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Mangia, let’s eat!
Pasta, pizza, and meatballs, oh my! Italian food in Jacksonville may be a little challenging to find, but if you look in the right strip malls or shopping plazas, some culinary gems are just waiting to be found.
From housemate sausages and pasta to incredible appetizers and desserts, the best Italian restaurants in the Bold City highlight local ingredients and use methods passed down from generation to generation. These are the six best Italian restaurants in Jacksonville worth driving across town to dine at.
One of the Jacksonville’s most talked about Italian restaurants is Catullo’s Italian. Hidden in a shopping center between a Walmart and a dry cleaner, the intimate restaurant often has a wait of an hour or more, even on weeknights. To start, try the arancini, which is made with a base of Calabrian chili and Parmigiano risotto and stuffed with tangy goat cheese before being breaded and fried. The pear fiocchi pasta is a fan favorite on the menu. It starts with pasta purses stuffed with sweet pears and three different kinds of cheese, then tossed with a caramelized pear, blue cheese, and goat cheese sauce. The dish is finished with pieces of crispy and salty fried prosciutto for a perfect bite. 
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Located at the St. John’s Town Center, Prati Italia is a fantastic family-friendly spot specializing in American-Italian cuisine. Sharable entrees like the salumi and cheese platter are great options for a crowd, while the Roman-style pizza comes to the table in big squares that are crispy on the bottom and fluffy on the inside. As for pasta, the housemate sheets and noodles are used to create many dishes, but a standout dish is the lasagna which is 13 layers thick. The tray of lasagna sits overnight before being portioned. Just before being served, the brick of lasagna is deep fried to get its crispy edges and is topped with more sauce and cheese before being devoured by hungry guests. 
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Midtown Table is a modern Italian restaurant where pasta, bread, and so much more are handmade daily and served to hungry guests. Dinner is a relaxed atmosphere, where sharable plates include a seasonal preparation of burrata cheese, white bean hummus with Italian sausage, or house-made bread. Each of the house-made pasta is worth trying, but a fan-favorite is the Midtown agnolotti, which is similar to a ravioli, with savory mushroom duxelles, Italian sausage, spinach, peppers, and a white wine cream sauce to bring it all together. 
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From the outside, Enza’s doesn’t look like much since it’s located in a strip mall in the Mandarin neighborhood. But once guests walk inside, the dim lighting, white tablecloths, and smells of Sicilian food change any preconceived notion about the restaurant. Be sure to start any meal at Enza’s with the restaurant’s iconic Pomodoro Caprese, which uses house-made mozzarella cheese and pesto, along with all the usual suspects, like basil and tomatoes. Meat lovers will enjoy the Italian sausage and meatballs platter, which comes with both types of meat smothered in peppers, onions, and tomato sauce and covered in mozzarella cheese. 
Santioni’s Italian Restaurant is located a strip mall in Fleming Island and has been open for almost 20 years. The dinner-only restaurant serves up classic Italian-American fare like lasagna and baked ziti. For something a little more hearty, consider the eggplant parmigiana, which is a guest favorite at the restaurant. The dish starts with sliced eggplant that’s been graded and fried before being topped with red sauce and cheese. It’s served with a side of spaghetti marinara and a soup or salad. No matter the dish, know that the servings are large, and there will likely be leftovers for the next day too. 
With the slogan, “Life’s too short to eat bad Italian food,” plastered across its website, Vito’s Italian Restaurant lives up to its mantra. The beautiful main dining room has tables covered in white table clothes, large wooden doors on a back wall, and a stone-covered accent wall that feels more like dining in Sicily than Jacksonville. Chef Giulio, who is originally from Palermo, Italy, serves delightful dishes of homemade cheeses, pasta, and more. To start, get a round of the mozzarella in Carozza, which is homemade fried cheese with a spicy marinara sauce. The spaghetti carbonara is one of the best in the city, made with salty prosciutto and sweet onions in a decadently creamy sauce. 
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One of the Jacksonville’s most talked about Italian restaurants is Catullo’s Italian. Hidden in a shopping center between a Walmart and a dry cleaner, the intimate restaurant often has a wait of an hour or more, even on weeknights. To start, try the arancini, which is made with a base of Calabrian chili and Parmigiano risotto and stuffed with tangy goat cheese before being breaded and fried. The pear fiocchi pasta is a fan favorite on the menu. It starts with pasta purses stuffed with sweet pears and three different kinds of cheese, then tossed with a caramelized pear, blue cheese, and goat cheese sauce. The dish is finished with pieces of crispy and salty fried prosciutto for a perfect bite. 
Located at the St. John’s Town Center, Prati Italia is a fantastic family-friendly spot specializing in American-Italian cuisine. Sharable entrees like the salumi and cheese platter are great options for a crowd, while the Roman-style pizza comes to the table in big squares that are crispy on the bottom and fluffy on the inside. As for pasta, the housemate sheets and noodles are used to create many dishes, but a standout dish is the lasagna which is 13 layers thick. The tray of lasagna sits overnight before being portioned. Just before being served, the brick of lasagna is deep fried to get its crispy edges and is topped with more sauce and cheese before being devoured by hungry guests. 
Midtown Table is a modern Italian restaurant where pasta, bread, and so much more are handmade daily and served to hungry guests. Dinner is a relaxed atmosphere, where sharable plates include a seasonal preparation of burrata cheese, white bean hummus with Italian sausage, or house-made bread. Each of the house-made pasta is worth trying, but a fan-favorite is the Midtown agnolotti, which is similar to a ravioli, with savory mushroom duxelles, Italian sausage, spinach, peppers, and a white wine cream sauce to bring it all together. 
From the outside, Enza’s doesn’t look like much since it’s located in a strip mall in the Mandarin neighborhood. But once guests walk inside, the dim lighting, white tablecloths, and smells of Sicilian food change any preconceived notion about the restaurant. Be sure to start any meal at Enza’s with the restaurant’s iconic Pomodoro Caprese, which uses house-made mozzarella cheese and pesto, along with all the usual suspects, like basil and tomatoes. Meat lovers will enjoy the Italian sausage and meatballs platter, which comes with both types of meat smothered in peppers, onions, and tomato sauce and covered in mozzarella cheese. 
Santioni’s Italian Restaurant is located a strip mall in Fleming Island and has been open for almost 20 years. The dinner-only restaurant serves up classic Italian-American fare like lasagna and baked ziti. For something a little more hearty, consider the eggplant parmigiana, which is a guest favorite at the restaurant. The dish starts with sliced eggplant that’s been graded and fried before being topped with red sauce and cheese. It’s served with a side of spaghetti marinara and a soup or salad. No matter the dish, know that the servings are large, and there will likely be leftovers for the next day too. 
With the slogan, “Life’s too short to eat bad Italian food,” plastered across its website, Vito’s Italian Restaurant lives up to its mantra. The beautiful main dining room has tables covered in white table clothes, large wooden doors on a back wall, and a stone-covered accent wall that feels more like dining in Sicily than Jacksonville. Chef Giulio, who is originally from Palermo, Italy, serves delightful dishes of homemade cheeses, pasta, and more. To start, get a round of the mozzarella in Carozza, which is homemade fried cheese with a spicy marinara sauce. The spaghetti carbonara is one of the best in the city, made with salty prosciutto and sweet onions in a decadently creamy sauce. 

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