Besides the culture, art, architecture and views that Italy has to offer, it is notorious for its food... and rightfully so! I spent several months traveling around Europe, and my top 10 meals were all easily eaten in Italy alone. Here is a list of where those 10 meals came from (aka the best restaurants in Italy) and why they stole my heart.


1. Osteria Santo Spirito

Olivia Clark

This restaurant, just "on the other side of the arno" from city center, is known throughout the city for its truffle gnocchi, a meal that I frequently have dreams about. Clearly, the bowl of hot, delicate clouds of dough topped with cheese and truffle draws a crowd, so don't plan on eating before 10 p.m. if you don't have a reservation.

2. Acqua al 2

Olivia Clark

Now trust me on this one, the picture doesn't do it justice. But for a foodie like me, it was not possible to leave Florence without a Florentine steak. Acqua al 2, famous for its blueberry steak, gave me the best one in existence. It sounds interesting, but the flavor is unlike anything I've ever experience, and probably ever will. 

3. Trattoria 4 Leoni

Olivia Clark

For the ravioli experience of a lifetime, you can only go to Trattoria 4 Leoni. Trust me when I tell you that the pear ravioli will change the way you see the world. It really will. 


4. Ristorante al 34

Olivia Clark

A hidden treasure on a backstreet of Rome, this restaurant has the most incredible menu with the most unique options. The artichoke appetizer warmed my veggie-loving soul, only to be followed by a just as perfect sharing of pumpkin gnocchi. Yes, I did say pumpkin gnocchi. Get it. 

5. Taverna di Mercanti

This incredibly quaint and aesthetically pleasing restaurant was recommended to me by a cardinal at the Vatican, so you know it must be special. Another mouth-watering steak to add to the books, for sure. And bonus: they give you a scroll of their menu to take home as a souvenir! 


6. La Zucca

Olivia Clark

Arguably the best meal I've had the pleasure of eating, La Zucca is a hidden gem in the underwater city. Named a Michelin Star restaurant for the past several years, the restaurant offers an unbelievably diverse menu with lots of pumpkin flavors. Not to mention, it also has the best service! Make sure to plan ahead, because they're booked days in advance. 

Lake Como

7. Terrazza Metropole

Olivia Clark

Located directly on the water in Bellagio, this restaurant offers the most beautifully decorated food overlooking the most spectacular views. Sit outside and order the seafood risotto for the lunch experience of a lifetime.

Cinque Terre

8. Nessun Dorma 

Olivia Clark

Imagine eating the appetizer board of your dreams on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with a piña colada in your hand. Sounds unreal, right? Well, it's possible. Located in the town of Manarola, Nessun Dorma spoils you rotten with it's food, drinks and atmosphere. 

Elba Island

9. Il Grigolo

Olivia Clark

Did you ever think you could get a full plate of gnocchi with lobster, clams, shrimp and mussels for under the equivalent of $20? Me either... but I did, and it was everything I've ever wanted. To make it better, I enjoyed it looking over the ocean from Elba Island. (You may recognize the name from middle school history class where you learned about Napoleon's exile.) I wouldn't mind the exile if it meant I could eat this way again! 


10. The Vinsantaia of Capezzana 

Olivia Clark

Can you spy the Duomo of Florence in the distance? If not, look harder. This restaurant vineyard coalition offers not only delectable meals of local ingredients, but also some of the best wines Tuscany has to offer. In the beautiful hills of Carmignano, a trip here is a trip you'll never forget.

These restaurants, the best restaurants in Italy (that I've been to), all offer their own, unique flavors (and wine pairings) that are sure to make your mouth water. Let this food change your life. It will, I guarantee it.