Food & Drink

Now that’s amore: Locals recommend their favorite Italian restaurants in Manatee

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Hot Italian expert, Ryan Ota, shares tips on how to make a better pizza at home.

Few international cuisines have captured the American appetite and imagination like Italian food.

In fact, earlier this year, an international polling agency found that Italian cooking ranks as the favorite foreign cuisine in the U.S. and the world over.

Whether it’s the robust flavors, the tradition, the romance, or just all of the carbs and cheese, we can’t seem to get enough.

We asked members of our Facebook group, “Manatee Eats,” where to dine Italian in Manatee County, and the results were plentiful.

If you are in search of pure and traditional Italian, Italian fusion or the Americanized version of the cuisine, there’s something nearby for you.

Here’s where locals recommend.

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Tiramisu Ristorante Italianio offers authentic Italian eats and wine in a cozy setting. Ryan Callihan rcallihan@bradenton.com

Tiramisu Ristorante Italiano

Wife-and-husband team Monica and Luca Cecconi immigrated from Italy in 2014 to bring a taste of their home country’s cuisine to the States. Tiramisu Ristorante Italiano has kept earning top reviews ever since.

Known affectionately by locals as Tiramisu, this Bradenton restaurant offers authentic Italian food, wine and dessert in warm and cozy environs.

Luca specializes in fine Italian wine; Monica is the head chef.

The kitchen turns out homemade pasta (try tagliatelle, penne, ravioli and spaghetti) soup, salad, seafood and more. Daily specials add variety to the menu.

Whatever you order, don’t forget to try the namesake dessert. Delizioso.

Tiramisu Ristorante Italiano is at 5215 14th St. W., Bradenton.

Info: tiramisubradenton.com.

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Ortygia chef and owner Guy Cannata converted an old Florida cottage in Village of the Arts into a quaint spot for Sicilian eats in Bradenton. Bradenton Herald File Photo

Ortygia

Ortygia is a romantic spot for authentic Italian dining in the heart of Village of the Arts in Bradenton.

Chef Gaetano “Guy” Cannata specializes in a fusion of old world cuisines.

The result is dishes that bring out the best of Sicilian, French and Mediterranean cooking.

Try hot and cold appetizers, savory tarts, pastas, soups, salads and a daily catch of seafood.

Ortygia is at 1418 13th St. W. in Bradenton.

Info: ortygiarestaurant.com.

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Homemade focaccia bread at Eat Organico Ristorante Italiano in Bradenton. Courtesy of Eat Organico

Eat Organico Ristorante Italiano

Eat Organico chef Simone Salustri crafts authentic Italian dishes with organic and local ingredients and then plates them beautifully.

Soups and salads, pastas, appetizers, seafood and meat entrees await at the Bradenton restaurant.

The menu includes traditional and adventurous offerings, from fettuccine with Roman-style meat sauce to homemade lasagna with corvina and Italian cheeses.

And if you’re looking for a new culinary experience, try crudo. Sometimes referred to as “Italian sushi,” it’s servings of uncooked, marinated seafood like anchovies, snapper, salmon tartare and octopus.

Eat Organico is at 4832 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton.

Info: facebook.com/eatorganicoauthenticitalian.

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At the Arte Caffe, a serious antipasto plate can be had by ordering the Big Italiano, a board with creamy mozzarella and imported cold cuts including proscuitto di parma, mortadella salame and more. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

Art Caffe Italian Bakery and Market

Remo and Meridith Mambelli have created a haven for Italian flavors in Village of the Arts.

Art Caffe Italian Bakery and Market plates pizza, pasta, salad and sandwiches with a mouthwatering pop.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner five days a week and offers indoor and outdoor seating — plus walls lined with local and imported craft art.

Art Caffe Italian Bakery and Market is at 930 12th St. W., Bradenton.

Info: artecaffebradenton.com.

Other recommendations

Bella Mia Pizza & Italian Restaurant, 5917 Manatee Ave. W., #401, Bradenton

Fav’s Italian Cucina, 419 12th St. W., Bradenton

A Casa Tua, 8799 Cortez Road W., Bradenton

Wheat + Water Italian Kitchen, 7303 52nd Place E., Bradenton

Luigi’s Grille, 5348 34th St. W., Bradenton

Villa Italia Cafe, 2808 10th St. W., Palmetto

Ferraro’s Italian Grille, 8348 U.S. 301, Parrish

Danny’s Pizzeria, 7220 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton

Verona Pizza and Italian Restaurant, 5257 33rd St. E., Bradenton

Carmen’s Italian Cafe, 515 27th St. E., Bradenton

Brancato’s Brick Oven Pizza, 5227 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton

Vinny’s Italian Kitchen, 5337 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach

Valentino Pizzeria Trattoria, 8203 Cooper Creek Blvd., Bradenton

San Remo Pizza and Pasta, 1914 14th St. W., Bradenton

Gio Fabulous Pizza & Martini Bar, 4805 Cortez Road W., Bradenton

Scarpino’s Family Restaurant, 6152 14th St. W., Bradenton

Vertoris Pizza House, 6830 14th St. W., Bradenton

Isola Bella Italian Eatery, 5904 Marina Dr., Holmes Beach

Petrosino’s Italian Deli and Market, 5913 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton

Disabled American Veterans Hall, 111 63rd Ave. E., Bradenton

Sarasota:

Cafe Baci, 4001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

Pino’s, 3800 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

A diverse variety of foods are available in Manatee County, and everyone has their own ideas about what's best.

Not a member of Manatee Eats? Join today and get in on the local food and drink conversation.

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Ryan Ballogg covers arts, entertainment, dining, breaking and local news for the Bradenton Herald. He won first place for feature writing in the Florida Press Club’s 2018 Excellence in Journalism Competition. Ryan is a Florida native and graduated from University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
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