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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Best Italian restaurant

illocalino_photo04Photo: Michelle Bentley

YOUR PICKS
1. Il Localino
You say, “It’s a tough call, but if I look at the place that makes me consistently happy – I’m leaving with a smile and a memory or two – it HAS to be Il Localino in Inman Park. Really good food – it’s not inventive star-chef nuevo-Italian cuisine, it’s the traditional favorites with a dash of inspiration, great ingredients and technical flair – a fun atmosphere, and AMAZING service. The ‘Italian family’ part is totally true – I can’t think of another restaurant I’ve been to where I’ve gotten hugs on the way out. Il Localino is an *experience* far beyond the ken of really just about any other restaurant in town. So, the choice (for me) is easy: Il Localino is Atlanta’s best Italian restaurant.”

2. Sotto Sotto
3. La Grotta
4. di Paolo
5. Pricci
6. La Tavola

dine.0822Sotto Sotto’s Risotto al Funghi (Carnaroli rice, wild mushrooms and Parmigiano Reggiano) is one of many warm, inviting dishes at our choice for best Italian resataurant in and around Atlanta. Photo: Becky Stein / Special

OUR PICKS
1. Sotto Sotto
Chief Dining Critic John Kessler says, “The kitchen remains so remarkably consistent. I know the bufula mozzarella with roasted peppers, anchovies and capers will give me that ‘hello, old friend’ feeling every time because the mozzarella will be milk-oozy fresh and just cold enough to soften on the tongue. That seafood risotto — lush with tender shrimp, scallops, calamari and mussels — finds a place in my heart every time. The Italian wine list remains terrific, and the staff really knows where to steer you, whether you need a glass or a bottle. Yeah, it’s a little loud. Even after owner Riccardo Ullio installed sound-absorption panels however many years ago. But you know what? This is a restaurant worth shouting about.”

2. Vingenzo’s
3. Antico Pizza Napoletana
4. Varasano’s
5. No. 246

137 comments Add your comment

noel

June 20th, 2012
11:35 am

We spend all of our special occasions at il Localino. Amazing food, fantastic service, and fun atmosphere.

David

June 20th, 2012
11:56 am

Giulio, those are some valid points – and actually the same can be said for literally every ethnic restaurant in Atlanta (and everywhere). ALL cuisine is regional and seasonal – Thai, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Greek – and so the challenge of the ethnic restaurant is to capture the essence of a cuisine while lacking the correct ingredients and within the strictures of a given menu. I mean, there is no such thing as “Japanese food”, for example, because a meal in Kyoto is completely different from a meal in Gifu, yet the category is invented as a “sampling” of a nation’s cuisine. The challenge of the Italian restaurant, to use the example relevant here, is to evoke the “sense” of Italian cuisine – the flavors, the sounds, the emotive quality – while lacking the precise authenticity of the food.

So there will always be a good reason to visit specific regions of Italy, but barring that, Italian food *can* still be enjoyed!

Starr

June 20th, 2012
12:17 pm

Il Localino has amazing food, fun atmosphere and wonderful owners! My family and I eat there regularly and my husband and I love to host business dinners there as well.

David

June 20th, 2012
1:49 pm

The problem with surveys like this is imprecise definition and lack of instructions – people wind up at cross-purposes ;)

The issue at hand is “favorite Italian restaurant”. For some, this is the best food; for others, service or atmosphere. Some (like myself) try to merge all the qualities into an overall experiential score of “favorite”. I think of a place with food I like, service I appreciate, a place I leave smiling, amused, and happy, and I think “Il Localino”. It’s my subjective favorite, so it’s not really subject to “come on!” style counter arguments.

If one genuinely dislikes all Italian restaurants in Atlanta, then one should simply not respond, or say “I have no favorite”. I actually DO have a favorite – a very subjective kind of opinion – and so I’ve stated it. A fairly simple, Socratic exercise!

Fr. Guido Sarducci

June 20th, 2012
2:28 pm

Well said David, (love your statue in Florence) I think a venue such as this is to stimulate intelligent converstaion about the subject and perhaps enlighten us to new restaurants as much as it is an attempt to crown a King/Queen of this or that. (Team Diapola excepted) Guilio makes a great point as to the advantages of local ingredients etc., but that is obviously difficult. I can’t imagine there is a joint in the old country that can make fried chicken, biscuits, and sawmill gravy like my mother. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a diner somewhere in Italy giving it a shot! Given the fact this is a blog about ‘local’ restaurants I can’t really see the relevance of his comments nor understand why he goes to so many restaurants he doesn’t like.

