If you thought Omaha was something of a culinary desert, think again. Over the last few years, the city has developed into a foodie’s haven, with an ever-growing number of new, innovative restaurants jostling for elbow space with the chains and steakhouses that used to dominate. Thai, French, American, Fusion… whatever cuisine takes your fancy, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the new gastronomic landscape. Italian aficionados are particularly blessed: regardless of whether you’re in the mood for pizza, spaghetti, or some cooling gelato, you’ll find no shortage of places to indulge your craving. If you need some inspiration for the best places to check out, look no further than our round-up of the ten best Omaha Italian restaurants for 2020.
10. Spaghetti Works Restaurant
Where: 1105 Howard St, Omaha, NE 68102-2840
Want spaghetti? Then trust us when we say you want Spaghetti Works Restaurant. As its name suggests, this authentic Italian diner specializes in pasta… but not just any old pasta. Made from scratch and served with an almost infinite range of sauces, it’s what all pasta should be but so rarely is. Factor in a full-service bar, a fabulous selection of non-alcoholic Italian sodas, and a “Boundless Bowl” policy, and you can understand why it’s such a family favorite.
9. Biaggi's Ristorante
Where: 13655 California St, Omaha, NE 68154-5233
If you want great food at a reasonable price, you won’t be disappointed with Biaggi's Ristorante. Lively, family-friendly, and reassuringly informal, there’s nothing “fine dining” about the atmosphere. The food, on the other hand, is nothing short of outstanding: expect big, comforting flavors, classically authentic recipes, and the kind of portions that’ll leave even the heartiest of appetites satisfied.
8. Via Farina
Where: 1108 S 10th St, Omaha, NE 68108
Located at the gateway of Omaha's Little Italy, Via Farina is the brainchild of James Beard-nominated chef, Paul Kulik. The menu is a smorgasbord of classic Italian dishes, all made with a level of care and attention that guarantees an outstanding culinary experience. Pasta is made in house with only the finest ingredients, while the oven-baked pizzas are about as authentic as any you’ll find outside of Rome. The wine list is equally impressive, and while the prices are on the high side, you’re unlikely to leave feeling short-changed.
7. Mangia Italiana
Where: 6516 Irvington Rd, Omaha, NE 68122
The family-owned Mangia Italiana delivers everything you want from a neighborhood Italian: authentic flavors, classic recipes, affordable prices, and the kind of warm welcome that’ll put you instantly at ease. It might not have the most highbrow or sophisticated of menus, but for comforting, rustic fare that’s practically bursting at the seams with rustic Italian flavors, it more than delivers.
6. Pitch Coal-fire Pizzeria
Where: 5021 Underwood Ave, Omaha, NE 68132-2235
If you’re craving pizza, there’s only one place in Omaha to head: Pitch Coal-fire Pizzeria. If you thought pizzas were all much of a muchness, wait till you dive into a slice of one of their signature pies: with bases that have the perfect combination of crispy and chewy, tomato sauces with the optimal balance of sweetness and tang, and a superb selection of fresh, flavorsome toppings, they take the basic premise of a pizza and elevate it to something heavenly. And it doesn’t stop there: each week, the chefs let their creativity go wild on a completely new, completely innovative dish that guarantees the kind of once in a lifetime culinary experience you’re unlikely to forget. Visit once, and you’ll be a customer for life.
5. Avoli Osteria
Where: 5013 Underwood Ave, Omaha, NE 68132-2249
With an intimate atmosphere, attentive (but never obtrusive) service, and an exceptional menu, Avoli Osteria has all the hallmarks of a local favorite… which, indeed, it is. Prices may be on the high side, but if you’re prepared to blow a hole in the budget, you won’t be disappointed with such classic dishes as Rigatoni Bolognese, Penne Pomodoro, and a pistachio gelato you’d happily pay double for.
4. Lo Sole Mio Ristorante
Where: 3001 S 32nd Ave, Omaha, NE 68105-3633
If you like generous portions, attentive, friendly service, an extensive wine list, and a menu full of traditional Italian flavors, Lo Sole Mio Ristorante should suit you very nicely indeed. The décor might be a little gaudy, but it does little to detract from the overall quality of the restaurant: for richly flavored, immensely comforting home-cooked food, it doesn’t disappoint.
3. Orsi's Italian Bakery & Pizzeria
Where: 621 Pacific St, Omaha, NE 68108-3307
Great pizza, friendly service, warm ambiance, and reasonable prices… if this sounds your kind of thing, head straight for Orsi's Italian Bakery & Pizzeria. The friendly little eatery delivers a great range of classic, homemade fare, all made using only the freshest ingredients and most authentic techniques. Regardless of what you plump for, make sure to accompany it with the biggest basket of bread you can: made on the premises from scratch each morning, it’s proof positive that whoever coined the phrase “man cannot live by bread alone” had clearly never dined at Orsi’s.
Where: 521 S 13th St, Omaha, NE 68102
If you’re looking for some rustic, authentic Italian fare in a gloriously welcoming environment, Nicola’s has your name written all over it. With a refined menu crammed with such classic dishes as Lobster Ravioli, Carbonara, and Mediterranean Lasagna, along with an extensive wine list that spans the full spectrum of the old and new world, it’s a superb choice for date night, mid-week blowouts, special occasions and just about any other time you want to sample some fabulous cuisine at a surprisingly affordable price.
Where: 3125 S 72nd St, Omaha, NE 68124-3568
If you want to experience the very best Italian food in Omaha, there’s only one place to head. Spezia is a gorgeously intimate little diner in the Midtown that’s doing a fabulous trade in warm welcomes, superb wines, and outstandingly authentic fare. As perfect for special occasions as it is for mid-week date nights, it delivers a menu that goes from one dazzlingly good course to another. While you can’t really go wrong with whatever you choose, you’d be hard-pressed to find better Fried Spicy Calamari anywhere in Nebraska.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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