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Decent Italian in Memphis?

Any recommendations? I've tried Grisanti's, and I wasn't impressed. Bari is ok, but it's getting boring. I prefer not to venture "out East," but I will for good meal.

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  1. Bari is the only good Italian in Memphis. No one else comes close.

    1. Unfortunately, no such animal exists in Memphis. There are plenty of cheap and fun red sauce joints, but nothing authentic. It seems like such a no-brainer too.

      1. What about pizza in Memphis? Preferably Naples-style, but as long as the crust and sauce are good, any pizza will do.

        1. Try Corealle's Brooklyn Bridge at Poplar & Kirby out east. Great family and great family Italian food.
          As far as chain places, Carrabba's is about the best of the chains in my opinion.
          Also, there are several "Grisanti's" In Memphis. Frank's, Ronnie's, as well as Elfo's and Bola Pasta, etc. They're not all the same.

          1. We actually have some good restaurants "out East" now- don't let the stereotypes fool you! There are some really good ethnic places popping up in Germantown and Cordova.
            I hesitate to mention this because it's sort of a chain (though a small one), but Amerigo's in Park Place is one of our favorite restaurants. Great mussels, and a wood-fired stove for the pizza. It's cozy and comfortable, and we love the salads.

            1. And i should add, just for the heck of it, that Mayuri's out at Kirby and Quince, is the best Indian restaurant in Memphis. A mid-town friend of mine, who feels like you do about "out East" now goes there regularly, abandoning the mid-town Indian places.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Gypsyfish

                Yum, Gypsyfish, sounds good! I moved from Mphs. several years ago but still go back to see family and friends. Will have to check out Mayuri's -- we usually hit India Palace on Poplar which is heaven....

              2. Try Spindini, though I've heard rants and raves about it. For something different, go to L&M's Salumeria in Oxford. The chef trained under Mario Batali, and it's one of the best restaurants in the region.

                4 Replies
                1. re: tennreb

                  Spindini is a Grisanti operation- which doesn't mean it isn't good. Some people we met on the roof of the Madison loved it- but they kept talking about how "packed" it was, which is not a sales point for me!

                  1. re: Gypsyfish

                    It's the grandson of the original Grisanti, and it isn't affiliated with the others. I think he spent a couple years in Italy learning to cook.

                    1. re: tennreb

                      It may not be affiliated, but the press releases talked about how he was returning his family's food to South Main, where the grandparents opened their original restaurant.

                      1. re: Gypsyfish

                        He does have some Grisanti's classics on the menu, such as the famous Elfo's Special. However, 90% of the menu is his creation.

                2. I saw a place that at least looked interesting- it was across the parking lot from the Wild Oats on Poplar. Had a balcony that looked inviting. Does anybody know anything about this place who's name escapes me?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Clarkafella

                    Cafe Toscana? I haven't eaten there but have heard good things about it. The nearby Napa Cafe is very good, though not technically Italian, but some of the items- especially the appetizers and desserts, are Italianesque. Keylime marscapone canoli- yum!

                    1. re: Clarkafella

                      Cafe Toscana is very good. Have been there numerous times and never been disappointed. Ciao Bella is also very close to that. It is in a strip mall next to Kroger on Mendenhall.

                    2. "Big John" Grisanti had great stuff at his restaurant on Lamar & Airways (torn down many years ago and a Walgreen's sits there now, I think). My granddad worked at a seafood place and they supplied his restaurant. I had one of his son's stuff at the restaurant he had next to Methodist Central, and it was pretty good. I know it's a chain...but I *heart* Amerigo!!! Ach!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Amy_in_AR

                        I guess that technically Amerigo is a chain- it has 4 locations... How many does Huey's have? Amerigo is small enough where you can love it without any guilt- at least in my opinion...

                      2. I have to amen Vittorio. Baari is the only "real" Italian in Memephis. Ronnie Grisanti & sons does some very nice Italian dishes but many are American Italian. They do some of the most wonderful Favas I have ever tasted, though