Unique Restaurants in Italy: 12 Must-Visit Places to Eat

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in Italy
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Are you on the hunt for the most unusual restaurants in Italy? From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the vibrant alleys of Rome, here are 12 of Italy’s best places to eat.

If you’re like me, always on the hunt for dining spots with a twist, then you’re in for a treat. I’ve scoured Italy, from the sun-kissed coasts to the bustling city centers, to bring you a list of eateries that are anything but ordinary, making it a standout among top European countries.

We’re talking restaurants where you dine in total darkness to another that’s exclusively for two. Italy’s got it all. In this guide, I’ll take you through 12 of the quirkiest, most unique places to eat in Italy. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill restaurants – they’re experiences that will make your trip unforgettable.

Grab your fork and knife, and let’s jump into the world of Italy’s coolest restaurants. Ready to spice up your Italian journey? Don’t forget to fly to Italy and experience the flavors that make each bite a culinary delight.

The top restaurants to visit in Italy right now

Unusual & Quirky Restaurants in Italy

Ready to explore Italy’s best restaurants? We’ve got a spectacular array of eateries, from luxurious dining experiences to quirky hidden gems, making it a journey through beautiful places in Europe. Join me as we discover the most unique places to eat in Italy.

Ever thought about dining in an ancient Etruscan cave or aboard a historic tram? Or how about savoring exquisite dishes in a restaurant that only seats two? Italy’s dining scene is as rich and diverse as its cultural heritage, offering an unparalleled European lifestyle. Here’s your ultimate guide to the most unique restaurants in Italy. Get ready to turn your dining moments into unforgettable experiences steeped in Italian charm and flavor!

1. ATMosfera

Ready for a dinner adventure in Milan? Let me introduce you to ATMosfera, the city’s coolest dining tram. It’s not every day you get to eat delicious food on a moving tram, right? This is where Milan’s charm meets delicious food, all aboard a vintage carriage. Think of it as your gourmet tour on wheels!

Choose between ATMosfera1 and ATMosfera2, each offering a different vibe but the same promise of an unforgettable meal. The menu? It’s a tough choice between meat, fish, and vegetarian, all prepared by chefs who know their stuff. Trust me, every bite is a discovery of Milan’s flavors.

Booking ahead is a must – this is one of the best places to eat in Italy, after all. The journey starts at 20:00 or 20:30 and lasts for about 2.5 hours of pure Milanese magic. So, grab your spot via ATM’s online system and get ready for a dining experience that’s as unique as Milan itself.

ATMosfera is one of the unique restaurants in Italy.
Embark on a dinner adventure in Milan aboard ATMosfera, the city’s coolest dining tram.

2. Domus Grano

If you thought dining in a tram was cool, let me introduce you to Domus Grano. Located in Fiumicino, Rome, you’ll be eating inside a 1957 Convair airplane that once flew Italian presidents. Talk about a presidential meal!

At Domus Grano, you can explore the cockpit, where Italian presidents once navigated the skies. It’s a surreal experience, walking through the corridors where history was made, and now, where delicious meals are served. Dining in the aisle of a vintage plane, can you believe it?

This unique spot in Italy is a revamped version of the historic EX Ristoamericano, famous across Italy and beyond. The ambiance here is pure magic, blending a touch of history with modern culinary flair. For those seeking fun restaurants in Italy, Domus Grano is a must-visit. Buckle up for an unforgettable dining experience!

Dine like a president at Domus Grano inside a 1957 Convair airplane that once served Italian presidents.
Dine like a president at Domus Grano inside a 1957 Convair airplane that once served Italian presidents.

3. Dialogo nel Buio

If you’re looking for unique restaurants in Milan, head to Dialogo nel Buio. Located in the historic Institute for the Blind, this place turns dining into a thrilling game of sensory discovery.

Here’s the deal: you’re guided by expert blind staff into a world where sight takes a backseat. Imagine relishing each bite, each sip, without seeing your plate or glass. The scents, textures, and tastes become superstars, making every mouthful a surprise.

But hey, it’s not all about the food. It’s about the chatter, the laughs, the stories shared in the dark. The menu, a three-course wonder created with Antimo D’Andrea’s magic, is just part of the fun.

