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Food at Trattoria 51 in Liverpool
Photograph: Trattoria 51

The 10 best Italian restaurants in Liverpool

If you’re looking for pizza and pasta done right, check out our pick of the very best Italian restaurants in Liverpool

By Rob Martin
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Italian food - everyone thinks they're good at it. And let's face it, when the basics are pizza and pasta, it's hard to get it so wrong that it isn't still delicious.

But when it's done right, you can really tell the difference and, right now, Liverpool is particularly strong on that front. In fact, this city is home to a wide array of top-notch pizza and pasta joints bursting with authentic Italian dishes. 

These are the Italian restaurants in Liverpool that do their margherita, carbonara and focaccia just right – whatever your budget, and whichever side of town you’re on, our ultimate guide has you covered.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Liverpool

Best Italian restaurants in Liverpool

The interior of Italian Club restaurant in Liverpool
Photograph: Italian Club

1. The Italian Club

This cosy local favourite combines understated elegance with a generous helping of Italian charm. The menu is very reasonably priced and includes all your classic pizzas and pasta dishes, as well as more unusual creations including the ever-popular My Spicy Cousin Vinnie pizza with fresh red chilli, tabasco, jalapeño, salami and roasted peppers (phwoar) – ideal for those who like it hot. If you’re cutting back on meat, there’s also an all-new vegan menu.

A table with wine glasses and bottles
Photograph: A Tavola

2. A Tavola

This wonderful deli and restaurant tucked away from the main Duke Street drag is all you'd hope for from an excellent Italian eatery - great food, wine, coffee and deserts whether you want a full 3 courses or you're just stopping pie for a tasty afternoon desert. What makes it extra special are the Italian cooking classes you can join. Make your own pasta, your own sauce and then eat it. Genius! 

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Lobster ravioli at San Carlo in Liverpool
Photograph: San Carlo

3. San Carlo

It may have been founded in Birmingham, but lavish mini-chain San Carlo is just much of a staple in Liverpool thanks to its brilliant, regularly changing seasonal menu. Packed with ingredients sourced directly from Italian producers, the majority of their pizza, pasta and meat dishes are simply sublime. The interior is so swanky you’ll feel like every meal here is some sort of celebration.

Il Forno restaurant in Liverpool
Photograph: Il Forno

4. Il Forno

In true Italian style, Il Forno is the most family affair-y family affair you could imagine: the head chef’s brother is the general manager, whose wife is the pastry chef and whose son takes care of the pizzas. The clan source their ingredients in Italy, and use techniques and recipes that have been passed down the generations. Superb every time.

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Casa Italia restaurant in Liverpool
Photograph: Casa Italia

5. Casa Italia

Something of a Liverpool institution, this long-established restaurant has been serving feel-good Italian grub for more than 40 years. From the freshly baked bread to the £14.50 carafes of wine to the to-die-for homemade tiramisu, there’s a lot to love about Casa Italia. That’s without even taking into account the budget-friendly prices – £6.65 for a margherita and 99p for a scoop of pistachio gelato, anyone? – and the very amicable staff.

Olive restaurant in Liverpool
Photograph: Lucas Smith

6. Olive

Tucked away in Liverpool’s business district, Olive may not look much from the outside, but don’t let that put you off. Head downstairs into the cosy yet contemporary dining space and you’ll quickly understand why this place has such a loyal following. Perch in one of the candlelit alcoves and sit back as the smiley staff attend to your every need. The menu is extensive and affordable.

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7. Cucina di Vincenzo

Cucina di Vincenzo puts a creative, contemporary spin on all your Italian go-tos. From the rich oxtail ragù to ravioli stuffed with melt-in-the-mouth mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and fragrant basil, each plate is executed with precision and care. And let us tell you, the results are deliziosi.

8. Amalia

Just around the corner from shopping centre Liverpool ONE, Amalia is the ideal hearty stop-off after some hardcore retail therapy. From classics including lasagne like mamma made it to playful hybrids such as their Americana pizza with pepperoni and chips, the menu is unpretentious and seriously satisfying. Feeling extra hungry? Try the Calzone Challenge, 5lbs of cheesy pleasure, which you’ll get gratis if you’re left undefeated.

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Villa Romana restaurant in Liverpool
Photograph: Karl Gerard Whitley

9. Villa Romana

Chic sophistication it may not be, but Villa Romana certainly offers a lot of heart. Tiled floors, red-and-white chequered tablecloths, rustic exposed brick, Roman-style statues: here you’ll feel like you’ve stepped on to the set of an old-school Italian movie. The buzzing atmosphere and reasonably priced comfort food menu make this the ideal place for relaxed gatherings with friends or family.

Food at Trattoria 51 in Liverpool
Photograph: Trattoria 51

10. Trattoria 51

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more striking setting than Trattoria 51, housed as it is inside a grand Victorian building with soaring ceilings and a striking stone façade on Old Hall Street. Chefs Attilio and Toni both hail from the Adriatic coast, so bring some serious knowledge to the table when it comes to fresh seafood. The delicate crab ravioli is especially moreish.

Looking for more din-spiration?

A selection of dishes at Kasbah in Liverpool
Photograph: Kasbah

The 23 best restaurants in Liverpool

Restaurants

Whether you’re after a high-end dining experience with views of the Merseyside skyline, or want to transport yourself to the bustling souks of Marrakech with some tantalising sharing plates, Liverpool’s diverse and fast-expanding dining scene can deliver.

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