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America’s 20 Best Italian Restaurants

America’s 20 Best Italian Restaurants


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Checkered tablecloths are a thing of the past

Boulder's Frasca Food and Wine captures the spirit of traditional Friuli farm restaurants while also championing the vast diversity of Colorado’s unique culinary resources.

The great American Italian restaurant has changed in style probably more than any other genre of restaurant over the past several decades. Even as recently as 50 years ago, the term "Italian restaurant" conjured images of red and white checkered tablecloths, carafes of middling chianti, and a red sauce-heavy menu with classics like chicken Parmigiana that were more Italian-American than authentic Italian. Then something interesting happened: people got bored, and a new breed of Italian restaurant came onto the scene, able to rival even the highest-end French dining rooms. From a neighborhood trattoria in Brooklyn to a high-end restaurant in San Francisco with a tasting menu focused on the bounty of Northern California, we rounded up the 20 best Italian restaurants in America.

America’s 20 Best Italian Restaurants (Slideshow)

So what were our classifications for an "Italian restaurant," exactly? First, we decided that restaurants that specialized in pizza wouldn’t be considered, which excluded legendary establishments like Frank Pepe’s, Pizzeria Bianco, and Di Fara from this list. We were also OK with restaurants that are Italian-inspired, like San Francisco’s Quince. With a Caprese salad and gnudi on the menu, there’s no denying that Italian cuisine is a major, and consistent, influence. A great Italian restaurant has many of the same standards that make any restaurant great: impeccable, un-snooty service; high-quality food sourced from the finest purveyors; creative-yet-classic preparation and craftsmanship; and an overall experience that leaves you happy and content in the fact that you just ate a world-class meal.

In order to assemble our ranking, we first looked at restaurants that made it to our list of the 101 Best Restaurants in America, which we release early every year. The steps we took to build that ranking were as thorough and comprehensive as possible: we recruited an illustrious panel of judges that included some of the country’s top food writers, critics, and bloggers to submit their suggestions for the country’s best restaurants, which we supplemented with our own choices, which included previous years’ rankings as well as lauded newcomers. This list of hundreds of restaurants was then built into a survey that was sent out to our 174 panelists, who voted for their favorites. The final ranking included many Italian restaurants, and to create this list we supplemented the Italian restaurants that made it into our final list of 101 with those that came in as runners-up but are certainly still worthy of renown.

Without any further ado, we present our ranking of America’s 20 Best Italian Restaurants.


Our 20 Most Popular Soup Recipes Ever!

Rach&aposs pal Daisy Martinez takes inspiration from a journey to Mexico and heats up a classic comfort food.

Tomato Minestrone Soup with Garlic Bread Croutons

This hearty soup is a well-rounded meal, full of fresh veggies, beans and hearty pasta!

White Bean & Ham Soup

Let this soup simmer away in your slow cooker all day for a rich, hearty flavor.

Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup

Toasting the orzo beforehand creates a nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with chicken and veggies.

French Onion Soup

Who doesn&apost love a classic French onion soup? Our recipe only takes five ingredients to make!

Beer and Cheese Soup

Beer and cheese are a comfort food match made in heaven. Save this recipe for cold winter nights!

Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Red curry paste is the secret to this sweet and spicy soup. It&aposll warm you from the inside, out!

Baked Potato Soup

Your favorite steakhouse side dish just got soup-ified!

Corn and Salsa Tortilla Soup

"This zesty soup is a great vegetarian version of chicken tortilla soup. Take advantage of fresh corn on the cob as many months of the year as you can find it. But, when cobs are nowhere to be found, frozen kernels are just fine." -Rach

Mexican Chicken-and-Rice Soup

Use leftover pulled chicken and rice pilaf to create a brand new dish that&aposs sure to please.


Best Italian Restaurants in the U.S.

&ldquoThere are two kinds of people in the world,&rdquo chef Mario Batali said recently at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, CO, &ldquothose who are Italian, and those who wish they were Italian.&rdquo

No wonder: Italian restaurants across America are raising the bar. Think of all the Neapolitan pizzerias opened in the past decade, the focus on handmade pastas and authentic ingredients, and hip concepts like Torrisi Italian Specialties, which put New York&rsquos Little Italy back on the serious foodie&rsquos map. Consider the success of Batali himself: his Del Posto is the first four-star Italian restaurant in New York since 1974, and his emporium Eataly teems with both locals and tourists.