Ready for this unique twist on dinner? Be there by 7 pm for a 7:30 start. And yes, booking online is your golden ticket. This is one of those fun places to eat in Italy that you’ll chat about for years!

Discover unique dining at Milan, Italy's Dialogo nel Buio in the historic Institute for the Blind.
Discover unique dining at Milan’s Dialogo nel Buio in the historic Institute for the Blind.

4. Osteria Candalla

Tucked away in a valley that could be out of a Tolkien novel, Osteria Candalla is Lucca’s hidden gem. Picture this: an old 19th-century mill turned into a dining paradise, complete with an exotic riverside cocktail bar. It’s the ultimate spot for a whimsical lunch or a dreamy dinner in Camaiore.

Surrounded by the serene Candalla waterfalls and the lush Apuan Alps, this place is a secret escape into nature. It’s where ancient mills meet mouth-watering local cuisine and riverside vibes. The creators, four Tuscan entrepreneurs, have poured their hearts into every detail, from the rustic charm to the refined decor.

Step inside, and you’re greeted by original stone walls and terraces leading down to the river. The decor? Elegantly simple, adorned with charming Ceramiche Virginia pieces. The menu is a love letter to seasonal ingredients, showcasing local cheeses, meats, and classic pasta dishes. I highly recommend the tordelli from Camaiore or the aromatic testaroli.

And for a twist? Head down to Banana’s Bar by the river. With its tropical mood and creative cocktails like the Black Hot Margarita, it’s the perfect start to an enchanting evening. Hands down, Osteria Candalla is one of the best dining experiences in Italy that’s absolutely unforgettable.

Osteria Candalla in Lucca is an old 19th-century mill turned dining paradise with a riverside cocktail bar.
Osteria Candalla in Lucca is an old 19th-century mill turned dining paradise with a riverside cocktail bar.

5. Solo Per Due

Imagine a restaurant with just one table and a promise of undivided attention. Welcome to Solo Per Due, the smallest restaurant in the world. Located in Vacone, in the Province of Rieti, this place redefines intimacy. It’s exclusively for you and someone special, no lines, no crowds, just pure romance.

At Solo Per Due, every dinner feels like a timeless journey. The moment you sit, the lights soften, candles flicker, and the world outside fades away. It’s just you, your partner, and an atmosphere so magical, it feels like stepping into a fairytale. Need something? A little silver bell summons the waiter, ensuring your evening is as uninterrupted as it is unforgettable.

The menu celebrates Italian flavors, with fresh, seasonal ingredients taking center stage. Each dish is paired perfectly with selections from the finest wineries.

Many guests say dining here feels like being ‘projected out of time’. Maybe it’s the enchanting setting, or perhaps it’s just that Solo Per Due attracts those who still believe in the magic of a meal shared in perfect solitude. For a dining experience that’s the epitome of romance, Solo Per Due is a unique restaurant in Italy that’s not just a meal, but a memory in the making.

Solo Per Due is the world's smallest restaurant, providing an intimate dining experience for you and someone special.
Solo Per Due is the world’s smallest restaurant, providing an intimate dining experience for you and someone special.

6. Le Grotte del Funaro

Get ready to dine like never before at Le Grotte del Funaro, a restaurant that takes ‘unique’ to a whole new level – underground, to be exact! Nestled in the medieval quarter of Orvieto, this eatery is set in ancient Etruscan caves, offering an ambiance you won’t find anywhere else.

Once a rope-making workshop, Sandra and Alfredo Branca, along with their son Andrea, transformed these caves into a cozy culinary haven. Their mission? To delight guests with the best of traditional Umbrian cuisine. Picture sizzling grilled meats, aromatic wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, and mouth-watering homemade desserts. And the best part? The chef crafts the pasta right before your eyes!

Spread across several levels, each room brims with charm and comfort. If you fancy dining al fresco, their summer veranda lets you enjoy your meal under the stars.

With a wine list boasting over 300 Italian labels, every meal here is a celebration of flavors. Whether it’s a casual dinner or a special occasion, Le Grotte del Funaro is one of those unique places in Italy to eat that turns every visit into an unforgettable experience.

Experience unique dining at Le Grotte del Funaro in Orvieto, nestled in ancient Etruscan caves underground.
Experience unique dining at Le Grotte del Funaro in Orvieto, nestled in ancient Etruscan caves underground.

