartacus ($54) made with imported pasta from Gragnano Napoli,  fresh lobster, herbs and tomatoes. And if you’ve got room left for a secondi dish, the Tagliata di Manzo ($57), a 10-ounce dry-aged New York strip, sliced and drizzled with aged balsamic, Parmigiano and arugula, is a great choice.

Lucia

218 N. Bishop Ave. (Bishop Arts District)
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They even spin vinyl at Lucia.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
At one time, getting a reservation here was nearly impossible, but Lucia has more availability now thanks to its relocation to a larger space around the corner from the original. The restaurant still epitomizes everything that is romantic about Old World Italian food, only on a slightly larger scale. The menu, consisting of antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci, changes frequently and allows you to explore new items with each visit. Many dishes you won’t find anywhere else, such as fois gras-stuffed prunes and tonnarelli with Gorgonzola, walnuts and crispy shallots. Party tip: try the brown butter Old Fashioned.

Monarch

1401 Elm St. (Downtown Dallas)
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Whole Maine lobster spaghetti at Monarch
Hank Vaughn
Monarch is a wood-fired, modern Italian restaurant on the 49th floor of The National building in downtown Dallas. You'll enjoy beautiful city views while feasting on a menu that is the ultimate expression of luxury. The starters alone could steal the show, from wood oven-roasted tiger prawns ($38) to Spanish grilled octopus ($22) and giant prawn and king crab cocktail ($68). But save room because the house-made pastas and main entrées are memorable. Popular options include shrimp scampi ravioli ($30) and the crispy veal chop Parmesan ($58). Can’t decide what to order? For $290 per person, you can sit back and experience the best of Monarch's menu without having to decide for yourself.

Nonna

4115 Lomo Alto Drive (Park Cities)
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Nonna's stuffed quail
Kathy Tran
The first restaurant of chef Julian Barsotti’s dining empire, Nonna has been serving fresh pasta and some of the finest Italian fare in Highland Park since 2006. A wood-burning oven is the centerpiece of the restaurant, which also houses a yakitori grill for cooking meats like quail and rabbit. If you’re craving pizza, Nonna serves a white clam pie ($20) that has a creamy layer of garlic and caramelized Vidalia onions with chunks of sweet clam meat. The menu changes often with the seasons but ordering at least one item from the rotating pasta menu is highly recommended. With the usual 10 or so options from which to choose, it's unlikely that you will be disappointed with any of them.

Partenope Ristorante

1903 Main St. (Downtown Dallas)
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Margherita pizza at Partenope
Alison McLean
Named Best Italian Restaurant in the Observer’s Best of 2020 issue, Partenope is still killing it when it comes to Neapolitan pizzas, homemade pastas and fresh salads. Chef-owner Dino Santonicola is originally from Naples and knows a thing or two when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine. Leave room for one of the incredible pasta dishes, like spaghetti alla carbonara ($18) or cacio e pepe. And if you’re interested in learning how to make a Neapolitan pizza, sign up for an hour-long class held on Saturday afternoons.

Terilli’s Restaurant and Bar

2815 Greenville Ave. (Lower Greenville)
Terilli's is a family-owned restaurant that has been turning out solid Italian cuisine for more than 35 years. Located in the heart of Lower Greenville, it’s a romantic and casual spot. One of the signature dishes is the Italchos (Italian nachos), which have chips of fried pizza dough covered in red sauce, cheese and an assortment of toppings from which to choose. A variety of breads and bruschetta range from the classic to steak and Gorgonzola. The meat lasagna ($21) is a combination of Italian sausage, slow-roasted brisket and a cheese blend in the family’s red sauce. The Godiva dream ($15) is the perfect ending to the meal, with vanilla gelato and white chocolate liquor.

Bonus Pick:
Valentino’s Ristorante Italiano

2507 Lakeview Parkway (Rowlett)
Valentino’s is a family-owned and operated authentic Italian restaurant and when we say family-owned, expect to see cousins, nieces and nephews of the owner working here. It's a casual and moderately priced establishment where shorts and flip-flops are acceptable. Complimentary garlic rolls are brought out to each table and we highly recommend splurging on the garlic dip ($5) with freshly minced garlic, basil, olive oil and red pepper flakes. All their pasta dishes are fantastic, but our favorite dish, which is not even on the regular menu, is the salmon piccata, served with sweet red peppers, capers, artichokes and spaghetti in a lemon-butter garlic sauce. Other popular items include the Fuggedaboutit, a spicy dish with chicken, shrimp, sausage, mushrooms and roasted red peppers with bowtie pasta in a creamy lobster sauce. 
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Angie Quebedeaux is a freelance food writer for the Observer. A "ragin' Cajun" from Lafayette, she's been in Dallas since 2002. She is an HR director by day and loves to “laissez les bon temps rouler.”