A Guide to Charlotte’s Best Italian Restaurants: 2021
Satisfy your craving at these eateries
Charlotte’s roster of Italian eateries continues to expand, proving the city’s robust appetite for pizza and pasta isn’t going anywhere. Fortunately, we’ve got a range of options, from white tablecloth ristorantes to more casual osterias. Enjoy scratch-made tagliatelle the way you’d eat it in Bologna or order meatballs and breadsticks at a counter. Sip a glass of Chianti at a Venetian-style wine bar or take a gelato to go. Find an experience at any price in this restaurant guide.
530 Brandywine Rd.
The smell of fresh bread in the wood-fired oven hits you as soon as you walk into this intimate restaurant in the Backlot of Park Road Shopping Center. If there’s room at the counter, grab a seat and watch as the chefs prepare handmade ravioli, linguine, and tagliatelle in the open kitchen. When the housemade sourdough and warm focaccia tempt you—and they will—order a loaf with a plate of Burrata and use the bread to soak up the pesto and tomato jam. Chef Trey Wilson’s pasta is always divine, from the Ricotta Gnocchi with Pork Meatballs to the Squid Ink Linguine. His dishes often change with the seasons, but if the Fettuccini Lamb Bolognese is on the menu, order it.
303 S. Church St.
The Pappardelle Bolognese and Margherita Pizza are both excellent, but if you’re feeling adventurous, start with the whipped ricotta with sourdough, lavender honey, and pistachio. After dinner, ride the elevator to the 19th floor of the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel for a nightcap from its sister cocktail bar, Merchant & Trade.
Aria Tuscan Grill
100 N. Tryon St.
This trendy uptown spot has high-end Italian dishes with a sophisticated wine program to match.
Aqua e Vino
4219 Providence Rd.
This is one of the smallest dining rooms in town, which means it can be hard to nab a reservation without planning. It also means chef Gabriele Grigolon serves each dish with textbook precision.
500 E. Morehead St., Ste. 100
Grab a margherita pizza or some linguine carbonara at this fast-casual eatery, which has a second location in SouthPark.
100 N. Tryon St.
Come for the drinks and stay for the food at this wine bar, restaurant, and retail shop. Cicchetti (pronounced “chee-KEH-tee”) means “small dishes” in Italian, i.e., Venice’s version of Spanish tapas.
Civetta Italian Kitchen + Bar
7828 Rea Rd., Ste. E
Feast on grilled salmon picatta, ricotta gnocchi, and seasonal risotto, and save room for a lasagna-sized piece of tiramisu for dessert. (Review here.)
1710 Kenilworth Ave.
This classic, cozy, family-run neighborhood trattoria serves a mix of fresh, regional Italian cuisine and a carefully curated, all-Italian wine list.
2418 Park Rd.
The open layout lends an air of conviviality to this slick eatery, which has housemade pastas, thin-crust pizzas, note-perfect risotto, and daring meat entrees.
230 N. College St.
Chef Luca Annunziata serves lasagna just like his mom made it and carbonara as it’s served in Rome.
2046 South Blvd.
Atherton Mill’s rustic Italian restaurant serves wood-fired pizzas and handcrafted.
Inizio Pizza Napoletana
2230 Park Rd.
Grab a table on the patio beneath the bistro lights and savor a wood-fired pizza with a bottle of wine.
2839 Selwyn Ave., Ste. X
Modeled after trattorias and bistros along the Mediterranean coast, the Myers Park restaurant focuses on wood-fired pizza and homemade pastas. You can get a traditional Margherita pizza, but we recommend the Funghi, a.k.a. “Jimmy’s Pie,” topped with roasted mushrooms, taleggio cheese, and balsamic reduction.
Little Mama’s Italian Kitchen
4521 Sharon Rd.
Settle in to one of the dining rooms with a plate of Amma’s Ravioli or cozy up at the “Mozz Bar” and watch the chefs at work.
214 N. Tryon St., Ste. J (in Hearst Plaza)
Savor handmade pasta, plus fresh daily seafood and meat dishes paired with the superb Italian wines.
601 S. Kings Dr.
Feast on Italian dishes inspired by owner Frank Scibelli’s family recipes.
1414 S. Tryon St., Ste. 140
Head to the ground floor of the RailYard for a dressed-up entrée like Squid Ink Mafaldine, or get the basic Spaghetti and Meatballs, which is good every time.
Oggi Ristorante Italiano
16646 Hawfield Way Dr., Ste. 101
Find comfort food like spaghetti and meatballs and lasagna, or savor a plate of squid ink linguine and a glass of pinot grigio on the patio.
416 E. 36th St.
Chef Paul Verica doesn’t go overboard with garnishes or presentation because he knows pizza and pasta don’t have to be fancy to be good.
4127 Park Rd.
The wood-fired pizzas are the main attraction—and rightly so—but if you come with a group, order the TRUE meatballs with marinara sauce, or try the Prosciutto di Parma with arugula, shaved Parmesan, fig spread, and balsamic glaze.
1055 Metropolitan Ave., Ste. 130
Owner Daniel Siragusa sticks by his Italian roots with personal pizzas you’ll polish off in one sitting.
715 Providence Rd.
With a name meaning “seasons,” this concept from Bruce Moffett serves handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and slow-roasted meats.
6401 Morrison Blvd., Ste. 6B
An authentic northern Italian menu pairs impeccably with the extensive wine list, while courtyard dining adds to the experience on a clear night.
7416 Waverly Walk Ave., Ste. H-2
Toscana’s sister restaurant serves rustic Italian fare over white tablecloths in the elegant dining room or on the patio.
1039 Providence Rd.
Let the chef choose a meat, vegetable, or seafood flight for you, or order off the dinner menu and savor a plate of gnocchi, ravioli, or bucatini paired with a glass of Chianti.
Zio Casual Italian
116 Middleton Dr.
Hearty pastas and pizza are served family style, and murals of Italy adorn the walls at this Myers Park restaurant.