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Best Italian Restaurants in Michigan: Top Picks and Expert Guide

Michigan offers a rich culinary scene, particularly when it comes to Italian cuisine. From traditional favorites to innovative contemporary dishes, the state boasts a wide variety of Italian restaurants for locals and visitors alike. In the following article, we will explore the best Italian restaurants in Michigan that not only serve amazing food but also provide an unforgettable dining experience.

Italian Restaurants

Each restaurant brings something unique to the table, whether it’s through their signature dishes, award-winning status, or the notable ambiance they present. As we delve deeper into what makes these Italian restaurants stand out, we’ll also highlight prominent chefs who have contributed to the thriving Italian food scene in Michigan. Additionally, we’ll provide detailed recommendations on must-try dishes and popular staples that keep customers coming back for more.

Key Takeaways

  • Michigan is home to an array of top Italian restaurants serving both traditional and contemporary cuisine.
  • Signature dishes, award-winning restaurants, and talented chefs contribute to the state’s rich Italian culinary landscape.
  • Unforgettable dining experiences can be found in Italian restaurants across Michigan, offering a perfect blend of great food and ambiance.

Top Italian Restaurants in Key Cities


Detroit has a variety of amazing Italian restaurants. Some of the notable ones are:

  • Trattoria Stella: Located in 1200 W 11th St, Traverse City, MI 49684. This award-winning restaurant offers authentic Italian cuisine and a rustic atmosphere made for a delightful dining experience. Phone: 231-929-8989

Ann Arbor

When visiting Ann Arbor, you will find several Italian restaurants offering mouth-watering dishes and a welcoming ambiance. A few of them are:

  • Café Cortina: Situated in Farmington Hills, Café Cortina is known for its homemade pasta and genuine Italian recipes. The beautiful decor and scrumptious menu will make you feel like you’re enjoying a getaway in Rome.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids has some exceptional Italian eateries that are perfect for a night out or a special date night:

  • Mangiamo: Enjoy an elegant dining experience at Mangiamo, set in a historic mansion. The restaurant offers an exquisite selection of authentic Italian dishes, making it a must-visit while in Grand Rapids.

Traverse City

Traverse City is known for its stunning views and, of course, fantastic Italian food. Join the club by visiting:

  • Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders of Traverse City – West Bay: A combination of delicious pizza and Italian grinders along with the beautiful sight of West Bay to please the eyes.

  • Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders of Traverse City – Chum’s Corner: Another popular location with fantastic grub and an entertaining environment. Both Mancino’s restaurants are perfect for gatherings and indulging in the flavors of Italy.

Signature Dishes

Homemade Pasta

Michigan is home to some delicious homemade pasta dishes that will make your mouth water. At Trattoria Stella in Traverse City, you can find authentic spaghetti carbonara made with traditional ingredients and cooked to perfection. Another must-try homemade pasta dish is the meat sauce served at Da Francesco’s in Shelby Charter Township, which boasts a rich, savory flavor.


When it comes to pizza, Michigan does not disappoint. For an incredible wood-fired pizza, head to Crispigna’s in the Upper Peninsula, where they’ve been making pizzas from scratch for over 40 years. If you’re in the Ann Arbor area, don’t miss Paesano Restaurant‘s take on Sicilian-style pizza, which is known for its high-quality ingredients and attention to detail.

Antipasto Salad

Antipasto salad is a wonderful way to enjoy an array of Italian flavors in a single dish. Many of the best Italian restaurants in Michigan offer this as a starter or even a light main course. At Pereddies Restaurant and Deli in Holland, their antipasto salad is a customer favorite, featuring fresh vegetables, cheeses, and cured meats, all served over a bed of crisp lettuce.

As you explore the best Italian restaurants in Michigan, be sure to try these signature dishes. You won’t be disappointed by the homemade pasta, pizza, and antipasto salad offerings that showcase the true flavors of Italian cuisine. And don’t forget to complete your meal with a scoop of authentic, creamy gelato.

