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Aug 6, 2008 11:48 AM

Chapel Hill: Il Palio Brunch Fiasco

I've frequently been to Il Palio for the weekend buffet brunch. The food was been spectacular and suffered inevitably from the chafing-dish treatment, but the variety was fun and the dining room was pleasant. With a large party in tow, I showed up last weekend to find the buffet replaced by a menu.

The meal, in short, was a fiasco. About half of our large party ordered the cheese ravioli with lobster and morels. The dish was good enough. The problem was quantity: the $17 plate came with only four or five teeny-tiny raviolis, making for a 45-second meal and doing nothing to assuage appetites that had come prepared for a large brunch. My own plate came with one marble-sized piece of lobster.

Many at the table ordered either the margharita or the salmon-topped "breakfast pizza." I cannot emphasize enough the worthlessness of this pizza. The crust was like pita bread that had been baked for four or five hours to a stage of complete dessication. It was effectively inedible, and in retrospect I think we should have sent the whole lot back to the kitchen. This was some of the worst pizza I have ever tried, worse even than many a frozen pizza.

We then had a full complement of desserts, which were consistently mediocre.

I have not had dinner at Il Palio in a few years, but this latest brunch experience does not encourage me to return. I wonder if the restaurant has undergone a general decline.

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  1. davidA, the chef at Il Palio is no longer Jim Anile, who was the one who had brought that restaurant to greatness. Anile is in the process of opening his own place in downtown Durham called Revolution. See below:

    1 Reply
    1. re: mikeh

      "The food was been spectacular" -- sorry! In my original post I meant to say "was never...."