The 7 Best Italian Restaurants in Knoxville

Welcome, my dear readers! It’s Gwen here, your trusted foodie guide, ready to take you on a culinary journey through Knoxville’s vibrant Italian dining scene.

From cozy family-owned establishments to elegant fine dining spots, Knoxville is a treasure trove of Italian eateries that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

You’ll find plenty of places that serve up these delicious Italian dishes with a side of Southern hospitality.

In this Finding Sanity article, I’ll be sharing my experiences at some of the best Italian restaurants in Knoxville! From the heartwarming dishes at Emilia to the New York-style pizzas at Gavino’s, each of these restaurants offers a unique dining experience that’s worth exploring.

So, grab a glass of your favorite wine, sit back, and join me as we embark on this delicious journey. Buon appetito!


16 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902.


Nestled in the bustling hub of downtown Knoxville, you’ll discover Emilia, a haven of delightful Italian cuisine that emanates a sense of warmth and welcome.

Drawing its inspiration, and name, from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, this establishment prides itself on its dedication to fresh ingredients procured from local sources and a dynamic menu that evolves with each turning season.

Upon crossing the threshold, you’ll find yourself immersed in an ambiance that’s both polished and laid-back, a rare blend of sophistication with comfort.

A team of affable staff members awaits, their keen attention to detail and genuine friendliness fostering a sense of belonging and warmth.

Emilia’s menu is a testament to Italy’s deep-rooted culinary heritage. A labor of love, the pasta is crafted on-site each day, providing diners with an incomparable taste of bona fide Italian fare, a rarity in today’s culinary landscape.

It’s here that simplicity marries complexity, resulting in a symphony of flavors that are as varied as they are delectable.

From the orecchiette with ragù alla Bolognese to the traditional Bolognese sauce of Mitchell Farm beef, each dish is a culinary masterpiece.

But it’s not just the food that makes Emilia stand out. The restaurant also boasts an impressive wine list, featuring selections from Italy and beyond.

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a novice, the knowledgeable staff is more than happy to help you find the perfect pairing for your meal.

Altruda’s Italian Restaurant

125 N Peters Rd, Knoxville, TN 37923.

Altruda's Italian Restaurant

You step into Altruda’s, and suddenly, you’re not in Knoxville anymore. You’re in Italy. The family spirit behind this place brings to life the time-honored food traditions of their Italian ancestry.

There’s a waft of garlic, basil, and fresh bread that hits you as you push through the doors. Inviting. Welcoming. And, undeniably Italian.

Rustic. Homey. Friendly staff. Feels just like stepping into a buzzing family dinner in an Italian home, miles away from the Southern American heartland.

Altruda’s menu? Think of it as a tasty journey, a trip to Italy, no passport required. Here, each dish is a love letter to their heritage, a family secret served on a plate for the world to enjoy.

Lasagna, thick and hearty. Risotto, delicate and perfectly al dente. Family recipes, served with a side of history, love kneaded into every bite.

You got to try the salad here. It’s a bowl of freshness that zings! A symphony of crisp greens and veggies. A palate-cleanser. A prelude to the main performance.

And the wine? Italian, of course. No Italian meal is complete without it. Altruda’s wine list is a hand-picked collection, curated to compliment each dish. And, oh boy, does it do a good job!

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

324 N Peters Rd, Knoxville, TN 37922.

Carrabba's Italian Grill

Are you in search of a spot where homey meals meet the charm of a fancy eatery? Then Carrabba’s Italian Grill, sitting proudly in Knoxville, should be your pick.

Both locals and out-of-towners love this place. It offers a dining experience unlike any other, it’s laid-back yet stylish.

The minute you step into Carrabba’s, you’re met with a cozy feel and the tempting scent of Italian grub. The team here is as friendly as can be. They’re always up for serving you with a grin and turning your mealtime into a cherished memory.

The menu? Oh, it’s a winning mix of classic Italian favorites and bold new food ideas. From filling pasta and impeccably seared steaks to fresh, crisp salads, Carrabba’s has your taste buds covered, no matter what you’re hankering for.

One of their standout dishes is the rack of lamb special, cooked to perfection and bursting with flavor. I was very impressed with this dish that it might be my new favorite!

But what truly sets Carrabba’s apart is their commitment to quality. Every dish is prepared with the freshest ingredients, ensuring that each bite is a taste sensation. And with their extensive wine list, you’re sure to find the perfect pairing for your meal.

Bravo! Italian Kitchen

106 Major Reynolds Pl, Knoxville, TN 37919.

Bravo Italian Kitchen

When it comes to authentic Italian cuisine in Knoxville, Bravo Italian Kitchen is a standout! This restaurant, with its elegant yet relaxed ambiance, is a haven for food lovers seeking a taste of Italy’s rich culinary heritage.

Upon entering, you’re immediately enveloped in a warm, inviting atmosphere. The staff, with their friendly smiles and attentive service, make you feel like a valued guest. It’s this combination of excellent service and a comfortable setting that sets Bravo apart.

