When considering which cuisine to indulge in when dining out, few menus tick all the taste boxes like an Italian restaurant. From dining-in to takeaway, Italian cuisine perfectly marries luxury and finesse with ease and simplicity.
Exeter is one of the best places in the southwest of England to eat out, and so it goes without saying that the city has a wealth of fantastic Italian restaurants to pull up a chair in. Here are our picks of the best Italian restaurants in Exeter.
Proudly declaring itself the “only independently family-owned Italian restaurant in the city,” Sabitini certainly has tradition in its blood. After all, there’s something familial about Italian cooking, with family recipes being passed down from generation to generation. From Nonna to Bambini.
With that in mind, Sabitini wants to infuse tradition and family values into its cooking, serving authentic and beautifully crafted Italian cooking in its stylish restaurant. With day and evening menus available and with discounts on two-course meals, there’s no shortage of brilliant food to fill up on at Sabitini.
Placing emphasis on “Meditteranean” cooking, rather than restricting itself to Italian cuisine, Venezia Exeter still serves some of the best pizza and pasta in the city from its delightful restaurant located in Exeter’s popular quayside.
And truth be told, it ought to, since it borrows its name from Italy’s gondola-driving city. Venezia has been at the forefront of serving Italian cuisine in Exeter for many years and was one of the first Italian restaurants in the city. However, the restaurant has not rested on its laurels and continues to push itself to provide incredible food at competitive prices. Eating out on the quayside is also an unforgettable experience, especially during summer, when diners can enjoy their food al fresco.
This Italian chain restaurant has become synonymous with Italian cuisine in the UK and hasn’t curtailed on quality during its undisputed rise to high street supremacy. Simply put, Zizzi does Italian food well, and you know exactly what’s in store from a trip to the restaurant – a fantastic selection of pizza and pasta dishes.
Zizzi Exeter is located in the cobbled wonderland of Gandy Street in Exeter’s famous West Quarter, which gifts the restaurant an added air of gravitas. Zizzi is no-fuss Italian cooking at its finest.
Location: 21 Gandy Street, Exeter, EX4 3LS
Located in Pinhoe, on the outskirts of Exeter, Il Grano is an understated yet brilliantly authentic Italian restaurant. From expertly crafted pasta dishes to essential stomach-pleaser pizzas, Il Grano has been a favourite of locals in the area for years.
The menu at Il Grano is reasonably priced and includes showstoppers such as Ravioli Al Fungi and Spaghetti Polpette. Il Grano also has a variety of steaks on their menu for famished carnivores to get stuck into. The restaurant caters to all palettes and is allergy-conscious, while they also offer takeaway for those who can’t make it to the restaurant in person.
Location: 1 Station Road, Pinhoe, Exeter, EX1 3SA
Located in Topsham, Exeter, Marcello is an authentic Italian restaurant with expert cooking and socialising at the heart of its ethos. These twin principles are at the very core of Italian cooking, so dining out with friends and family is a must when visiting Marcello. But if you do decide to dine solo, that’s fine too, as the friendly staff at this restaurant will make you feel at home.
The chefs at Marcello are proud to use only the freshest of locally sourced ingredients in their cooking, and you can taste the love and professionalism that goes into every dish at this fantastic restaurant. Marcello is incredibly popular so booking ahead is essential to avoid disappointment.
On The Waterfront
There’s no better place in Exeter to dine out than at the city’s famous quayside. On The Waterfront is arguably the quay’s marquee independent restaurant and serves up gigantic pizzas as one of its menu highlights.
On The Waterfront marries fine dining with a relaxed, sociable atmosphere and as a result, is continuously rammed during the weekend and the summer months. The restaurant has been the recipient of a number of awards over the years, including ‘Best Bar’ at the Exeter Living Awards, and a Silver Award from Food Drink Devon. Book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Pizza Amore is a no-fuss artisan pizza restaurant where all your pizza needs can be met in one fell swoop! The restaurant’s huge menu covers almost every pizza conceivable to the human mind.
Every pizza on Pizza Amore’s menu is a standard 12 inch size, but the toppings are manifold. From a popcorn pizza to a “Chipsa” there’s something for everyone on the menu here, even if some of the toppings aren’t exactly authentic to traditional Italian cooking. The restaurant offers dine-in or takeaway to its patrons, so if you’re looking for an experimental pizza to enjoy in front of the television on a Friday night then look no further than Pizza Amore.
Great artisan vegan and vegetarian pizzas are becoming increasingly fashionable and The Flat has cornered the market in Exeter with its hand-stretched organic masterpieces.
Located on Fore Street in Exeter, The Flat’s head chef Pietro trained as a chef in the north of Italy before moving to the southwest of England, and The Flat has been drawing acclaim for its brilliant cooking and hospitable atmosphere since it opened in 2017. All Pizzas come in a regular 11-inch size with toppings ranging from truffle mushrooms to smoked vegan sausage.
Location: 142 Fore Street, Exeter, EX4 3AN
Bella Italia Exeter
Bella Italia has been serving great, authentic Italian food in the heart of Exeter’s busy Guildhall shopping district for years, and if you’re looking for a convenient place to indulge in some near-faultless Italian cuisine then this is the restaurant for you!
Favourites on Bella Italia’s menu include their renowned carbonara, Gamberoni with King Prawns, and their “super fresh” Salsicca Mezzaluna. Pizzas come with a variety of toppings, while the relaxed and hospitable atmosphere makes for a perfect palette cleanser after a long day shopping in the heart of the city.
Location: 92 Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RP