From coast to coast, F&W’s editors know where to find the best and most authentic Italian restaurants—often in unexpected places.

* Boston

Giacomo’s Restaurant
Recommended by: Jen Murphy, Associate Editor
Giacomo’s is in the North End and is totally no-frills: They don’t take reservations (and there’s always a line), payment is cash only and the dining room is super-tiny (lingering over your meal is strongly discouraged). But the food is amazing. I always get the super-light fried calamari appetizer and the butternut squash ravioli in mascarpone cheese sauce.
DETAILS: 355 Hanover St.; 617-523-9026.


Recommended by: Nick Fauchald, Senior Associate Food Editor
A favorite haunt among Italophiles, this West Village trattoria features high-end imported Italian ingredients in simple, rustic preparations: arancini with prosciutto and provolone, buffalo ricotta fritters. The wine list—book, rather—has mostly family-owned, small-production wines.
DETAILS: 24 Minetta Ln.; 212-473-5121 or

Recommended by: Salma Abdelnour, Travel Editor
I love Bread on Spring Street for quick, cheap meals of fabulous sardine or capocollo panini and a glass of wine.
DETAILS: 20 Spring St.; 212-334-1015.

Frankies Spuntino
Recommended by: Grace Parisi, Senior Test Kitchen Associate
At Frankies, I love any of their crostini or pastas. If I had to pick a few dishes, though, I’d order the bucatini pasta special with sausage and broccoli rabe (when it’s available) or the meatballs. There’s a wonderful outdoor courtyard in the back to sit in, weather permitting, but the very best place to eat is in a cozy converted stable in the courtyard.
DETAILS: 17 Clinton St., Manhattan, 212-253-2303; 457 Court St., Brooklyn; 718-403-0033;

Il Bagatto
Recommended by: Michele Petry, Copy Chief
This East Village spot is casual, with a small regular menu and a huge, revolving roster of specials. Everything is always amazing, but they serve the absolute best grilled calamari ever. My husband and I have never had better, even at fancier restaurants, even in Italy. It is the calamari by which all other calamari is judged.
DETAILS: 192 E. 2nd St.; 212-228-0977.

il Buco
Recommended by: Salma Abdelnour, Travel Editor
I’ve gone back to il Buco time and again over the years. It hits a spot that no other Italian restaurant really does in New York City. There’s a warm, energetic vibe, and it’s got consistently delicious food that’s never too precious or predictable. The menu changes daily, but it’s hard to go wrong with any of the amazing pork, quail, octopus or squid dishes—like the grilled squid with Umbrian chickpeas.
DETAILS: 47 Bond St.; 212-533-1932 or

Recommended by: Emily McKenna, Assistant Research Editor
Located just off Arthur Avenue in the Bronx’s Little Italy, Roberto’s serves classic Italian-American comfort food that seems like it hasn’t changed in decades (and the wait for a table is as long as ever). The restaurant cooks some of its pastas on the grill in aluminum-foil pouches, which makes for a fun presentation when the packet comes to the table. Sit upstairs if you can, where it’s less cramped.
DETAILS: 603 Crescent Ave.; 718-733-9503.

Sam’s Restaurant
Recommended by: Kate Krader, Senior Editor
Located on Brooklyn’s Court Street, which is slowly losing its old-school Italian vibe, Sam’s looks like it’s straight out of The Godfather (in fact, it predates the movie’s era; it opened in 1930). There’s not much natural light and the booths are covered in red vinyl, but the pizzas are supernaturally good. (They don’t do slices.) You’ll want to go for authentic Italian toppings like sausage and ricotta, which taste like they come from one of the neighborhood’s few remaining delis.
DETAILS: 238 Court St., Brooklyn; 718-596-3458.

Italian restaurant news in New York City
Recommended by: Kate Krader, Senior Editor
I didn’t think there was room for another Italian restaurant in Manhattan. Maybe there isn’t, so the next obvious thing to do is to install already-beloved chefs in already-beloved spots. And so now the two New York City restaurants I’m most looking forward to are places I’ve already been: Michael White, formerly of Fiamma in Soho, is preparing his robust Italian food at L’Impero and Alto. Meanwhile, Fabio Trabocchi has come up from the Washington, DC, area to serve his exquisite regional Italian fare at Fiamma.

* Hoboken, NJ

Recommended by: Melissa Rubel, Test Kitchen Associate and Assistant Food Editor, Cookbooks
The vibe here is old-school Sopranos-ish. They serve huge portions of amazing food, like linguine with clams and pork chops with hot cherry peppers and sweet bell peppers.
DETAILS: 1104 Washington St.; 201-420-0104.

