According to a 2019 YouGov survey, Italian cuisine comes in at No. 1 among “America’s favorite foods from around the world.” Other surveys, admittedly, put Italian in second or third place, after Mexican and/or Chinese, but nobody can disagree that pasta and pizza and such form a major part of our diet. The average American eats approximately 20 pounds of pasta a year, in fact, and 23 pounds of pizza.
It would be hard to find any city or town in the country that doesn’t have at least one Italian restaurant and/or pizzeria. National Geographic reported earlier this year that about 100,000 of America’s 800,000 or so restaurants served Italian food of one kind or another. According to other sources, an estimated three-quarters of this number specialize in pizza.
To determine the best Italian restaurant in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed and extrapolated from lists and rankings on numerous food and general interest sites, including Eater, Yelp, The Daily Meal, Fodors, Business Insider, Forbes, and Gayot, as well as a wide range of regional and city-specific sites.
The results reveal a vast and varied landscape of Italian and Italian-American cooking. There are places that strive for authenticity and preserve tradition, like Felix Trattoria in Venice, California, but also high-end restaurants creating imaginative variations on the theme, like Scampo in Boston. Some establishments work regional ingredients into the mix, like Domenica in New Orleans, while others are unapologetically old-fashioned red-sauce eateries serving comfort food Italian style — sometimes including one or more of these 10 “Italian” dishes that aren’t really Italian.
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