Life is all about exploring pasta-bilities and Tampa is filled with some of the best ones! Who doesn’t like the smell of fresh basil, truffle and parmesan? Italian food is the answer to everything, whether you’re looking for a spot for your first date or some comfort food on a table-for-one kind of day! Here is a list of the top 15 Italian places in Tampa!
1. Bella’s Italian Cafe
1413 S Howard Ave Ste 100, Tampa, FL
Whether you are planning a family dinner or a casual date night, Bella’s Italian Cafe is always the perfect spot. Start your meal with some fried ravioli and marinara dipping sauce, or the Formaggio al Forno and Caprese salad. The shrimp scampi with garlic, scallions, and crushed red pepper is some of the best in town! If you don’t eat meat, Bella’s got you covered with the Mateo’s Chicken which is plant-based or the vegetarian pizza with fresh veggie sausage, onion, and mushrooms. Other fan favorites include the veal scallopini and the Confetti Spaghetti!
1702 E 7th Ave, Ybor City, FL
If you’re looking for some of the freshest pasta in town, Bernini is your spot! The bruschetta and calamari are the dynamic duo that’ll give your meal a great start. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, the eggplant Bonano is a must try! The place has delicious soups that you can pair with a nice Caesar salad or Cigar City Chop. Fan favorite entrees include the Atlantic blackened salmon with spinach and zucchini and the roast chicken with grilled potatoes. The pastas that you definitely have to try are the veal lasagna, the spaghetti de la Grana, and the Parpadelle Bolognese.
514 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL
Bavaro’s is a trendy pizza spot in Tampa that has some great options on their menu!. The Tre-Carne pizza is one of the most popular dishes and is topped with the freshest fior di latte and San Marzano tomatoes. You could also get some wood-fired paninis if you’re not in the mood for pizza or pasta (are you really looking for an Italian spot?). The penne ala vodka is some of the best in town, and the eatery offers several great small plate options as well, like the ricotta meatballs made with ground beef and pork, wood-roasted gulf oysters, and avocado bruschetta.
4. Vino E Pasta
3603 W Gandy Blvd, Tampa, FL
Vino E Pasta is one of the best places in Tampa to have — you guessed it — wine and pasta. Some of our favorite pasta entrees include the Lasagna, the Cannelloni chicken, Penne ala vodka, and Pasta with clams and mussels. Popular chicken dishes include the Pollo Marsala, the Pollo Piccata, and the Piccata with veal. If you’re a seafood person, try the grilled snapper bruschetta or the snapper with champagne sauce and you will not be disappointed! The eatery also has an extensive selection of red and white wines to offer a perfect pairing for your dinner!
5. Timpano Italian Chophouse
1610 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL
Timpano Italian Chophouse is the go-to-spot for a delicious and authentic Italian dinner. Start your meal with skillet clams with sea salt, rosemary, and fresh garlic, or try the fried calamari with sweet Pomodoro sauce. You can also choose from the chef’s soup of the day or the traditional minestrone soup filled with fresh vegetables. Popular salads include the BLT with Cajun bacon, arugula, and fresh mozzarella, and the Wedge salad with grape tomatoes and blue cheese is an amazing side dish as well. The restaurant has also perfected their flatbreads and seafood dishes like the roasted salmon and the pan-seared scallops.
6. Ground Foods Cafe
6428 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL
Ground Foods Cafe is one of the best Italian restaurants Tampa has to offer, especially if you’re looking for vegan options! The table bread with olive oil is a wonderful way to start your meal, followed by the House salad or the Caesar salad. Some of the specials at this spot are the eatery’s square pizzas. The vegan sausage pizza topped with almond ricotta or the Margherita with cashew mascarpone cheese are delicious! Pasta entrees include the carbonara in a creamy garlic cashew sauce and the bolognese made with seitan crumbles. Save space for dessert because the vegan chocolate olive oil cake topped with coconut whipped cream is a true delicacy!
1208 E Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL
Cena is a beautiful Tampa restaurant with some great food bursting with flavor! Be sure to start your meal with the crispy eggplant or fried artichokes. Cena offers several delicious salads as well, like the house salad with tomatoes and gorgonzola, or the baby kale Caesar with chickpeas. The truffle mushroom risotto is some of the best in town and the risotto with shrimp and scallops is also mind-blowing. Other fan favorites include the oxtail and the potato gnocchi entree in a tomato braising sauce.