7. Osteria dal Nonno

Located in the picturesque hills of Montalbano, just a stone’s throw from Bologna, Osteria dal Nonno is a culinary secret waiting to be discovered. This charming spot is where stunning views meet the soulful flavors of Emilian cuisine.

Here, dining is a serene affair, whether you choose a table under the open sky or inside, where the mountain-style decor adds a cozy touch. The menu? Pure homemade bliss. Dive into their famous crescentine and tigelle, each bite a celebration of traditional cooking.

Osteria dal Nonno is one of those best restaurants in Italy for anyone seeking an authentic taste experience, just a short drive from the bustling streets of Bologna, one of the top places to live and visit in Italy. Trust me, a visit here is a must for any food lover looking for a scenic and flavorful escape.

Discover Osteria dal Nonno, a culinary gem in the hills of Montalbano near Bologna.
Discover Osteria dal Nonno, a culinary gem in the hills of Montalbano near Bologna.

8. La Campana

Step into La Campana, and you’re stepping into a piece of Rome’s history. Claiming the title of Rome’s oldest restaurant, this culinary landmark has been serving up authentic Roman cuisine since 1518.

Walking into La Campana is like stepping into a different era. White tablecloths, waiters in timeless black tie attire – it’s classic Rome at its finest. You’ve got to try their coda alla vaccinara. Trust me, it’s oxtail stew like you’ve never tasted before.

But let’s not stop there. Their saltimbocca, pasta all’amatriciana, and other Roman specialties? Simply out of this world. It’s the kind of place where you savor not just the meal, but the whole experience.

For anyone on the hunt for the coolest restaurants in Italy, especially those that capture the true spirit of Roman dining, Ristorante La Campana is an unmissable stop, situated in one of the top cities in Italy.

Step into Rome's history at La Campana, the city's oldest restaurant since 1518, serving authentic Roman cuisine.
Step into Rome’s history at La Campana, the city’s oldest restaurant since 1518, serving authentic Roman cuisine.

9. Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba

There’s plenty of incredible pizza restaurants in Naples, but Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba might just be the best. Right next to one of the city’s ancient gates, this place has been dishing out pizza since 1738 – yes, you read that right, 1738!

Back in the day, it was a humble spot where pedlars grabbed a quick Pizza marinara or a Pizza with anchovies. Fast forward to 1830, and voilà, it transformed into a full-blown pizzeria with tables, chairs, and an upstairs area. And let’s not forget, this is where the legendary Margherita pizza made its debut in 1889.

It’s not just about the pizza, though. Their seafood dishes, like linguine “Luciana” and linguine “S. Lucia”, are a must-try.

So, if you’re craving an authentic Neapolitan pizza experience, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba is your go-to spot. Without a doubt, it’s one of Italy’s best restaurants that I recommend to all visiting Naples.

Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in Naples, Italy, serving since 1738, stands out as one of the best pizza spots next to an ancient gate.
Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba in Naples, serving since 1738, stands out as one of the best pizza spots next to an ancient gate.

10. Marcel Boum

Marcel Boum in Milan is where African culinary traditions get a delightful Italian makeover. This place is all about simple, yet incredibly flavorful dishes that are as healthy as they are fun. It’s perfect for the curious foodie looking to explore new tastes.

Here, every dish is a celebration of diversity. You’ll find African flavors dancing with Italian ingredients in a way that’s both innovative and mouth-watering. Marcel Boum is a restaurant that brings two worlds together on a plate.

What’s really cool about Marcel Boum is its commitment to social change. They’re not only serving up great food but also making a difference by supporting the integration of asylum seekers. Eating here feels good in more ways than one.

Marcel Boum is a standout choice for those looking for hidden gems in Italy. It’s a place where food not only tastes good but also tells a meaningful tale of unity and hope.

Explore the fusion of African and Italian flavors at Marcel Boum in Milan, Italy, offering simple, flavorful, and healthy dishes.
Explore the fusion of African and Italian flavors at Marcel Boum in Milan, offering simple, flavorful, and healthy dishes. | Image Source: https://www.identitagolose.it/

11. Warsa Restaurant

Get ready for a flavor-packed adventure at Warsa Restaurant in Milan, where Eritrean cuisine takes center stage. For nearly 30 years, this place has been a go-to for anyone craving authentic Eritrean flavors. Trust me, one visit and you’ll be hooked!

