Tucson be may in the heart of some of the hottest desert regions in the world, but it certainly doesn’t wilt when it comes to good Italian food. It is home to a handful of thriving family-owned Italian eateries and restaurants that bring a taste of Italy to Arizona, from the hand-crafted Italian foods made from fresh, local ingredients of North Italia to the classic dishes served in the family-friendly atmosphere of Mama Louisa’s Italian Restaurant. For delicious deli-style fare, fresh meat cuts and cheeses, hot and cold sandwiches, and imported goods head to Tony’s Italian Deli or the trendy Tavolino for a romantic dinner for two. Here are some of Tucson’s top Italian restaurants.
© Bianchi's Italian
Bianchi’s Italian is a cozy Italian eatery on Silverbell Road that serves hearty pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and other Italian fare for dine-in or takeout. Based in an adobe-style building, Bianchi’s Italian offers a menu of Italian-American cuisine ranging from appetizers, fresh salads, hot and cold subs and sandwiches, and burgers, as well as homemade pasta dishes, hand-tossed wood-fired pizzas, and calzones with a variety of toppings and fillings. There are gluten-free options on the menu as well as delicious desserts, and Bianchi’s Italian offers daily specials and catering services for a variety of events and functions.
1110 N Silverbell Road, Tucson, AZ 85745, Phone: 520-882-8500
© Caffe Milano
Located in the heart of downtown Tucson on Congress Street, Caffé Milano is a cozy and modest bistro-style café that serves a menu of authentic Italian cuisine in the form of traditional Mediterranean breakfasts, freshly prepared salads, homemade pasta dishes, and legendary panini sandwiches. Caffé Milano attracts a bustling lunch crowd who come for the great paninis, which are stacked with delicious charcuterie, aged cheese, fresh salads, and vegetables and served on fresh-baked focaccia, ciabatta, or chunky Tuscan bread. Breakfast features Italian-influenced egg dishes and a premium selection of roasted coffees, and a selection of desserts that is worth the calories. An outdoor patio offers a shady spot with beautiful views for alfresco dining in warmer weather, and the cuisine can be paired with vintages from Old Country vineyards.
46 W Congress St, Tucson, AZ 85701, Phone: 520-628-1601
3.Caffe Torino (in the foothills)
© Caffe Torino
Located in the Oro Valley just north of Tucson, Caffé Torino is afamily-owned and operated restaurant specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, served in an elegant setting with beautiful views of the Catalina Mountains. The second of two locations, Caffé Torino in the foothills creates delicious Italian cuisine with fresh, locally sourced and imported ingredients, such as starters like bruschetta caprese and gamberi e pancetta, pasta and primi dishes like risotto con scallope di mare or spaghetti con polpettine, and entrées such as ossobuco di maiale alla boscaiola and tilapia all'acqua pazza. Caffé Torino features a gorgeous patio shaped like the state of Arizona with a beautiful water feature that reflects the Colorado River.
10325 North La Canada Drive, Tucson, AZ 85737, Phone: 520-297-3777
4.Caruso's Italian Restaurant
© Courtesy of bondarillia - Fotolia.com
Caruso's Restaurant is a family-friendly restaurant in the historic 4th Avenue district that offers a casual spot in which to enjoy traditional Italian cuisine and easy-drinking wines. Opened in 1930 by Nicasio (Caruso) Zagona and remaining in the family ever since, Caruso's has been serving authentic Italian fare with homemade pasta and sauces, and classic dishes such as eggplant parmigiana, lasagna a forno, and spaghetti marinara for more than 85 years. The centerpiece of the restaurant is a large copper pot in which the Caruso family sauce has been prepared since they opened and which is served with pasta dishes, while an expansive deck offers comfortable outdoor dining with magnificent scenic views.
434 North 4th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85705, Phone: 520-624-5765
5.Dominick's Real Italian
© Dominick's Real Italian
Dominick's Real Italian is an unpretentious family-friendly neighborhood spot in Tucson that serves delectable Italian cuisine and libations. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, Dominick's Real Italian offers a variety of Italian dishes ranging from appetizers and fresh soups and salads, pasta dishes such as fettuccine alfredo and lasagna, specialty pizzas, which are available by the slice for lunch, and calzones as well as hot and cold subs and sandwiches. Entrees include breaded chicken dishes like chicken scarpariello and chicken piccata, baked eggplant parmesan and delicious seafood fare such as chili-infused calamari and a tempting seafood risotto. Diners can enjoy tucking into garlic knots with fresh, homemade marinara sauce over drinks while waiting for their meals.
