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Good Italian Restaurant in Raleigh

  • r

I am going to visit Raleigh Durham May 6th, can anyone help me find a very good Italian restaurant. I am from New York and visiting N.C. for first time. I would appreciate any help. Thank You

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  1. Look no further than Il Palio in the Siena Hotel, Chapel Hill. The chef, a close friend, is Italian, was trained in Italy and is arguably, IMO, the finest Italian cook in the USA. Long time consultant to Ritz Carleton and to the Sirio Maccione organization. Memorable grub! Look the Siena up on the web.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dale

      I agree about Il Palio. Great place with a great reputation. It is worth the drive from Raleigh to Chapel Hill.

      1. re: Jenn

        yes i am italian and lived in nyc and raleigh. il palio is an excellent restaurant, gourmet, upscale. you won't find good italian elsewhere in this area. nina's in north raleigh was very disappointing. as was portbello's. i am picky when it comes to italian and would rather make it at home than eat it out and i know a good one. i agree with the nyer who told you to try the local cooking, the BBQ and Southern stuff is best here. good mexican too.

        1. re: Jenn

          I ate at Siena in Feb and it was one of the worst meals I have had in recent memory. Crappy service, bland, boring and overpriced food. Look for another type of restaurant in the triangle. Not much good Italian food in the area.
          Drive to Richmond and eat at Mama Zoos.

      2. n
        Neil McClanahan

        Portobello's in N Raleigh is good.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Neil McClanahan

          Sorry, folks, Portobello's closed a few years ago -- and it wasn't really Italian. Since then, another restaurant has come and gone, same spot.

          BTW, we've had very mediocre experience at Nina's. After 18 years in Chicago, I can honestly say that the thing that I miss most here is a wide offering of good Italian food.

        2. Consider Nina's in North Raleigh. Only been once but really enjoyed it and plan to return later this month. Here's their website:


          1. Why would a visiting New Yorker specifically want to eat Italian food in Raleigh? This makes as much sense as a North Carolinian hunting down the best hushpuppies in Brooklyn.

            I am myself a New Yorker who frequently visits (and will soon move to) Raleigh. I recommend BBQ and the traditional Southern staples. Scan down the message board for specific recommendations solicited by myself.

            Good luck!

            David A.

            1 Reply
            1. c
              Chu Boi from Raleigh

              No such thing as good Italian food in Raleigh unless you make it yourself.

              1. Try Casalinga at 4538 Capital Blvd (North Raleigh) in Raleigh. In my view - it is outstanding italian food.

                1. Bella Monica-Edwards Mill Rd.-not far from Crabtree Valley Mall.

                  1. I rather like casalinga's . i completely didnt expect it to be anything special in the least, but even the food on their lunchtime buffet was diverse, fresh and delicious. The family who runs it treat you like gold if you speak to them...

                    1. I second Bella Monica and I have also had some good meals at Claudios off Creedmoor Rd in Raleigh. Their Shrimp Fra Diavlo (?) was good.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: km4874

                        Claudio's has been gone for over 2 years. Claude made excellent italian food! He is sorely missed. Save yourself and don't visit Vincent's, now occupying Claude's former space.

                      2. I would agree that good Italian is hard to find in Raleigh. But I did have a good enough dinner at a small place that was very good if you love Osso Buco. Its very good. But beware that the menu is small and otherwise hit or miss. My salad was flat, but my husbands pasta was very tasty and a fish special was divine. The namesake dessert was the real deal and lovely.. Staff was very friendly and helpful--they squeezed us in without a reservation on a busy Friday. Reasonable pricing as well. Just don't go expecting high end perfection or you'll be disappointed.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sabrosina

                          Are you talking about Cafe Tiramisu on Falls of Neuse?

                          I was a little underwhelmed by Casalinga, but then I've only been at lunch - the experience may be very different at dinner. I've been to Nina's several times, though, and have been very satisfied every time I visit.

