Italian Restaurants in Sacramento

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What started as a hobby for Biba Caggiano became a culinary career when she relocated to Sacramento with her family in 1969. During the move, she brought along a practiced knowledge of Old World cuisine, which she gleaned from her mother while growing up in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. After teaching a handful of classes at a local cooking school, she began fully dedicating herself to gastronomic pursuits, publishing cookbooks of her signature recipes, studying culinary traditions throughout Italy, and hosting an internationally syndicated cooking show, Biba's Italian Kitchen.

She opened Biba Restaurant in 1986, devising a menu of authentic Italian cuisine that changes seasonally, much like a snowman’s ability to survive. Her chefs blanch homemade pastas, pan-roast sea bass, and braise veal shanks for an osso buco alla milanese that Frommer's proclaimed as "excellent." With a commitment to freshness, Biba sources her ingredients from local farmers and producers, including Del Rio Botanical and Ports Seafood.

The menus brim with refined dishes, and the décor to "make [diners] feel instantly at home." In addition to its yellow walls, the recently renovated main dining room, according to the Sacramento Press, features hand-painted Italian silk sconces and crema marfil marble.

2801 Capitol Avenue
Sacramento,
CA
US

As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s Pizza has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.

In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.

2580 Arena Blvd
Sacramento,
CA
US

The kitchen staff at Cheezer’s Gourmet Pizza has made its fair share of signature White Creamy Pie pizzas since the shop opened in 1986, so staff members have the process down to a science. First, they slap together the dough and stir the homemade white, creamy garlic sauce. Then they toss the sauce onto the dough and blanket it with cheese, pepperonis, mushrooms, bacon bits, tomatoes, green onions, and one regulation-sized golf ball. Finally, they slide the entire disk into a brick oven and bake it until it bubbles.

All 19 of their pizzas receive a similar treatment, the only differences being the toppings and the type of homemade sauce, which include creamy-pesto sauce, barbecue sauce, tomato-basil sauce, and tomato sauce. They stuff the same toppings into paninis and calzones, though they wisely leave them out of the glasses they fill with draft beer.

1900 Fulton Ave
Sacramento,
CA
US

For nearly 30 years, Rico’s Italian Pizza has been hitting the spot with hand-tossed pies anchored by gooey cheese, savory meats, and fresh produce. The Rico’s Special stands out from an array of pizzas with its edible raiment of salami, pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, and sausage. In addition to doughy creations, growling stomachs are rendered speechless by the restaurant’s tasty pastas, chicken wings, and hot baked sandwiches stuffed with pastrami, canadian bacon, and meatballs. Glasses of wine complement Rico’s italian cuisine, whereas frosty pitchers of ice-cold brews tickle upper lips like a prop Groucho Marx moustache.

Inside Rico’s Italian Pizza, diners can also fill up on entertainment via big-screen TV, jukebox, or arcade game. The restaurant’s catering packages help party planners provision offsite parties, school events, and corporate functions.

2650 Northgate Blvd.
Sacramento,
CA
US

Although Pronto's pork is slow-cooked, guests don't have to wait long before scooping it up with some fusilli pasta and habanero pesto. That's because the restaurant is something of a paradox: a homestyle, from-scratch Italian eatery with swift counter-service. Its menu hosts classic dishes that could be found in any Tuscan villa—chicken parmesan and fettuccine alfredo—alongside signature inventions, such as soft herb polenta bowls dappled with meatballs and marinara. Lunchtime paninis and brunch scrambles contrast dinner entrees such as bacon-wrapped meatloaf and five-cheese lasagna. Also on-site, Uncle Vito's sells New York–style pizza by the slice to customers who are tired of buying the entire pie, eating one slice, and cramming the leftovers into their pet goldfish's bowl.

1501 16th St
Sacramento,
CA
US

To replicate the thin-crust pies found in New York's Italian-American neighborhoods, Giovanni's chefs make everything from scratch and bake their five-borough recreations atop a toasted hearthstone. They load their slices with layers of fresh mozzarella and an eclectic mix of toppings. Tables, draped in classic red-and-white checkered cloths, buckle under the weight of the pies, including the Coney Island piled with freshwater clams, garlic, and spices.

In addition to baking circular eats, the cooks marinate Sicilian-style chicken in extra-virgin olive oil and herbs before fire-roasting it on the rotisserie. Forks excavate the lasagna's layers, burrowing through strata of imported pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and housemade tomato sauce, to unearth hearty pieces of meat or veggies.

2701 Del Paso Rd
Sacramento,
CA
US