Just when you think Italian can&rsquot get any hotter, it does. So what are America&rsquos best Italian restaurants? And should four-star restaurants be considered alongside exemplary pizzerias like Frank Pepe in New Haven, CT, and Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix? Heck, yes. For an Italian restaurant to be considered truly great, it should do what it does best.

At Trattoria Lucca, which opened in Charleston, SC, in 2008, that means dishes that showcase fresh local seafood, from the crudo of grouper to homemade ricotta cavatelli with flounder in a shellfish broth. For a truly special treat, time your visit to the Monday evening family supper, a communal seating during which chef Ken Vedrinski serves a four-course prix fixe menu for $38.

While there&rsquos a charm to old-school places like Bamonte&rsquos in Brooklyn, we skewed to innovative recent arrivals like Trattoria Lucca and to longtime restaurants that have upped their game beyond the red-sauce standards, such as Chicago&rsquos romantic Spiaggia, overlooking Lake Michigan, and San Francisco&rsquos Acquerello, where the tasting menu includes parmesan budino with piquillo peppers and pickled Italian eggplant.

Some of our favorite Italian restaurants made their reputations on outstanding wine lists. Others go beyond Tuscan or Roman cuisine to acquaint diners with the pleasures of culinary traditions from, say, Italy&rsquos northeastern Friuli region&mdashthe driving influence at Frasca in Boulder, CO, where a visit begins with addictive grissini, pencil-size crispy breadsticks.

What&rsquos certain is that each of these 30 Italian restaurants is a destination worth checking off your list. See how many you&rsquove tried, and then share your local favorites in the comments below.


Cocoa Power: Best Chocolate in America

Think outside the box (of basic chocolates) with these dazzling, decadent confections.

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Photo By: Artisan Confections

Craveworthy Confections

These days, a plain chocolate bar seems so &hellip basic. Chocolatiers across the country are upgrading the beloved classic by sourcing the best cacao beans, blending them with exotic ingredients, coaxing the chocolate into whimsical shapes and even adorning their creations with exquisite designs. Leave those basic bars to a bygone era and step into these shops, where the confectioners are stirring up chocolate &mdash and imaginations.

Christophe Artisan Chocolatier

For a taste of true French chocolate, look no further than Charleston, South Carolina. Third-generation chocolatier Christophe Paume whips up chocolate creations his customers adore. A favorite is the chocolate caramel sea salt bar, but people come to his shop to look at (and eat!) the beautifully hand-painted truffles and chocolate sculptures as well.

Ginger Elizabeth

This Northern California chocolate shop is proud of its origins &mdash you&rsquoll see many California influences here, including an abundance of ingredients from local farms. Trained pastry chef (from a family of home bakers) Ginger Elizabeth went out on her own after working for some of the best from New York to Chicago before starting her delightful chocolate business back home. Unique flavors like Raspberry Rose Geranium, Sweet Cream Chai and Peanut Butter Graham Cracker put a fresh spin on the traditional truffles.

Chocolate Lab

This multifaceted chocolate concept that includes not only a chocolate shop but also a bar and restaurant started with a box of chocolates. Owner Phil Simonson&rsquos husband made him chocolates from his own personal recipe, and the rest is history. To this day they still use that as their base chocolate recipe, filling their 300 flavors of truffles with ingredients like Spam and pineapple, drunken goat cheese and Vidalia onions, and salted caramel apple. The restaurant menu pulls in chocolate whenever possible &mdash the pulled pork uses a chocolate bourbon BBQ sauce, and the green salad even has chopped chocolate in it!

Chocolaterie Tessa

Chocolate runs in the family for Tessa Halstead: Her dad was a chocolatier, and she still uses many of his unique chocolate molds. In addition to the chocolate figurines, the Austin shop is known for its Single Origin collection of chocolates that highlights signature flavors of various countries and provides a tasting guide for each, to acquaint customers with chocolate-growing areas of Peru or Papua New Guinea.