8330 N Thornydale Rd, Tucson, AZ 85741, Phone: 520-744-2002
6.Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria
© Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria
Fresco Pizzeria and Pastaria is a family-friendly restaurant with a recently expanded dining area that serves a delicious menu of casual Italian fare for the whole family. Open for lunch and dinner, Fresco Pizzeria and Pastaria features specialty pizzas with over 50 toppings, excellent calzones, fresh-tossed salads, oven-baked parmesan-style subs, and made-to-order pasta entrees. All homemade sauces, salad dressings, pizza dough, and desserts are made from scratch, meatballs are hand-rolled, and pizzas are hand-tossed to perfection. Fresco Pizzeria and Pastaria also offers vegan and gluten-free options with 100% vegan mozzarella substitutes and gluten-free pizza crusts.
3011 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85716, Phone: 520-881-5555
Tucked away in a shopping center on Oracle Road, Guiseppe's is a hidden family-owned gem that serves an extensive menu of classic Italian antipasti and pasta dishes as well as house specialties. All dishes are prepared with fresh, high quality, locally sourced or imported ingredients, cooked to perfection using Old World Italian recipes and modern day techniques and served with passion and flair. The menu features a wide variety of rustic Italian favorites, including antipasto and bruschetta, penne sausage and chicken Alfredo, meatballs ricotta, lamb osso buco and veal parmigiana, along with freshly prepared salads, homemade soups, hearty sides, and garlicky bread. An extensive drinks list includes craft beers, fine wines, grappas, and imported spirits, and martinis and cocktails.
6060 N. Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ, Phone: 520-505-4187
, From LA
8.Gusto Osteria of Tucson
© Gusto Osteria of Tucson
Located in the Colonia Verde Plaza Shopping Center, Gusto Osteria of Tucson is a casual eatery that offers a menu of classic Italian fare as well as innovative vegetarian options. Born from the idea of owner/operator-Glenn “Gus” Gerson that authentic, hearty Italian cuisine and excellent wines should be enjoyed at affordable prices, Gusto Osteria features a spacious, inviting dining room with vibrant one-of-a-kind artworks and comfortable tables and chairs, an informal bar, and an open kitchen that produces the delicious food. A fantastic 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio is the perfect place for alfresco dining in the cool evenings and enjoying sundowners from the bar while soaking up the spectacular views.
7153 E Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, AZ 85715, Phone: 520-722-9487
© Courtesy of denio109 - Fotolia.com
North Italia is a trendy, urban eatery in La Encantada that turns a modern lens on traditional Italian cooking. Defined by exposed brick, dark wood, white leather, and spectacular panoramic views, North Italia takes pride in having perfected the art of handmade pasta and pizza, creating pasta dishes like tagliatelle Bolognese and strozzapreti with Bloomsdale spinach from scratch. The pizza is nothing less than a revelation, with perfectly crisp crusts and airy centers topped with a variety of fillings and can be enjoyed with a selection of handcrafted cocktails, and craft and imported beers. North Italia is open 7 days a week for brunch, lunch, and dinner and offers happy hour specials during the week.
La Encantada, 2995 E Skyline Drive, Tucson, AZ 85718, Phone: 520-299-1600
Set inside the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, Primo is an upscale Italian restaurant that focuses on innovative dishes created from fresh, organic produce and farm-fresh herbs sourced from the hotel’s on-property organic garden, local producers, and farmers markets. Named after the restaurant’s James Beard Award-winner Chef Kelly’s Italian grandfather, Primo offers a menu of imaginative regionally-inspired dishes that emphasize Chef Kelly’s classical cooking methods and passion for intense flavors. Diners are drawn into the Primo family with an open kitchen that features a huge brick oven where pizzas are wood fired to perfection and where customers can watch Chef Kelly produce delectable dishes such as butter poached wolf fish cheeks served with Hakurei turnips, white corn polenta, and crème fraiche, and pan-roasted venison loin with farro, curried cauliflower, and black rice.
