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Jan 28, 2007 04:37 AM

Italian in Chapel??

How is Vespa?? what is the best in Ch-Hill area?

Thanks in advance!!!!


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  1. I have yet to find a satisfactory Italian restaurant in Chapel Hill. Vespa is okay, but bland and expensive; not really worth it in the end. Il Palio is at moments very good, but of course it is exceedingly expensive, a place for special occasion dining. The other notable options are Aurora, 411 West, and Panzanella. None of these are particularly thrilling either. If I had to choose between the latter three restaurants, I would probably choose Panzanella, which at least serves good bread and makes a decent pizza crust.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sinophile

      Aurora is, at least for now, out-of-commission:

      I have to agree with Sinophile that there's really nothing in Chapel Hill (OK, nothing really in the *Triangle* as a whole, to be honest) that I'd want to use the word "best" to describe, when it comes to Italian food. There's a lot of "good enough for the neighborhood joint," and a few "more expensive than the quality really justifies" and not much else.

      I'm not even much of a home-cook (I can't help it, I like eating other cooks' food better than my own), but I've had better luck with my own homemade pastas and sauces (from the Hazan & the Kasper cookbooks, mostly) than with stuff I've had at even the "good" Italian restaurants around. Which really does say more about the lack of good Italian food than it does about the quality of my cooking ;-)

    2. Vespa really peeves me; They are low-mediocre & charge $$ prices & don't even put escarole in the escarole soup. If you're going to charge me at least give me top ingrediants.

      Panzanella isn't really Italian. But they do make great home made pasta & their lamb shank ragu or boar ragu is really superb. I've said before Mario Batali has this dish in his NYC restaurant for much $$$. Also they always are happy to serve Marinara over the pasta. Their bread is excellent too. Nice mellow atmosphere.
      So if you want pasta I'd go to Panzanella...otherwise make it at home. I just ordered Rao's Cookbook.

      1. I've got to agree with most of the above. Vespa is really bad, although it's under new ownership, so who knows. I wouldn't even really call 411 Italian... and as we've already noted, Aurora is gone. Panzanella, like 411, has some Italian dishes, very good bread and decent pizza. I had a truly bad and very expensive meal at Il Palio a long time ago, and I won't go back.
        Note to self-- open good Italian restaurant in Chapel Hill.

        1. I would agree with all of the above. The Italian options in Chapel Hill are pretty meager. Panzanella, while not strictly Italian, has some really good dishes and is, by far, your best option.
          If anybody were to open a place serving quality Italian food in Chapel Hill, I would be a frequent and loyal patron and I don't think I would be the only one.

          1. La Russa's in Meadowmont is good. Great place to go for lunch. I recommend the chicken parm sandwich and the specials are usually pretty good. They also serve as a mini italian grocery if you wanna buy something to cook at home.