Mike

June 20th, 2012
3:43 pm

Giulio

June 20th, 2012
4:42 pm

Well Fr. Guido i go to try, because every now and then I do feel home sick and try to see if there is some restaurant that at least might give me a glimpse of home. Fine about the ingredients, but if you want to define yourself an Italian restaurant, at least try to put on your menu items that resemble the food in Italy and not some concoction that was formulated in the 20s by some italo mafioso.

When you have dates or your menu or some pasta with chicken how can you possibly even call yourself an Italian restaurants. Dates don’t grow in Italy and chicken will never be used to flavor a pasta sauce because it has no flavor. Don’t put a cheesecake on the menu and call it Italian because you substituted the sour cream with a cup of ricotta.

The tread is about your favorite Italian restaurant. Unfortunately there are very few that qualify. I have friends who are from Italy that work as chefs in some of the restaurant here mentioned and they will tell you that the food they cook as little to do with Italian food, but they will cook it because that is what they are asked to cook. While there are some ethnic restaurants in this city that at least come close to the original venue, Italian is not one of them.

The closest I have come to Italian food in Atlanta is a pizza at Antico, which is where I will go to get my fix when I home sick.

Daisy

June 20th, 2012
4:51 pm

My vote goes to Sugo or La Tavola, but Il Localino does have atmosphere. Veni Vidi Vici is also good, I would put it over Pricci in the Buckhead Life category.

Jim Foley

June 20th, 2012
10:53 pm

Hands down it is DiPaolos
Best food
Incredible wine
Outstanding service and hospitality

Gale Parker

June 21st, 2012
12:30 am

Il Localino … the Best italian Restaurant in the World!!!

Lynne

June 21st, 2012
5:57 am

Giovanni;s in Austell!!! Direct from ROma (via Boston)
This is from a NY Italian girl

KK

June 21st, 2012
11:07 am

Pricci and No. 246

Dan

June 21st, 2012
11:23 am

Sotto Sotto. If you disagree, then you haven’t been there.

Jen

June 21st, 2012
11:44 am

Sotto Sotto. Innovative Italian, one of Atlanta’s best restaurants, period- you remember this food after you leave.

Lacey Outten

June 21st, 2012
11:45 am

Sotto Sotto without a doubt.

AHarris

June 21st, 2012
12:43 pm

Matthew

June 21st, 2012
1:25 pm

Sotto Sotto! Handmade pasta and wood oven! Best wine list in the city!

Tim

June 21st, 2012
2:27 pm

Il Loco Lino in Inman Park

VA

June 21st, 2012
2:36 pm

CS

June 21st, 2012
6:06 pm

Brio is consistently good at affordable prices. Great, quick business lunch too!

Debbie

June 21st, 2012
9:08 pm

Nikka

June 21st, 2012
11:18 pm

I do not and never have worked at diPaolo, but would work there for free if I could dine daily on the fresh cheese, produce and seasonal meats. I only tell a few friends about diPaolo… because I worry about being able to get a table sometimes!

Mark in the City of Decatur

June 22nd, 2012
2:12 am

No. 246 in the City of Decatur on Ponce de Leon – smack dab right next door to another awesome restaurant – Cafe Alsace.

I can’t help it if I live in the City of Decatur. I’ve been based out of here for 30+ years and had NO idea that my little burg was destined to be such a wonderful area to eat all manner of fine cuisine.

However, I still can’t afford to eat out every night in the Decatur Square. I’d be *so* fat if I could. :)

Maria Torres-Ruiz

June 22nd, 2012
5:22 am

The BEST …. in Atlanta…

HW

June 22nd, 2012
5:24 pm

Valenza is very nice. Great food. Great atmosphere and location.

Christine

June 23rd, 2012
5:22 am

It is hard to beat di Paolo. Everything is so fresh!

James

June 23rd, 2012
9:26 am

Vingenzo’s in Woodstock, and it’s not even close.