3800 W Starr Pass Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85745, Phone: 520-791-6071
11.Sauce Pizza & Wine
© Courtesy of Syda Productions - Fotolia.com
Based in three locations around Tucson, Sauce Pizza & Wine is a casual restaurant chain that serves a menu of exceptional cuisine prepared with locally sourced, artisanal, farm-fresh ingredients. The fast, fresh concept eatery features a menu that offers a cure for every appetite, with delicious Italian dishes of bruschetta appetizers, freshly prepared seasonal salads, heartily stacked paninis, homemade pasta, and hand-tossed, wood-fired pizzas, all of which are made daily using from-scratch cooking techniques. Sauce Pizza & Wine boasts a friendly, inviting atmosphere and a bustling neighborhood restaurant vibe, and offers both dine-in and takeout options.
Target Center, 5285 E Broadway, Tucson, Arizona 85711, Phone: 520-514-1122
12.Tony's Italian Deli
© Tony's Italian Deli
Located on Tucson's southeast side, Tony's Italian Deli would feel right at home on the streets of Brooklyn in New York. Evoking the feel of a classic Brooklyn corner market, Tony's Italian Deli has been serving delicious deli cuts, aged cheese, brined olives, and specialty sandwiches since 1976. The deli also offers an array of prepared food, including hot and cold sandwiches, freshly prepared salads, crispy crusted pizzas, and Italian pasta entrees as well as house specialties such as spaghetti carbonara and veal saltimbocca. For those who can’t decide on what to eat, the sample plate featuring eggplant, lasagna, ravioli, stuffed shell, and pasta covered in red sauce is the answer.
6219 E 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711, Phone: 520-747-0070
© Trattoria Pina
Nestled in the Catalina Foothills in southeast Tucson, Trattoria Pina Italian Restaurant is a family-owned restaurant with a gorgeous view. Owner and chef Cosmo Ali produces outstanding Italian food prepared with fresh, high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, cooked with hand-crafted family recipes and served with passion. The menu includes appetizers and antipasti plates, freshly made salads, homemade pasta and sauces, gourmet wood-fired pizzas, and hearty entrees of fresh seafood and meats. House specialties include made-from-scratch gnocchi with a selection of sauces, including pesto, arrabbiata, or marinara sauce, and desserts like the tiramisu and panna cotta are made in-house by Chef Cosmo himself. Trattoria Pina also offers catering and banquet services and is open 6 days a week for lunch and dinner.
5541 N Swan Tucson, AZ 85718, Phone: 520-577-6992
© Vero Amore
Vero Amore (meaning “true love”) serves excellent wood-fired Neapolitan pizza that has been made in adherence to the standards laid down by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association (arbiters of fine Neapolitan pizza). Following the centuries-old pizza-making tradition, dough is handmade from scratch and tossed to perfection, then topped with tomato sauce made from Roma tomatoes imported directly from Italy and fresh mozzarella that has been made in-house. Gourmet pizzas are offered with a variety of toppings and accompanied by freshly prepared salads and dressings as well as easy-drinking wines. Other items on the menu range from bruschetta and garlic bread to homemade pasta dishes, chicken and eggplant parmigiana, and decadent desserts.