Award-Winning Restaurants

When looking for the finest Italian dining experiences in Michigan, a few award-winning restaurants stand out in the crowd. These establishments have earned recognition for their top-notch cuisine, exceptional service, and delightful ambiance.

One such restaurant is Café Cortina in Farmington Hills. Known for its homemade pasta and genuine Italian recipes, this award-winning restaurant boasts an exquisite dining experience. Café Cortina has garnered accolades for its commitment to delivering a true taste of Italy, sure to satisfy the most discerning palates.

Another noteworthy restaurant is Mangiamo in Grand Rapids. Its delightful menu filled with traditional Italian dishes has earned it a spot among the top Italian eateries in the state. The captivating atmosphere of Mangiamo enhances the overall dining experience, making it a go-to destination for lovers of Italian cuisine.

Paesano Restaurant in Ann Arbor is a Sicilian-style eatery that takes pride in offering both an outstanding menu and a cultural experience. They not only serve mouth-watering Italian dishes but also provide Italian language lessons, further immersing guests in the spirit of Italy.

The Spirit of Italy Award is a prestigious recognition of the finest Italian restaurants in Michigan and beyond. Such awards are a testament to the dedication these establishments put into their craft, ensuring that diners enjoy an authentic Italian experience.

Michigan’s best Italian restaurants receive high praise and rave reviews from locals and critics alike. Among these top establishments, you’ll discover mouth-watering dishes, warm atmospheres, and passionate staff dedicated to preserving the traditions of Italian cuisine.

Italian Cuisine Throughout Michigan

Metro Detroit Area

In the Metro Detroit area, you can find a variety of authentic Italian restaurants. One of the popular spots is Ottava Via, which not only features classic Italian dishes but also offers bocce ball in its backyard. If you’re looking for a classic deli experience, Gonellas Foods has been around for more than 75 years, providing delicious submarine sandwiches and a variety of deli options.


Holland, Michigan is home to some noteworthy Italian dining options as well. Mangiamo stands out for its remarkable atmosphere, housed in a 19th-century mansion on the east side of Grand Rapids. With live music and a sprawling gated lawn, it’s a great place to enjoy Italian cuisine in a beautiful setting.

Upper Peninsula

In the Upper Peninsula, the go-to Italian spot in Mackinaw city offers some of the best pastas and wood-fired pizza pies. This hidden gem serves up authentic Italian dishes that are sure to delight your taste buds.

Indian River

Over in Indian River, you’ll find a mix of traditional Italian eateries and contemporary dining experiences. Whether you’re looking for a classic pasta dish or wood-fired pizza, this area has you covered.


Macomb offers a mix of old-school red sauce joints and modern dining experiences. A notable establishment is Da Francesco’s, located at 49521 Van Dyke, Shelby Charter Township, Michigan. Known for its delicious Italian dishes, its menu will surely satisfy any craving.

Popular Italian Restaurant Staples

Italian cuisine is well-known for its rich flavors, simplicity, and emphasis on high-quality ingredients. In this section, we will explore some of the staple offerings that can be found at the best Italian restaurants in Michigan.

House-Made Bread

One of the hallmarks of a truly authentic Italian restaurant is the presence of fresh, house-made bread. From classic ciabatta to rosemary-infused focaccia, a well-rounded Italian dining experience often begins with sharing a warm, flavorful loaf amongst friends and family. Customarily served with a side of olive oil or butter, house-made bread complements the sauces and flavors of the dishes that follow.

Authentic Cheeses and Meats

Renowned for its indulgent assortment of cheeses and meats, Italian cuisine is synonymous with delectable antipasto platters. At the best Italian restaurants in Michigan, you can expect to find a diverse selection of imported or locally sourced artisanal cheeses and cured meats. Key components may consist of:

Cheeses: Mozzarella, provolone, gorgonzola, and parmigiano-reggiano are just a few examples of the exquisite Italian cheeses you may encounter.
Meats: Prosciutto, salami, coppa, and mortadella are among the most popular Italian meats that contribute to a satisfying antipasto spread.