Vermont Nut Free Chocolates

Many chocolate truffles are chock-full of nuts, but not the ones made here. This family-run business started when the owners' son had a nut allergy and it was hard to find good-quality chocolates for him to enjoy. A few decades later, they have a full-blown chocolate business with truffles, chocolate-covered pretzels, Sun Blossoms (sunbutter cups) and so much more. All of their chocolates are made in a dedicated nut-free facility just north of Burlington.

Norman Love Confections

The Sunshine State might not be the first place you'd look for handcrafted chocolates, but since 2001 Norman and Mary Love have been crafting beautiful and delicious creations in their shop in Fort Myers. Each truffle has its own aesthetic, like the "paint"-splattered dark chocolate heart infused with jalapeno peppers, or the vibrant green and yellow, tangy Key lime seashell. The gift boxes in the Black line are filled with single-origin dark chocolates.

DeBrand Fine Chocolates

From the age of 8 Cathy Brand was whipping up chocolate creations at home, and decades later she has a small chocolate empire in Indiana, with four shops in Fort Wayne and another in Indianapolis. DeBrand's chocolatiers focus on classic chocolates like caramel and mocha, and also have fun with exotic flavor combinations like raspberry balsamic and rosemary citrus.

Katherine Anne Confections

To keep things interesting at this quaint Chicago chocolate shop, its chocolatiers create a new truffle a week so they can have fun with flavors like cranberry pear walnut, rocky road and peanut butter coconut curry. Come winter, drinking chocolate is the way to go. The flavors range from classic milk chocolate to salted caramel to strawberry butterscotch &mdash and equally appealing are the giant housemade marshmallows that bob like buoys in the hot chocolate.

Milla Chocolates

The chocolates from this Los Angeles shop aren&rsquot only a masterpiece for the mouth their minimalistic design makes them pieces of modern art. Geometric-shaped bonbons filled with champagne or black sesame are a favorite, as are the jars of elevated chocolate-covered nuts &mdash like dark chocolate-and-cayenne almonds.

Vosges

After embarking on a culinary career that brought her to some of the best kitchens in the world (including Denmark’s prestigious Noma), Katrina Markoff realized she wanted to continue to produce beautiful food… but no longer wanted the rigorous lifestyle of a chef. Thus, the next chapter of Markoff’s professional life began with her sojourn into chocolate. The confection has proven to be the perfect medium through which Markoff can share her global experiences Vosges chocolates sing with the flavors of exotic ingredients brought back from her travels. The Black Pearl, for instance, features ginger and wasabi topped with dark chocolate and black sesame seeds. Ever the innovator, Markoff also experiments with super foods, as represented in her Matcha Green Tea & Spirulina Super Dark Chocolate Bar. This antioxidant-packed bar is made with 72% cacao dark chocolate, Matcha green tea and high protein spirulina.

EHChocolatier

This Boston-area chocolate shop prepares filled chocolates, toffees and the best peanut butter cups you'll ever try, along with assorted high-end chocolate bars. The founding duo, Catharine Sweeney and Elaine Hsieh, love to put their own spin on the chocolates with childhood favorites and ingredients from their hometowns. Try bourbon-splashed caramels, tea-infused ganache and the adorable chocolate hedgehogs. For chocolate overload, the Big Tasty box gives a taste of some of their best chocolates.

Bon Bon Bon

French technique is fused with Detroit ingenuity at this quirky chocolate operation that churns out stellar “bons.” Founder Alexandra Clark was drawn to the concept of bonbons because the confections aren’t defined by such strict rules as other sweets. To start, the shop’s signature confections lack a covering of chocolate on the top, meaning you can see exactly what kind of filling each one features. The innovation extends to the fillings themselves, with a wild variety that is constantly evolving. Michigan’s many international influences have even wound their way into the candies, such as the Coco-Nut Curry stuffed with curry toasted coconut ganache and creamy honey-roasted peanut butter. The Paczki is inspired by the Polish pastry of the same name. Blanketed in donut sugar, this bon features a filling of fried dough ganache, Polish confiture and a sliver of paczki.

