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Bucatini alla carbonara from Avo
Sam Hanna/Official

Here Are the Best Italian Eats in New Orleans

Celebrate New Orleans’s Italian roots at these restaurants

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Bucatini alla carbonara from Avo
| Sam Hanna/Official

Creole Italian food has a particular slant in New Orleans, informed by a wealth of Gulf seafood and the local creed that more — sauce, cheese, cheese on seafood — is better. The city’s influx of mostly Sicilian immigrants in the late 19th century (an estimated 290,000 settled here) expanded the New Orleans table to embrace Southern style cuisine from the boot. That Italian influence, which at one point transformed the French Market area into “little Palermo,” is still apparent on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, when altars made of pastry, fruit, and bread honor the patron Saint of Sicily. But celebrate the city’s Italian roots any day with a visit to one of these abbondanza eateries.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Vincent's

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4411 Chastant St
Metairie, LA 70006
(504) 885-2984
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Chef Vincent Catalanotto opened his Metairie fine dining Italian restaurant 30 years ago, with many of the dishes reflecting his Sicilian roots. Beyond favorites like veal parm and chicken Marsala, Vincent’s house special is seafood cannelloni, tender pasta stuffed with shrimp, crawfish and crab simmered in a delicate rosa sauce – think the love child of red sauce and Alfredo.

A plate of lamb chops is topped with a dark chutney and served with green beans
Vincent’s lamb chops 
Vincent’s/Facebook

2. Rizzuto's Ristorante & Chop House

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6262 Fleur De Lis Dr #1356
New Orleans, LA 70124
(504) 300-1804
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This family-run swank spot in Lakeview has date night written all over it. RIzzuto’s dishes the likes of shrimp fra diavolo, homemade crab and lobster ravioli along with an array of prime beef that includes a big ticket 14 ounce prime spinalis steak. Expensive but worth it. Executive chef Jason Caronna is third generation - his immigrant grandparents ran a small grocery store in the Quarter.

An eggplant parmesan dish is served on a white plate
Eggplant Valentin at Rizzuto’s
Rizzuto’s/Facebook

3. Paladar 511

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511 Marigny St
New Orleans, LA 70117
(504) 509-6782
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This noisy trattoria is a neighborhood gem in the Marigny, a reclaimed warehouse space perfumed with garlic, tomato sauce, and pizza. The Paladar 511 menu is inventive - charred okra with Calabrian chili, squid ink spaghetti with crab meat - as well as nodding to the classics. Get the pork saltimbocca. Closed Tuesday, open for dinner every other night and brunch on the weekends.

Margherita pizza from Paladar
Paladar 511/Facebook

4. The Italian Barrel

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1240 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 569-0198
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Order a negroni - they are excellent here - and enjoy the Italian Barrel’s Northern Italian accent just steps from the French Market. The menu is pricey but never disappoints, with dishes like veal meatballs in red sauce, penne a la vodka, and osso bucco. Sit at a sidewalk table and people watch or inside in the understated dining room.

Fresh pasta with porcini mushrooms & truffle topped with a creamy white wine sauce and splash of extra virgin white truffle olive oil
Porcini & Truffle Ravioli
The Italian Barrel/Facebook

5. Irene's

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529 Bienville St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 529-8811
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Long ensconced on St. Phillip Street, Irene’s moved to BIenville last year, taking its garlicky goodness along for the ride. Namesake and proprietor Irene DiPierto, in business since 1993, sets a high bar with specialties like the Sicilian antipasti - big enough to share - and oysters Irene made with pancetta and pecorino Romano. Regulars were happy to see that the piano bar survived the move.

Irene’s
Irene’s/Facebook

6. Josephine Estelle

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600 Carondelet St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 930-3070
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Love this real deal Italian in the Ace. Josephine Estelle is an osteria from James Beard Award-nominated Memphis chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, their first foray into New Orleans. Executive chef Chris Borges shines with a season-driven menu that includes homemade pastas (get the simply wonderful cacio e pepe!), softshells if it’s your lucky day, and the hanger steak with okra. Impressive cocktail and wine list too.

Cacio e pepe from Josephine Estelle
Josephine Estelle/Facebook

7. Marcello's Restaurant & Wine Bar

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715 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 581-6333
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Known for its refined Italian comfort fare, Marcello’s, with another location in Metairie, serves satisfying versions of the classics. Try the eggplant ravioli, mini pork meatballs, Bolognese and all things parmigiano. The well priced wine list speaks to the owner’s roots - the family started with a wine store in Lafayette and their kin run Elio’s Wine Warehouse and Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits.

