Italian cuisine is sort of a catch-all food group. It makes for great comfort food, a hot meal on a cold day, and the perfect date night cuisine.
But when you're in the mood for good Italian food, you'll want to do a little research before you simply head to your nearest Olive Garden.
In Knoxville, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. From upscale chains to family-owned, authentic Italian restaurants, there's no shortage of spots for grabbing tasty take-out or planning a fun date night.
Have friends or family who live in Knoxville or are planning a visit? With a personalized virtual gift card from GiftYa, you can instantly treat them to a dinner out at their favorite local Italian restaurant. Or, choose somewhere new and maybe help them find their new favorite haunt.
Ready to find the perfect spot to grab some tasty Italian grub tonight, or to purchase a gift card to for a friend? Keep reading to learn some of teh best options in Knoxville, Tennessee.
1. Altruda's Italian Restaurant
Family-owned operating for 30 years in Knoxville
Simple, classic Italian pasta, salads, and more. Image courtesy of Yelp.
125 N Peters Rd, Knoxville, TN 37923 (https://www.altrudas.com/)
Named for the restaurant founder's mother Geraldine Ida Altruda, who immigrated to the U.S. from Italy at age 12 and brought with her decades-old recipes and home cooking, Altruda's is a hotspot for authentic Italian cuisine in Knoxville, Tennessee. Their pasta dishes are divided into two categories by the style of pasta they're made with; Primi Piatti and spaghetti. You'll find cannelloni stuffed with cheese, fettucini alfredo topped with spinach, ham, shrimp, or chicken.
While Altruda's may offer plenty of pasta dishes, regulars will tell you that their real gems are their pre-meal treats. Fresh, homemade garlic rolls, salads topped with housemade dressings, and popular appetizers like fried calamari are a must-have during your visit.
If you're hoping to visit Altruda's during your time in Knoxville, head there for dinner; they aren't open for lunch, opening at 5 p.m. each day.
"Went to altrudas tonight to celebrate my college graduation and wow I'm gonna have to come here so much more often! The service was wonderful and the restaurant is intimate, the perfect setting for a special occasion or date night." -Yelp Review
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2. Bravo! Italian Kitchen
Upscale Italian chain restaurant
Wood-fired pizzas are a popular alternative to pasta menu staples. Image courtesy of Yelp.
106 Major Reynolds Pl, Knoxville, TN 37919 (https://locations.bravoitalian.com/us/tn/knoxville/106-major-reynolds-pl)
When you're in the mood for consistently delicious Italian cuisine, you can't go wrong with a visit to the popular chain, Bravo! Italian Kitchen. There's just one location in Tennessee, and it's located in Knoxville.
Bravo! Italian Kitchen serves up authentic-inspired Italian dishes, like spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo, sausage tortellini, and spaghetti Pomodoro. Another popular menu item is their wood-fired pizzas. Looking for something more unique? Plan to visit Bravo! Italian Kitchen on a Sunday for their popular Sunday Brunch. Enjoy tasty egg scrambles, French toast, and refreshing signature cocktails.
If you're planning to visit on a weekend, and especially for Sunday brunch, it's a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time, otherwise, you're likely to experience a lengthy wait for a table.
"I love Bravo! The food is great, but what I really appreciate is the service. Each time we've gone, I've wanted to become best friends with everyone who works there… So genuinely friendly, fun, and welcoming." -Yelp Review
Purchase a GiftYa card for Bravo Cucina Italiana.
3. Savelli's Italian Restaurant
Family-owned upscale Italian cuisine
Authentic Italian pasta served with homemade bread. Image courtesy of Yelp.
3055 Sutherland Ave, Knoxville, TN 37919 (http://www.savellisknoxville.com/)
For 29 years, this family-owned Italian restaurant has been delighting visitors and locals alike. The candle-lit dining room is perfect for a date night out, while their authentic-inspired menu is certain to please the taste buds when you're craving real Italian cuisine.
Besides their authentic pasta dishes, the restaurant is also home to a gas brick oven, where they cook hand-tossed New York-style pizzas. Savelli's Italian Restaurant is BYOW — bring your own wine — so feel free to bring your favorite bottle and pair it with your choice of pasta, pizzas, and sides.
Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends and holidays. Savelli's has another claim to fame as well — they've played host to several celebrities over the years, including Peyton Manning and Tommy Lasorda.
"Savelli's is my absolute favorite restaurant in Knoxville. I can't even count how many wonderful dinners we've had through the years! It is our go to for special occasions & celebrations." -Yelp Review
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4. Gavino's Pizzeria & Restaurant
Laid-back, family friend pasta and pizza
Italian-American cuisine to please the whole family. Image courtesy of Yelp.
5211 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919 (http://www.gavinospizzeria.com/)
When you're looking for tasty, accessible Italian-American cuisine like pasta, pizzas, and sandwiches that the whole family can enjoy together, Gavino's Pizzeria & Restaurant may be just the ticket. This casual, laid-back restaurant is very family-friendly. Their diverse menu has something for every taste, including even the pickiest eaters.
Founded in 2015, Gavino's serves up New York-style, thin-crust pizza and simple pasta dishes like manicotti, baked ziti, spaghetti, and lasagna. There's a full bar for those who like to enjoy their pasta with a cocktail or glass of wine. When the weather is nice, their outdoor patio makes for the perfect spot to enjoy an afternoon meal with friends.
"A regular, non-fancy Italian restaurant. Perfect for a solid Italian meal. I recommend the Guytano Chicken pasta and the Chicken Parm. You barely have to wait to get in and mildly fast service. Love this place!" -Yelp Review
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5. A Dopo Sourdough Pizza
Authentic, Italian-style pizza recipes
Fresh, homemade pizzas with a variety of tasty toppings. Image courtesy of Yelp.
516 Williams St, Knoxville, TN 37917 (http://www.adopopizza.com/restaurant)
You won't find any frozen pizza dough here. At A Dopo Sourdough Pizza, everything from the crust to the sauce is homemade, and the toppings are hand-selected for freshness and taste.
Pizza is definitely the name of the game here, and you'll find a variety of styles and topping choices to fit every taste bud. Classics like red sauce, olive oil, and house-made mozzarella are popular choices. But you'll also find unique options like white truffle oil, speck ham, Calabrian chiles, and taleggio cheese. Pair your pie with an authentic Italian wine or a refreshing beer.
A Dopo is open for dinner only, starting at 5 p.m. each day.
"I would give A Dopo ten out of five stars if I could. This place never disappoints. It's one of my favorite places to go for a date or a birthday dinner- and this trip was for my boyfriend's birthday. It's a higher-end pizza place for sure, but the quality is reflected in the price." -Yelp Review
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6. Hard Knox Pizzeria
Wood-fired Italian-style pizzas
Fresh wood-fired pizzas made with homemade ingredients. Image courtesy of Yelp.
4437 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919 (https://hardknoxpizza.com/)
Hard Knox Pizzeria's founder, Dean Bastian, first fell in love with Italian-style pizza thanks to his father, who discovred the unique style while serving overseas during WWII. Decades later, Dean was craving authentic Italian pizza, so he built his own wood-fired pizza oven in his backyard, and began honing his craft. In 2009, he decided to share his recipes with the rest of the world. Alongside his wife, he opened the first Hard Knox Pizzeria in 2009. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Hard Knox Pizzeria has two locations in Knoxville to choose from. Both serve a variety of wood-fired pizzas, with fresh toppings and homemade ingredients. Their menu is divided between "white pies" and "red pies," depending on the type of sauce that you're craving. You'll also find a variety of small plates perfect for sharing, like mini meatballs and garlic knots.
"I wasn't sure what this was I just saw Hard Knox. To my surprise it was a wood fire pizza place. I love wood fire pizza.
The staff was very friendly. The restaurant was clean and the pizza was awesome." -Yelp Review
Purchase a GiftYa card for Hard Knox Pizzeria.
Whether you're looking for the perfect spot for a date night out or somewhere to purchase a gift card to for a friend, any of these Italian restaurants in Knoxville, Tennessee is a great choice.