Linda

June 23rd, 2012
10:44 am

Until you’ve eaten at DiPaolo you haven’t had the best of the best Northern Italian Food, there are Italian Restaurants but serving regular Italian food and they are good but if you want Northern Italian you must eat at DiPaolo, the best food and wine and the staff is great. The experience is wonderful and everything is made right there including all the breads, deserts and pasta. It’s a must to try.

arturo

June 23rd, 2012
4:17 pm

I have never posted on one of these silly things, but was compelled to do so after reading the pathetic ballot stuffing by DiPaolo’s…at one time DiPaolo’s was quite good, but alas, (and I live close and wish it were otherwise) that was years ago, and my opinion is that DiPaolo’s is quite mediocre (at best) with poor service and unimaginative and poorly executed overpriced food. For good Italian it really is hard to beat Pricci, with Bambinelli’s a good example of “new jersey style red gravy” heavy (but wholesome) food.

Tara Cespites

June 23rd, 2012
4:58 pm

Listen hands down Di Paolo In Ga is the top notch place to go for Italian food….this is coming from a New York Italian Princess…I go there every time I am in GA…..Better than 50% of the places in NY….Must have the Bologanase Polenta…just like my Nana’s….forgetaboutit!!!!!

Tara Cespites

June 23rd, 2012
4:58 pm

Listen hands down Di Paolo In Ga is the top notch place to go for Italian food….this is coming from a New York Italian Princess…I go there every time I am in GA…..Better than 50% of the places in NY….Must have the Bologanase Polenta…just like my Nana’s….forgetaboutit!!!!!

Tara Cespites

June 23rd, 2012
4:58 pm

Listen hands down Di Paolo In Ga is the top notch place to go for Italian food….this is coming from a New York Italian Princess…I go there every time I am in GA…..Better than 50% of the places in NY….Must have the Bologanase Polenta…just like my Nana’s….forgetaboutit!!!!!

Tara Cespites

June 23rd, 2012
5:01 pm

Di Paolo in Atlanta Georgia that is….

Gregory Cespites

June 23rd, 2012
5:38 pm

As an Italian Butcher and Chef from New York I must say Di Paolo”s In Atlanta Georgia…Its like eating Sunday dinner at one of my great aunts house as a young man In Brooklyn…i must say that upon reading the reviews on this page I was very disturbed by one person post of putting Di paolo down because ” come on chicken with pasta is not an Italian restaraunt” It is obvious that this is a the palate of a poser restaurant reviewer and shall not even be considered a review just based on that comment…i digress Now onto a real review,,,,It was upon my entrance to this establishment that made me feel welcome by the hostess that notice that i was wearing black and my bride was wearing white and gave us the proper napkins..so not to leave the improper lint on our clothing did I feel iwas ina place that was going to pay attension to detail…The chef must have OCD( IN A GOOD way) I had ordered an assortment of culinary delites consisting of Duck prossuittio(HOUSEMADE may I add)…beef brescola..(think of beef aged by the winds of mountain air) Rapini Cheese (kinda of an aged gouda)…amazing almonds from god knows where!!!!….green Olives…(kissed by the lips of a sun goddess)..and Caper berries…along with artiasin bread…..I was in awe after 20 minutes of walking in the door and my taste buds desired more…and I havent even begun to really eat a meal yet!!! The attension to detail was second to NONE!!!..fresh EXPLODING flavors…Now that I hope I have you drooling…get down there and expirence the rest…I could go on for paragraphs explaining each part of my wonderful meal to you but I want you to expirence this discovery the way i did. Go hungry….leave with smile and hopefully an open button on your pants like I did when I left aunt Connie’s house in the good ole days….five star plus…I go every time I am down in Atlanta…amazing that I still remember what I had the first time I went there3 years ago…how many places do you remember what you had to eat three years ago…YES IT IS THAT GOOD…. guess some people never heard of chicken parm over spaghetti in the surounding area!!! Its just like water up here……. in EVERY ITALIAN RESTAURANT.!!!! Must try everything at least once on the menu. God Bless and Mangia :)

Nick

June 23rd, 2012
9:04 pm

DiPallo in Roswell, if you don’t like this place you have no taste. The only Italian restaurant OTP that is worth eating at.

mambera

June 24th, 2012
2:37 pm

Il Localino: Great food, festive atmosphere, and impeccable service.

Jsimkav

June 24th, 2012
3:47 pm

Alfredos. A bit off the beaten path but fantastic and authentic.