Nobody ever gets fed up with good old fashioned Southern cooking, but every once in a while we enjoy stepping outside of the box (or the kitchen) and having a nice Italian dinner replete with plenty of pasta and maybe a bit of savory wine. These Italian restaurants around Arkansas are known for their comforting atmosphere and delicious meals – take a trip with a date or with the family and mangia, mangia – eat, eat!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
18. Morina's Italian Restaurant
The veal parmesan is recommended at this Cabot restaurant, and the stuffed mushrooms are worthy of your time as well. Diners will be well satisfied with the quick and efficient service from the very professional staff, and the portion sizes here are absolutely great!
17. Tony C's Italian Gardens
The portions are huge and heavenly at this fun-loving Rogers restaurant. The location is a bonus as well, as Tony C's is situated near beautiful Beaver Lake and Prairie Creek Marina. Try the "Tony Special" pizza or the marvelous spaghetti & meatball dish!
16. Graffiti's Italian Restaurant
This Little Rock eatery has been around for a while and has a comfortable, casual interior along with Northern Italian dishes on the menu. Portion sizes are very healthy and the wine list is affordably good. Try the lasagna or linguine with escargot!
15. Ristorante Capeo
A favorite among North Little Rock residents, Ristorante Capeo offers diners a high-quality Italian menu with a lengthy wine list. The dining area is intimate and quite cozy. Diners say the lasagna is exceptional and the mushroom risotto is great, too!
14. Vetro 1925 Ristorante
Located in an historic renovated Fayetteville building, Vetro 1925 Ristorante offers diners a stylish and casual atmosphere with friendly wait staff. The pasta carbonara is a popular dish as well as the penne ala vodka. The wine list is nice, too!
13. The Pesto Cafe
The Pesto Café is highly recommended by a lot of northwest Arkansas locals. This Fayetteville restaurant's décor is modern and live music is often featured in a very busy, bustling atmosphere. Try the veal ravioli primavera or chicken parmesan!
12. Napoli's Italian Restaurant
East Coast style Italian dishes are the specialty at this Rogers restaurant. A family owned and operated establishment, Napoli's is comfortably casual and well known in the area for great pizza pies and lasagna. Try the chicken piccata or one of the restaurant's delicious made-from-scratch pizzas.
11. Bruno's Little Italy
The service is great at this longstanding Little Rock restaurant. Bruno's provides fast and quality service to diners, and the atmosphere of the establishment is quite romantic and relaxing. The wine selection is good and the cannelloni is highly recommended.
10. Cafe Amore
Having been distinguished in Arkansas media when voted as "Most Romantic Restaurant" by locals, Café Amore continues to live up to its name. Hearty homemade dishes of Italian cuisine are enjoyed by both locals and those visiting and enjoying the charm of Eureka Springs. The restaurant's menu offers a variety of pasta, pizza, salads, and desserts. Beer, wine, and cocktails are also served at this cozy eatery.
9. Ciao Italian Restaurant
A well-known Little Rock establishment, Ciao's features work from local artists on its walls and fabulous Italian dishes for chowing down. Customers shouldn't feel obligated to dress up here, either - casual wear is just fine at Ciaos. Regulars recommend the fried ravioli as an appetizer and the veal parmigiana as an entrée. Those who indulge should try the chocolate truffle for dessert!
8. Vesuvio Bistro
Make a reservation at this busy Little Rock restaurant! The ambience here is great; a piano player provides music for diners and the bar at this popular locale features a great selection of drinks. Try the pasta with basil pesto or the tilapia piccata!
A classy Fayetteville establishment that attracts diners with stylish Italian dishes, Bordino's is a trendy locale among well-dressed locals. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time, as this restaurant stays busy! Try the mussels as a recommended appetizer and the boar sausage linguini, a tribute dish in honor of the Arkansas Razorbacks.
6. Ermilio's of Eureka Springs
Another beloved Eureka Springs restaurant, Ermilio's is located in a Victorian-style home and welcomes diners in an upstairs waiting room/game room that has a small wine and beer bar as well. Attentive staff and excellent dishes such as the spinach fettucini alfredo keep people coming back to Ermilio's. Try the tiramisu for dessert!
5. Tavola Trattoria
Tavola Trattoria is a Bentonville casual Italian restaurant with a very modern setting. The establishment offers diners a long list of wine choices. Regulars rave about the bread sauce as well as the appetizers and desserts. The Ravioli Tavola is a recommended menu choice.
4. Venesian Inn
Arkansans who grew up in the Springdale area are familiar with the Venisian Inn and have made many memories at this authentic Italian restaurant in Tontitown. The atmosphere is very homey and comfortable at the Venisian Inn, and the pasta dishes here are very down home and satisfying.
3. Mary Maestri's Italiano Grillroom
Having been in business for over 100 years, Mary Maestri's restaurant was originally located in Tontitown. The location changed to Springdale, but the menu has stayed the exact same with all the original favorites. Regulars always have great things to say about the friendly staff at Mary Maestri's as well as their excellent service.
2. DeVito's of Eureka Springs
Award winning Devito's offers diners an intimate setting with beautiful décor and a well-stocked bar. Rooftop dining with a view of Eureka Springs is also available at this popular eatery. Sandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes, and much more are available on the menu, and a diverse list of wines is offered as well. Many regulars recommend the trout or the pork tenderloin with mustard and capers crème sauce.
1. BRAVO! Cucina Italiana in the Promenade at Chenal
An upscale Little Rock eatery that's perfect for family dining, BRAVO! serves traditional Italian dishes with their own personal style. High-quality ingredients are used for their delicious pasta dishes and pizza pies. The calamari is an excellent appetizer and the veal parmesan is a recommended dish. The drink menu is a delight, too!
Make yourself at home at these good old fashioned Italian restaurants that serve a nice helping of Southern hospitality! Be sure to leave a comment on your favorite Italian restaurants around the Natural State as well as the dishes you love to order at your favorite establishments.