When you visit Minnesota, you can expect to find the same quality of fine dining that you find everywhere else in the U.S. The state is famous for its beer and burgers, but every now and again, you may find yourself craving something completely different and wanting to dine at one of the best Italian restaurants in Minnesota.
Whether you’re looking for a down-home Italian Cucina or a high-end fine dining experience, you can find it in the state that’s known as “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Are you ready to explore the best Italian restaurants in Minnesota? Let’s dive in.
If you’re looking for world-class Italian food, how about a restaurant that made it onto Fodor’s list of the top 15 Italian restaurants in the U.S.? Since 2019, people from all over the state (and beyond) have been flocking to Giulia, which is located in the Emery Hotel in Minneapolis.
Giulia has Italian fare that hails from the northern part of Italy. The menu includes dishes such as and meticulously folded agnolotti that’s stuffed with savory venison sugo. Then, the agnolotti is brushed with delicate and fragrant sage butter.
The chef at Giulia is Steven Brown, who has worked at some of the world’s best restaurants. Don’t miss the amaro cart, which offers more than 50 varieties of this legendary Italian herbal liqueur.
2. Broders’ Pasta Bar
In Minneapolis, you can dine at an establishment that has been open since 1994. Operated by the legendary Broder family, Broder’s Pasta Bar is part of the Cucina Italiana family that has been in business in the city since 1982. The Pasta Bar is more formal than the traditional Cucina Italiana.
At Broders’ Pasta Bar, you have pricier options, but you also get the legendary full service that the Broders family is famous for. A fancy machine dispenses different choices of “tap wine.” The menu offers nearly 20 different risottos and pasta. Favorites include gnocchi with duck cacciatore and paccheri with braised short rib.
3. Yarusso-Bros. Italian Restaurant
Yarusso has been in the Twin Cities for several generations. First founded by Francesco Yarusso in 1933 in St. Paul, Yarussos has changed over time and is still owned by the same family.
At Yarussos, you can expect typical soul-warming grandma-style Italian food that includes huge portions of pasta. The restaurant has a famous signature sauce that makes it stand out from other Italian restaurants in the Twin Cities.
Menu items are priced reasonably and on Thursdays, you get a complimentary glass of wine. One thing that makes this restaurant so popular is that kids eat free on Sundays. Also, you don’t want to miss the pasta bucket specials.
4. Rinata Restaurant
When you find yourself in Uptown Minneapolis, check out Rinata Restaurant. The word “Rinata” means “re-birth,” and you may indeed feel re-born after a visit to this restaurant.
The menu at Rinata Restaurant draws inspiration from the different corners of the country of Italy. However, the core offerings are the fresh pasta dishes.
The main dishes on the menu change regularly, so you will experience something new nearly every time you visit Rinata. Devoted fans love the oxtail agnolotti and spaghetti and meatballs. The prices are reasonable and portions are substantial.
5. I Nonni
If you’re in the Lilydale area, you don’t want to miss out on a stop at I Nonni, an award-winning Italian restaurant and arguably one of the best Italian restaurants in Minnesota. Every single dish at I Nonni is an authentic Italian recipe and the staff is absolutely passionate about good Italian food.
On the menu, you will find an extraordinary selection of fine Italian wines. For dinner selections, guests rave about the calamari fritti and beef carpaccio. Moreover, I Nonni has several delicious seafood options.
The decor at this restaurant is modern and I Nonni is a high-end fine dining establishment.
6. Sorrento Cucina
Another Minneapolis Italian restaurant, Sorrento Cucina has been serving up delicious dining experiences since 1992. The restaurant is an establishment that is family-owned and operated. Located in the city’s skyway system, Sorrento Cucina offers fresh and quickly made original pasta dishes.
A favorite at this restaurant is Neapolitan wood-fired pizza and it’s served up via Sorrento’s famous Traveling Pizza Oven for a charming catering experience.
When you dine in, you can expect exceptional customer service at Sorrento’s and you get a lot of food for the price. The location is super cozy and can become crowded at lunchtime, so arrive early for the weekday lunch specials that include Chicago-style hoagies, hot sandwiches, desserts, and more.
In business since 1998, Pazzaluna in St. Paul is a critically acclaimed award-winning restaurant. The decor is as beautiful as the unique dishes that come out of the kitchen, and guests marvel at the dining room with its murals.