Pork Meatballs, broccolini, sherry cream sauce, fettuccine, and shaved Parmesan
Pork Meatballs, broccolini, sherry cream sauce, fettuccine, and shaved Parmesan
Marcello’s/Facebook

8. Gianna Restaurant

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700 Magazine St Suite 101
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 399-0816
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When James Beard award winning chef Rebecca Wilcomb imagined an Italian restaurant with partners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, she thought of her grandmother Gianna. The result, Gianna in the Warehouse District on Magazine, channels the comfort foods of her childhood along with smartly conceived regional Italian specialties. Although the menu is rustic, the setting is not - this is stylishly modern eatery. It’s worth noting that most of the management team running Gianna, from the chef to the GM, are women. Order the $50 “Feed Me” option, served family style, to get the chef’s choice from soup to nuts.

CHRIS GRANGER

9. Sofia

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516 Julia St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 322-3216
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If images of gorgeous Sophia Loren aren’t enough to inspire you, take a look at Sofia’s menu. The pretty Julia street eatery boasts a warm and informed staff, a terrific happy hour, and a menu of modern Italian classics. The pizzas are delish, same goes for the pastas and the blue crab risotto. The $58 Creekstone Bistecca Fiorentina is as perfect as you’d get in Florence.

Sofia’s margherita pizza, shrimp scampi, beet salad, and squid
Sofia’s margherita pizza, shrimp scampi, beet salad, and squid
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

10. Avo

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5908 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 509-6550
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There’s nothing Creole Italian about chef Nick Lama’s upscale Avo, which means “grandfather” or “ancestor,” in Italian. The third generation Sicilian spotlights regional Italian cuisine and ingredients like figs, Gorgonzola, Calabrian chilies and every manner of homemade pasta. The food is gorgeous and informed by passion and allegiance to pristine ingredients. Get the meatballs, get the charred octopus, get yourself to Avo, Oh and check out the redone outdoor courtyard space, deputing at the end of September.

Charred Octopus with black garlic, pineapple, and Calabrian chiles
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

11. Mosca's

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4137 US-90
Westwego, LA 70094
(504) 436-8950
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Cross the Huey P. Long Bridge to the West Bank and keep going, and going, until you get to Mosca’s, an esteemed family-run Creole Italian roadhouse that sits along a dark stretch of Highway 90 West. Opened for business in 1946, the unchanged menu includes garlic-infused specialties like barbecued shrimp, baked oysters and of course the Chicken ala Grande, roasted with tons of fresh garlic, herbs and white wine.  

A plate of chicken drumsticks and thighs served with a plate of spaghetti
Mosca’s spaghetti and chicken a la grande
Mosca’s Restaurant/Facebook

1. Vincent's

4411 Chastant St, Metairie, LA 70006
A plate of lamb chops is topped with a dark chutney and served with green beans
Vincent’s lamb chops 
Vincent’s/Facebook

Chef Vincent Catalanotto opened his Metairie fine dining Italian restaurant 30 years ago, with many of the dishes reflecting his Sicilian roots. Beyond favorites like veal parm and chicken Marsala, Vincent’s house special is seafood cannelloni, tender pasta stuffed with shrimp, crawfish and crab simmered in a delicate rosa sauce – think the love child of red sauce and Alfredo.

4411 Chastant St
Metairie, LA 70006

2. Rizzuto's Ristorante & Chop House

6262 Fleur De Lis Dr #1356, New Orleans, LA 70124
An eggplant parmesan dish is served on a white plate
Eggplant Valentin at Rizzuto’s
Rizzuto’s/Facebook

This family-run swank spot in Lakeview has date night written all over it. RIzzuto’s dishes the likes of shrimp fra diavolo, homemade crab and lobster ravioli along with an array of prime beef that includes a big ticket 14 ounce prime spinalis steak. Expensive but worth it. Executive chef Jason Caronna is third generation - his immigrant grandparents ran a small grocery store in the Quarter.

6262 Fleur De Lis Dr #1356
New Orleans, LA 70124

3. Paladar 511

511 Marigny St, New Orleans, LA 70117
Margherita pizza from Paladar
Paladar 511/Facebook

This noisy trattoria is a neighborhood gem in the Marigny, a reclaimed warehouse space perfumed with garlic, tomato sauce, and pizza. The Paladar 511 menu is inventive - charred okra with Calabrian chili, squid ink spaghetti with crab meat - as well as nodding to the classics. Get the pork saltimbocca. Closed Tuesday, open for dinner every other night and brunch on the weekends.

