BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT (NOT CHEAP) - 2008
981 Sibley Memorial Highway
West St. Paul, MN 55118
The veal shank osso bucco at I Nonni is the sort of dish that lingers in your memory...the tenderness of the braised meat, the rich, buttery marrow you scooped from the bone with a tiny spoon. It's one of those meals that makes it difficult to order anything else on the menu. But if you can bear to venture beyond, I Nonni offers fresh seafood; homemade gnocchi with tomato, basil, and ricotta; Brussels sprouts with crisp bits of pancetta; and paper-thin beef carpaccio piled with sharp arugula, shaved Parmesan, olive oil, and served with a whole lemon to squeeze on top. It's cuisine inspired by the Italian grandparents, or i nonni, of the owners, the Marchionda family, who founded the beloved Buon Giorno Italian Market and sourced more than 400 small-production, regional Italian wines to pair. The authentic meals are served in a dining room that's decidedly modern: glowingly lit, with vaulted ceilings, and windows looking into those of the neighboring McMansions.