These offerings are often accompanied by olives, marinated vegetables, and crusty bread.


No Italian meal is complete without a well-crafted dessert. Two beloved classics that can be found at many Italian restaurants in Michigan include:

Cannolis: Crispy pastry shells filled with sweet, creamy ricotta or mascarpone cheese and often garnished with chocolate chips, pistachios, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
Tiramisu: A heavenly combination of coffee-soaked ladyfingers, creamy mascarpone cheese, cocoa powder, and a hint of liquor come together to create this delectable Italian dessert.

Relevance in Today’s World

Delivery and Catering

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is key. Many Italian restaurants in Michigan are adapting to customer preferences by offering delivery and catering services. Customers can enjoy delicious Italian cuisine without leaving their homes or offices. Catering options are perfect for events, meetings, and parties, as they provide authentic Italian dishes that satisfy guests’ cravings.

Local Favorites

Michigan has a rich Italian food scene, with many local favorites standing out due to their distinctive flavors and impeccable service. Some notable examples include Trattoria Stella in Traverse City, Da Francesco’s in Shelby Charter Township, and Paesano Restaurant in Ann Arbor. These establishments have been praised for their dedication to quality and attention to detail.

Hand-Rolled Pasta

A true Italian dining experience is incomplete without hand-rolled pasta, a labor of love that reflects the expertise of skilled chefs. In Michigan, eateries like Amore and Pereddies Restaurant and Deli are popular for their hand-rolled pasta dishes, showcasing the art of traditional pasta-making. Fresh, flavorful, and perfectly cooked, these dishes allow customers to experience the heart of Italian cooking.

Regional Cuisine

Italian cuisine is diverse, with each region boasting its unique culinary traditions and specialties. In Michigan, you can find restaurants that explore various regional cuisines, immersing customers in a genuinely Italian experience. For instance, Café Cortina in Farmington Hills focuses on Tuscany-inspired dishes, while San Morello in Detroit offers a menu inspired by Southern Italian cuisine.

Italian Restaurants with Notable Ambience

Old-School Charm

Michigan offers a variety of authentic Italian restaurants that embody an old-school charm. For example, Café Cortina in Farmington Hills transports you to Tuscany with its enchanting atmosphere and delicious cuisine. Similarly, Trattoria Stella located in Traverse City has an elegant setting that exudes classic Italian flair.

Frank Sinatra Associations

For a dining experience that gives you the feeling of dining with Frank Sinatra in his heyday, head to Da Francesco’s in Shelby Charter Township. Known for its Sinatra associations, the ambiance and menu are sure to impress any fan of the legendary singer.

Bocce Ball

For a more interactive dining experience, check out Italian restaurants in Michigan that feature bocce ball courts. One such establishment is the Paesano Restaurant in Ann Arbor, offering not only a Sicilian-style eatery but also Italian language lessons and bocce ball for an immersive cultural experience.

Entertainment Offerings

Several Italian restaurants in Michigan boast live entertainment to enhance your dining experience. Pereddies Restaurant and Deli in Holland is a prime example, combining a fantastic menu with a lively atmosphere, and performance schedule. This way, you can enjoy authentic Italian cuisine while being entertained by local musicians and performers during your meal.

Prominent Italian Chefs in Michigan

Chef Randy Truant is a well-known figure in the Michigan culinary scene. With a passion for Italian cuisine, he has honed his skills and gained recognition for his dedication to bringing authentic Italian flavors to the region. Trained in Italy, Chef Truant strives to create memorable dining experiences, focusing on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, ensuring that each dish is a true representation of Italian culinary traditions.

Norberto Garita is another respected chef in Michigan’s Italian food scene. Originally from Mexico, he studied culinary arts in Italy and brought his newfound passion and expertise to Michigan. Drawing from his diverse culinary background, Chef Garita combines traditional Italian flavors with innovative techniques, resulting in a unique and unforgettable dining experience for his guests.