2920 N Swan Road, Tucson, AZ 85712, Phone: 520-325-4122
Vivace is an upscale restaurant that offers high-class dining, five-star service, and fantastic Italian food. Founded in 1993, Vivace (meaning “lively”) lives up to its name with an open and airy ambiance, elegant décor inspired by beautiful Tuscany, and professional wait staff who serve delectable Northern Italian dishes. Perfect for a business luncheon or a romantic evening for two, Vivace’s menu features refined fare such as grilled asparagus and Parma prosciutto, artichoke-goat cheese cannelloni, veal marsala, and osso buco. The grilled New Zealand Ora King Salmon (naturally farm-raised salmon) and rock shrimp is a must and space should be kept for dessert, which includes creme brulee, chocolate fondue, and spumoni. An excellent wine list is also available to pair with the cuisine. Things to Do in Tucson
4310 N. Campbell Ave., Tucson, AZ 85718, Phone: 520-795-7221
© Courtesy of bit24 - Fotolia.com
Bazil's is a cozy, friendly Italian eatery that has been serving traditional Italian cuisine and fine wines for nearly 40 years. Renowned for having some of the best pizza in Tucson, Bazil's offers a menu of appetizers such as clams marinara, steamed clams, lemon butter shrimp, fried zucchini, and artichoke hearts in garlic butter. Entrees range from homemade pasta dishes and veal, chicken, and beef dishes to fresh seafood and fish plates and house specialties such as broiled baby back ribs, sautéed frog legs, broiled fresh Italian sausage, and eggplant parmigiana. Bazil’s diners can enjoy the excellent cuisine and wines in-house or as a takeaway to enjoy at home.
4777 E. Sunrise Dr. Ste. 119, Tucson, AZ 85718, Phone: 520-577-3322
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Chariot Pizza is a family-friendly restaurant chain around Arizona that offers a comprehensive menu of classic Italian-American fare and a variety of beverages. The menu features a variety of fun food, ranging from standard and specialty pizzas with a variety of delicious gourmet toppings to freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, and hero subs. Italian specialties include lasagna al forno, chicken parmigiana, spaghetti with meatballs, and rolled crepes stuffed with ricotta, Romano, and mozzarella, while Greek specialties include gyros, sausage sandwiches, and gyros platters.
1835 S Alvernon Way #207, Tucson, AZ 85711, Phone: 520-750-8350
18.Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant
© Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant
Established in 1956, Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant has been serving hearty, delicious Italian food to loyal patrons and visitors to Tucson for generations. Renowned as being one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant offers fresh homemade pasta, high quality, hand-selected meats, cheeses, and grilled vegetables, slow-simmered tomato sauces, and the freshest, locally sourced salads and herbs. Signature dishes include Joe's Lasagna, stacked with homemade noodles, layers of meat and fresh ricotta cheese, and topped with Joe's special sauce, and the eggplant parmigiana, made with sliced, breaded, fried, and layered eggplant drenched in slow-simmered tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese.
2041 S. Craycroft Road, Tucson, AZ 85711, Phone: 520-790-4702
© Michelangelo Ristorante
Michelangelo Ristorante is a casual family-owned and operated restaurant that draws locals for its mouthwatering menu of classic Italian cuisine, thin-crust pizzas, professional, friendly service and warm, intimate atmosphere. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 7 days a week, with special menus for children and catering, Michelangelo Ristorante features signature Italian fare ranging from appetizers and antipasto to freshly prepared salads, homemade soups, hot sandwiches, and Italian paninis (lunch only) as well as homemade pasta dishes and hand-tossed, wood-fired pizzas with thin crusts. Entrees include chicken, veal, and beef dishes as well as an array of ocean-fresh seafood, shellfish, and fish of the day, and the extensive wine list features familiar and lesser-known wines to pair with dishes in addition to craft beers and imported spirits and grappas.
420 Magee Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704, Phone: 323-297-660
© Piazza Gavi
Piazza Gavi is a bustling upscale trattoria that serves a broad range of traditional Italian dishes in a cheerful, friendly atmosphere. This family-friendly restaurant is renowned for its delicious food and generous portions and with the soft lighting and romantic ambiance, is a perfect place for a date night. Open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Piazza Gavi presents a menu of classic and traditional dishes like homemade pasta and sauces, wood-fired pizza with a variety of gourmet toppings, hearty chicken, veal, beef, and seafood dishes and freshly prepared salads. Lunch menus have sandwiches, soups, salads and paninis in addition to the regular entrees, and delicious desserts include tiramisu and homemade gelato.
