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A halibut steak with seven tiny red peppers on top and mushrooms encircling the halibut on a plate. A hand pours sauce from a jar onto the plate. Karmen Wettlin / Oak and Reel

19 Essential Italian Restaurants in Metro Detroit

Where to find handmade pastas, balsamic panna cotta, antipasto salads, and deli subs

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Perhaps It’s no surprise that Detroit excels at Italian food. People of Italian descent have been present in Detroit since Cadillac founded the city in 1701. They settled mainly in Detroit’s original “Little Italy,” which started from the lower east side (Eastern Market area) and ran along Gratiot and Riopelle, near Black Bottom and Paradise Valley.

Today, the area boasts a wide range of Italian eateries from casual pizzerias such as Supino, eight- to 18-layered submarine sandwiches from Gonellas, and Mexican-Italian offerings at El Barzon. Below, find some of the finest from each category serving up handmade pasta, fresh seafood, Neapolitan slices, and more. For the city’s top pizza, click here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Moro's Dining

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Waiters in tuxedos, tableside service, and more food than anyone can reasonably eat in one sitting — Moro's is all that and more. Founded in 1980, this Allen Park gem is old-school all the way from the dim lighting that set the mood to the multi-course meal that includes soup, salad, entree, and complimentary fruit and nut bowl at the end. The clam chowder is legendary as are the flaming desserts such as the cherries jubilee.

Gonellas Foods

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A mainstay for more than 75 years, this classic deli provides hearty eight to 18 layered submarine sandwiches and a variety of deli options, including pounds of cold salads, and one of the largest olive bars in the area.

Giovanni's

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For years Giovanni's has prided itself on authentic recipes from the old country, with homemade pastas and sauces tracing its roots from the San Marino region of Italy. The daily specials and seasonal desserts reflect a more modern culinary approach.

Giovanni’s restaurant has a stone exterior with columns and a green sign with gold writing. Brenna Houck

El Barzon

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El Barzon is a blend of Mexican and Italian food. Start with chips and salsa, followed by fresh homemade Linguini El Barzon (linguini in fresh little neck clams in their shell, shrimp in olive oil, white wine, garlic, fresh tomato sauce, and spicy red pepper flakes with croutons). Chef and proprietor Norberto Garita honed his skills cooking Italian food in New York and at the famed Il Posto Ristorante in Southfield before opening this southwest Detroit staple. Customers can find a more casual setting with pizzas, sandwiches, and cocktails at Garita’s neighboring restaurant La Noria.

Ottava Via

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This stylish-yet-chill Corktown spot offers a modern spin on Italian favorites. From charcuterie to cocktails to a hearty dinner feast complemented by a glass of wine, Ottava Via hits many notes. There are traditional pastas and pizzas, as well as a selection of hot plates like the pan-seared branzino with salsa verde. It’s particularly popular during patio season, thanks to an outdoor fireplace and bocce ball lanes.

San Morello

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This stylish eatery from NoHo Hospitality specializes in southern Italian cuisine. San Morello’s menu features options like pizza topped with ’nduja, handmade pasta, and fire-roasted cabbage with Caesar flavors. It’s an anchor to the Shinola Hotel, so expect hotel restaurant prices.

Supino Pizzeria

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Massive, thin-crust slices of pizza put this Eastern Market hotspot on the map. Owner Dave Mancini also pairs the big slices with tasty northern Italian fare such as meatballs or mushrooms with polenta and daily pasta specials. Pro tip: The large slices make for an excellent fold. The restaurant’s second location in New Center serves the same menu.

Rocco's Italian Deli

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This modern, minimalist Italian deli and restaurant offers a wide variety of deli sandwiches, take-and-bake meals, and groceries to go. The offerings of cured meats, cheeses, and specialty items, are carefully curated to introduce Detroit to a variety of Italian flavors that are both imported and house-made.

SheWolf Pastificio & Bar

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This modern Roman restaurant is upping the stakes for Italian cuisine in Detroit by milling its own flour for its pasta and focaccia. Chef Anthony Lombardo’s menu features pasta essentials like cacio e pepe and carbonara as well as intriguing seasonal dishes. For dessert, don’t miss out on the panna cotta and gelato.

Jesse David Green/SheWolf [Official photo]

Oak & Reel

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Chef Jared Gadbaw has returned to Michigan from New York, bringing his passion for seafood-centric Italian cuisine with his contemporary Italian restaurant, Oak & Reel. The menu offerings combine local ingredients with seafood from waters around the world. Snapper, octopus, tuna bolognese, and squid ink pasta offer bright, clean, and bold flavors.

plated octopus Oak & Reel

La Dolce Vita

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La Dolce Vita translates to "the sweet life," which sums up this old-world Italian eatery that boasts a lively brunch full of delicious cocktails, a cozy space with arched windows to enjoy various regional Italian specialties, and a garden patio in Detroit’s Palmer Park.

