Mangia, Mangia! Get Moonstruck in Orlando At These Local Italian Faves

A.D. Thompson

By , Local Expert, Orlando
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Pop quiz, Hotshot: you’re craving your Nana Stella’s lasagna something fierce but you’re on vacation with the family – in Orlando of all places. What do you do? What. Do. You. Do? You check out 10Best’s list of Italian restaurants, of course. We’re happy to point you in the direction of quality cannoli, premier Piccata, exceptional Alfredo and melt-in-your-mouth melanzane. And with price points and dining digs to suit every need, you can impress your clients (or girlfriend) with lofty menus both nouvelle and old-school or roll in with the kids in shorts, T-shirts and sneaks for pizza, pasta and profiteroles with no need for...  Read more »

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    Prato's wonderful location, varied menu, reliable wait staff and comfortable vibe have made it a local...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "The Cetriolo cocktail, a refreshing amalgam of cucumber-infused vodka, lime, white cranberry and basil, imbues one's happy hour with spa-like Zen. "

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    Stefano's Trattoria

    • Cuisine: European, Italian
    • Average Main Course Price: $16
    • Neighborhood: East Orlando

    Meals at Stefano's are casual, warm and very much like dining with family -- family that can cook. Elastic-waist pants are not the worst idea. Really.

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't come here expecting experimental, artily-plated "takes" on classic Italian. Just come hungry. "

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    Rocco's Italian Grille & Bar

    It's a great venue for special occasions or business dinners, but Rocco's is so wonderfully unpretentious you might want to try them for happy hour.

    Local Expert Tip: "Papardelle, a sort of fettuccine on steroids, is a favorite of mine. Rocco's smothers theirs with shrimp, scallops, lobster and generous shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. So wrong it's right. "

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    Francesco's Ristorante & Pizzeria

    Great ambiance, inside and out, and bar-top, kitchen-view seating where you can take in the kitchen action help make Francesco's a fun place to dine.

    Local Expert Tip: "If you're watching your wheat intake and tend to avoid Italian restaurants, you can dine at Francesco's without fear and with pizza -- the gluten-free variety, of course."

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    Antonio's Market & Cafe

    I'd put it on for the gorgonzola-fig pizza alone, but Antonio's boasts excellent service to match its food and a friendly, convivial ambiance.

    Local Expert Tip: "If Antonio's Market & Café is your loud, funny cugino from Puglia, Antonio's Upstairs is his quieter, more elegant counterpart from Milan. Try it for more formal occasions. "

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    Enzo's on the Lake

    • Cuisine: European, Italian
    • Average Main Course Price: $27
    • Neighborhood: Longwood

    Keep the weather in mind. Enzo's and its lakeside deck is particularly enjoyable during Orlando's best-weather seasons.

    Local Expert Tip: "Keep the weather in mind. Enzo's and its lakeside deck is particularly enjoyable during Orlando's best-weather seasons. "

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    La Luce by Donna Scala

    La Luce's soothing atmosphere sets the tone and its food warms the belly. It's a nice hotel-based 180 from a day at the parks.

    Local Expert Tip: "The butterscotch pudding is no joke. Order two. You won't want to share. "

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    Il Pescatore

    Il Pescatore's simple charms lie in its menu and its mom-and-pop vibe.

    Local Expert Tip: "Gems often appear and disappear as daily specials. Don't forget to ask. "

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    Christini's Ristorante Italiano

    • Cuisine: European, Italian
    • Average Main Course Price: $40
    • Neighborhood: Doctor Phillips

    Hey, is that Michael Corleone in the corner booth? With its upscale, old-school vibe, Christini's would...  Read more »

    Local Expert Tip: "Looking for a place to impress clients that isn't a been-there-done-that steakhouse? Christini's fits the bill nicely. And if you still want a steak, they got it. "

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    All Italian Market & Deli

    Sadly, Orlando suffers from an acute ethnic deli shortage. All Italian does double-duty to help fill the void.

    Local Expert Tip: "The beauty of the deli-as-restaurant is that whatever you didn't manage to eat can still be ordered and taken home with minimal effort. I recommend the nutella cheesecake. "



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