Italian restaurants in Minneapolis are something I know a thing or two about. Don’t let my ballet roots fool you—I eat pasta like it’s going out of style.
Growing up, if my family and I weren’t going out to one of the Vietnamese restaurants in Minneapolis, we were probably going to an Italian one. Prima, Broder’s Pasta Bar, Cossetta’s, and Figlio all made appearances throughout my childhood, and yes, I’m still mourning the loss of the original Figlio over a decade later.
I’ve visited all of the Italian restaurants in Minneapolis on this list, with the exception of Rinata and Terzo (though I have been to Terzo’s sister restaurant, Broder’s Pasta Bar). These are tried and true Twin Cities Italian mainstays ranging from casual neighborhood hideaways to gastronomic approaches to traditional plates.
Bring your appetite—in true Italian fashion, you won’t leave these eateries hungry.
Broder’s Pasta Bar
Address: 2308 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55410
There’s no talking about the best Italian restaurants in Minneapolis without talking about Broder’s Pasta Bar.
As mentioned in my guide to the best Edina restaurants, the South Minneapolis institution is one of the most beloved places in the Twin Cities for handmade pasta like spaghetti and fettuccine.
Across the street, Broder’s Cucina Italiana serves casual sandwiches and pasta and sells high-quality, hard-to-find Italian groceries.
Bar La Grassa
Address: 800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Bar la Grassa isn’t just one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Minneapolis—it’s my favorite restaurant in Minneapolis. Period.
Chef Isaac Becker’s (112 Eatery, Snack Bar) rustic-yet-innovative Italian fare is still a North Loop hotspot ten years after opening its doors. I raved extensively about Bar la Grassa in my list of the best date night restaurants in Minneapolis, so I’ll keep this brief:
A trip to Bar la Grassa is never one you’ll regret. The food is unforgettable (you will regret not ordering the Gnocchi with Cauliflower and Orange), the bruschetta really lives up to the hype, the wine list is highly considered, and the service is phenomenal. BLG is something of a paradox: playful yet serious, rustic but polished in its approach to food. It just works.
On weekends, you’ll definitely need a reservation. Secure one on Resy (if you can).
Address: 2451 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405
A humble trattoria in Uptown Minneapolis, Rinata is a neighborhood darling serving wood-fired pizzas and fresh pasta made in-house daily.
The space is casual and laid back. The food is hearty and classic in feel with a modern finish. Dig into the Rigatoni Manzane (eggplant cream sauce, caponata, cherry tomato, parmesan, and basil), or enjoy the housemade Ravioli (kale, spinach, ricotta, garlic, herbs, and tomato cream sauce).
Locals rave about how this authentic Minneapolis Italian restaurant is a hidden gem, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an open secret. If you’re going on the weekend for dinner, reservations are recommended.
Address: 33 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
If you ask Minneapolis’ young, trendy crowd what the best Italian restaurants in Minneapolis are, you might be surprised to hear Sanjusan top the list. A relative newcomer compared to some of the storied establishments on this list, Sanjusan is a restaurant like none other in the Twin Cities.
The brainchild of chef-restaurateur Daniel del Prado, Sanjusan is an industrial chic Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant wedged into a ground-level space beneath Japanese mainstays Kado no Mise, Kaiseki Furukawa, and Gori Gori Peku.
Not to be skipped are the Arancini (enoki, onsen egg, and togarashi furikaki) and Mentaiko Lumache (Pollock roe, lumache, pistachio, basil, and toasted nori). If you want good pizza, head to Rosalia, DDP’s pizza restaurant instead (it’s decent but unmemorable at Sanjusan).
Sanjusan is the perfect spot for a good date night in downtown Minneapolis. It’s snug, so be prepared to squeeze if you manage to get a coveted reservation. After dinner, grab drinks at one of the best Minneapolis cocktail bars.
Address: 5325 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419
There are few Italian restaurants in the Twin Cities that evoke more nostalgia for me than Prima. The cozy farm-to-fork trattoria in South Minneapolis was my parents’ go-to for special dinners when I was growing up.
Though Prima’s menu has changed since those days, one thing has not: the restaurant’s dedication to traditional Italian cuisine and fine wine. I could dissect Prima’s menu of locally sourced Italian fare, singing sonnets of its delicate Capellini, but I don’t need to. Prima’s nostalgic, comforting approach speaks for itself.
Despite the restaurant’s more than 20-year-long history, in many ways, it still feels like a local secret. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant directly, starting at 1:30 pm daily, but walk-ins are welcome.
ie – Italian Eatery
Address: 4724 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Don’t let Italian Eatery’s generic name fool you (like it did me for years). This isn’t a mediocre chain restaurant or generic Italian American eatery—it’s a wildly popular neighborhood spot serving modern Italian plates in a warm, welcoming dining room.
When my friends and I walked in on a Thursday night without a reservation, we were almost turned away when we couldn’t find seating at the bar. Lo and behold, the bartender went out of his way to rearrange seating for us, then left the restaurant to chase us down as we crossed through the parking lot. That above-and-beyond thoughtfulness set the tone for the entire evening.
There’s a lot to love about ie—portions are generous, and pricing is very fair. The Calabrian Cauliflower (cauliflower, Calabrian chili salsa, and grated Grana Padano) side is a must and can easily serve as an appetizer for four. The Mushroom Cappelletti (creme fraiche, whiskey barrel-aged shoyu, roasted mushrooms, and thyme) is a standout vegetarian plate.
The restaurant’s elevated casual approach makes it a great pick for dinner with your parents or the in-laws who are in town or for a chill weeknight meal when you can’t be bothered to dress up.