Glacier Confection

It’s apropos to find this family-owned chocolate shop in Tulsa’s Brady Arts District, as each handmade confection is a miniature masterpiece. One collection is composed of stunning vegan chocolates that resemble shimmering jewels and come stuffed with caramel fillings in flavors like coconut pecan and blueberry. There’s a chocolate for pretty much every palate, from decadent boozy selections featuring spiked combinations like Mojito Mint and Chardonnay Sea Salt to vibrant white chocolate varieties in Americana-inspired flavors that include apple pie. Patriotism extends beyond the chocolate flavors at this shop, as owner Bill Copeland and his family donate a portion of Glacier’s proceeds to support veterans and military families.

Marcie Blaine

Lucky for chocolate-loving locals, prolific Philadelphia restaurateur Marcie Blaine has a sweet spot for confections. Despite her many restaurant responsibilities, the chef still finds time to create handmade chocolates. Crafted by Blaine and her team in an open kitchen nestled inside the Verde boutique (which Blaine co-owns), the confections feature fresh, indulgent ingredients like cream and butter locally sourced from nearby Lancaster County. The chocolatier shows her Philly pride with a special series that includes truffles emblazoned with the Liberty Bell and the iconic LOVE sculpture. There is even an ode to the city’s signature street food. This chocolate-covered confection is made with peanut butter and pretzel ganache, then printed with a playful depiction of the candy’s namesake: the soft pretzel.

Craverie Chocolatier Café

The origin story of the chocolates served at this resort cafe starts with a quest to perfect a classic pecan confection. It may be Herbert V. Kohler, Jr.’s enterprising spirit that led him to become the third generation to helm the Kohler Co., but it was his sweet tooth that prompted him to propel the business into the world of chocolate-making. His vision for a craveworthy version of a beloved chocolate resulted in the terrapin, which pulls in smoky caramel and hand-picked pecans. Created in 2007, these candies were the start of the chocolate line now offered at the Craverie Chocolatier Café located in The Shops at Woodlake Kohler. The confections are assembled and adorned in the cafe by Head Chocolatier Anette Righi DeFendi, who is particularly fond of the entrancingly green chocolates known as Emeralds. Available in both milk chocolate and dark chocolate varieties, these jewel-toned creations come stuffed with an assortment of ganache fillings in flavors like mint, lime, green tea and even absinthe.

Gearhart’s Fine Chocolates

Charlottesville native Tim Gearhart brings a world of inspiration to his Virginia shop. His former cooking career enabled him to gain both culinary experience and plenty of ideas for his chocolate shop. Those international influences still inform his blends of chocolate, which Gearhart creates by combining local sweet cream and butter with cacao beans sourced from around the world. Innovation is integral to his operation, as Gearhart’s line extends beyond traditional truffles to also encompass signature items like the Ommegang Rosetta Cherry Ale Chocolates. These dark chocolate-dipped confections feature a distinctive ganache infused with a sour cherry ale. Another standout are the peanut butter PUPS, which resemble miniature dachshund heads. They’re made from creamy Virginia peanut butter that’s blanketed in milk chocolate, then dotted with dark chocolate for the eyes and nose, along with toasted almonds for the ears. These darling and delicious pups have a do-good side as well — a portion of every purchase goes to Companions for Heroes.

Harper Macaw

The do-good duo of a Brazilian-born chocolate maker and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran are using chocolate in a rather unexpected way &mdash to help with tropical reforestation. Husband-and-wife team Sarah and Colin Hartman are the minds behind the Harper Macaw craft chocolate factory that opened in Washington, D.C., in 2015. Not only do the enterprising couple purchase all of their cacao beans via direct trade from farms they visit in Brazil near the Atlantic and Amazon rainforests, but they also reinvest a percentage of the proceeds from their chocolate bar sales into the conservation and restoration of those same forests. In addition to single-origin varieties, Harper Macaw&rsquos selection includes unique takes like bourbon barrel-aged dark chocolate. And the operation&rsquos D.C. location provided the perfect impetus for a line that gives a playful wink to the District&rsquos political scene. Developed with design firm Design Army, these partisan bars include selections such as the dark chocolate Tea Party infused with Earl Grey tea and the milk chocolate Filibuster studded with peanuts and pretzels.

