Italian restaurants in Birmingham are ten a penny, but which are the ones really worth visiting? We combined our thoughts with your votes…
From San Carlo to Pasta di Piazza, everyone has their favourite eatery. And of course some of the best pizza Birmingham has to offer now comes from street food operators like Bare Bones Pizza and others, who serve up authentic creations al fresco.
[by Ahmed Ahmed]
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What the readers said
This time we turned to you as well, asking our followers on Facebook and Twitter to share their favourites. The result? A good mix of the best Italian restaurants in Birmingham city centre, combined with plenty of local gems, including eateries in Bearwood, Harborne, Northfield and Cotteridge.
So if you’re after top-notch Italian food in Birmingham, here are our Top 10 restaurants (in no particular order)…
San Carlo – Feel like the Godfather
4 Temple St, Birmingham, West Midlands B2 5BN
San Carlo’s claim to fame lies as much in its swanky interior and top-notch service, as it does in the tasty Italian fare. If the plush seating and glitzy lights don’t go to your head, that third glass of prosecco definitely will.
Good thing San Carlo does substance as well as style. The food is expertly prepared and delicious, with mainly classic dishes and a few unusual ones. Try the Pizza Bianca – a house special with smoked Scottish salmon, sliced red onion, soured cream and chopped dill.
Here’s the time we met San Carlo’s founding godfather.
La Nonna – Hearty home cooking
16 Arden Oak Road, Birmingham B26 3LX
“Since 1969 as mama used to make.” La Nonna stakes its claim as a homely, welcoming and authentic Italian eatery. It has certainly earned a place in our readers’ hearts, with many people recommending it to Dine Birmingham on social media.
Expect hearty, no-nonsense meals like Pollo alla Diavola – Breast of chicken with parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, tomato, garlic, capers, chilli, parma ham…. and mozzarella. Better loosen that waistband for this one!
Cielo – Upmarket elegance
6 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2JB
Cielo is one of Brindleyplace’s better dining options. In an area with more than its fair share of big chains, this restaurant stands out as an upmarket (if a little pricey) alternative.
They serve elegant Italian dishes like Linguine Al Granchio – linguine pasta with fresh crab meat, chilli and garlic in a white wine sauce. The atmosphere is good and the decor is simple and modern. A good spot for a first dinner date.
Buonissimo – Local treasure
1 Albany Road, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9JX
It’s not all about Italian restaurants in Birmingham city centre – the suburbs are home to some real treasures. Buonissimo is one of them. Expect generous portions and delicious flavours at this neighbourhood restaurant in Harborne.
Anyone with a sweet tooth should save room for the authentic desserts. The Misto di Pasticcini is a selection of six different treats, including Sicilian cannoli, Neaopolitan pastries, and mini panettone puddings.
Our reviewer Peter Willett found room for 4 courses – here’s what he had.
Fumo – A taste of Venice
1 Waterloo St, Birmingham B2 5PG
Perched proudly on a corner of St Phillip’s Square, Fumo is one of those places where people go to see and be seen. The sophisticated cocktail menu and glamorous interior attract an army of fans, eager to try drinks with exotic ingredients like cayenne pepper and Turkish Delight.
But don’t forget about the food. Run by the owners of San Carlo next door, Fumo serves up some absolutely cracking grub. The menu is based on cicchetti, Venice’s version of tapas. So lots of plates of this and that to share and try. We definitely recommend Spiedino di Pollo – chicken wrapped in pancetta and cooked with rosemary.
Casa Italia – Simple and popular
491 Hagley Rd, Smethwick, West Midlands B66 4AX
Another favourite with Dine Birmingham’s social media fans, Casa Italia is a chance to escape from the crowded city centre and tuck into some good quality Italian nosh. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff are warm and welcoming.
No wonder it gets so busy at weekends. The steaks are definitely a highlight of the menu, as well as the Crespolini. This super-authentic dish is a rolled pancake stuffed with ricotta cheese, spinach, creamy bechamel and tomato sauce. Nice and filling.
Cucina Rustica – Jewellery Quarter gem
24 Ludgate Hill, Birmingham B3 1DX
You’ll find this Italian restaurant in St Pauls Square. Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is full of good dining spots but Cucina Rustica is one of the best. The food on the menu is very true to its Italian roots, with a brilliant selection of antipasti, pastas, risottos, pizzas and meaty mains.
One of our favourite dishes when we visited was the Tagliatelle con Anatra – duck with porcini mushroom, truffle oil and cream.
Del Villaggio – Casual dining
175 Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1DT
It used to be in the Bullring and now it’s moved to Broad Street. Neither location is known for having amazing restaurants, but Del Villaggio bucks the trend a bit with a decent selection of tasty Italian cuisine.
More casual than some of the other restaurants on our list, Del Villaggio serves up no fancy surprises, but instead focuses on providing your staple Italian dishes like Lasagne and Spaghetti Carbonara at mid-range prices.
Here’s the time we reviewed Del Villaggio.
La Banca – Authentic and vegetarian-friendly
1896 Pershore Road, Cotteridge, Birmingham B30 3AS
La Banca is family-run and it shows. Head to Cotteridge, where the restaurant is housed in a grand Victorian stone building that used to be a bank. Hence the name of course. Head chef is Mauro Sannio, who was born in a sleepy village near Naples.
All that Southern Italian heritage gets poured right into the food at La Banca. But if you’re looking for pizza don’t bother – it’s not on the menu. Instead the pastas and risottos star. They do a good range for vegetarians, which can be rare in Italian places. One example is Melanzane alla Parmigiana – layers of aubergine slices with tomatoey sauce and baked with cheese.
Ponte di Legno – Bustling neighbourhood eatery
44 Woodbridge Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8EJ
When it comes to Italian restaurants Birmingham likes to stick to the tried and tested. And Ponte di Legno in Moseley is one of those places that always seems to be full.
Although it’s unlicensed, meaning you have to take your own alcohol, Ponte’s popularity is down to a friendly, busy atmosphere and very reasonable prices. For a bit less than you’d pay in some Italian high street chains, you get a more interesting selection in an independent venue. The house special is Tagliatelle al Ponte di Legno – pasta with chicken breast and mushrooms in creamy tomato sauce.
Don’t forget the top ten list is just the beginning – in the restaurant finder you’ll find many more local Italian restaurants to try.
Did we miss your favourite? Don’t get angry – get in touch!