Top 10 Restaurants in Italy for Fine Dining and Great Italian Food

We give you the top 10 restaurants in Italy that offer a fine dining experience and a true gastronomic delight. These restaurants are here because of their passion for Italian food, the care in choosing the freshest ingredients and the detail in presentation and execution of each and every dish.         

We didn't say that these restaurants were cheap, they aren't. But then you all know the old adage; "You get what you pay for".  If you are looking for the Greasy Spoon or a quick pizza, this is not the page of restaurants you want. These restaurants in Italy epitomize and ooze luxury, class and offer the ultimate fine dining experience.

They have been listed in alphabetical order, rather than in any order of merit as they are all excellent Italian restaurants in Italy as found in 2012.

Al Sorriso Restaurant

The dining room of Al Sorriso Restaurant

Top Restaurants in Italy #1

Al Sorriso; a Restaurant in Piedmont

The Al Sorriso is both a restaurant and a hotel that offers a wonderful place to be thoroughly pampered and spoiled.  With only a 45 minute drive back to Malpensa airport, outside of Milan, it is an ideal place to stay for that last memorable night in Italy!

This 3 star Michelin restaurant in Italy can be found in the town of Soriso in Lombardy, perched on a hill overlooking lake Orta. It is a family house owned and run very successfully by Luisa and Angelo Valazza.

Here you will find all the food lovingly created by Luisa who honors the season choosing only what is in season at the time, and getting the best out of the ingredients.
Luisa creates exciting menus with the aim to please both the taste buds and the eye by being creative and innovative in her quest, but also firmly rooted in traditional values.

Menu & Average Prices for a Meal

You can pay around € 40 per course, including starters, and any aperatif you may have as a pre-dinner drink will cost you € 9. For a meal for 1 expect to pay between
 € 130 -  € 160.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #2

Dal Pescatore; a Restaurant in Lombardy

This restaurant in Italy is yet another one of those 3 star Michelin restaurants that is a 60 mile trip to Milan  via the autostrada, and therefore a popular jaunt for the well-heeled from Milan whose presence is obvious by all the Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other luxury cars in the car park!

Located in a tiny village on the Oglio river, in Runate, it is easy to find considering it is in the only 2 story building of the village.  It is between Cremona and Mantua and has operated here for over a hundred years, now being looked after by the 3rd and 4th generations of this Italian family.

Dal Pescatore is run by the Santini family where Nadia and Giovanni's cooking is a celebration of the produce from the Po valley, anchored in local culture but with a new and innovative twist that elevates food to new heights. However, their success come not just from their excellent food, but also from their genuine warm, true Italian hospitality that results in making your visit very special.

Menu & Average Prices for a Meal

Look out for dishes on the menu of this restaurant in Italy such as lobster done in a champagne gelatin with caviar and eel marinated with citrus fruits,  frogs' legs with sweet herbs,  and orange souffle with a fruit coulis. For a meal for 1 expect to pay between  € 130 -  € 200.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #3

Da Vittorio; a Restaurant in Lombardy

This is another top 3 star Michelin restaurant in Italy that is found in Lombardy, and again just half an hour out of Milan in Brusaporto.

Owned by the Cerea family, Vittorio Cerea was the founder of this great iconic restaurant and has been going for more than 40 years. Nowadays it is run by sons Enrico and Roberto Cerea.

Their food is carefully crafted from local Lombardy produce and the results are creative genius.

Menu & Average Prices for a Meal

Starters average at €70-80 where you could have escalope of duck liver, pureed chestnuts and a milk foam, or king crab on almond butter, polenta and black truffle
zabaione. The average main meal is €60 if you are having fish and by comparison one can find a meat dish for €50 if you wanted the hare fillet with pumpkin puree and a chocolate sauce with spices. For a meal for 1 expect to pay about  € 140.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #4

Don Alfonso 1890; a Restaurant in Naples

The Don Alfonso 1890 is both a restaurant and a luxury, boutique hotel that has an enviable position overlooking the Gulf of Naples and Salerno. Although this restaurant in Italy has been a 3 star Michelin restaurant in the past, at present it has 2 Michelin stars.