Signature dishes are the fresh gnocchi, grilled calamari, and tender veal chops that have been stuffed with fontina and prosciutto.
Note that Pazzaluna is currently closed because of the pandemic, but keep your eye out for their re-opening and future developments.
8. Va Bene
Va Bene in Duluth, Minnesota, was established in 2006 and is still owned by the same family that first opened it. The family takes pride in the fact that all of their gnocchi, sauces, bread, desserts, dressings and some of their pasta noodles are made right on site from scratch.
The restaurant has been voted the best Italian restaurant in Duluth, as well as the most romantic restaurant in the area. Guests enjoy the breathtaking view of Lake Superior from the dining room.
Va Bene means “it goes well” in Italian, and that’s exactly what will happen when you dine there. This Minnesota Italian restaurant is also a good option for people who are following a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diet.
9. Acqua Restaurant
In St. Paul’s White Bear Lake area, you will find the intimate eatery called Acqua Restaurant. Their menu is simple but innovative and includes dishes like roasted hen of the woods mushroom stoup, ragu alla Bolognese with tagliatelle, and tiger shrimp scampi with spaghetti.
Guests love the view of the lake and the restaurant can accommodate you for family occasions, intimate dining, and even business dinners. Two scenic decks overlook the marina and there are three elegant dining rooms.
The menu changes frequently, so be sure to stay on top of current offerings via their Facebook page.
10. Terza and La Vetta
A classic “Dell ‘Anima,” Terza Ristorante is located in downtown Rochester, Minnesota. Dell ‘Anima means “soul of the pasta” and you will feel like you really understand the meaning after dining at this charming little restaurant.
The restaurant is committed to serving sustainable foods like Norwegian salmon, Organic Glen plum tomatoes, wild-caught calamari, and fresh fish. All of their recipes and fresh pasta are hand-crafted on-site with much “amore.” They also have a sommelier in-house who supervises their selection of world-class wines.
If you’re eating gluten-free, you will appreciate the special menu that Terza Ristorante has provided for you. Favorite dishes include their signature tomato basil soup and tagliatelle wild mushroom.
11. Tutto Bene
Located in Bemidji, Minnesota, Tutto Bene offers a simple but elegant menu with both Italian favorites and innovative dishes. Whether you want a simple overfilling plate of spaghetti and meatballs or something more exotic like shrimp and saffron risotto, Tutto Bene can meet your needs.
Customers love their legendary Caesar salad that’s made with anchovy garlic aioli and parmesan frico. You can also enjoy interesting dishes such as maple-glazed pork belly served with hickory-smoked gorgonzola or a Spanish chorizo dish with pistachios and caramelized Brussel sprouts.
Be sure to leave room for some of their legendary lemon almond semolina cake or butterscotch budino.
12. Bar La Grasa
One of the best Italian restaurants in Minnesota can be found in Minneapolis at Bar La Grasa, which is located in the warehouse district. The massive wooden beams, brick walls, and exposed ductwork make this place super fun, but it’s the delicious Italian fare that keeps customers coming back over and over again.
The bruschetta at Bar La Grasa is some of the most beloved in the Twin Cities and they have some unique offerings. Fancy bruschetta made with lobster and soft eggs? How about bruschetta with ricotta and pickled tomatoes?
Customers say that the pasta is equally perfect, and one favorite is gnocchi with cauliflower and orange. You can also have something as simple as fettuccine alfredo.
In St. Paul, there is an Italian restaurant that has a cult following, and they’re so popular that they’ve opened a second location in Uptown and another in Minneapolis. The menu at Mucci’s is short, but every single item is perfect.
There are a handful of pasta favorites, and Lasagna Mucci is as simple as it comes. However, their woodfired pizzas have a fried crust that is so delicious it boggles the mind. In fact, Mucci’s often lands on lists of the best pizza in the Twin Cities.
On the appetizer menu, try Hangover Kale and Garlic Montanara bread.
Ready for Some Amore?
Now that you know about the best Italian restaurants in Minnesota, you’re all set. Wherever you go, just remember that when you’re eating at one of these excellent Minnesota Italian restaurants, “va bene” (it goes well).
After dining at one of the best Italian restaurants in Minnesota, let us know what your favorite menu item was.
Still hungry? Then continue exploring Minnesota food and drinks for a complete culinary adventure!