Better than Olive Garden: A Guide to Finding Italian Food in San Antonio

It’s been nine years since my husband and I moved to San Antonio. In that time, we’ve sampled tacos al pastor from La Gloria, enjoyed brisket from Rudy’s, and drank our fair share of aguas frescas. But in these nine years, we’ve struggled to find the Italian food we missed while living on the East Coast.

Since both of us are Italian (both of my mom’s parents and my husband’s grandfather were Italian immigrants), we know a thing or two about authentic cuisine. We were eager to check out the San Antonio Express News‘ restaurant reviews to discover a good Italian restaurant, but much to our dismay, we found Olive Garden listed as the reader’s choice (closely followed by Carino’s and Macaroni Grill). Look, no offense to the Olive Garden. I love a good soup, salad, and breadstick lunch as much as the next guy. But calling Olive Garden the best Italian restaurant is like calling Taco Bell the best Mexican restaurant. I’ve been to Italy, and I saw no unlimited breadsticks, nor a lasagna fritta on the appetizer menu.

So I searched high and low and enlisted the help of my fellow ACMB contributors to provide you with the best Italian restaurants in San Antonio. Let me know what I missed!

Italian Food in San Antonio

Italian Food in San Antonio

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca

11255 Huebner Rd #200, San Antonio, TX 78230

ACMB recommends: Anything featuring their homemade pasta and the osso bucco. Also check out their happy hour!

Dough Pizzeria Napoletana

6989 Blanco Road, San Antonio, TX 78216

ACMB recommends: The mozzarella di bufalo appetizer! The pizza, which is cooked in an oven that was brought over from Italy, is unique and an experience in and of itself.

Italian Food in San Antonio
Some of Dough's famous buffalo mozzarella. Photo courtesy Dough Pizzeria Napoletana's Facebook page.

Tre Trattoria

4003 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209

ACMB recommends: The gnocchi. I’m a sucker for it. Make sure to save room for the Nutella x 3 dessert!

Osteria Il Sogno

200 E. Grayson, San Antonio, TX 78215

ACMB recommends: The tiramisu here is to die for and the Sunday brunches are great.

Sorrento Ristorante

5146 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209

ACMB recommends: Maggie swears by the rigatoni sorrento!

Ristorante Fratello’s Market and Deli 

2503 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78215

ACMB recommends: You can’t go wrong with the papparedelle bolognese.

Little Italy

824 Afterglow, San Antonio, TX 78216

ACMB recommends: Taylor recommends the chicken a la sorrentina. The pizza is amazing as well.

Capparelli’s on Main

2524 N Main, San Antonio, TX 78212

ACMB recommends: Rigatoni with meatballs all the way!

Piatti

225 E Basse, San Antonio, TX 78209 or 17803 La Cantera Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78256

ACMB recommends: Piatti is our pick for the most economical option. They feature a small salad, small pasta, and small tiramisu for $24. My husband loved their spaghetti bolognese.

Italian Food in San Antonio
Photo courtesy Piatti San Antonio's Facebook page.

Paesanos

Paesanos Lincoln Heights 555 E Basse Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209

Paesanos Riverwalk 111 W Crockett St #101, San Antonio, TX 78205

Paesanos 1604 3622 Paesanos Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78231

ACMB recommends: The shrimp paesano is a succulent dish with lightly fried shrimp embedded on a creamy pasta. Delicioso indeed!

Julian’s Pizzeria

13444 West Ave., San Antonio, TX 78216

ACMB recommends: Julian’s is well known for a variety of pizza options (obviously) and features tasty cannoli on the menu.

Big Guido’s

Food truck, locations vary but can frequently be found at The Point Park and Eats

ACMB recommends: Big Guido’s features authentic New York pizza. The owner is a big Yankees fan and gives away free cannoli to other Yankee fans! This Baltimore Orioles girl could not bring herself to pretend to root for the Yankees, even for a cannoli, but he was so happy to talk baseball he gave me one anyway.

Italian Food in San Antonio

Tiu Steppi’s Osteria

9910 W. Loop 1604, San Antonio, TX 78254

ACMB recommends: Homemade pasta and wood-fired pizza. Tiu Steppi’s Osteria also has an extensive wine list, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Cerroni’s Purple Garlic

1017 Austin Highway, San Antonio, TX 78209

ACMB recommends: Get the lasagna. Purple Garlic, as it is called by locals, also has a sandbox for the kiddos to play in while adults converse with one another, or at least attempt to!

Piccolo’s Italian Restaurant

5703 Evers, San Antonio, TX 78238

ACMB recommends: The signature dish is veal raffalo and it’s for a good reason. The chicken parmagiana is a treat for non-veal eaters.

Di Frabo Ristorante Italiano

22211 IH-10 W, San Antonio, TX 78257

ACMB recommends: Ravioli, hands down. Bring the family for the ultimate Sunday-funday brunch featuring $14 bottomless mimosas!

That’s our roundup! Did we leave any off of our list? What’s your favorite Italian restaurant in San Antonio?

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4 Responses to Better than Olive Garden: A Guide to Finding Italian Food in San Antonio

  1. Tricia August 19, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    Sorrentos for their ravioli. Little Italy for everything. Naples for pizza.

  2. Amelia Acerra August 18, 2016 at 7:19 pm #

    Wow! Thanks for including us in this list (Big Guidos) we are honored!

    We don’t go out to the Point much anymore but can be found all around San Antonio and at a new little apothecary we opened in Pipe Creek! Give us a call if you wanna find us 210-802-9866

    • Amelia Acerra August 18, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

      *new spot not apothecary lol

  3. Allison August 13, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    We love Pesto, they start off strong with amazing complimentary bread and dipping oil and the meal keeps getting better from there! http://www.pesto-ristorante.com