Tampa is a great destination spot for families with its proximity to the beach and amusement park Busch Gardens. There are fun activities for both locals and visitors that are sure to build up your appetite, and what better way to satisfy it than with Italian food?
Whether you’re looking for that rustic, authentic Italian taste of a seafood cioppino, or an Italian-American classic like chicken parmesan, this list is all you need to know about where to go in search of that perfect Italian dinner for you and your family where the vino flows freely and the bread never ends.
Here is my ultimate list of must-visit spots in Tampa to eat like a true Italian. You will love these places so much that they will make you want to plan a trip to Italy for your next vacation!
Best Italian Restaurants in Tampa
- Bella’s Italian Cafe
- Donatello Italian Restaurant
- Caffe Paradiso
- Osteria Natalina
- La Terrazza Ristorante
- Vino E Pasta
- Bernini of Ybor
- OGGI Italian
- Trattoria Pasquale
- Gino’s Bar & Restaurant
- Iavarone’s Italian Grill & Steakhouse
- Bianchi’s Wine Bar and Kitchen
- Casa Santo Stefano
Bella’s Italian Cafe
1413 S Howard Ave #100, Tampa, FL 33606
Come eat at one of the longest-standing establishments in Tampa! Having served authentic Italian food for over 30 years, Bella’s has continued to win numerous awards since opening.
The beautiful, dimly-lit atmosphere inside is that of a cozy rustic-chic decor which will put you right in the mood to settle down and take a look at the delightfully long list of wine and beer options.
Vegan? No problem! Bella’s offers classic Italian dishes made with Gardein Chick’n and Beyond Meat. There is something for everyone here at Bella’s Cafe.
1208 E Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33602
Look for something a bit more upscale? Then Cena is your destination. Located on East Madison Street with a lovely view of Madison Street Park, Cena offers fine dining and expertly-crafted cocktails to suit the most refined of tastes.
Their Braised Oxtail is not something you want to miss out on. The magnificent taste of the cuisine is rivaled only by its presentation as every dish arrives precisely plated in this gorgeous modern ristorante.
Their name means “dinner”, but Cena has so much more that you will need to come down and see for yourself.
Donatello Italian Restaurant
232 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33609
If you find yourself cruising down the North Dale Mabry Highway, be sure to keep an eye out for Donatello Italian Restaurant because you do not want to miss it.
With over 1500 reviews on Tripadvisor, Yelp, and OpenTable together, Donatello has maintained a near 5-star rating for over 25 years using their century-old recipes.
They also offer private dining in their spacious banquet room for all your family celebrations and professional presentation dinners of up to 90 people, so be sure to bring everyone along!
4205 S MacDill Ave # D, Tampa, FL 33611
Follow your stomach to find this hole in the wall that serves it all over in Bayshore Beautiful. Caffe Paradiso will really make you feel like you’re in paradise when you start to read through the menu.
The owner, Paolo Tini, is a classically-trained chef who grew up in Rimini where the only thing more breathtaking than the food is the coastline of the Adriatic.
Whether you’re looking for private dining or just a family night out, you will be treated like family here at Caffe Paradiso.
3215 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33629
Established in 2000 and standing strong ever since, Osteria Natalina is a little slice of Italian home cooking right here in Tampa that specializes in authentic seafood based on recipes directly from Italia.
If you are a lover of fine Italian wine, then Osteria Natalia is where you need to be. Their wine is imported from Italy and expertly chosen to accompany the food perfectly.
The menu here is a bit smaller, but don’t let the size fool you! A smaller menu means that much more care and attention goes into each dish.
1727 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
La Terrazza is the ultimate Northern Italian dining experience. Whether you are looking for lunch or dinner, Chef Andrea Fenu is almost guaranteed not to disappoint.
If you’re planning on grabbing lunch there, La Terrazza recommends a reservation of five or more due to the high volume of customers, and I recommend the Pollo Marsala due to its deliciousness.
Just three blocks from the Ybor City State Museum, and only two blocks from the picturesque Centennial Park, there are plenty of vacation activities in the area for both the adults and kids in your family, so come check it out!
Vino E Pasta
3603 W Gandy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33611
This family-owned Italian restaurant welcomes you and yours to come and enjoy their traditional, hand-crafted recipes that will make you feel right at home.
Vino E Pasta is well-known for their lasagna which is a signature family recipe, but they also offer many other classics as well. In fact, their lunch and dinner menus both look so tantalizing that I highly recommend visiting at least once for each.
Make your family vacation to Tampa complete with a little stop for some Vino E Pasta.
