The Italian restaurant in America has changed in style probably more than any other genre of restaurant over the past several decades. Even as recently as 50 years ago, the term “Italian restaurant” conjured images of red and white checkered tablecloths, carafes of middling chianti, and a red sauce-heavy menu with classics like chicken Parmigiana that were more Italian-American than authentic Italian. Then something interesting happened: People got bored, and a new breed of Italian restaurant came onto the scene, able to rival even the highest-end French dining rooms. From a playful Boston landmark with seven varieties of homemade bread to a Philadelphia institution where the chef customizes a menu for each guest, we’ve rounded up the 50 best Italian restaurants in America.
So what were our classifications for an “Italian restaurant,” exactly? A prevalence of Italian or Italian-inspired dishes on the menu, of course. We were OK with pizzerias; we were also OK with restaurants that are Italian-inspired, like San Francisco’s Quince. A great Italian restaurant has many of the same standards that make any restaurant great: impeccable, un-snooty service; high-quality food sourced from the finest purveyors; creative-yet-classic preparation and craftsmanship; and an overall experience that leaves you happy and content in the fact that you just ate a world-class meal. Continue reading at The Daily Meal.