The 9 Best Italian Restaurants in Grand Rapids

best italian grand rapids
Nona’s in Grand Rapids

If I were to create my personal Mt. Rushmore of my favorite cuisines, Italian food would be on there. Right next to Abraham Lincoln. There’s just something about how Italian food combines meat, carbs, and cheese that’s so… bella!

 You’ve come to the right place. I am a Grand Rapids native and have been eating my way across the city for decades. And these are the best spots for Italian food in the city.

 Are you ready to devour some spaghetti and pop some prosecco? Let’s look at the gems of GR’s Italian food scene.

Map of the Best Italian Restaurants in Grand Rapids, MI

The pound-for-pound champ: Amore Trattoria Italiana

Ask a Grand Rapidian, and the real ones know: Amore is THE place to get authentic Italian food. Chef Jenna opened Amore in 2010, and natives immediately heralded it as the best Italian place in town.

Got a hot date? Amore features a “family style option” that lets you pick two appetizers, two soups or salads, two entrees, and two desserts. Share them tapas style with your beau. Make sure you order the vegetarian lasagna. It’s so good you’ll wish it was served by the pan.

Amore is 15 minutes north of the city center, so plan accordingly.

  • Address: 5080 Alpine Ave NW, Comstock Park, MI 49321
  • Website: Amore

The best vibes: Terra

Located in the ultra-hip Eastown neighborhood, Terra offers farm-to-table Italian dining.

The interior is beautiful, and a roaring fire built from actual wood provides heat during colder months. The warmth from the fire, the happy hour specials, and the cozy atmosphere make Terra one of my go-to’s.

Terra’s menu lists all the farms they use as vendors, so you can feel good about supporting a local restaurant that sources from local farms.

  • Address: 1429 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • Website: Terra

A northwest-side institution: Salvatore’s Italian Restaraunt and Pizza

Confession: my mother loves this place. It seems like every time she goes out with her girlfriends, she goes to Salvatore’s. She swears by their spaghetti and meatballs.

Salvatore’s is so old school that they don’t even have a website. It might not get more old world Italian than that.

  • Address: 654 Stocking Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Website: (N/A)

The best fancy Italian in GR: Noto’s

Put on your fancy clothes: you’re going to Noto’s.

Noto’s is a Grand Rapids legend, opening in 1982 and operating out of its current location since 1997. That’s a long time in restaurant years, and that longevity proves just how great Noto’s is.

Noto’s bills themselves as “old-world,” and every dish on their site is listed in Italian. It’s in the GR suburb of Cascade, so make sure you’ve got a car or be prepared to take a ride share, as this is about 20 minutes east of Grand Rapids.

Maximize your Noto’s experience by eating in their lounge when they have music playing. The music, the ambiance, and the food might just transport you to the old world.

  • Address: 6600 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
  • Website: Noto’s

The best Authentic Italian restaurant: Palio

If you’re looking for the most authentic Italian dining experience in Grand Rapids, Palio is the spot for you. Every dish is listed in Italian, and everything we’ve tried is delicious.

Palio specializes in dishes from the Tuscany region of Italy. It is on Michigan St, a short hike east of the city center.

Take it from a local – stick around for dolci (dessert) and order up some tiramisu.

  • Address: 545 Michigan St NE #102, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Palio

The best Italian place that also has Mexican food: Fred’s Italian Restaraunt

If you’re going out to eat with a friend who doesn’t like Italian food, Fred’s is the place for you (side note: what’s up with your friend?)

Fred’s vast menu offers Mexican food, tons of appetizers, subs, and sandwiches. But trust us – stick with Italian. There’s a reason Italian is in the name of the place. Their signature pastas and stuffed pastas are delizioso.

Eat in your Italian Grandmother’s kitchen: Nonna’s Trattoria

nona's grand rapids

Nonna’s is in Ada, another suburb of Grand Rapids, so plan accordingly.

But if you want to feel like you’re eating a home-cooked meal in your Italian Grandmother’s kitchen, Nonna’s is the spot for you. Nonna is Italian for grandmother, after all.

The restaurant operates out of a converted home, creating maximum grandma vibes. And everything (noodles included!) is crafted from scratch, and everything is delicious.

The best Italian spot in downtown GR: Fratelli’s Kitchen & Bar

Fratelli’s isn’t strictly an Italian joint, with some American appetizers and round-the-world type sandwiches. But their noodles are all Italian, and everything noodle I’ve eaten made me try more.

Situated on Bridge St., across from Butcher’s Union, Fratelli’s is on the hottest block for Grand Rapids eateries.

Fratelli’s also offers an array of pizzas, ranging from the classic margherita to the adventurous pickle pizza.

Bonus! The best pizza: The Mitten Brewing

We’re throwing this one in for free since it’s more of a pizzeria/brewery than an outright Italian restaurant. But if you crave a slice, The Mitten Brewing offers the best pizza in town. Housed in a revamped fire station, The Mitten has loads of cool baseball memorabilia on display, including seats from Tiger stadium.

Can’t decide on what to order? We’ve got you covered. Grab a “pizza flight,” six mini pizzas of your choosing.

If you’re looking to eat outdoors, The Mitten is an excellent choice. The parking lot behind the restaurant is vast and converted for outdoor dining. It is known affectionately as “the outfield.”