In addition to Chef Truant and Chef Garita, Michigan is home to several other talented Italian chefs. Their restaurants often feature homemade pasta, genuine Italian recipes, and cozy atmospheres. Some notable establishments include Trattoria Stella in Traverse City, Da Francesco’s in Shelby Charter Township, Café Cortina in Farmington Hills, and Mangiamo in Grand Rapids.

These chefs share a commitment to quality, authenticity, and customer satisfaction, which is evident in their dishes and the success of their establishments. They continue to contribute to Michigan’s diverse culinary landscape and uphold the rich history and tradition of Italian cuisine.

Detailed Restaurant Recommendations

Giovanni’s in Detroit has been serving classic Italian cuisine since 1968. The family-owned establishment offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a delicious meal.

Amore Trattoria Italiana in Comstock Park is known for their seasonal menu and fresh ingredients sourced from local farmers. From homemade pasta to wood-fired pizza, the menu offers something for everyone.

Trattoria Stella in Traverse City is a popular choice for Italian cuisine. Located within a picturesque setting, this restaurant offers a range of options, including pasta, seafood, and meat dishes to satisfy every palate.

At Paesano Restaurant in Ann Arbor, guests can enjoy Sicilian-style dining, complete with an opportunity to take Italian language lessons. Known for its killer Italian fare, Paesano is a great spot for authentic Italian cuisine.

El Barzon in Detroit combines Mexican and Italian cuisines in a unique setting. Offering options like pasta, seafood, and tacos, this remarkable restaurant caters to various tastes.

In Detroit’s Palmer Park neighborhood, La Dolce Vita offers an elegant dining experience and a menu featuring classic Italian dishes, from pasta to seafood, and of course, dessert.

Mazzo Cucina D’Italia in Grand Rapids brings a contemporary twist to Italian cuisine with a menu that explores innovative flavor combinations and culinary techniques.

Cello Italian Restaurant in Howell focuses on creating dishes that showcase the natural flavors of fresh, high-quality ingredients. With a comfortable atmosphere and attentive service, Cello is ideal for a relaxed dining experience.

For a true taste of Italian-American cuisine, visit Da Francesco’s in Shelby Charter Township. With its exceptional food and charming atmosphere, it remains a favorite among locals.

Osteria Rossa in Grand Rapids offers a warm, rustic setting, perfect for enjoying their seasonally inspired menu featuring wood-fired pizzas, handmade pasta, and an array of other flavorsome dishes.

Nino’s Family Restaurant in Sebewaing is well-known for its homemade pasta, sauces, and seafood. The menu offers a variety of traditional Italian favorites, making it a great spot for the whole family.

In Ann Arbor, Silvio’s Organic Ristorante e Pizzeria is the place to go for authentic Italian food made with organic and sustainable ingredients. The menu features hand-tossed pizzas, pasta, and more.

For a casual and family-friendly experience, visit Teddy Spaghetti’s in Traverse City. The menu offers a wide range of Italian-American dishes, sure to please both kids and adults alike.

Deluca’s in Lansing is a longstanding favorite for Italian cuisine in the area. Known for their pizza and pasta, this restaurant is perfect for a relaxed meal with family or friends.

Located in Detroit, Ottava Via offers an inviting atmosphere to enjoy classic Italian dishes. The menu is full of delicious options, making it a popular option among diners.

In downtown Detroit, San Morello is a stylish Italian eatery with a focus on Southern Italian cuisine. The menu offers a variety of mouthwatering dishes, perfect for a night out or special occasion.

Mani Osteria in Ann Arbor is known for its wood-fired pizzas and house-made pasta. With a diverse menu and a lively atmosphere, it’s a hot spot for Italian food lovers.

Paesano’s in Plymouth offers a variety of Italian dishes, from seafood to pasta, in a cozy and friendly atmosphere.

Finally, for a friendly family dining experience, visit Deluca’s Restaurant in Lansing, which has been serving authentic Italian-American food for over 50 years.

These recommendations offer a great variety of Italian cuisine throughout Michigan, ensuring your next dining adventure is nothing short of amazing.