The Bungalow Club
Address: 4300 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Lush Bungalow Club exists somewhere in the space between Italian and New American. The neighborhood restaurant in Cooper serves a prix-fixe menu during the week, offering “Pasta n’ Trap Sunday” each week for guests to dine on à la carte pasta.
The prix-fixe menu is $45 per person and includes a salad course, pasta course, and entrée. The menu rotates frequently, putting together unexpected creations such as the Pappardelle (pappardelle, mushroom conserva, dill creme fraiche, and peanuts) that I currently have my eye on.
The Bungalow Club might bridge Italian and New American, but you certainly won’t find classic Italian-American plates with heaping amounts of ambiguous red sauce on Pasta n’ Trap Sunday. Instead, lasagna is reimagined as Lasagna Bianco with bechamel, tomato chutney, olives, and herbs, while other traditional Italian pasta such as spaghetti and gnocchi follow suit.
Even better, Bungalow Club’s Pasta n’ Trap menu is available for online ordering.
Address: 2811 W 43rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55410
Airy Rosalia is the perfect storm of savory Sicilian and wood-fired pizzas and a nonchalantly cool vibe. It’s grounded in Italian pizza basics, giving them new life with Mediterranean inspiration and earning Rosalia a spot as one of the best places for pizza in Minneapolis.
Rosalia’s stylish but casual approach to dining is represented in its menu that elegantly pairs elevated versions of familiar toppings in fresh ways. My favorite, the Bianca, combines mozzarella, lemon ricotta, garlic, pecorino, and chile flake, topping it all off with a heaping handful of arugula.
On a warm, sunny evening, Rosalia’s expansive patio, paired with a few pizzas, a good bottle of wine, and great company, is close to bliss in South Minneapolis.
Rosalia is available for delivery on DoorDash and UberEats. Save $5 on your order with this Doordash promo code.
Address: 831 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402
The heart of Downtown Minneapolis can feel like a desert for good Italian food. If you’re unwilling (or don’t have the time) to step over to the North Loop, Zelo is your best option for contemporary Italian cuisine that will satisfy your craving.
The restaurant has built a loyal following that returns year after year for the Herb Linguini With Lamb, Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, and Walleye Milanese (because this is, after all, Minnesota).
Gluten-free diners rejoice—Zelo offers gluten-free pappardelle. Vegetarians and vegans will have a tougher time with the menu. There’s a vegetarian lasagna option and linguini primavera, but not much else.
I walked past Zelo almost daily for years, building high hopes for the day I’d dine there. When I finally did, it was solid, but it mildly lacked in wow factor compared to other Italian restaurants in Minneapolis on this list, and it’s not just because I think Primavera is a lazy vegetarian option.
Zelo is enjoyable, but it’s an Italian restaurant for the well-heeled corporate crowd and the occasional tourist staying at the W – The Foshay on the next block. I’d stop by before seeing a show at the State Theater but wouldn’t seek it out as a destination. Maybe a future visit will change my mind.
Red Rabbit Minneapolis
Address: 201 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Red Rabbit is not the type of restaurant I normally go for. When I passed by it in high school, I pictured it as more of an Italian-American sports bar than I did a restaurant.
I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong.
Seven years later, I finally made it to Red Rabbit, and I loved every second of it.
While the 2010s-esque rock and roll meets North Loop decor is still not exactly my style (really, why do the floors look exactly like those in a newly renovated Airbnb paired with the furnishings of a middle-aged bachelor’s man cave?), you don’t go to Red Rabbit for the ambiance or culinarily ambitious fine dining—you go for the heaping plates, amazing prices, friendly staff, and to maybe catch whatever game is on in the bar.
Honestly, you go because it’s uncomplicated and fun, especially for brunch.
Knowing now that Red Rabbit is the sister restaurant to burger powerhouse Red Cow, I shouldn’t have expected anything less.
Go for weekend brunch to nosh on a seemingly endless bowl of mostaccioli to nurse your hangover while sipping on $16 bottomless mimosas, or stop by during the week for happy hour when bar bites like oysters, garlic bread cheese curds, ricotta toast, and Margherita pizza are just $8.
Get your greens in by ordering the house salad (local romaine, arugula, parmesan, crispy pancetta, pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, basil vinaigrette), which is a punchy way to start your meal. Surprisingly, this seemingly simple salad might be the menu item I enjoyed most.
To Red Rabbit, I’m sorry I misjudged—I’ll never stay away so long again.
Address: 2221 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55419
Terzo has undergone a few changes over the years, but one thing has remained the same: it’s the slightly trendier, modern younger sister to Broder’s Pasta Bar.
The Italian restaurant and wine bar is just steps away from the other Broder’s properties, rotating through bistro-inspired plates, craft cocktails, and a wine list hailed as the “Best Value Wine List in North America” by World of Fine Wine Magazine.
Plates are a little more curated than those at the original Broder’s Pasta Bar but still firmly rooted in authentic Italian food. Order them à la carte or go for the restaurant’s prix-fixe at $68 per person for your choice of antipasti, primi, and secondi.
Italian Restaurants in Minneapolis: FAQ
Bar La Grassa, Broder’s Pasta Bar, The Bungalow Club, and ie – Italian Eatery are among the best Italian restaurants in Minneapolis for pasta.
Opening its doors in 1933, Yarusso Bros. Italian Restaurant in St. Paul is the oldest Italian restaurant in the Twin Cities.
Looking for more places to eat and things to do in the Twin Cities? Explore the links below: