If you have a penchant for pasta, a craving for a hearty calzone, or a love for linguine, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Italian restaurants are the havens for lovers of Italian cuisine.
Italians and Grand Rapids have enjoyed a long association that dates back to 1880. According to the Grand Rapids Historical Commission, G.B. Russo, who arrived in Grand Rapids from Sicily, was one of the community’s earliest immigrants. He settled in the area adjacent to South Division and Franklin streets. The neighborhood soon became known as Little Italy. Russo’s Italian grocery store on South Division Street was a fixture of the neighborhood.
You don’t have to have Italian ancestry to enjoy the ambiance and the cuisine at the following best Italian restaurants in the Grand Rapids area.
A two-time winner of the Wine Spectator award and recipient of OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice Award, Bistro Bella Vita blends modern interpretations of French and Italian cuisine with a farm-to-table approach to fresh ingredients. This restaurant has served its fine fare to the Grand Rapids community since 1996. In the close to three decades since its opening, Bistro Bella Vita has given guests an enriching experience with Mediterranean flavors and textures artfully assembled on their plates.
Stop in for American Apero, the restaurant’s inventive take on happy hour, every Tuesday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. Enjoy reduced price beverages; $6 snacks that include fried brassicas, frites, and spicy meatballs; and $11 pizzas.
Prepare your senses for a flavor infusion with the imaginative dinner pasta dishes on the menu. A flavor-packed Rigatoni Bolognese and seafood spaghetti complement specialties such as Parisian gnocchi. This French interpretation of the Italian classic features squash, kale, golden raisins, brown butter, pistachios, sage, pecorino, and honey.
If you want to enjoy a Bistro Bella Vita dinner at home, order online from one of the take-home meal kits, lasagnas, and house-made pastas. A carryout-only pizza special lets you order any two styles of pizza for $20. Select from a sausage and fennel specialty pizza, Pizza Bianca, and Pizza Margherita.
Location: 44 Grandville Ave. SW
Created by Chef Chris Perkey, Osteria Rossa unites guests over small plates, homemade pasta, seasonal dishes, and wood-fired pizzas. Italian-inspired cooking is at the heart of this exemplary restaurant. You can taste the fresh produce from Michigan’s farms starring in its dishes.
The award-winning fine dining atmosphere that Osteria Rossa has cultivated over the years has consistently gained recognition from sources such as Grand Rapids Magazine and New York magazine. Guests praise the local flavors in dishes that allow diners to experience the nuances of the region’s freshest fruits and vegetables.
If you’re in the mood to sample some house-made pasta dishes, you won’t be disappointed. The Linguini “Frutti di Mare” tosses a squid ink pasta with lobster, clams, mussels, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and snap peas. A delightful white-wine butter sauce infused with lobster flavor makes this dish one to savor slowly.
If you’re looking for some lighter bites, order Osteria Rossa’s wood-fired pizzas, from the classic Pizza Margherita to the Pizza Funghi with its toppings of pesto, Pebble Creek mushrooms, goat cheese, mozzarella, and truffles.
All food items, desserts, and beverages are available for dine-in service, carryout, and delivery. You can also find some dishes inspired by the restaurant’s menu at select grocery stores across the West Michigan region. Pick up your favorite meal to heat and eat at home.
Location: 16 Monroe Center St. NE, Suite 100
For close to 40 years, Pietro’s Italian Restaurant & Party House has created a casual dining experience that focuses on high-quality food and exceptional service. Once you pass through the restaurant’s hand-carved Tuscan doors, the scents of freshly baked bread and the robust tomato aroma from the large pots of sauce simmering on the stove will greet you. Pietro’s has taken great care to ensure that the dining area feels like home for its guests. The Pietro family photos on the walls further contribute to this homelike ambiance.
Pietro’s kitchen staff believes in using fresh ingredients in their food preparations. You can taste this freshness for yourself by ordering one of the appetizers and entrees that make up the menu.
Affordably priced lunch and dinner specialties range from Tuscan-aged steaks to the Fettuccine Michael, West Michigan’s beloved pasta dish. Whether you’re a New York-style pizza purist or you’re a fan of Sicilian thick-crust pan pizzas, Pietro’s offers several delicious pizza offerings. Sample the Grilled Chicken Alfredo Supreme pizza or build your own New York-style pizza creation.
When you want to bring the family together to break bread around the dinner table, Pietro’s family-style dining features four- or five-course menus that cover appetizers, salads, pastas, entrees, and desserts. The hearty offerings make any family get-together a festive celebration.
Location: 2780 Birchcrest Drive SE
Serving Grand Rapids since 1976, Salvatore’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria takes pride in bringing recipes and traditions of classic Italian cooking to its menu. The restaurant pays tribute to the legacy of Salvatore Tinervia, the father of owner Giovanni Tinervia, whose desire to raise his family in America led to the creation of this beloved Grand Rapids Italian restaurant.
Today, several members of the Tinervia family contribute their hospitality and love for cooking to Salvatore’s dining experience. Come for dinner and order some classic Italian cuisine offerings, such as beef or cheese manicotti or a delightful shrimp scampi.
If you want a slice of pizza perfection, order the award-winning Taste of Grand Rapids pizza with its toppings of ham, fresh basil, onions, sausage, Sicilian sauce, romano cheese, and a cultured spice blend. Don’t overlook the oven-baked submarines, from a classic Eggplant Parmesan Sub to a Veggie Lover’s Sub.
Enjoy Salvatore’s dine-in experience or request your favorite meal for takeout.
Location: 654 Stocking Ave. NW
If you feel like eating some Italian food, the above restaurants offer the dishes to transport your taste buds to Italy. At Goodman Acker P.C., our legal team appreciates the opportunity to support local businesses like these dining establishments. If you have an Italian restaurant in Grand Rapids that you think deserves a place on our list, write to us and let us know. We always appreciate hearing from our clients and members of the Grand Rapids community that we serve.
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