The Secret Chocolatier

Chocolate is a shared passion for the family behind this two-locale operation in Charlotte, North Carolina. The love shines through in the handmade chocolates turned out by Chef Bill Dietz, who runs the business with his wife, daughter and son-in-law. Creativity is the key, with varieties like a sweet and spicy blueberry chili bark made with blueberries, ancho chiles and serrano peppers for a lingering tingle. For a true taste of the South, opt for the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bites that pull in Southern pecans, Knob Creek bourbon and golden syrup.

Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate Micro-Factory

Beans are serious business at Xocolatl, a small-batch chocolatier tucked away inside Atlanta&rsquos famed Krog Street Market. In order to be deemed worthy of being turned into a chocolate bar, each cacao bean that arrives here (usually by way of East Africa or South America) must pass a rigorous inspection by the team. Such exacting standards result in a superb chocolate base for the bars, many of which are then further enhanced by creative flavor combinations. Take the Kissed Mermaids, for instance. This dark chocolate bar is composed of 60 percent cacao, along with coconut milk, a sprinkle of vanilla-infused sea salt and cacao nibs for added crunch. Apple pie was the inspiration for the Americana bar, which features nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice flavors, along with 68 percent cacao.

L.A. Burdick Chocolates

Meticulous care goes into crafting the chocolates at L.A. Burdick, which has locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York. High-quality chocolate is coaxed into whimsical shapes, such as the shop&rsquos signature mice and penguins. Each miniature animal is made by hand in a three-day process. The mice come in three flavors: dark chocolate with an orange interior, milk chocolate with a mocha interior and white chocolate with a cinnamon interior. All the critters come dotted with toasted almond ears and adorned with colorful silk tails. The penguins are filled with a whipped dark chocolate and lemon ganache with a hint of limoncello. Inspired by the practices of both Swiss and French chocolatiers, the founders avoid the use of artificial ingredients. The short shelf life of these preservative-free chocolates drives the operation&rsquos charitable component all leftover chocolates are donated to local shelters and organizations.

Artisan Confections

A pastry chef by training, Jason Andelman has since crossed over to the dark (chocolate) side. These days, he uses his culinary talents to transform dark and milk chocolates into artfully adorned bonbons that he features at his two Virginia locales. This imaginative chocolatier fills his bonbons with exquisite ingredients such as locally grown mint, passion fruit and ancho chilies, then decorates them with intricate designs. Other signature sweets include the mixology collection, brightly colored bites of chocolates spiked with regionally-sourced spirits and liquors.

Chocolate Maya

Beautifully carved Mayan tiles, tarragon and pineapple truffles, and dark chocolate Buddhas filled with maple syrup caramel are just the start of the delicacies you&rsquoll find at this California chocolate shop. Owner Maya Schoop-Rutten hails from Switzerland and learned the art of chocolate-making in her native country. So conscientious is the confectioner about quality control that she visits the cacao plantations where she sources her chocolate to ensure they meet her rigorous standards. Her travels also serve as inspiration for her unique flavor combinations, which incorporate both ingredients discovered abroad and those found right in her adopted hometown of Santa Barbara.


Watch the video: The Latest Covid Snake Oil: Snake Oil? - TechNewsDay (July 2022).


Comments:

  1. Callough

    Wonderful, very valuable message

  2. Surur

    A very useful idea

  3. Kizilkree

    It's a pity that I can't speak now - I'm late for the meeting. But I will return - I will definitely write what I think on this issue.

  4. Rafal

    What is well organized here is crime. Innocence is a state that is incompatible with feelings of deep satisfaction. Is there life on Mars, is there life on Mars, but there is a thick, thick layer of chocolate I understand: to live with one woman, but with the same one ?! ... “Others are not better” - the inscription on the mirror. Broken bones don't float! Love is like a fire, you won't throw a stick, it will go out.



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