511 Marigny St
New Orleans, LA 70117

4. The Italian Barrel

1240 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Fresh pasta with porcini mushrooms & truffle topped with a creamy white wine sauce and splash of extra virgin white truffle olive oil
Porcini & Truffle Ravioli
The Italian Barrel/Facebook

Order a negroni - they are excellent here - and enjoy the Italian Barrel’s Northern Italian accent just steps from the French Market. The menu is pricey but never disappoints, with dishes like veal meatballs in red sauce, penne a la vodka, and osso bucco. Sit at a sidewalk table and people watch or inside in the understated dining room.

1240 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

5. Irene's

529 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Irene’s
Irene’s/Facebook

Long ensconced on St. Phillip Street, Irene’s moved to BIenville last year, taking its garlicky goodness along for the ride. Namesake and proprietor Irene DiPierto, in business since 1993, sets a high bar with specialties like the Sicilian antipasti - big enough to share - and oysters Irene made with pancetta and pecorino Romano. Regulars were happy to see that the piano bar survived the move.

529 Bienville St
New Orleans, LA 70130

6. Josephine Estelle

600 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Cacio e pepe from Josephine Estelle
Josephine Estelle/Facebook

Love this real deal Italian in the Ace. Josephine Estelle is an osteria from James Beard Award-nominated Memphis chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, their first foray into New Orleans. Executive chef Chris Borges shines with a season-driven menu that includes homemade pastas (get the simply wonderful cacio e pepe!), softshells if it’s your lucky day, and the hanger steak with okra. Impressive cocktail and wine list too.

600 Carondelet St
New Orleans, LA 70130

7. Marcello's Restaurant & Wine Bar

715 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
Pork Meatballs, broccolini, sherry cream sauce, fettuccine, and shaved Parmesan
Pork Meatballs, broccolini, sherry cream sauce, fettuccine, and shaved Parmesan
Marcello’s/Facebook

Known for its refined Italian comfort fare, Marcello’s, with another location in Metairie, serves satisfying versions of the classics. Try the eggplant ravioli, mini pork meatballs, Bolognese and all things parmigiano. The well priced wine list speaks to the owner’s roots - the family started with a wine store in Lafayette and their kin run Elio’s Wine Warehouse and Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits.

715 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

8. Gianna Restaurant

700 Magazine St Suite 101, New Orleans, LA 70130
CHRIS GRANGER

When James Beard award winning chef Rebecca Wilcomb imagined an Italian restaurant with partners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, she thought of her grandmother Gianna. The result, Gianna in the Warehouse District on Magazine, channels the comfort foods of her childhood along with smartly conceived regional Italian specialties. Although the menu is rustic, the setting is not - this is stylishly modern eatery. It’s worth noting that most of the management team running Gianna, from the chef to the GM, are women. Order the $50 “Feed Me” option, served family style, to get the chef’s choice from soup to nuts.

700 Magazine St Suite 101
New Orleans, LA 70130

9. Sofia

516 Julia St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Sofia’s margherita pizza, shrimp scampi, beet salad, and squid
Sofia’s margherita pizza, shrimp scampi, beet salad, and squid
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

If images of gorgeous Sophia Loren aren’t enough to inspire you, take a look at Sofia’s menu. The pretty Julia street eatery boasts a warm and informed staff, a terrific happy hour, and a menu of modern Italian classics. The pizzas are delish, same goes for the pastas and the blue crab risotto. The $58 Creekstone Bistecca Fiorentina is as perfect as you’d get in Florence.

516 Julia St
New Orleans, LA 70130

10. Avo

5908 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Charred Octopus with black garlic, pineapple, and Calabrian chiles
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

There’s nothing Creole Italian about chef Nick Lama’s upscale Avo, which means “grandfather” or “ancestor,” in Italian. The third generation Sicilian spotlights regional Italian cuisine and ingredients like figs, Gorgonzola, Calabrian chilies and every manner of homemade pasta. The food is gorgeous and informed by passion and allegiance to pristine ingredients. Get the meatballs, get the charred octopus, get yourself to Avo, Oh and check out the redone outdoor courtyard space, deputing at the end of September.

5908 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70115

11. Mosca's

4137 US-90, Westwego, LA 70094
A plate of chicken drumsticks and thighs served with a plate of spaghetti
Mosca’s spaghetti and chicken a la grande
Mosca’s Restaurant/Facebook

Cross the Huey P. Long Bridge to the West Bank and keep going, and going, until you get to Mosca’s, an esteemed family-run Creole Italian roadhouse that sits along a dark stretch of Highway 90 West. Opened for business in 1946, the unchanged menu includes garlic-infused specialties like barbecued shrimp, baked oysters and of course the Chicken ala Grande, roasted with tons of fresh garlic, herbs and white wine.  

4137 US-90
Westwego, LA 70094

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