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Aug 18, 2006 08:14 PM

Looking for poor-man's Italian/pasta restaurant in Durham/Chapel Hill

Don't feel like spending a wad of cash on Il Palio tonight. Is there any "blue collar Italian" style restaurants around this area that are inexpensive, decent, and have a sizeable selection of pasta dishes on their menu? I'm looking for more of the ravioli with tons of cream sauce dumped on it (as opposed to say fusilli with grilled chicken breast tossed with a light balsamic reduction, vegetables, and oregano). Think Buca de Beppo style.



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  1. LOL... Bowl of cheese at the Rat!

    1. The restaurant you are looking for is Bella Napoli in Cary. The bread and the desserts are pretty lame, but everything else is reminiscent of a Boston/New York neighborhood eatery. The mozzarella is homemade; the calamari is crispy; the pasta is always properly al dente. I recommend the eggplant rollatini.

      Sinophile (formerly David A.)

      1. The best red sauce place I know in the area is "Bella Monica" in Raleigh. It's close to 40 at Edwards Mill & Blue Ridge. Great Flatbread pizza and about the friendliest place I know. Go on weekends for some more adventurous options.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chops

          I agree with the Bella Monica endorsement. The pasta is very good. The flatbreads are often excellent, too, but not what I would call "blue collar Italian". I'm not crazy about Bella Napoli -- I live close to it, and would like to like it, but I found more than the desserts and bread lacking. That said, I am Italian and from NY, by way of Boston, so I am a bit finicky about Italian food not prepared by my parents. :)

        2. italian pizzeriaIII on franklin st does excellent pizza and pasta-y dishes. their pizza is as good as you'll find in chapel hill for authentic ny style... and their pastas have always beenn pretty good too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: HeelsSoxHound

            Now there's a committed (obsessed?) hound. Posting on his wedding day. Good luck today, Mike.

            1. re: detlefchef

              had to do something to take off the jitters while elise was getting her hair done... everything was great-- best cue i've had in awhile. elaine's should do a q shack of their own... so so so good. peace out... will report on charleston upon my return!

          2. I agree with the choice of Italian Pizzeria. The one on Guess Road in Durham is excellent as well. They have great lunch specials as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: steveindurham

              Any dinner recs for IP3? I usually go for the pizza special as a guilty pleasure but I'd be well up for something more varied.