Sometimes, a hearty bowl of pasta is all you need at the end of a long week. Lucky for you, it isn’t much of a challenge finding an outstanding Italian restaurant in Irvine. Nearly every street has a cafe, bistro or ristorante ready to serve up delicious Italian food for any occasion. Some are so close to Skyloft that you could walk! Needless to say, we’ve got it made. However, with so many to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to go! But there’s no need to worry, we’ve done the hard part for you and picked three of the best Italian restaurants in and around Irvine for you to try the next time you’re out.
This November marks Antonello Ristorante’s 40th anniversary of serving the Orange County area, and with time has come a nearly perfect menu. Offering everything from fresh plates of pasta, soups, antipasti and more, Antonio Cagnolo, the owner, has made a name for the Irvine Italian restaurant. Complementing the cuisine, Antonello boasts over 500 wines, earning more than just selection variety recognition, but awards as well! A fine dining experience unique to the area, Antonello has private dining rooms and The Library, a speakeasy-style lounge with cocktails, small plates, and live music on select days.
A taste of NYC right here in Orange County is how one might describe Al Forno Caffe. Leaning more towards the casual Italian dining experience than formal, Al Forno’s Chef and General Manager, Ali Kihanmahd, has spent the majority of his life in some of New York’s finest Italian restaurants. Working for 15 years in NYC and owning and managing a wine bar in Brooklyn, Ali brought his experience in the industry to the West Coast with Al Forno. Offering pastas, pizzas, entrees, salads and much more, Al Forno has a huge variety and refreshing, home-style feel that is perfect for a lunch date or a decadent dinner.
Imagine you’re in Italy… a sweet, old, Italian grandmother invites you over for an authentic, flavorful meal prepared right there in her very own kitchen. You accept, and when you arrive she says, with open arms, “Welcome to our home.” That is how you will feel dining at The Original Mama D’s Italian Kitchen. By no means is it upscale, but it is full of charm. Located in Newport Beach, this hometown favorite is walking distance from the beach. With authentic recipes, an award-winning service team and unbeatable ravioli, it’s no surprise that Mama D’s Italian Kitchen is an Orange County favorite.
So the next time you’re craving delicious Italian food and feel overwhelmed with options, remember these Irvine favorites, and let us know how you liked them on Facebook and Instagram! While you’re at it, keep following the blog here to stay in the know about Irvine’s favorite hot spots.