5415 N. Kolb Rd., Tucson, AZ 85750, Phone: 520-577-1099
21.Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink
© Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink
Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink is a modern Italian eatery in a beautifully preserved vintage space with high vaulted ceilings, exposed brick walls, fluted columns, arched leaded and stained-glass windows, and 100-year-old wood floors. Based in a historic downtown building that was once a funeral home, the restaurant interiors boast European-style embellishments and a rustic elegance that makes it ideal for a romantic evening or gathering of friends. Brothers Tyler and Zach Fenton present a menu of artisanal pizzas, hearty sandwiches on freshly baked bread, delicious appetizers, handmade pasta, and a range of craft beers and cocktails. The restaurant has a lovely patio and beer garden for alfresco dining in the cool evenings and an industrial-style basement bar.
101 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701, Phone: 520-882-5550
22.Rocco's Little Chicago
© Rocco's Little Chicago
Rocco's Little Chicago is a casual pizza joint that serves Chicago-style and specialty pizzas as well as a variety of appetizers like chicken wings, fried ravioli, antipasto, and garlic bread in old-school digs. Located on East Broadway Boulevard, Rocco's Little Chicago boasts a casual, relaxed ambiance with comfortable seating and serves an array of Italian fare in addition to pizza, including fresh salads and soups, homemade pasta, calzones, and sandwiches, and a variety of lunch specials. The drinks menu features a range of sodas, specialty drinks, beers and hot beverages, and desserts include cheesecake, cookies, cannoli, and Nutella sticks. Rocco's Little Chicago is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.
2707 E Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85716, Phone: 520-321-1860
Tavolino is tiny and trendy and serves some of the finest Italian food in Tucson. Reservations are an absolute must at this cozy eatery, where Northern Italian cuisine is the specialty and mouthwatering homemade pasta and grilled meats are the main choices. Prepared with only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, appetizers include an enticing antipasto assortito, whose seasonal array of charcuterie, cheeses, and marinated veggies will get the taste buds fired up for the entrees. While the menu changes regularly, the layered lasagna with meat and garlic and the delicate butternut squash ravioli in butter and sage stand out, and the charbroiled chicken and perfectly grilled lamb chops shouldn’t be missed. Keep space for the bonet, a swoon-worthy chocolate custard topped with caramel sauce.
7090 N. Oracle Rd. Ste. 148, Tucson, AZ 85704, Phone: 520-531-1913
24.Viro's Real Italian Bakery
© Viro's Real Italian Bakery
Viro’s Real Italian Bakery is an authentic Italian bakery and café that offers traditional bakery and deli items as well as prepared foods and drinks. The charming eatery offers an array of homemade pasta dishes, freshly baked bread, cookies, and pastries, Italian panini sandwiches, and homemade gelato. There are cakes for all occasions that can be bought from the deli or pre-ordered for special celebrations, and catering services are available. Viro’s Real Italian Bakery is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
8301 E 22nd St, Tucson, AZ 85710, Phone: 520-885-4045
25 Best Italian Restaurants in Tucson, Arizona
- Bianchi's Italian, Photo: Bianchi's Italian
- Caffe Milano, Photo: Caffe Milano
- Caffe Torino (in the foothills), Photo: Caffe Torino
- Caruso's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Courtesy of bondarillia - Fotolia.com
- Dominick's Real Italian, Photo: Dominick's Real Italian
- Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria, Photo: Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria
- Guiseppe's, Photo: Guiseppe's
- Gusto Osteria of Tucson, Photo: Gusto Osteria of Tucson
- North Italia, Photo: Courtesy of denio109 - Fotolia.com
- Primo, Photo: Primo
- Sauce Pizza & Wine, Photo: Courtesy of Syda Productions - Fotolia.com
- Tony's Italian Deli, Photo: Tony's Italian Deli
- Trattoria Pina, Photo: Trattoria Pina
- Vero Amore, Photo: Vero Amore
- Vivace, Photo: Vivace
- Bazil's, Photo: Courtesy of bit24 - Fotolia.com
- Chariot Pizza, Photo: Courtesy of fotek - Fotolia.com
- Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Mama Louisa's Italian Restaurant
- Michelangelo Ristorante, Photo: Michelangelo Ristorante
- Piazza Gavi, Photo: Piazza Gavi
- Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink, Photo: Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink
- Rocco's Little Chicago, Photo: Rocco's Little Chicago
- Tavolino, Photo: Tavolino
- Viro's Real Italian Bakery, Photo: Viro's Real Italian Bakery
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of karepa - Fotolia.com