The 8 Best Old-School Italian Restaurants in America

Venesian Inn

Italian immigrants established the Ozark settlement of Tontitown in 1898, and a sizable Italian-American population still lives there today. In 1947, Germano Gasparotto, an Italian, founded the Venesian Inn in the town adjacent to Tontitown.

Caffè Sport

This North Beach mainstay was first launched as a social club in 1969 by Sicilian native Antonio La Tona, who transformed it into a full-service restaurant a few years later. La Tona's own vibrant paintings and striking wood sculptures are scattered around the decor.

Dan Tana's

Dan Tana, a Belgrade-born actor and former soccer player, first worked at several other classic Italian restaurants in L.A. before starting his own. It soon gained popularity beyond merely lovers of Italian cuisine.


According to the sign outside, Gaetano's is the spot for "Eccellente Cucina & Cocktails." Members of a well-known local crime family at the time, the Smaldone brothers launched this beloved Denver staple in 1947.


Consiglio's has been a mainstay in Wooster Square, New Haven's Little Italy, since Annunziata and Salvatore Consiglio started it in 1938. It is located next to two of the city's most recognizable pizzerias.

Cafe Silvium

Among the hardest tables to secure in the Fairfield County suburbs, this beloved local spot is relatively new in terms of classic Italian eateries, having only opened its doors in 2001. Nick and Vincenzo Petrafesa are the owners.

Mrs. Robino's

Angel hair spaghetti pomodoro, one of Joe Biden's favorite dishes, is served at this restaurant, which originated in Tersilla Robino's home kitchen when she began preparing meals for Italian immigrants in 1939.

La Scarola

Known for its pasta e fagioli, which is dubbed "the best in Chicago," other staples on the menu include risotto primavera, baked cheese ravioli, asparagus with beans, and steak Vesuvio. Armando has owned this little restaurant for 23 years.