Villa Restaurant & Pizzeria

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When going to Nonna’s isn't an option for Sunday dinner, Villa can help fill the void for classic Italian. Generations of families have been going here for traditionally prepared dishes like the antipasto salad with house-made dressing, and Tony's combination plate for those who can't decide.

Pop's For Italian

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Pop's for Italian serves up Neapolitan certified pizza, homemade pastas, and fresh bread with Italian-inspired dips. The U-shaped bar in the middle of the restaurant boasts an impressive wine system and large bottle display. Plus, every weekend Pop’s features an extensive brunch menu, featuring Italian spins on breakfast favorites like the Proscuitto Benedict.

Ventimiglia Italian Foods

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This deli has been serving Italian food for more than 60 years out of its Sterling Heights market. Fresh homemade pasta and ravioli, prepared foods, carryout catering, imported Italian grocery, and a selection of sub offerings can be enjoyed for lunch on the outdoor patio or to go.

Silver Spoon Ristorante

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It may be in a strip mall, but Silver Spoon has top-notch fare and service. For starters, the prosciutto is a must. Don’t skip the freshly made pastas such as gnocchi in a four-cheese sauce, fettuccine with rabbit, and pappardelle with meatballs. High-end offerings such as a 21-day dry-aged tomahawk ribeye steak and fish deboned table side make this a go-to spot for fancy date nights and important business dinners.

Bella Piatti

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This sophisticated Birmingham restaurant is always bustling and reservations for one of its 65 seats are never a bad idea. Venice native chef Francesco Apollonia's menu is traditional with a little modern flair with dishes such as octopus carpaccio and quail.

Michael Raffin/Bella Piatti [Official photo]

Bacco Ristorante

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Opened in 2002, Bacco Ristorante has since become a dining destination with a menu that is constantly evolving to reflect the latest trends in Italian dining. The kitchen doesn't cut corners when it comes to preparation or ingredients, which are as fresh and local as possible (when available, produce comes from the on-site garden). If it isn’t local, it’s because chances are it’s been imported from Italy.

Chef Luciano DelSignore plates a dish with potatoes and greens. Bacco Ristorante [Official photo]

Cantoro Trattoria

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Go grocery shopping and eat a fantastic Italian meal in one spot. It’s hard to go wrong with the tagliatelle alla bolognese prepared with scratch-made tagliatelle pasta and traditional meat sauce of ground veal, beef, sausage, and pancetta. The trattoria also boasts a fully stocked bar featuring a vast selection of wines, liquors, and beers. For dessert, one of the Italian coffees, espressos, or cappuccinos pairs perfectly with gelato.

A plate of linguine alle vongole with a glass of wine. Cantoro Trattoria [Official photo]

Deluca's Restaurant

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Checkered tablecloths, posters of various noodle shapes, and quarts of Italian dressing to go. This Italian diner offers large pizzas, antipasto salads, and Italian-American favorites for the whole family.

Moro's Dining

Waiters in tuxedos, tableside service, and more food than anyone can reasonably eat in one sitting — Moro's is all that and more. Founded in 1980, this Allen Park gem is old-school all the way from the dim lighting that set the mood to the multi-course meal that includes soup, salad, entree, and complimentary fruit and nut bowl at the end. The clam chowder is legendary as are the flaming desserts such as the cherries jubilee.

Gonellas Foods

A mainstay for more than 75 years, this classic deli provides hearty eight to 18 layered submarine sandwiches and a variety of deli options, including pounds of cold salads, and one of the largest olive bars in the area.

Giovanni's

Giovanni’s restaurant has a stone exterior with columns and a green sign with gold writing. Brenna Houck

For years Giovanni's has prided itself on authentic recipes from the old country, with homemade pastas and sauces tracing its roots from the San Marino region of Italy. The daily specials and seasonal desserts reflect a more modern culinary approach.

Giovanni’s restaurant has a stone exterior with columns and a green sign with gold writing. Brenna Houck

El Barzon

El Barzon is a blend of Mexican and Italian food. Start with chips and salsa, followed by fresh homemade Linguini El Barzon (linguini in fresh little neck clams in their shell, shrimp in olive oil, white wine, garlic, fresh tomato sauce, and spicy red pepper flakes with croutons). Chef and proprietor Norberto Garita honed his skills cooking Italian food in New York and at the famed Il Posto Ristorante in Southfield before opening this southwest Detroit staple. Customers can find a more casual setting with pizzas, sandwiches, and cocktails at Garita’s neighboring restaurant La Noria.

Ottava Via

This stylish-yet-chill Corktown spot offers a modern spin on Italian favorites. From charcuterie to cocktails to a hearty dinner feast complemented by a glass of wine, Ottava Via hits many notes. There are traditional pastas and pizzas, as well as a selection of hot plates like the pan-seared branzino with salsa verde. It’s particularly popular during patio season, thanks to an outdoor fireplace and bocce ball lanes.

San Morello

This stylish eatery from NoHo Hospitality specializes in southern Italian cuisine. San Morello’s menu features options like pizza topped with ’nduja, handmade pasta, and fire-roasted cabbage with Caesar flavors. It’s an anchor to the Shinola Hotel, so expect hotel restaurant prices.

Supino Pizzeria

Massive, thin-crust slices of pizza put this Eastern Market hotspot on the map. Owner Dave Mancini also pairs the big slices with tasty northern Italian fare such as meatballs or mushrooms with polenta and daily pasta specials. Pro tip: The large slices make for an excellent fold. The restaurant’s second location in New Center serves the same menu.

Rocco's Italian Deli

This modern, minimalist Italian deli and restaurant offers a wide variety of deli sandwiches, take-and-bake meals, and groceries to go. The offerings of cured meats, cheeses, and specialty items, are carefully curated to introduce Detroit to a variety of Italian flavors that are both imported and house-made.

SheWolf Pastificio & Bar

Jesse David Green/SheWolf [Official photo]

This modern Roman restaurant is upping the stakes for Italian cuisine in Detroit by milling its own flour for its pasta and focaccia. Chef Anthony Lombardo’s menu features pasta essentials like cacio e pepe and carbonara as well as intriguing seasonal dishes. For dessert, don’t miss out on the panna cotta and gelato.

Jesse David Green/SheWolf [Official photo]

Oak & Reel

plated octopus Oak & Reel

Chef Jared Gadbaw has returned to Michigan from New York, bringing his passion for seafood-centric Italian cuisine with his contemporary Italian restaurant, Oak & Reel. The menu offerings combine local ingredients with seafood from waters around the world. Snapper, octopus, tuna bolognese, and squid ink pasta offer bright, clean, and bold flavors.

plated octopus Oak & Reel

La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita translates to "the sweet life," which sums up this old-world Italian eatery that boasts a lively brunch full of delicious cocktails, a cozy space with arched windows to enjoy various regional Italian specialties, and a garden patio in Detroit’s Palmer Park.

Villa Restaurant & Pizzeria

When going to Nonna’s isn't an option for Sunday dinner, Villa can help fill the void for classic Italian. Generations of families have been going here for traditionally prepared dishes like the antipasto salad with house-made dressing, and Tony's combination plate for those who can't decide.

Pop's For Italian

Pop's for Italian serves up Neapolitan certified pizza, homemade pastas, and fresh bread with Italian-inspired dips. The U-shaped bar in the middle of the restaurant boasts an impressive wine system and large bottle display. Plus, every weekend Pop’s features an extensive brunch menu, featuring Italian spins on breakfast favorites like the Proscuitto Benedict.

Ventimiglia Italian Foods

This deli has been serving Italian food for more than 60 years out of its Sterling Heights market. Fresh homemade pasta and ravioli, prepared foods, carryout catering, imported Italian grocery, and a selection of sub offerings can be enjoyed for lunch on the outdoor patio or to go.

Silver Spoon Ristorante

It may be in a strip mall, but Silver Spoon has top-notch fare and service. For starters, the prosciutto is a must. Don’t skip the freshly made pastas such as gnocchi in a four-cheese sauce, fettuccine with rabbit, and pappardelle with meatballs. High-end offerings such as a 21-day dry-aged tomahawk ribeye steak and fish deboned table side make this a go-to spot for fancy date nights and important business dinners.

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Bella Piatti

Michael Raffin/Bella Piatti [Official photo]

This sophisticated Birmingham restaurant is always bustling and reservations for one of its 65 seats are never a bad idea. Venice native chef Francesco Apollonia's menu is traditional with a little modern flair with dishes such as octopus carpaccio and quail.

Michael Raffin/Bella Piatti [Official photo]

Bacco Ristorante

Chef Luciano DelSignore plates a dish with potatoes and greens. Bacco Ristorante [Official photo]

Opened in 2002, Bacco Ristorante has since become a dining destination with a menu that is constantly evolving to reflect the latest trends in Italian dining. The kitchen doesn't cut corners when it comes to preparation or ingredients, which are as fresh and local as possible (when available, produce comes from the on-site garden). If it isn’t local, it’s because chances are it’s been imported from Italy.

Chef Luciano DelSignore plates a dish with potatoes and greens. Bacco Ristorante [Official photo]

Cantoro Trattoria

A plate of linguine alle vongole with a glass of wine. Cantoro Trattoria [Official photo]

Go grocery shopping and eat a fantastic Italian meal in one spot. It’s hard to go wrong with the tagliatelle alla bolognese prepared with scratch-made tagliatelle pasta and traditional meat sauce of ground veal, beef, sausage, and pancetta. The trattoria also boasts a fully stocked bar featuring a vast selection of wines, liquors, and beers. For dessert, one of the Italian coffees, espressos, or cappuccinos pairs perfectly with gelato.

A plate of linguine alle vongole with a glass of wine. Cantoro Trattoria [Official photo]

Deluca's Restaurant