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100 best restaurants: Italian cuisine

Where to find fine Italian food in Paris

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Come a Casa - © Gianluca Tamorri

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Come a Casa - © Gianluca Tamorri

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Come a Casa - © Gianluca Tamorri

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Il Brigante - © TIme Out Paris

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La Terra Madre - © La Terra Madre

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La Terra Madre - © La Terra Madre

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DR / © La Dispensa

La Dispensa - DR / © La Dispensa

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Pizza Chic - © Time Out Paris / Thierry Richard

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Pizza Chic - © Time Out Paris / Thierry Richard

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Pizza Chic - © Time Out Paris / Thierry Richard

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Al Taglio - DR / © Al Taglio

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L'Epicerie Musicale - DR / © L'Epicerie Musicale

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L'Epicerie Musicale - DR / © L'Epicerie Musicale

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

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

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Gare de Lyon

La Terra Madre

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

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20th arrondissement

Come a Casa

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

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11th arrondissement

L'Epicerie Musicale

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.

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Canal Saint Martin

Il Brigante

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

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Mairie du 18e

Caffé dei Cioppi

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.

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Pizza Chic

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

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St Germain des Prés

La Trattoria Pulcinella

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.

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Mairie du 18e

Mori Venice Bar

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

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2nd arrondissement

La Massara

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

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The Marais

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