                          1. re: sabrosina

                            The only place to get great italian is Cafe Tiramisu -- Italians own it and used to own Piccolo Mondo -- it is northern italian -- great tiramisu cheaper than whole food/fresh market and authentic -- I moved here from Manhattan it is the closest I have found to canal street -- make reservation or wait-- -- only down fall is loud bar

                            1. re: sabrosina

                              I've been going to Cafe Tiramisu for years! It is lovely. Paulo is the owner/chef and he is just fantastic. I love the Osso Buco, too, and veal saltimbucco. And -- YUM! the tiramisu is out of this world.

                            2. we are originally from Cleveland, Ohio (large Italian population) so we are used to great italian food. The best we have found in the Triangle is Daniel's it is in Apex, NC on route 55

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: hallie

                                Cinelli's they're all over the triangle.
                                I'm italian & from ny and I've been very pleased

                                1. re: RaleighRocker

                                  i was extremely disappointed by cinelli's in Durham...just tasted very anglo-fied and unimpressive

                                  1. re: RaleighRocker

                                    I had seen Cinelli's in several places around the triangle and wanted to try them. I had a pasta with vodka white sauce (I don't remember the exact name). I found it a little bland. This is what the server had recommended to be when I asked for a suggestion. I don't remember what my friend had, but we both agreed that the food wasn't terrible but it didn't make me want to go back either.

                                  2. re: hallie

                                    ps. i also like daniels but i haven't eaten there in years

                                    1. re: RaleighRocker

                                      RR, what do you order at Cinelli's? Every time I've been I can't help thinking it tastes like Chef Boyardee. Maybe they have some speciality that I'm just missing?

                                    2. re: hallie

                                      I go to Daniel's a lot, as it is not too far from where I live. My favorite dish is their mushroom raviolis. Although I have to say that they vary in quality. Sometimes they are spot on and sometimes they lack flavor. I have also had their puttanesca and their chicken marsala, both of which I found okay, but not fabulous. (Their chicken marsala actually made me wish I had gone to Carrabbas and ordered the pasta wessie.) The worst dish I have had from Daniels is their chicken parmigiana. The sauce was completely bland. I did not care for the dish at all. Onto their desserts: I LOVE and am addicted to their chocolate cream pie. This is the best chocolate cream pie I have ever had. Their tres leche cake is pretty good, but it is not what I would call traditional tres leche cake. I was disappointed the first time I ordered it because I was expecting traditional tres leche cake. But once I stopped thinking of it as that specific type of cake, I enjoyed it a lot more. I have also had the peanut butter pie, which I didn't care for. I can't think of many meals that could top their mushroom raviolis (when prepared well) and chocolate cream pie. But everytime I go there, I do feel a little like it's a crap shoot as to whether the mushroom raviolios will be good that day.

                                    3. Since you included Durham in your request, I'm going to recommend Bocci's on Fayetteville Road (near Southpoint Mall). The "Nonna's" pizza is honestly some of the best I have ever had.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. I'll add another vote for Il Palio in Chapel Hill. It's very good, upscale and considered pricey for this area (as an NYer you probably have different standards for 'pricey' though!).

                                        And I'll also add another vote for trying what this area is known for - get yourself some barbecue, fried chicken, hushpuppies, etc. While I grew up in Cleveland and love love love Italian food myself (I make it at home all the time), Southern barbecue and hushpuppies are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. :)

                                          1. re: LBD

                                            fyi - not sure if that original poster is still on. This post is over six years old.

                                          2. I'll put in a vote for Casa carbone. It's a small family place off glenwood across from pleasant valley.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Derkuh

                                              I haven't been in a while but Casa Carbone is good -- for what it is. What it is, is a throwback to a 1950's Italian-American neighborhood red sauce joint. Don't expect gourmet, upscale, or fancy. Do expect garlic bread, (fill in the blank) parmesan, and red checked tableclothes. With the proper expecations, Casa Carbone can be kind of fun, in a retro sort of way.

                                            2. Cafe Luna in downtown Raliegh

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: hipcat

                                                Third Bella Monica on Edwards Mill Rd. They make their own bread and pizza dough from scratch and use authentic imported cheeses and the best tomatoes in the world (San Marzano) without exception. If you like delicious, real Italian food I would head here.