The Iaccarino family not only run and own the Don Alfonso 1890, but they also grow much of the produce that is used in their delectable dishes. The produce is grown on the family farm using biodynamic methods of organic farming with herbs, lemons, peaches, artichokes, eggplants, tomatoes and pure gold olive oil coming directly from their farm. Preserves, honey, lemon liqueur, pasta and tomato sauces are also products that are made and sold from the establishment to guests who want to take a little bit of Italy in bottle back home home with them.

The food coming out of this restaurant in Italy is credit to the passion of Alfonso Iaccarino who uses many of his old family's traditional recipes as a basis for his modern day creations. And because Alfonso is passionate about the standards of produce he demands, food presented is free from chemicals and preservatives and any food not produced from his farm is sourced from local fisherman, farmers, artisans and winemakers with the same philosophy on organic produce.

Menu & Average Prices for a Meal

Look out for one of their signature dishes, Braciola di Annecchia con Uvetta e Pinoli su Crema di Pomodoro e Scarola: strips of sirloin of baby beef spread with pine nuts, raisins, parsley and garlic rolled up and baked with olive oil and a tomato sauce. Or what about goat with fresh Mediterranean herbs? For a meal for 1 expect to pay about € 150.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #5

Enoteca Pinchiorri; a Restaurant in Florence

Do not be fooled by the name of this restaurant in Italy. This is no ordinary wine bar! The Enoteca Pinchiorri is housed in a XVI century Florentine palace which excudes opulance and refined Tuscan culture. From the oil paintings to the fresh flowers the restaurant creates a luxurios stately, but comfortable atmosphere.

Very seldom does a restaurant have 2 head chefs, but this restaurant in Italy has just that in Giorgio Pinchiorri and Anne Fieolde. He, from Italy, she from France, it is the melding of two great cusines and emerging as something quite unique and special. Although their dishes are rooted in traditional cusine, the flavours are modern and fresh.

Menua and Average Prices for a Meal

Baby pork from Mora Romagnola with roast potatoes puree, sweet and sour shallots and mustard sauce; Roasted pigeon flavoured with honey and spices, fried aubergines filled with mozzarella and thyme, and finally Chicken necks filled with porcini mushrooms, in a lentil soup with white truffles from Alba are just some of the creative dishes you could have as a main meal. For a meal for 1 expect to pay about
€ 200 -& €250.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #6

Gualtiero Marchesi; a Restaurant in Lombardy

This restaurant in Italy is located in a wonderful 1900 villa,  between the Alps and Lake Iseo in Brescia.  

Gualtiero Marchesi is the owner of this fine restaurant in Italy, and is a bit of a legend in the Italian culinary world. I say this because he has broken a number of records. He was the first chef in Italy ever to win 3 Michelin stars, and he is also credited as being the father of what is now modern Italian cusine.

The food from this restaurant is both simplistic and yet complex, traditional yet modern. Ingredients are used so skilfully that flavours are balanced and enhanced, no ingredient dominating the other but working harmoniously together to create a new and unforgettable experience. His mantra; "Success of a dish is based on simplicity, logic and love."

Menu & Average Prices for a Meal

Two of his signature dishes is an open raviolli where two 4 inch squares of pasta are used to lightly encase  scallops in a sauce. The other is Riso, Ore e Zafferano, which literally is rice, gold and saffron. The dish is a beautiful, rich yellow, stunning when served on a black plate, and garnished with a square piece of leaf gold in the center. For a meal for 1 expect to pay about € 130 - €160.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #7

Villa Crespi; a Restaurant in Piedmont

Another hotel and restaurant in Italy, the Villa Crespi is a striking Moorish establishment found on Lake Orta, 45 minutes from Malpensa airport in Milan. Run by Antonio and Cinzia Cannavacciuolo this young couple are making headlines with their excellent cusine.

This 4 star hotel's architechture is so different to what you would expect to find in Italy, and part of its charm, as a result. Built in 1879 as a large emir's palace, inclusive of a tall minaret where one can climb to enjoy the spectacular views from the top, it has been visited and stayed in by kings and queens, princes and princesses.

This restaurant in Italy has been awarded 2 Michelin Stars that accredits its success to the fact that they are always creating and recreating, changing, rearching, experimenting and developing. Their Mediterranean food comes from Antonio's roots of the Sorrento peninsula in the south, where is father was a chef, but is also a blend of flavours from the north, which are Cinzia's roots.

Menu and Average Prices for a Meal

Antonio is very particular about the source of his ingredients making sure that it is seasonal, organic and the best of its area. Therefore only mozzarella from Campania is used, prawns from Sicily, truffles from Alba and meat from Piedmont. This equates to some very interesting main dishes from the menu Pigeon, escalope of foie gras, buckwheat meatballs, shoulder of veal braised in goat’s milk, artichokes, sweetbreads and black truffle; and finally Suckling pig cheek, celeriac puree flavoured with coffee, orange compote scented with star anise. Average price for a main dish is € 40. For a meal for 1 expect to pay about € 90 - €140.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #8

Il Sole di Ranco; a Restaurant in Veneto

Yet another hotel and restaurant in Italy, this one overlooking Lake Maggiore with unrestricted views. Make sure you book a room with a view if you don't want to be disappointed!

The Brovelli family have been  the owners of this lovely little gem of a place since 1850, and is now in the very capable hands of David Brovelli. This is a 2 star Michelin restaurant in Italy and where food is not just food, but a form of art. It is reasonably priced and options are offered where you can either eat from the al la carte menu or from a set menu, known as a tasting menu consisting of several courses and around € 70.

Menu and Average Prices for a Meal

Some examples from their menu; Lamb Fillet with Mint and Rosemary €. 30,00; Roasted Rabbit “Porchetta" style parfumed with Black Olives and Melon €. 30,00; Pigeon with Caramelized Cherry €. 35,00; Scottona Fillet cooked in the Red Wine €. 35,00. For a meal for 1 expect to pay about € 70 - €110.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #9

La Calandre; a Restaurant in Veneto


With a chef who has come from 5 generations of chefs, this restaurant in Italy has no excuse but to be one of the best, and it is! Massimiliano Alajmo who aims to find in the the ingredients he uses their core truth with regards to quality and flavour.

This hotel and restaurant in Italy can be found in Padova in a rather uninspiring area, however once you enter the residence, inspiration returns with the decor being modern and sleek. La Calandre certainly deserves it 3 star Michelin rating for the sheer brilliance of Massimiliano's understanding of food and combinations, managing to get such intense flavours out of just 3 or 4 ingredients that he uses for most of his dishes.

One of the dishes you may find on the menu in this restaurant is the suckling pig. Cooked slowly in an oven for 48 hours the meat is incredibly tender and the skin very crispy. It is served with a honey mustard sauce, wild chicory and coffee powder. Another may be the caramelized veal cheeks done in a red wine sauce with polenta and homemade salsiccia.

Menu & Average Prices for a Meal

This young chef displays his passion for his food in providing 4 different menus to choose from, each priced differently. The 4 tasting menus range from €185 - €225 for 7 - 8 courses. The a la carte menus offers main meals for about €60. For a meal for 1 expect to pay about € 160 - €170.

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Top Restaurants in Italy #10

Osteria Francescana; a Restaurant in Emila Romagna

This top Italian restaurant, run by Massimo Bottura, can be found in the heart of the historic part of Modena where local produce is used and honored and artisan producers are used to supply the restaurant with cheeses, balsalmic vinegar, olive oil, prosciutto along with other products.

In 2002 Osteria Francescana was awarded its first Michelin star, and in 2006 was awarded 2 Michelin Stars, however it was also voted as the 6th best restaurant in the world by the Restaurant Magazine in 2010.

Menu and Average Prices for a Meal

Massimo Bottura loves food. He also loves to take traditional dishes and put a new twist on them using molecular gastronomy. Take something simple like the pate dish. Ok, perhaps more French than Italian, but the fois gras "magnum", and is an ice cream shaped fois gras mousse rolled in toasted and crushed nuts with a surprise injection of aged balsamic vinegar in the centre. Another signature dish is a sublime langoustine risotto. Almost every dish that is eaten in this restaurant in Italy has been crafted by Massimo Bottura. For a meal for 1 expect to pay about € 140 .

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Do you have a Restaurant in Italy that you Believe should be included here?

Name the restaurant, the place and write a review similar to the ones above.

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