Believe it or not, 88% of Americans have tried and like Italian food. 

We love Italian dishes because of their taste and texture. They always fill a belly and satisfy a soul. When you’re looking to get out on the town, it’s the perfect way to please your date or family.

Here are some of our favorite Italian dinner ideas for special occasions.

Homemade Gnocchi

Fans of Italian food know that gnocchi made from scratch is unbeatable. The soft, pillowy dumplings go down easy, especially when paired with the right bottle of wine.

Gnocchi is often served with a bit of soft cheese and tomato sauce, or you might find it paired with a pesto or butter-and-herb combo. Classic, light whites such as pinot grigio and pecorino pair well with their more filling texture. 

Pappardelle and Seafood

While we’re on the subject of comforting pasta, pappardelle is a classic choice for a special evening out. These are wide, flat ribbons of pasta that have their origins in Tuscany. 

Since the surface of pappardelle is rough, it often pairs well with more robust sauces. For example, your sauce may have beef, pork, or heavy cream, and the delicious cuts of pasta will only allow you to enjoy it more.

When paired with seafood like lobster or scallops, you can drink in the soft richness of the fish along with the hearty pasta. The dish is on the menu at some of the finest Italian restaurants around.

Stuffed Peppers

If you’re looking to try something a little lighter, one of the best Italian dishes for a date night is stuffed peppers. Classic stuffed peppers include ingredients like ground beef, assorted cheeses, and sweet tomatoes.

However, some restaurants add an elegant touch with choices like veal and eggplant. They are great when paired with a light red wine such as pinot noir or zinfandel.

Salmon in Wine Sauce

Health-conscious diners should look for an anniversary dinner menu that offers salmon as an option. Besides its tender, flaky texture, salmon offers a number of benefits that are good for your heart and mind

Salmon is a wonderful source of healthy fats, protein, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. It’s a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of cancer. Salmon has also been found to improve brain function and slow cognitive decline.

Salmon is often served with honey or Asian sauce. When you’re visiting an Italian restaurant, it’s common to find it served with a little white wine or lemon. 

Excellent wines to pair with your salmon include full-bodied whites such as chardonnay or white pinot noir. Get ready to feel fabulous after your meal!

Risotto and Lobster

Risotto is Italian rice with a creamy consistency. It’s comfort food that, when cooked correctly, can deepen the flavors of any dish.

If you’re enjoying a special evening, you’ll want to add something decadent, such as lobster, to your risotto. It has a clean, mild sweetness that most folks only enjoy on special occasions.

Chardonnay, Reisling, and Sauvignon Blanc are all wonderful when paired with lobster. It’s a superb way to top off a special evening.

Veal Scaloppine

Veal scaloppine is a classic Italian dish of thinly-sliced veal with lemons and capers. Veal is more expensive than beef and is, therefore, a “special occasion” kind of dish.

Veal scaloppine is excellent when paired with an earthy pinot noir. 

Pizza Margherita

Maybe your idea of a perfect anniversary dinner includes a breezy sunset and a table on the terrace. You can eat like a real Italian with a light and crispy Pizza Margherita.

This dish is great as an appetizer or entree, with fresh mozzarella and basil in every bite. You can enjoy it with a bit of seltzer and juice, or get adventurous and pair it with the light, floral flavor of pinot grigio.


With its scrumptious mascarpone cheese and crispy ladyfingers, this dessert is not for every night. This decadent Italian treat is a sponge cake soaked in coffee and brandy that gets powdered and chocolate and cheese. Yet on an indulgent evening out, it’s heaven. 

While you’re treating yourself, pair your sweet dessert with some port, marsala, or cream sherry.

The Best Restaurants For Italian Dishes

Before visiting an Italian restaurant, make sure you do a little homework. Check out online reviews and see what former customers are saying. Are most of them commenting about the delectable meal, the prompt service, and the lovely atmosphere? Or do you see some complaints about lateness and disappointing dishes?

Of course, you’ll also want to check out the online menu and make sure there are great cuisine and wine selections. You won’t want to be disappointed if you’re planning on making it a special meal.

If you’re planning on having an exciting evening out, you’ll also want to see what else there is to do in the area. In a neighborhood like Las Vegas, for example, you’ll find plenty of shows and casinos to keep you busy after your meal.

Italian Dinner Ideas

Italian dishes make everyone’s mouth water. If you’re making plans for a spectacular night on the town, make sure you check out some classic Italian dinner ideas before you do. Your wallet and your appetite will thank you!

Don’t stop getting excited about Italian food now. For some of the finest Italian cuisine in Las Vegas, contact us today.