What you will find on the menu here is a gratifying journey through Italy’s diverse culinary landscape. From their house specials of insalata and primi, to their family meals and delicious classic pasta dishes, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

One dish that particularly caught my attention was the Italian Wedding Soup, a unique offering that beautifully encapsulates the flavors of Italy.

I really enjoyed sampling their well-known caramel mascarpone cheesecake. This dessert was the ideal way to cap off a fantastic meal with its creamy texture and subdued sweetness. Anyone with a sweet craving must try it!


7316 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919.


In Knoxville, there’s a place where the spirit of Italy comes alive, and that’s Cappuccino’s. This restaurant has been serving the community since 1977, and over the years, it has earned a reputation for its top-notch food and service.

The moment you step into Cappuccino’s, you’re greeted by the tantalizing aroma of Italian cuisine. It’s easy to understand why the restaurant’s head chef, Frank Aloise, was recognized as Best Chef by Knox Stars. His culinary prowess is truly exceptional.

Each dish is a testament to his culinary expertise and passion for Italian cuisine. Plus, the presentation is right on point!

Think dark chocolate. Think amaretto. Blend it into a mousse and what do you get? That’s right, it’s one of the real crowd-pleasers at this spot.

But wait, there’s more. Picture a lemon mascarpone cream cake. Sweet, tart, every bite an adventure, it’s another favorite that keeps folks coming back.

Yet, it’s not all about the chow at Cappuccino’s. Picture an ambiance that’s as warm as a toasted marshmallow. Think of a place that’s just right for a family meal or a romantic interaction.

And the staff? They’re always on their A-game, making sure everyone who walks through those doors feels right at home. Yep, Cappuccino’s is pretty special.

Savelli’s Italian Restaurant

3055 Sutherland Ave, Knoxville, TN 37919.

Savelli's Italian Restaurant

There’s a place in Knoxville, smack dab in the middle, that folks around here just love. It’s an Italian restaurant, goes by the name of Savelli’s.

This place? It’s been part of our town for more than a quarter of a century, right there with us, feeding families and making memories.

You’re looking for a romantic spot? Savelli’s got you covered. Soft light flickers from candles, creating a feel that’s both cozy and special. Perfect for a date night, or maybe a birthday surprise.

Step inside, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The scent of real-deal Italian food, the kind that warms you from the inside out, greets you right at the door. And it’s not just for the meat eaters either, no siree.

They’ve got a heap of vegetarian dishes too. Meat lovers, vegetarians, everyone finds a dish to call their favorite.

One dish, though, stands out from the rest, the “Taste of Italy.” You’ve got fried ravioli, cheese sticks, and fried mushrooms all on one plate. It’s like a little tour of Italy, right there in the heart of Knoxville.

But what truly sets Savelli’s apart is their unique “Bring Your Own Wine” policy. This allows guests to bring and enjoy their favorite dinner wine, adding a personal touch to their dining experience.

Gavino’s Restaurant

5211 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919.

Gavino's Pizzeria & Restaurant

Set foot in Knoxville with a hankering for a slice of bona fide New York pizza? Gavino’s Pizzeria & Restaurant is your one-stop shop. A family-run joint since 2004, it’s been churning out lip-smacking Italian grub to an appreciative community.

Gavino’s has garnered a reputation for its chill vibes and pleasant servers. Locals and tourists alike declare it a go-to.

Crossing the threshold, you’re hit with the irresistible scent of pizza hot out of the oven and the buzz of conversation. It’s an instant immersion in a warm, energetic environment.

Here’s where things get fun. The Gavino’s menu is akin to a pizza enthusiast’s paradise. They have the classic Margherita, yes, but there’s also a platter of unique creations.

Take the “Brooklyn Bridge” pizza, loaded with sausage, fire-kissed red peppers, and ricotta. Each pizza isn’t just a dish; it’s an art form.

Yet, Gavino’s isn’t a one-trick pony. There’s more to this pizzeria than just pies. The menu also lists a spectrum of pastas, greens, and subs, guaranteeing a treat for every palate.

Now, let’s talk showstoppers. The “Stromboli” at Gavino’s isn’t just a dish, it’s an experience. Imagine pizza dough, rolled and brimming with a variety of fillings, and baked until it’s just right.

Savored with a glass of vino of your choice, it’s a feast you’re not likely to forget in a hurry.

More Great Restaurants in Knoxville

Knoxville has all kinds of great food, here are a few more ideas for you:

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Gwen Xavier

Gwen Xavier, the culinary genius behind Finding Sanity In Our Crazy Life, initially crafted her food-focused website out of a necessity to find joy in cooking. Over the years, her relationship with the kitchen transformed from a mere duty to a fervent passion. Today, Gwen shares a variety of recipes on a daily basis, curating meals that cater to diverse tastes and family preferences, proving that cooking can indeed become a love affair!

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