Any restaurant that turns out a lasagna like the one pictured above has got to be jockeying to be the Best Italian Restaurant in Dallas. And it turns out Carbone's, the Italian restaurant responsible for that plate up above, won just that award in our recent Best Of Dallas feature that celebrates exemplary everything around the city and beyond.
There's plenty of red sauce to be found, but none of it ever seems to be plated this prettily. The tomatoes in that sauce pop with flavor, and beneath those sheets of tender pasta are layer after layer of soft melted cheese and plenty of spinach. Prefer meat? There's a bolognese version, and then there are sandwiches, salads and loads of other pasta dishes, too.
But don't think Carbone's is the only Italian restaurant that's welcome in The Family. Here are four more that could have made the cut.
Lucia The only thing that keeps Lucia from winning Best Italian year after year is the size of you bill when you're done eating there. Not every meal can be this extravagant an expense, but when you're flush and craving some hand-rolled pasta, this is the place to order it. No reservation? Show up early and try to grab one of the stools at the back of the dining room. They're always open, first come first served.
Nonna Think of Nonna as Lucia's younger, rebellious sibling. The cooking is a little less authentic, but then it's also a little more inventive; it's a fair trade. Whatever you do, don't skip the dessert. Some of the best happy endings in the city can be had here.
Urbano Cafe Urbano doesn't present itself as a distinctly Italian restaurant, but if you look at the menu, it's all there. Just look at that bowl of pasta drenched in meat sauce. All you can say is Mamma Mia.
Maggiano's I'm going to catch hell for this one but I'm not alone in my opinion. If you want the stick-to-your-bones kind of Italian cookery that made Tony Soprano round-shaped, this is one of your better options in Dallas. Yes, I'm talking to you! Most of the red sauce joints in DFW fall well short, and I don't care if I end up sleeping with the fishes for saying so. Stack Maggiano's up against something like Patrizio in Highland Park and ... oh, wait. That place closed.