Bradenton is an attractive city for Italian families, so it’s no surprise that there are a large number of local restaurants offering traditional Italian menus. Very much like the Bradenton community itself, Italians enjoy strong family ties, a friendly character, and an undying love of good food.
Next time you’re looking for a great Italian restaurant in Bradenton, one of these options is sure to give you an unforgettable experience.
1. Fav’s Italian Cucina
Fav’s is short for Favasuli, the surname of the brother and sister team that opened the restaurant 22 years ago. Their food consists of traditional Italian dishes served with the same genuine ingredients and techniques that their families may have served at home for generations before.
Fresh-baked bread and dirty oil at the table starts your meal. If you’re in the mood for a hearty lunch or dinner, I recommend Fav’s Homemade Lasagna, which is four layers deep and consists of homemade pasta with seasoned beef, Italian sausage, and ricotta cheese. The Cheese Ravioli is another great option. It comes out of the oven piping hot and onto your plate. It’s made with egg pasta, romano, and ricotta cheese, and is a favorite of mine.
If you opt for pizza, you’ll quickly notice that there’s no skimping on toppings – they’re all loaded with fresh ingredients. I haven’t tasted all the combinations because I keep coming back to the Sausage, Mushrooms, and Red Onions Pizza. This is one of the most complete pies, with plenty of meat and just enough sauce.
Fav’s is located at 419 12th St W. on Historic Main Street in Downtown Bradenton. This family-owned Italian restaurant is one of the two anchor storefronts of the F.M. Jennings Arcade. Visit their website to view the full menu and be sure to check out Fav’s Facebook page, where they post their daily specials.
2. Agrigento Pizzeria & Caffe
I have to admit that I really liked this place from the moment I read their story. Two friends (Salvatore and Michael) worked side by side. While one had Italian roots, both came to Florida from Venezuela where one had a bakery. They taught themselves the techniques and nuances of NY Style Pizza and here they are. The name Agrigento comes from a city on the southern coast of Sicily where Salvatore’s family originated.
Their pizza is one of my favorites. The restaurant is casual and they have a strong take-out business as well. I like to dine in and watch the hustle. You order at the register and food is brought to your table. Their staff is one of the friendliest around.
They have very good wings, and I always go with Garlic Parmesan Wings. I don’t know why but that’s the only flavor that makes sense to me at an Italian cafe. Of course, they have Garlic Knots and most importantly, Garlic Knot Sliders that can be ordered with meatballs, chicken, eggplant, or shrimp parmesan.
If you’re thinking of ordering a specialty pizza, go all the way with Meat Lovers Pizza. It’s got a good crust around the edges and although it’s thin in the middle, it holds when you pick it up. That’s a test of the NY-style pizza. The Meat Lovers Pizza is loaded with their fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, bacon and sausage. The Eggplant Parmesan is also one of my favorite entrees. This and all other main dishes that we’ve had come in large portions that always make for perfect leftover meals. Their dessert menu is not to be overlooked, featuring delicious items like Cannoli, Tiramisu and Limoncello Cake.
Agrigento is located at 5227 Manatee Ave W. in the Fairway Center, a commercial building mostly occupied by medical offices. Check out their website to get a look at the full menu.
3. San Remo Pizza & Pasta
San Remo has been around since 1980 and their concept is founded on traditional family recipes. It still remains family-owned and operated and has a strong following of regulars. I think I’m close to becoming one.
I typically visit for lunch and have grown very fond of their wings. So far, I’ve tried both the Parmesan Wings and The BBQ Wings and both are very good. Their Garlic Knots are always fresh and are brushed with olive oil. I also highly recommend their sandwiches. If you like a hot sub, try their Meatball Parmigiana, or for something cold, I recommend the Turkey Breast Sandwich or The Situation. The turkey sandwich features carved roasted turkey – there’s no prepackaged meats here. The Situation Sandwich is outrageously big, piled high with grilled chicken, salami, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and Italian dressing.
They have a specialty pizza that a friend alerted me to. It’s called the Stuffed Meat Pizza and is made with two layers of crust stuffed with sausage, pepperoni, ham, and cheese. Lots of it! I couldn’t get past one slice of it, but I did enjoy a second one later at home. As for regular pizza, I prefer the thin crust and go for the San Remo Special, made with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions. Carnivore all the way.
San Remo is located at 1914 14th St W. in Bradenton. Visit their website to check out the full menu and special offers!
There you have it – a round-up of three awesome places you need to try. I hope you enjoy visiting each of these local, family-owned Italian restaurants in Bradenton. When you visit (and I hope you do) don’t forget to tell them you heard about them on Discover Bradenton!