You don’t have to go all the way to Italy for authentic Italian flavors. You can find some fantastic cuisine from the old country right here in Springfield. There are tons of great places in town to grab a bite of pasta, but there are some that stand out more than others. We’ve got some great locally owned restaurants with very talented chefs in town. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best in town.
1908 S Glenstone Ave
Avanzare is the perfect place for a romantic dinner. It has a widely respected master chef in Tony Garcia who will deliver something awesome to your table no matter what you order. The pasta named after Garcia is always a good choice. The Rigatoni Alla Tony is a modern take on a classic Italian dish. Added to the rigatoni pasta is grilled shrimp, goat cheese, roasted walnuts and sun dried tomatoes all dressed in their signature cream pesto sauce.
The original Bambino’s on Delmar near Missouri State University has been serving delicious pasta to Springfield residents for decades out of it’s cozy, historic building. It’s a great spot to grab lunch or dinner with a few friends or family. Bambino’s uses unique ingredients to create one-of-kind dishes. A lot of locals love their use of Provel cheese in salads and pastas. If you’d like to try it, get the Zia. It’s a pasta dish with Spaghetti noodles, chicken, peas and mushrooms. It’s cooked in cream sauce and topped with that melty Provel cheese. Can’t go wrong with this one. There’s also a location on East Battlefield if you’re on the southeast side of town.
306 South Avenue
If you’ve walked around on South Street, you’ve no doubt seen Nonna’s near the square. Not only is it in a great location for grabbing a bite before a night in Downtown Springfield, it’s also one of the best places in town to get an authentic Italian food experience. Black and white photos grace the walls of the historic building, giving the setting a feeling of yesteryear. That throwback feel shines through in the food as well. In the words of Tony Soprano, the Italians taught the world to eat. Nonna’s can teach you how to enjoy some fine cuisine, too!
820 E Walnut St, # A
Gilardi’s Risorante is about as DIY as you can get in Springfield. It’s taken the farm-to-table style into Italian food by using it’s own gardens, one of which is right out in front of the restaurant. Chef James Martin is a big believer in using fresh produce that is grown locally and you can really tell the difference when you bite into a freshly picked bell pepper or tomato.
Chef Vito Palmietto can do just about anything in a kitchen. He’s not only a chef, but also a culinary instructor. He teaches classes regularly to local people who want to learn some his techniques. In addition to teach and catering, Vito opens the restaurant for people to enjoy his cooking Wednesday through Friday for lunch and dinner. It’s a great spot for some friendly conversation and tasty pizza, pasta and seafood.