Many establishments hope to lure you in with pasta and pizza mainly because they are low overhead high profit entrees. These are NOT a good indication of fine Italian cuisine. When I am looking for Great Italian is expect to see classic dishes that quintessentially say the chef has mastered great cuisine. Here are some criteria for suspecting a superb dinner.
It is a great sign if some or many of these appear on the menu:
Cannelloni ala Romano
Abbacchio al Forno
Mellanzani al Forno
Suppli ala Telefono
Coniglio all a Cacciatore
If none of these items appear on the menu, I am pretty sure this is some American Restaurant that maybe mediocre or perhaps not really Italian.
High-end places may include:
Chianina Beef - Bistecca alla Fiorentina