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Italian Food in B'ham???

pavlov_dog Mar 12, 2008 07:19 AM

I'm a transplant yankee and a bit of an Italian food snob (I used to live in the south end of Hartford Ct.) I've been to a few "Italian" restaurants in B'ham and have been physically ill with dissapointment. (What's the deal with soft rolls swimming in garlic butter?) I was hoping someone could possibly help me find a decent Italian restaurant...

  1. pavlov_dog Mar 12, 2008 05:16 PM

    Thanks so much for the suggestions EVERYBODY. I'll give them both a shot and try something different to report back on.

    1. k
      kbrandon7 Mar 12, 2008 09:05 AM

      Bettola in the Martin Biscuit building is my favorite for traditional Naples-style thin-crust pizzas, great antipasti selections, and a decent wine list. Prices are fair, and atmosphere gets high marks, as well. Fresh and delish.

      4 Replies
      1. re: kbrandon7
        pinotboy Mar 12, 2008 09:26 AM

        Agree on both GianMarco's and Bettola. Skip everywhere else--you will be disappointed.

        1. re: pinotboy
          Dax Mar 12, 2008 12:05 PM

          No kidding. After years of living within a short t ride from Boston's North End, I cannot say that I am impressed with Birmingham's Italian offerings. To be fair, I didn't expect it to - to my knowledge, Alabama did not experience the huge wave of Italian immigration that the Northeast did.

          Most places here tend to focus on overly red sauced, Italian-American items. GianMarco has some good offerings but I haven't gotten far with their menu yet.

          1. re: Dax
            eatyourveggies1 Mar 12, 2008 12:57 PM

            Dax, Next time you go to GianMarco's try their wild mushroom ravioli, meatballs with Sunday sauce, or the eggplant parm. The eggplant is light. Really good stuff. If you're really hungry, get the chicken and sausage boom boom. Enough for a few meals -- at least for me.

            Haven't been to Bongiorno in years, but it used to be OK. Anyone have a recent report?

            I've only eaten at Roma's downtown for lunch twice, but it is better than most Italian places in town. Heavy for lunch, but good. I have not tried them for dinner.

            Bottom line, Bettola and GianMarco's are the only games in town. I eat dinner at Bettola quite often, but just ate lunch there for the first time since they opened, and it was really good. Great flat bread sandwiches that come with a salad. A lot of food for about $8. Currently reigning as my favorite lunch spot.

            1. re: eatyourveggies1
              Dax Mar 12, 2008 02:22 PM

              Actually I tried the meatball with sunday sauce as an app. It was one meatball the size of a baseball and used a little too much filler for my tastes. But then again, when I eat meatballs I tend to prefer the meatballs and sausages with Sunday gravy that my friend's Italian mom and grandmother make.

      2. b
        Big Daddy Mar 12, 2008 07:46 AM

        Gian Marco's on Broadway in the Edgewood community of Homewood. Real Italian food cooked by real Italians.

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