Craving authentic Italian with a side of Southern charm on your visit to the Smoky Mountains? You’ll find hearty and delicious cuisine, excellent service, and a friendly atmosphere at Gatlinburg’s Taste of Italy.
Located in a small strip mall just outside the busy downtown district, Taste of Italy is the perfect place to get away from it all. While this quiet little restaurant may look unassuming from the outside, a warm and wonderful dining experience awaits inside—starting with some of the best Italian food we’ve ever had.
Taste of Italy’s menu comprises an extensive selection of Italian favorites. The only thing we didn’t like about our meal? Having to choose from so many scrumptious options. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong. Everything here is fresh—right down to the anchovies on the Caesar salad.
The huge portions are also guaranteed crowd-pleasers. Just make sure to go hungry—and plan on bringing home leftovers, too. Another reason to love Taste of Italy? They’re extremely efficient. The restaurant was packed when we were there, and we still got our food in under 15 minutes.
No discussion of Taste of Italy is complete without mention of the service. When we say this is a family-owned, family-friendly restaurant, we mean it. The owner, Geri, and his wife are hands-on, and may even greet you at the door. Their warm welcome will be echoed throughout your entire visit thanks to the restaurant’s super-friendly and attentive staff.
And while you might expect to pay a lot for a high-quality meal with equally exceptional service, Taste of Italy is extremely affordable. This makes it a great place to bring the whole family, although it’s equally suitable for date nights and special occasions. (Is there anything quite like the charm of an old-fashioned Italian restaurant?)
There’s a reason why locals flock to Taste of Italy, and why it’s been heralded as “the hidden gem” of Gatlinburg. While it’s off the beaten path, it’s definitely worth a stop—or several!—on your visit.
A few of our favorite menu items included the following:
These soft, garlicky knots practically melt in your mouth.
Fresh, homemade, ooey-gooey deliciousness. If you’re on a quest to find the best-fried mozzarella, Taste of Italy is a serious contender.
While you’ll find chicken Parmesan on the menu at any Italian restaurant, this one achieves new levels of deliciousness thanks to tender chicken smothered in cheese, al dente noodles, and a rich, robust sauce.
It may not be the “sexiest” thing on the menu, but one bite of Taste of Italy’s lasagna will have you swooning.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp
Succulent, perfectly cooked shrimp and creamy sauce add up to one seriously flavorful meal.
-Taste of Italy doesn’t take reservations, and it can get crowded. However, ask a local and they’ll agree that it’s definitely worth the rate.
-While Taste of Italy doesn’t serve wine, they’re happy to provide the glasses. Just grab a bottle from the liquor store next door and you’ll be good to go. (If there is a wait, you can enjoy your wine in the lobby until your table is ready.)