Bernini of Ybor
1702 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
Just a couple of blocks away from the Tampa Baseball Museum and the beautiful Hilton Garden Inn is a delightfully quaint Italian restaurant seemingly plucked right off the sidewalk of Florence.
Bernini of Ybor has an old-fashioned appearance although their menu is anything but. This ristorante offers a full bar, a uniquely innovative menu of Italian cuisine, as well as daily specials on pasta and martinis.
Once you’re done here, head on down a couple blocks to the Improv Comedy Theater and catch a show if you’re not too full!
236 E Davis Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606
Trying to enjoy all that Tampa has to offer while staying free of COVID-19 at the same time? OGGI Italian has got you covered!
Located within arm’s reach of the Seddon Channel, OGGI Italian has that true rustic, authentic Italian feel that will keep you satisfied and safe by keeping you out of arm’s reach with their Social Distancing guidelines still in place, as well as a 50% capacity limit and lots of outdoor seating.
Serving both brunch and dinner menus, OGGI Italian is your safe spot to take your family out to eat while staying COVID-free on your vacation.
3671 S West Shore Blvd, Tampa, FL 33629
Family owned and operated, Trattoria Pasquale is your number one destination for artisanal cuisine with an informal atmosphere.
While you’re there, make sure to try Nonno Pasquale’s Veal dish. It will surely blow you away!
Trattoria Pasquale is unique because they are always adding new menu items that their chefs come across during yearly trips to Italy, so be sure to come back for next year’s vacation to see what’s new!
GINO’s Restaurant & Bar
10006 N Armenia Ave North, Tampa, FL 33612
Almost directly across from the Tampa Bay Farmers Market, just on the outskirts of Forest Hills, there is an old-school osteria with amazing lunch and dinner items like their steak marsala.
GINO’s also offers a wide variety of wine and craft beer for the adults, and even an adorable little menu for the kids.
Make GINO’s your family’s designated lunch spot after a day of getting some fresh fruits and veggies across the street!
Iavarone’s Steakhouse & Italian Grill
3617 W Humphrey St, Tampa, FL 33614
While we are known better for our pasta, Italians also know their way around a steak, and Iavarone’s Steakhouse & Italian Grill is living proof of that.
Iavarone’s was established in 1948 and has become a fixture in Tampa ever since. Best known for their Surf and Turf, they also have a rooftop martini bar and cigar lounge for the ultimate high-end dining experience that has stood the test of time.
Hand-selected and hand-cut, the steak served at Iavarone’s is then aged from four to six days in-house to ensure the highest quality of flavor, so definitely add this one to your vacation destination checklist.
323 W Palm Ave, Tampa, FL 33602
On West Palm Avenue and just North of Water Works Park sits Rocca in The Heights District. This restaurant offers an amazing view of the Tampa city skyline along with handmade pasta and seasonal ingredients.
Experience the true taste of elegance with Rocca’s dry-aged rohan duck complemented by the fine cherry and wood-smoke flavors of a Pinot Noir.
Rocca is absolutely perfect for that romantic couples night to make your vacation in Tampa unforgettable.
Bianchi’s Wine Bar & Kitchen
3215 S MacDill Ave, Tampa, FL 33629
Bianchi’s Wine Bar & Kitchen is the top spot for a late lunch or dinner filled with wine and light food to be shared with friends.
This place is perfect for munching away with your amici because most of their menu items are meant to be shared between guests, although they do have a few single serving options of pasta if you’re feeling a bit hungrier.
Bianchi’s is the best place to go if you’re on a trip with a group of friends or just your significant other, and they have weekly specials so you’ll want to keep coming back for more!
Casa Santo Stefano
1607 N 22nd St, Tampa, FL 33605
Head down South to the island of Sicilia, Italy, when you visit Tampa’s news Sicilian restaurant Casa Santo Stefano. Open for both lunch and dinner, this place is sure to please everyone with its expansive menu.
Being Sicilian myself, I recognize many of Casa Santo Stefano’s menu items as the same dishes my mom would make for me when I was younger like the Eggs in Purgatorio and the Grouper al Limone which are both fantastic.
Come try out this new spot with the family and let Casa Santo Stefano bring out your inner Sicilian, you won’t be disappointed!
Incredible family attractions like Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, and Adventure Island have made Tampa an absolute hotbed of activity, so it’s crucial to be prepared when you’re getting ready to hit the town so you don’t miss out on some of the best osso buco you’ve ever had.
Luckily, you can use this guide as a roadmap of the best Italian eateries in Tampa, it won’t let you down!
Am I missing something? Please leave a comment and I’ll get right on it!
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