The world’s best-loved cuisine is well represented in India. Restaurants too have matured and gone beyond pasta and pizza to offer regional Italian specialities. These are some of the best Italian restaurants in India.
Moving beyond pizzas and pastas, restaurants serving Italian cuisine in India now offer a range of provincial specialities from a country where gastronomy is a fine art in each region. Some do it with a contemporary touch, others stick to authentic recipes with many sourcing ingredients straight from Italy and serving the food in elegant, cheery spaces that evoke visions of the land that gave the world its favourite cuisine.
Trattoria – President, Mumbai – IHCL Seleqtions
Mumbai had no clue about authentic Italian food till Trattoria arrived in 1981 and introduced the city to pastas and pizzas made with produce sourced from Italy. The chefs developed the menu after travelling and eating across Italy for six months. Some of the most relished dishes are the Fiamma pizza, pasta in aglio olio peperoncino and arrabbiata sauces and malfatti. Even now the restaurant dishes out 600 pizzas daily, so you can imagine how good they must be.
+91-22-66650808, 90 Cuffe Parade
The moment one enters this restaurant, one imbibes the fun and cheerful vibe — with the colourful signage, alfresco area with lemon trees, arched windows, a bar and a wood-fired oven from where the freshest pizzas emerge. Pukrambam Dayamani Singh, Resident Chef at CinCin, feels there is plenty of room to play around with Italian food as long as the ingredients are honoured. Some of the signature dishes at CinCin are Suppli, a dish from Rome made with leftover risotto rice; Chitarra Cacio e Pepe, spaghetti with Parmigiano Reggiano and black pepper sauce; pepperoni pizza; pappardelle with lamb ragu; and, of course, tiramisu. The pastas are hand-rolled and hand-cut.
+91-8355870000, Ground Floor, Raheja Towers, Near Yauatcha Restaurant, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East
Pizza By The Bay, Mumbai
Call it ‘Talk of the Town’, ‘Not Just Jazz by the Bay’ or ‘Pizza By The Bay’ — the name changes but one thing that remains constant is that this iconic place on Marine Drive is the oldest pizzeria in town, having opened its doors in 1968. The freshly rolled dough and fresh tomato sauce are the secrets to their eternally popular pizzas. Apart from pizza, the menu has a number of classic Italian dishes.
+91-22-22851876, Soona Mahal, 143 Marine Drive, Churchgate
Cecconi’s, Soho House Mumbai
Nothing can beat a restaurant that overlooks the sea in Mumbai. Cecconi’s is part of Soho House, a posh private club, and this Italian restaurant has branches across the world including New York, Miami, London, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin. The cuisine is mostly from North Italy. Must-haves include burrata, lamb bolognese, spaghetti lobster and their signature pizzas. Wash it all down with one of their signature cocktails. Cecconi’s is not restricted to Soho House members — it’s open to all.
+91-22-62133333, 16, Juhu Tara Road, Santa Cruz West
San Gimignano, The Imperial New Delhi
Named after a gorgeous medieval Tuscan town, this chic restaurant has been serving authentic Italian food to the capital for about two decades. Predictably, most of the dishes are from Tuscany and surrounding areas. Executive Chef Prem K Pogakula, who has done a lot of research to design this menu and visited Italy a couple of times as well, says “I think procuring local products from the cuisine’s region is the key to getting the recipe right.”
Some of the signature dishes are fresh burrata with tomatoes, basil and pesto, parmesan soup flavoured with truffle oil, ravioli stuffed with porcini and wild mushrooms topped with fresh tomatoes, truffle oil and parmesan cheese and the Chilean sea bass with capers, white wine, vegetables and black olives. The restaurant is popular with Bollywood celebrities like Karan Johar, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Akshay Kumar. Do not miss the wood-fired oven pizzas.
+91-11-41116605, The Imperial New Delhi, Janpath Lane, Connaught Place
Le Cirque, The Leela Palace New Delhi
Sirio Maccioni’s iconic French and Italian fine-dining restaurant from New York City set foot in India, and Asia as well, when it opened at the Leela Palace New Delhi in 2011. This tastefully designed, dinner-only, 144-seater restaurant is spread over an entire floor with sections like three private dining rooms including a Chef’s Table from where one can watch all the action of the live kitchen. There’s an impressive collection of 230 labels of wine at the bar lounge. The menu is a mix of Italian and French and includes classics and signatures like Pasta Primavera (the recipe is by Sirio Maccioni himself) and the Lobster Bisque. When it comes to pairing wine with your food, leave it in the expert hands of sommelier Gaurav Dixit.
+91-11-39331390, 10th Floor, The Leela Palace New Delhi, Chanakyapuri, Diplomatic Enclave
La Piazza, Hyatt Regency Delhi
La Piazza changed the way Delhi consumed Italian food by introducing authentic flavours. The trattoria-style restaurant opened doors in 1994 and Chef Hermann Grossbichler gave the city its first tiramisu, espresso and wood-fired oven pizzas. It’s been more than 25 years but it still serves the same classics.One of them is the La Piazza original Pizza with tomato, mozzarella, sundried tomato, basil pesto, roasted garlic, goat cheese and oregano.
However the menu has recently been revamped with Daniele Macioce joining as Chef De Cuisine and is far more extensive now. The range of dishes he has introduced include dry pastas like rigatoni with traditional tomato, almond andricotta pesto from Sicily.
