America's best Italian restaurants
“There are two kinds of people in the world,” chef Mario Batali said recently at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, CO, “those who are Italian, and those who wish they were Italian.”
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Just when you think Italian cuisine can’t get any hotter, it does. So what are America’s best Italian restaurants? Read on to see.
Acquerello, San Francisco (Photo: Daniel Morris)
This Nob Hill institution helmed by co-owners Giancarlo Paterlini and Suzette Gresham-Tognetti isn’t just the fine-dining Italian restaurant you go to for special occasions out of habit. It’s stayed consistently great and kept relevant since its 1989 debut, winning a coveted Michelin star for six years and counting. For the best representation, try the classic tasting menu, where you’re likely to sample the ridged pasta in foie gras and Marsala sauce with black truffles or the truffle-stuffed chicken with leek custard with potato gratin and creminis. There’s a seasonal tasting, too, and you can always order à la carte for a more contemporary take on the classic flavors of Italian food using the freshest ingredients California can provide.
Trattoria Lucca, Charleston, S.C. (Photo: Andrew Stephen Cebulka)
In downtown Charleston’s Elliotborough, Ken Vedrinski celebrates family-style dining, paying tribute to his grandmother who grew up in the Abruzzo region. There are imported cheese and salumi, and hand-rolled pastas, but Vedrinski is perhaps best known locally for his commitment to farm-to-table produce and fresh seafood from the waters surrounding Charleston. So you can’t go wrong ordering any of the crudos the chef has put on the menu. Or put your meal entirely in his hands by joining the Monday evening family supper, a communal seating during which Vedrinski serves a new four-course prix fixe menu for $38.