Step inside Warsa, and you’re instantly transported. The ambiance is a vibrant mix of living bricks, enticing scents, soothing background music, and eye-catching Eritrean decor. It’s like a mini vacation to Eritrea without leaving Milan.

Now, let’s talk about the star dish – zighinì with injera. It’s a spicy, hearty stew with beef and chicken, bursting with vegetables and herbs. And the injera? Oh, it’s a game-changer. Think of a crepe, but made with corn and rice flour, naturally fermented to perfection. It’s the perfect scoop for every delicious bite of zighinì.

Situated in the heart of Milan, Warsa is one of Italy’s most unique restaurants. It’s not just about the food here. It’s about the entire experience – one that you’ll want to relive again and again.

Embark on a flavor-packed adventure at Warsa Restaurant in Milan, Italy, showcasing the spotlight on Eritrean cuisine for nearly 30 years.
Embark on a flavor-packed adventure at Warsa Restaurant, showcasing the spotlight on Eritrean cuisine for nearly 30 years.

12. La Uascezze

Welcome to La Uascezze, where every meal is a joyful banquet among friends. Situated in the historic center of Bari, this restaurant is a delightful discovery down one of the city’s charming alleys. ‘Uascezze’ in Bari dialect means a festive mood, and that’s exactly the atmosphere you’ll find here.

Imagine wandering through the old city and stumbling upon a small portal that leads you into a medieval world. La Uascezze is like a time capsule, with its ancient stone walls and a warm, inviting atmosphere. It’s like dining in a storybook setting, where every corner has a tale to tell.

The menu? A delightful ode to tradition. Here, you’ll find the less-known but equally tantalizing dishes of Bari. Handmade taralli, smoked capocollo from Martina, donkey sausage – you’ll find some of Italy’s best food here.

If you’re after unique places in Italy to eat, especially in Bari, La Uascezze is an unforgettable stop. It’s a place where food, history, and joy intertwine to create an experience that’s as delightful as it is delicious.

La Uascezze is one of the unique restaurants in Italy.
Experience joyous banquets at La Uascezze in Bari’s historic center.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Most Unique Restaurants in Italy

Are you searching for more information about where to eat in Italy? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Italy’s most unique restaurants.

Where do you eat best in Italy?

In Italy, you eat best wherever your taste buds take you! From the bustling streets of Naples, the birthplace of pizza, to the truffle-rich hills of Piedmont, every region has its own flavor. Personally, I adore the seafood in Sicily – it’s fresh, vibrant, and full of Mediterranean flair. I recommend diving into local trattorias where the locals eat. That’s where the real magic happens!

Italy is famous for three foods. First up, Pizza – especially from Naples, where it’s a culinary art form. Thin, crispy, and topped with the freshest ingredients. Next, Pasta – think rich, hearty Bolognese in Bologna or pesto in Genoa. Each region has its own signature style. And finally, Gelato – creamy, dreamy, and perfect for those strolls through Rome’s cobbled streets. Trust me, Italian gelato is a game-changer.

A vibrant gelato store in Italy, showcasing an array of colorful and delicious gelato flavors.
A vibrant gelato store in Italy, showcasing an array of colorful and delicious gelato flavors.

What foods must you try in Italy?

You must try the regional specialties! In Rome, go for the Carbonara or Cacio e Pepe. In Milan, Risotto alla Milanese will make your heart sing. And when in Naples, you can’t miss the classic Margherita Pizza. Also, one of the fun things to do in Italy is to explore the local cheeses and wines – the country’s variety is astounding. My personal favorite? The divine truffles in Umbria. They’re a true culinary treasure.

What do Italians eat for breakfast?

Italian breakfasts are usually simple but delightful. A typical morning starts with a cappuccino or espresso, paired with pastries like cornetti (Italian croissants) or a simple toast with jam. In bars, you’ll find locals standing at the counter, sipping their coffee and enjoying a quick, sweet start to their day. It’s light, it’s quick, and it’s deliciously Italian.

The top restaurants in Italy for all types of travelers
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