At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Charlotte's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a given cuisine. When we're in the mood for Italian food in Charlotte, we head to Portofino's - a reader favorite - or we count on Mama Ricotta's's solid track record and consistently great dishes. You'll find these places - and any of the restaurants on our list - to be fantastic options for Italian cuisine, and if you're looking to concentrate your efforts, start with the vibrant Uptown area.


Offering a mix of old-world cuisine and Italian favorites, Aria Tuscan Grill leaves customers feeling like they've just visited their Italian grandmothers' kitchens. Diners rave about the Caramelized Gnocchi as well as the Steamed Mussels, served in a hearty plum tomato and Sambuca sauce. Main dishes like Osso Buco and Grilled Quail remind native Italians of home, while the rest of us are beyond satisfied by specialties like the Wild Mushroom Ravioli and creamy tiramisu.

Read more about Aria Tuscan Grill →

Park Road

This popular spot boasts a family-friendly atmosphere and fabulous Italian fare. Start off with garlic bread with cheese and perhaps the mussels marinara. With over 15 pastas available and a variety of specialty dishes, dinner offers quite the works. Dig into baked lasagna or stuffed eggplant, or order a calzone, pizza or Italian sub. A cannoli or tiramisu makes for a pleasing final course.

Read more about Portofino's →


From the Venetian glass and marble floors to the delectable bounty from the kitchen, this European dining room offers luxury and old-world charm. Complimentary Italian bread and white beans in olive oil are served at the beginning of meal, as patrons select a bottle of wine and tackle the menu's tough choices. Among the selection of Northern Italian delicacies, the spinach and ricotta pasta pillows with mascarpone cream sauce comes highly recommended. If it's a pleasant evening, make the most of it on the outdoor patio.

Read more about Toscana →


Lovely Murano glass and original artwork enhance this restaurant, located in the base of the Hearst tower, and an outdoor patio provides additional dining. From luscious starters such as mozzarella layered between fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil to flavorful meats, fish, and pastas, the kitchen boasts satisfying Tuscan cuisine. Try the agnolotti alla piemontese (ravioli stuffed with roasted veal, braised Swiss chard and parmesan). Wine list available.

Read more about Luce →


Outfitted with an open kitchen and bar, this Italian dining room offers a delightfully authentic atmosphere. Delicately prepared risottos, pastas, fish and meat dishes, as well as pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven, have led Charlotte natives to proclaim this as one of the best places to satisfy Italian cravings. Browse the terrific list of Italian wines for a perfect pairing, and be sure to save room for the irresistible homemade panna cotta.

Read more about Fiamma →

One of the best values in Charlotte, Mama Ricotta's pleases with Italian fare that includes minestrone, aromatic garlic rolls, a large, fresh salad bowl for the table and Italian classics. Pasta lovers shouldn't miss the penne a la vodka and pizza enthusiasts will definitely want to sample specialty pies like the Chicken Oreganata. The atmosphere is that of a true Italian kitchen, and since most dishes can be served family-style, it's ideal for large groups.

Read more about Mama Ricotta's →