100 best restaurants: Italian cuisine

Where to find fine Italian food in Paris

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Come a Casa - © Gianluca Tamorri

When the grey skies and Citroën-clogged boulevards of Paris get you down, there's nothing to lift your spirits like a spot of sun-ripened Italian food. Our recommended restaurants serve up everything from pizza and pasta to succulent seafood and vintage vinos. You can't do better than these, short of taking a trip to the Adriatic. Buon appetito!

Les Amis de Messina

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

A nowhere corner of the 12th arrondissement is the site of one of the capital's least known, and best, Italian joints. Or rather Sicilian, as charismatic waiters Salvatore and Enzo are quick to remind us. Otherwise, there isn't much in the trattoria's single room to establish a sense of location: modern furnishings, tastefully bare decor and a few family photos on the walls are about the sum of it. Once the food arrives, it's a different story. The meal opens with a range of traditionally Sicilian antipasti, such as sardines stuffed with raisins and baked aubergines flavoured with mint, oregano and pecorino. Then comes the inevitable... Read more

  1. 204 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 12e
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La Terra Madre

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

A grocery-cum-restaurant run by an Italian couple with an interest in Indian and Japanese cuisines, La Terra Madre certainly stands out from the gastronomic crowd. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the dishes are Italian – all the classics, from mushroom lasagne to stuffed peppers and veal pasta, are present and correct, and complemented by a fine range of wines both French and Italian. Yet sprinkled into the menu (particularly among the starters) are a couple of dhal and lentil dishes to keep you on your toes. The fusion works well, mainly because it's all delicious and carefully presented... Read more

  1. 46 rue de Ménilmontant, 20e
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Come a Casa

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A meal at Come a Casa isn't for anyone with issues around personal space – you feel like you're elbow-to-elbow and knee-to-knee with pretty much everyone else in the place. But if you like cheese and wine and perfect pasta in a sweet little neighbourhood joint that's worth crossing town for, you're in luck. It really is tiny – not more than 20 seats around tightly-wedged folding metal tables balancing glassware and mismatched vintage floral crockery, in a square room with bare brick walls and shelves of dried pasta and preserves. This makes accommodating shopping bags or getting up to go to the loo... Read more

  1. 7 rue Pache, 11e
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L'Epicerie Musicale

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Ideally situated on the Canal Saint-Martin, L’Epicerie Musicale is a delightful hybrid of café-bar-restaurant-delicatessen-music store. The retro furniture gives the interior all the charm of an old Sicilian café, offset by graffiti art on the walls, a deli section with fish, wine, oils, hams fresh cheeses and more imported from Italy, and a jazz, soul, funk, tropical and retro-latino soundtrack from hundreds of vinyl records. Highly recommended.

  1. 55 bis quai de Valmy, 10e
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Il Brigante

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The décor is minimal and the atmosphere supercharged, with the white-hatted and –aproned chef preparing and firing his ample pizzas in the centre of the room, making a fine spectacle as he manages his team and feeds the big sharing tables. He maintains an admirable good humour, and his pizzas are thin-based, crunchy and generously loaded with fresh and flavourful ingredients. We loved the San Nicolas (ricotta, mozzarella, bresaola, rocket and parmesan, €16) and the Ronzatti (scamorza, marinated broccoli and Neapolitan sauce, €15), washed down with a carafe of Italian red (€12)... Read more

  1. 14 rue du Ruisseau, 18e
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Caffé dei Cioppi

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Lightning struck when this minuscule Italian trattoria, run by Fabrizio and Federica Mancioppi, opened three years ago. And it still wows today thanks to outstanding dishes like sausage and red wine risotto, garlicky shellfish linguine, Italian charcuterie, tangy Sicilian lasagnes, creamy burrata and sbrisolona – almond biscuits dipped in mascarpone cream (don’t tell the chef, but they taste good when dunked in red wine too!). Get there early if you want a table; or be prepared to queue. The restaurant (which spills into the narrow passage in the summer months) has space for just 20 people.

  1. 159 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 11e
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Pizza Chic

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

An address which could only exist on the left bank, nestled into the busy streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés where 'chic' is a religion in itself. But this contemporary, polished pizzeria (wood panelling, suspended lighting, design tiles and seating) isn't the least bit ostentatious, with comfortably spaced tables, white tablecloths and silver cutlery, and the pizzas are amongst the best in Paris. Rare ingredients directly imported from Italy (special mozzarella – a mix of traditional and buffalo – lard from Colonnata, spicy Calabrian sausages, Taggiasca olives, anchovies from Salerno), perfectly thin and crunchy crusts... Read more

  1. 13 rue de Mézières, 6e
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La Trattoria Pulcinella

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Italian fever has seized the north side of Montmartre’s Butte: there’s Trattoria Pulcinella on rue Eugène Sue, La Pulcinella and Locanda Pulcinella pizzeria on rue Damrémont; and as if that weren’t enough, another Italian, L’Angelo, has recently opened too. That’s a lot of choice; but don’t be daunted. The locals have already discerned the best. They keep coming back to Trattoria Pulcinella – for its generous plates of antipasti (€15), fine-based pizzas laden with fresh toppings (€12-€16), hearty pasta dishes (€14) and seriously delicious tiramisu (€6). Reserve a table before 8pm, or order a glass of sparkling lambrusco to pass the time while you queue.

  1. 2 rue Eugène Sue, 18e
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Mori Venice Bar

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4

This high-end shrine to Italian cooking in the heart of Paris has a hushed atmosphere and serious overtones: Milanese chic (white tablecloths and comfortable leather armchairs and banquettes), touched with Venetian romanticism (Murano glass lamps, carnival masks and wooden fittings), all put together by Philippe Starck against a harmonious background of chestnut and cream. The menus on offer range from the full à la carte version to a series of lunchtime daily menus between €39 and €41. Either way, from the amuse-bouche to the petits fours, the service is attentive to the point of overdoing it... Read more

  1. 2 rue du Quatre Septembre, 2e
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La Massara

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A deservedly popular Italian/Sicilian restaurant near République, you’ll often find groups of natives from Rome or Tuscany having a glass of wine and nibbling on bruschetta.Start with a Spritz, the famous national cocktail made with Prosecco and Campari – best drunk with plenty of ice on the terrace – or instead choose from the excellent list of Italian wines. While you wait for your food, admire the Italian pizza oven in the open kitchen. The antipasto encompasses a lovely selection of specialties, including the voluptuous carpaccio siculo: a carpaccio of beef with pistachios, shallots, parmesan and rocket... Read more

  1. 70 rue de Turbigo, 3e
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Al Taglio

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

One of the first outfits in Paris to sell pizza by weight, now a popular practice, Al Taglio is an understated canteen with chic overtones; big wooden high tables are scattered throughout the venue, lit by metallic lamps. Its popularity extends beyond the neighbourhood, so be prepared to queue, and enjoy the show while you do – the constant bustle and to-ing and fro-ing of hurried waiters delivering pizzas at lighting speed. When your turn comes to choose, it's a struggle to choose between things like pizza topped pancetta and Brebis cheese, or spicy salami and artichoke, or the delicious house speciality... Read more

  1. 2 bis rue Neuve Popincourt, 11e
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