Unofficially dubbed the sailing capital of the world, Newport is best known for its connections to the sea — which, as it happens, equates to terrific seafood. But America’s first resort town has quietly accumulated a very good lineup of eateries of almost every stripe. Craving pasta? Here are a few of the best Newport, RI, Italian restaurants.
With locations in Boston and Providence, as well as an expanded Newport outpost, Susie and Gianni Ropolo’s Pasta Beach is ascending. Among our friends in the know in Newport (special thanks to Realtor supreme Kylie McCullough for the introduction), Pasta Beach was a universal top choice. And it’s easy to see why: The menu is loaded with classic Italian dishes with a modern twist. Try the tagliatelle asparagi e prosciutto, a tasty pasta dish with asparagus and ham.
Scarpetta’s first location was in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, and the momentum it built there earned it a 2008 nomination for a James Beard Award for the best new restaurant in America. It also propelled Scarpetta to expand to far-flung locations such as Miami and Las Vegas. The Newport restaurant is located within Gurney’s Newport Resort on Goat Island, and in addition to exquisite food it serves up some delicious harbor views. Plan well in advance to secure a coveted waterside deck table.
For 40 years, a real-life “Mamma Luisa” served quality food at her restaurant near Bologna, Italy. Since 1992, her family has carried on that tradition in Newport. The restaurant is located in a house, and the ambiance tends toward the cozy-romantic. Don’t miss the gnocchi or the ravioli di zucca.
Chef Ennio Luison, a native of Vicenza, Italy, and his partners have been serving up authentic northern Italian meals at Lucia since 1993. The decor is more homey than fancy, and the food is tasty and reasonably priced, with plenty of variety and choices to suit most dietary restrictions. The outdoor patio is a nice plus on a sunny day.
Founded in 1980 by Richard Sardella, a former mayor of Newport, Sardella’s offers a wide-ranging menu featuring both northern and southern Italian cuisine and including several old-time family recipes. The wood-grilled pizza is excellent, and the early-week “dinner for two” special is perfect for a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday date night.
Although pizza remains the signature menu item here, Nikolas has grown considerably since first opening its doors in 1980. Pizza is available by the slice, so you can mix and match on those days when you just can’t decide on toppings. The made-from-scratch lasagna, smothered in tasty sauce, is a favorite. The Memorial Street West location has a family-friendly walk-in vibe — and it delivers, too.
Do you have any favorite Newport, RI, Italian restaurants? Let us know!