+91-9818477234; Ring Road, Bhikaji Cama Place, RK Puram
Olive Bar & Kitchen, New Delhi
AD Singh opened Olive with the idea of providing a chilled out, laidback space for people to relax and unwind. “It was the Italian concept of ‘La Dolce Vita’ that we were trying to put out there with people chatting over their meal for hours and relaxing,” he says. And that is exactly what this restaurant provides — excellent food in a stunning setting. From warm winter afternoons to candle-lit evenings in a white-pebbled courtyard with a banyan tree at its centre that is the “soul of this restaurant”, this is a place to savour a touch of Italy. Chef Dhruv Oberoi has created a menu that will transport you straight to Italy — think thin-crust pizzas, delicate pastas and desserts like tiramisu. With the winter season round the corner, truffles are going to find their way into many dishes.
+91-9810235472; One Style Mile, 6-8, Kalka Das Marg, Mehrauli
Diva, New Delhi
Ritu Dalmia opened this restaurant 21 years back and since then there has been no looking back. “Diva is about authentic flavours and the beginning of my food journey. I have seen the flavour profile of the people grow over the years. Diva was about honest cooking and that is what it provided and still does,” she says. The menu is vast and the Chef’s specials are clearly highlighted. The pizza menu has more than 10 flavours out of which Burrata and Gorgonzola (green apple, gorgonzola, olives and walnuts) stand out. The ravioli filled with cheese mousse is another winner. If you have seafood in mind, go for the Olive-crusted sea bass, baked John Dory, pan-roasted salmon and prawns guazzetto.
+91-11 41637858, M-8A, M-Block Market, Greater Kailash II
Sorrento, Shangri-La Eros New Delhi
True to its name, the Neapolitan delicacies here are made from the ingredients that this region is famous for — tomatoes, lemons, potatoes and fresh vegetables. In appetisers, the Italian charcuterie board, Sorrento’s mozzarella bar and Caesar salad on wheels is what you should be ordering. Their pasta list is really long — and it’s all fresh and handmade. The lobster chittara that is finished on the tableside, duck ravioli and mushroom tortelli are some of the other winners. From the moment you place your order till it arrives, you can watch it being put together in the live kitchen. The Neapolitan pizzas are made with biga dough and stretched out without using rolling pins. This dough makes the pizza lighter, softer and more flavourful. It is topped with in-house San Marzano sauce.
+91-11-41191919, 19 Ashoka Road, Connaught Place
Ottimo Cucina Italiana, ITC Royal Bengal, Kolkata
A live kitchen where you see all the action, piping hot wood-fired pizzas, artisanal pastas, cheeses, wines and an array of desserts — this is what you can expect at this stunning fine-dining restaurant. The cuisine is from Rome, Florence, Milan and areas around. Dishes like smoked salmon tartare with sour cherry coulis, lobster ravioli with star anise bisque and burrata, and black ink spaghetti are just some of the winners. Do not leave without trying the Tiramisu or the Panna Cotta. Ottimo opens for dinner only on weekends.
+91-33-44464646, 1 JBS, Haldane Avenue
La Cucina, Hyatt Regency Kolkata
This is one of the few authentic Italian cuisine restaurants in the City of Joy that delivers what it promises. It’s perfect for a candle-light dinner or a Sunday brunch. Playing with flavours and traditions, some of the pizzas are named after streets in Italy such as Via Montenapoleone and Via Chiaia — and they come to the table piping hot straight out of a wood-fired oven. If you want to sample something different, go for the roasted octopus. In pastas, do not miss the lobster ravioli and the beef lasagne.
+91-33-68201164, JA-1 Sector III, Salt Lake City
Fire & Ice, Kolkata
After opening first in Kathmandu, where it became extremely popular, this restaurant ventured into India in 2005 by launching their first restaurant in Kolkata at its most enviable location, just off Park Street. It is one of the oldest pizzerias in the city and the variety you get here is mind boggling. Stick to the classics if you want to be safe, but when in a mood to experiment, try the Fire of Bengal pizza which comes with spicy mutton and green chillies and the Fire & Ice pizza that has fried potatoes. It also has pastas and a range of cocktails and wines.
+91-33-22884073, Kanak Building, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Park Street area
Step inside and you may feel as if you’re in an Italian village — black and white chequered floor, pretty flowers and plants, quirky posters and wooden tables — this has to be one of the most stunning Italian restaurants in Kolkata and is perfect for the ‘gram’. Their expertise lies in Neapolitan cuisine and, following the traditional method, they dish out pizzas with a puffed-up crust that is perfectly charred. They make their own mozzarella as well. Signature dishes include spaghetti carbonara using free-range eggs, Margherita con bufala, prosciutto and, of course, tiramisu. When in the mood to experiment, try the Nutella pizza.
+91-33 40620777, Ground, 8A, Allenby Road, Sreepally, Elgin
Via Milano, Bengaluru
This award-winning restaurant has four locations in Bengaluru. After sampling the smoked salmon rolls and the beef carpaccio, we recommend you set your eyes on the creamy spinach and ricotta ravioli or the baked chicken pesto that’s made delicious with pesto, mozzarella and tomato. Round up your meal with their highly recommended tiramisu or the almond semifreddo.
+91-9164219997, 4th Floor, 80 Feet Main Road, 4th Block, Koramangala
Toscano Restaurant & Wine Bar, Bengaluru
This restaurant has several locations across the city and has opened in Chennai and Pune as well. The first one opened at UB City in 2005 and for lunch you have the option of going for a two course or three course meal for one person. Signature dishes include goat cheese salad, smoked salmon involtini, ravioli di spinaci, duck confit, risotto funghi, tiramisu and chocolate Kahlua mousse. The wine options are aplenty.
+91-80-41738800, UB CITY, 24, Vittal Mallya Rd, KG Halli, Shanthala Nagar, Ashok Nagar