Who doesn’t love a great Italian meal? Here in Wisconsin, not only do we have authentic Italian, but we have awesome Wisconsin cheese to top it off with. You’re sure to have an excellent Italian meal just about anywhere, but here are ten you just need to check out:
1. Carmella's, an Italian Bistro (Appleton)
I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw this place was in a strip mall. But don't let that fool you. The interior and patio are amazing. And the food? Potentially the best Italian you'll find in all of Wisconsin. You can judge an Italian place based on the marinara, and this one is great. Ooooh, and they have awesome cupcakes.
2. Novanta (Madison)
Craving a classic Neopolitan pizza? You've come to the right place. All of their pies are good (I recommend the Margherita, but that's my go-to). And there is even a Mozzarella bar. Some from here in Wisconsin, and some imported from Italy. Do a taste test.
3. Calderone Club (Milwaukee)
You can get a good Neopolitan pie at Calderone, too, but there's a ton of other food to sample. Whatever you do, get it with meatballs. Calderone won the Milwaukee Meatball challenge. (I wasn't sure this was a thing until researching this article, and that sounds like the coolest challenge ever--great job, guys!)
4. Renzo's Pizzeria (Kenosha)
This place is old school---like Italian old school. You will experience the flavors of Tiriolo, Italy but in Kenosha, Wisconsin. They've been serving up great Italian food for the past 30 years. The pizza is great. They do a pretty good calzone, too.
5. Pasta Vino (Bailey's Harbor)
If you're heading up to Door County, make sure you make a stop at Pasta Vino. The burrata is to die for, but if you're not feeling adventurous, never fear--they serve cheese curds. What sets this place apart is the freshly caught seafood, showcasing some great Italian fish dishes. Mangia!
6. Villa Dolce Cafe (Middleton)
Don't get me wrong, the food here is great...but what makes you coming back for more is the house-made GELATO! Are you kidding me? You will fall in love. And if you need more than just dessert, try one of their artisan pizzas. Craving comfort food? The Italian mac n cheese is pretty much the best ever.
7. Zarletti (Milwaukee)
Zarletti has won numerous accolades for its food, and they are well-earned. Many rave about the Ossobuco. There's also a lunch menu, in case you want lighter fare. But whatever you do, get dessert. I'm partial to the semi-freddo.
8. Ristorante Bartolotta (Wauwatosa)
This is THE place for Northern Italian cuisine in Wisconsin. One of the more exciting aspects of this restaurant is the chef's seasonal menu, which is based off fresh produce. You never know what you might try. But the staples are phenomenal as well. The spinach and ricotta ravioli...with brown butter...what?!
9. Angelina (Green Bay)
And you thought the only thing worth coming to Green Bay was Lambeau Field? Puh-lease. Angelina is about to school you on authentic Italian food. She came here in 1993 from Italy and hasn't looked back. Everything is amazing, try the spaghetti puttanesca. And watch your mouth!
10. Il Ritrovo (Sheboygan)
Come here for the authentic Neopolitan pizza, and leave with some Italian cooking supplies of your own in their specialty store. And they have mortadella ravioli. Game changer.
What is your favorite Italian restaurant in Wisconsin? Be sure to let us know your go-to place!