5 to Try: Post readers’ picks for best Italian food in Johnson County 🍝

5 to Try Italian

We have Italian food on our minds this week for our latest "5 to Try." Readers offered up dozens of suggestions for best Italian food in and around Johnson County. The top vote-getter: the offerings at Viona's Italian Bistro in downtown Overland Park, above. Photo credit Leah Wankum.

Mamma mia! Here we go again… with another round of our ever-popular 5 to Try series. This week, we asked our esteemed readers for their recommendations on where to find the best Italian food in Johnson County and they gave us dozens of picks. Grazie!

You may see some of your favorites on this list of our readers’ top five selections, and perhaps you may find something new to try this weekend and beyond. 

Here we go!

Viona’s Italian Bistro

Above, Kika and Benny Morina owners of Viona’s Italian Bistro in in downtown Overland Park. File photo.

Our readers’ number one pick for the best Italian food in the Johnson County area was easily Viona’s Italian Bistro.

Located in downtown Overland Park, Viona’s is the brainchild of Italian natives Benny and Kika Morina, who happened to open around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly two years ago. 

“There is only one choice and that is Viona’s in old Overland Park,” said reader Bob Lake. “My wife and I have been back maybe eight times since our first visit and brought multiple friends who agree with us.

“In 8 (or more) visits I have NEVER ordered the same item twice, and have yet to be disappointed. Meat/red sauce or seafood/alfredo….it’s all spectacular…..and the price/service is top notch. For Johnson County it is Viona’s and nowhere else.”

Try this Italian eatery in the off hours to avoid the lunch rush and the crowds on Friday and Saturday.

Our readers recommend trying the Shrimp Napoleoni as a starter, Chicken Diavolo served over spaghettini for an entree and Cannoli Cream to end your dining experience on a sweet note. Everything on the menu is made from scratch.

Located at 7933 Marty Street, Overland Park, Viona’s Italian Bistro is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Va Bene Italian Eatery

Photo via Va Bene Italian Eatery’s Facebook page.

If you’re looking for a classic and timeless Italian dining experience, look no further than Va Bene Italian Eatery in Prairie Village’s Corinth Square, a beloved stop for many of our readers. 

“Va Bene Italian Eatery now occupies the location where Urban Table was located,” said Post reader Michelle Bunte. “Although I was sad, when Urban Table left, I am more than happy with the great food and service. The beet salad is amazing!”

Try the Antipasti or Toasted Ravioli, or keep it classic with their Spaghetti and Meatball or Rigatoni Bolognese dishes.

Located at 8232 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Va Bene Italian Eatery is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Garōzzo’s Italian

Photo via Garozzo’s Facebook page.

This authentic Italian restaurant is a Kansas City staple and a huge fan favorite among readers, not least because of the curated menu of traditional dishes and their famous specialty: chicken spiedini. 

St. Louis native Mike Garozzo opened the original Garōzzo’s in Kansas City’s Columbus Park neighborhood in 1989 and later expanded to Overland Park near Corporate Woods. 

Reader Jim Ingraham has an insider’s tip: “Try the Chicken Spiedini, it’s signature dish, which is marinated chicken breast rolled in Italian bread crumbs, skewered and grilled and available in four sauce/style choices — Garozzo, Gabriela, Georgio and Samantha. 

“Sometimes they will allow me to order 4-Way Spiedini over fettuccine and I can enjoy a sample of each of their fantastic Spiedinis.”

Garõzzo’s has received numerous awards and honors, including Ingram’s Gold Winner Best Italian Restaurant in 2021, and Best Italian Restaurant in 2020 by The Pitch.

Located at 9950 College Boulevard, Overland Park, Garōzzo’s is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 3-10 p.m. Saturday, and 3-9 p.m. Sunday.

Papagallo Italian and Mediterranean Express

Photo via Papagallo Italian and Mediterranean Express’s Facebook page.

This Italian and Mediterranean eatery in Lenexa is clearly the go-to for many of our readers. Try this place if you’re on the go but want to stay true to the authentic tastes of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

Papagallo Italian Express is a great place hidden in a strip mall on Quivira in Lenexa surrounded by several other wonderful takeout restaurants,” said reader Kathy Maxwell. “Besides a nice menu of Italian choices, they offer a Mediterranean menu with very good Greek items. Fresh ingredients and great bread. Thought we’d have more leftovers, but just as good for lunch the next day.”

Try the Fried Mozzarella, Shrimp Diablo or any of the Mediterranean items like shawarma chicken and hummus. There’s definitely something for everyone at this hot spot.

Located at 7789 Quivira Road, Lenexa, Papagallo Italian and Mediterranean Express is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Jasper’s Italian Restaurant

Photo via Jasper’s Italian Restaurant’s Facebook page.

This Kansas City tradition is just across the state line on 103rd Street.

While not technically in Johnson County, Jasper’s is still a favorite for many of our readers who recommend a quick jump into Missouri for its authentic and delicious cuisine, as well as a pleasant dining atmosphere.

“My family enjoyed their lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner, it was delicious!” said Linda Baldridge Howell on Facebook. 

Jasper’s received the Dirona Award in 2020 and made the Nation’s Restaurant News Dining Hall of Fame.

The chefs recommend trying the Capelli D’Angelo Alla Nanni, a signature pasta dish with angel hair, mushrooms, prosciutto, peas and tomatoes.

Located at 1201 W. 103rd St., Kansas City, Missouri, Jasper’s Italian Restaurant is open for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and open for dinner 5-9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.