The best Italian restaurant in metro Phoenix is Chris Bianco's high-end but rustic trattoria, Tratto. Here, Chef Cassie Shortino crafts stunning pastas in shapes like spaghetti alla chittara and tagliatelle, using precise, intelligent local flours suited to the specific noodles at hand. Nobody else in town is crafting pasta on this level. Nobody else is cooking it with such depth, love, connection to history, and allegiance to the local produce seasons. At Tratto, the kitchen can rock out a classic pomodoro or cacio e pepe, sure, but arguably the more bracing, place-rooted gems are those that more completely embrace what Arizona can provide: the lamb ragu, the al limone (using local lemons), the pastas entwined with the day's local bounty. Pasta, too, is just one element of Tratto. There are thoughtful starters, like a staple chickpea fritter or some of the most unsung crudos in town. The drink program, orchestrated by Blaise Faber, is unique and thoughtful and animated by similar ideas as Bianco's food, leading to a beautiful ride not unlike ripping down an Italian coastal highway. We're talking house-made liqueurs from apex local fruit, and some of the most esoteric, incandescent amari Italy has to offer. Talk to your barman, and he will go as deep as you want to. At Tratto, follow the menu's lead, which is the lead of Bianco and Shortino and the seasons, and you'll be in for a treat. This is a great spot for any kind of dinner, a great place to share soulful food with people you love. Everything is done with the highest intention, right on down to the olive oil and bread, which is so good you could eat it until totally stuffed and go home happy. New Normal: Tratto has moved to the former Pane Bianco Van Buren spot, which offers a more spacious dining room and patio seating.
- Price: $$$
- Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 5-9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday 5-10 p.m.
- Outdoor seating: Open-air patio
- Reservations: Recommended