* Red Bank, NJ

Recommended by: Jen Murphy, Associate Editor
Tucked away on a tiny side street, this restaurant has an open kitchen and pizza oven that make it feel like you’re eating in a café in Florence. I get the same thing every time I go: carciofi ripiene, an appetizer of artichoke hearts filled with lobster, shrimp, jumbo lump crab meat and seasoned bread crumbs served with a roasted-garlic cream sauce and drizzled with balsamic reduction. Gaetano’s also has the most ethereal zabaglione (with strawberries, when they’re in season) that I never fail to finish.
DETAILS: 10 Wallace St.; 732-741-1321 or

* Philadelphia

Recommended by: Grace Parisi, Senior Test Kitchen Associate
Vetri is a very humble and unassuming place—it looks more like a trattoria than a ristorante—that’s in the townhouse where Le Bec-Fin was once located. I eat whatever the maestro, Marc Vetri, will cook for me, but his spinach gnocchi, roasted goat and egg custards are no-fail choices.
DETAILS: 1312 Spruce St.; 215-732-3478 or

* Washington, DC

Recommended by: Emily Kaiser, Associate Food Editor
Everything is made from scratch daily, from the breads to the pastas to the soups to the butter. The staff is friendly, the space is pretty, the olive oils are yummy and the all-Italian wine list is amazingly affordable. Go-to dish: the gnocchi or the steak for two.
DETAILS: 2029 P St. NW; 202-872-1180.

* Houston

Da Marco
Recommended by: Salma Abdelnour, Travel Editor
It’s got great food (with a Friulian bent) and a cozy vibe, and it works equally well for very casual or dressy dinners. Chef Marco Wiles is famous for his artichokes alla giudea (crispy fried artichokes—light and crunchy and delicious), but I love virtually everything he does, like the grilled baby lamb chops and the rabbit pappardelle.
DETAILS: 1520 Westheimer Rd.; 713-807-8857 or

* New Orleans

Angelo Brocato Ice Cream & Confectionary
Recommended by: Emery Van Hook, Assistant Research Editor
New Orleans has a huge Sicilian population—so much so, in fact, that some people used to refer to the French Quarter as "Little Sicily"—and many of the immigrants started out in the food business. Angelo Brocato opened his first store in the French Quarter in 1905. Today, the shop (now located in Mid-City) is operated by a third generation of Brocatos, who still use some of the family’s original recipes. I loved their spumoni (three-layer ice cream made with pistachio, tutti-frutti and lemon flavors, with a whipped-cream center) growing up, and their lemon ice is the best I’ve ever had. And we always got a bag of their Italian fig cookies to take home.
DETAILS: 214 N. Carrollton Ave.; 504-486-1465 or

* Kenner, LA

Ristorante da Piero
Recommended by: Emery Van Hook, Assistant Research Editor
This place is a great Italian joint in the suburbs of New Orleans, run by a family from Emilia-Romagna and specializing in that region’s cuisine. They have delicious hand-rolled pastas—three different preparations of strozzapreti and ridiculously decadent gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce or with Roma tomatoes, pancetta and fresh basil—and a really tasty radicchio salad with prosciutto sautéed in white wine vinegar.
DETAILS: 401 Williams Blvd.; 504-469-8585 or

* Los Angeles

Pizzeria Mozza
Recommended by: Melissa Rubel, Test Kitchen Associate and Assistant Food Editor, Cookbooks
They have the most amazing pizza crust EVER. The zucchini flower and burrata pizza is insanely delicious.
DETAILS: 641 N. Highland Ave.; 323-297-0101 or

Vincenti Ristorante
Recommended by: Melissa Rubel, Test Kitchen Associate and Assistant Food Editor, Cookbooks
I love the fine-dining-meets-wood-burning-oven feel here, and the owner, Maureen Vincenti, is warm and welcoming and remembers everyone’s name. The chefs are all Italian, and you can taste that integrity in the food. The homemade pasta and rotisserie meats are the standouts.
DETAILS: 11930 San Vicente Blvd.; 310-207-0127 or

* San Francisco

A 16
Recommended by: Kate Krader, Senior Editor
I love every single thing about this southern Italian restaurant in San Francisco’s busy Marina district. The house-made salumi is terrific, as are the thin-crust pizzas, the pastas and the roasted poultry and meats—plus, you can watch it all being cooked by cool tattooed chefs in the wood-burning oven of the wide open kitchen (except, of course, the salumi). If it’s possible, the extensive wine list is better than the food.
DETAILS: 2355 Chestnut St.; 415-771-2216 or

Jackson Fillmore Trattoria
Recommended by: Kelly Snowden, Assistant Research Editor
I found this neighborhood place through a friend who lived nearby. It’s intimate and away from the touristy crowds in the North Beach area, but with consistently solid trattoria food and a casual, young vibe. I love their zucchini carpaccio and bruschetta.
DETAILS: 2506 Fillmore St.; 415-346-5288.