I don't know about you but 9 out of 10 times when my wife or friends ask me what kind of food I am in the mood for I end up saying "Italian." It’s hard for me to get away from thinking fresh pasta, chicken and veal marsala and expertly prepared antipasto. While Atlanta will never be confused with NYC as the Italian restaurant capital of our nation, we still have a lot of folks that are doing a great job with neighborhood Italian joints serving local cravings. I’ve put together 5 spots that are doing a phenomenal job.
Valenza in Brookhaven
Not only is that one of the great neighborhood restaurants in the city, it may be the most finely prepared Italian food in our region. Chef Matt Swickerath is the most talented chef in Atlanta that you don't know about and a master of utilizing the freshest ingredients to create perfect flavors. His homemade pappardelle with veal, pork, beef and tomato ragu will explode in your mouth and the dining room is date night nirvana.
No. 246 in Decatur
Ford Fry's incredibly consistent Italian spot in Decatur does not get the press from when it opened, but it still delivers some of the best Italian food in the city. Everything at No. 246 hits the right tone; fresh bread, delicate and delicious pizzas and maybe my favorite dish in Atlanta - the Chicken Scallopine for two.
Casa Nuova in Alpharetta
The definition of an Italian restaurant that feels like home is what Tony and Maria Fundora have built off the beaten path at a strip mall in Alpharetta. Start with a garlic bread and move on to a veal rolotini (veal rolled in spinach, crabmeat, cheese over a bed of pasta with a brown sauce). One meal and you will be ready to become a Casa regular.
Trattoria 141 in John's Creek
John's Creek is terribly under served for outstanding restaurants but at least they can boast about this delightful upscale Italian spot that takes delivering a great meal seriously.The simplicity of great fish, chicken and veal dishes alongside tasty pastas and a killer antipasti menu makes 141 worth the drive for a perfect night out.
Cibo Beve in Sandy Springs
Chef Linda Harrell has a loyal following for this 101 Concepts Italian spot that is the true definition of how to do neighborhood Italian. The lively bar always has a game on and a great vibe. The meatballs as an appetizer may be the best in Atlanta and good luck choosing between the Margherita pizza and the tagliatelle carbonara; both are great.
And remember, whether you want to recreate the Lady & The Tramp spaghetti scene, dive into out of this world chili or grab some of the best fried chicken around, be sure to watch Atlanta Eats every weekend. We give you an insider’s look at the best restaurants in Atlanta. Catch us every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30AM on Peachtree TV. Come hungry!