Italian Food & Wine – A Pairing Guide

 In F&B, Randy's Insider Tips, Restaurant Insight

We understand that pairing food and wine can be intimidating. That’s why we have come up with this simple pairing guide so that you can enjoy different wines with your favorite Italian foods from Romano’s Macaroni Grill!


This may be the hardest category of wines to pair with Italian food. While Pinot Grigio may be the most popular white wine export from Italy, its delicate, mineral-like flavors can often be over-powered by bold Italian flavors. Our recommendation is pairing these light, highly drinkable wines with lighter, seafood based dishes like our Calamari Fritti or our popular Shrimp Portofino.


The most popular full-bodied white wines in the US are Chardonnays. While Chardonnay can vary greatly from winemaker to winemaker, the classic tropical fruit flavors, buttery texture and hints of oak are prominent in the most popular Chardonnays. These characteristics also make Chardonnay a great match for heartier dishes like our Chicken Under a Brick, served with seasonal vegetables and roasted parmesan potatoes. Full-bodied Chardonnays also go well with rich fish like Salmon. Our Grilled Salmon, served with a Mediterranean-spiced vinaigrette and sun-dried tomato orzo makes for an outstanding summer pairing!


Lighter red wines like Pinot Noir and Sangiovese are great for pairing with food because of their high acidity. Flavors like bright red cherry, raspberry, and light tannins pair really well with tomato-based sauces that are used on classic dishes like Chicken Parmesan or Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti. They also make a great contrast to the rich, earthy flavors of dishes such as Mushroom Ravioli, or Carmela’s Chicken, served with rigatoni, caramelized onions, mushrooms and a delicious marsala cream sauce.


Noble wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are great with rich, robust Italian dishes. Our Tuscan Ribeye, topped with herbed-butter and served with asparagus, is the perfect match for a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, like that from Louis M. Martini in Sonoma County. If you are looking for something a little lighter than Cabernet, a great Merlot is a good match for our Grilled Pork Chop. The rosemary-balsamic glaze complements the dark berry and chocolate notes often associated with Merlot.

While we may offer great pairing recommendations like these above, when it comes to wine, we encourage you to drink what you enjoy. And to help encourage this, Romano’s Macaroni Grill offers 25% off all bottles of wine each and every Thursday! Stop in this week and enjoy your favorite wine at Hawaii’s favorite Italian restaurant!


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