8. Donatello Italian Restaurant
232 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33609
If you are looking for some old school fine dining, you need to check out Donatello! With the great service and amazing ambiance, you are sure to feel like royalty at this spot! The Carpaccio di Filetto, thinly sliced raw beef tenderloin with parmesan cheese, capers, and onions, is delicious. Another favorite is the Ostriche Gratinate, fresh oysters cooked with garlic, breadcrumbs, and parsley. The place has a large variety of pasta, fish, steak, and more. You will leave here full and satisfied and all ladies are handed a fresh rose at the exit!
9. Caffé Paradiso
4205 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33611
If you are looking for a classic Italian meal at an upscale spot, Caffé Paradiso is the place for you. The chefs here take pride in their work and everything is as flavorful as it looks. They also have daily specials so there will always be something fresh and new to try. The burrata makes for a wonderful, light appetizer so you can save some room for a heavy pasta entree. Each dish on the menu at Caffé Paradiso is fresh, authentic, and sure to have you coming back for more.
10. Osteria Natalina
3215 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33629
The next spot on our list is a hidden gem you won’t want to miss! A small restaurant with big flavor, Osteria Natalina is definitely a place worth checking out! Always authentic, always fresh and always portions that will leave you full and happy. For appetizers, Le Cozze alla “Cappa Style,” black mussels are great, and for the entree try the Ravioli All’ Aragosta, which is lobster and ricotta cheese stuffed ravioli, aka heaven on a plate. End your delicious Italian meal with the canolois and a nice hot cappuccino!
11. Oggi Italian
236 E Davis Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606
Oggi is a go-to-spot for wonderful Italian food with a more relaxed vibe. They can accommodate large parties so this is the perfect spot for a birthday party or a work event! Their outdoor seating makes you feel like you’re in the streets of Italy enjoying an authentic meal. For the best experience, try the grilled octopus or the charcuterie board with the chef’s choice of meats and cheeses for your appetizer. For entrees, the creamy smoked salmon or the palermo style pistachio chicken cutlets are both wonderful choices. You could also take the classic route and order the sausage rigatoni and enjoy meal that will knock your socks off.
323 W Palm Ave, Tampa, FL 33602
Whether it’s a special occasion or you simply want to go out for a nice meal, Rocca is the place to be. You will want to make reservations as this place fills up pretty fast, and rightfully so! The ambiance is on point, from the mood lighting in different spots, to the trendy decor throughout the restaurant. You have to, without a doubt, order the Mozzarella Cart for the table to share. Your server will prepare the dish right in front of you and it’s not only a great experience, but it also tastes as delicious as it looks. They have several wonderful pasta dishes like the Gnocchi and Tortello all’ Uovo, as well as meat and fish entrees that taste so good!
1727 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
A real Italian gem in Tampa, La Terrazza has some of the most authentic Italian food and the perfect atmosphere to go with it! This is a go-to-spot for date nights, brunches with friends, or even family dinners. The menu itself will leave your mouth watering but don’t even think of leaving before trying some of their fan favorite dishes! The Penne Alla Vodka, Lobster Ravioli, and Veal Marsala are must tries. La Terrazza also has the perfect list of wines to pair with the delicious food. All in all, this spot will always be a great time!
1724 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL, 33605
A family run pizza and pasta bar, Due Amici takes pride in its famous handcrafted sauces and their pizza dough made completely in-house! The place has a great vibe and super friendly staff. You have to start your meal with the Mozzarella Sticks and end it with the New York Style Cannolis! Our favorite entrees are pizza, pizza, and pizza. Oops, did we just repeat ourselves? No kidding, you must try Due Amici’s Buffalo Chicken Pizza, the Classic Pepperoni, and the Supreme. The Chicken Parm is also absolutely delicious and a must-try!
142 S Meridian Ave, Tampa, FL, 33602
If we’re talking about pizza, there’s no way our next spot would go unnoticed! Fabrica is another great spot to check out if you’re craving some pizza. Made with the freshest ingredients, the wide range of pizzas here are mouth-watering. Fabrica has a list of pizzas that they are particularly proud of, so order from the list and you definitely won’t be disappointed! Some of these favorites are the Carni, Funghi, Verdura, and Polpette Pesto.
Editors Note: This article was originally published on April 22, 2021 and last updated on November 29, 2021. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.