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Aug 13, 2008 12:38 PM

Authentic Italian in the Triangle?

We recently moved from New York City to Raleigh and we have been searching for authentic Italian restaurants. We've searched the Chowhound boards and have mostly come up with Italian-American "red sauce" places. Any suggestions? Thanks for any ideas.

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  1. I think Daniels(it's in Apex) is supposed to be one of the most authentic, I've been there a couple of times and thought it was pretty good but I don't go out for italian here very often because most places are as you described above. It's right near the Beavercreek shopping center.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fromageball

      I feel like Daniel's def. belongs to the red sauce set. There aren't really very many places that are doing great authentic Italian. Adam,the new chef at Il Palio is doing some really good food, some of which is "authentic," and the below rec for Piedmont certainly is right on, but you're going to be hard pressed to find the type of places you'd see, in, say a Boston North End or some such neighborhood.

    2. It's not a full menu, but Ciao Cafe and Wine Bar in Cary has great antipasti and an authentic Italian owner :).

      We also like Vespa (in Chapel Hill or Cary). There's an appetizer there that my husband said he hadn't had since he'd been in Italy.

      And of course Vivace is very well regarded.

      1. The short answer is no. Piedmont in Durham has some authentic dishes that they'll occassionally do, but they're not exclusively italian.

        1. Piedmont is the closest I've found to authentic Italian. Vespa is more of the old-fashioned Italian-American checked table-cloth type place, which is fine if thats what you're looking for. I haven't tried Il Palio yet, aside from brunch (which was fairly mundane).

          2 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom

            Year ago, Il Palio was excellent. Lately, not so much. Unfortunately, the definition of "Italian food" here seems to be what most people from the Outer Boroughs define as "pizzeria food." That means you get pizza, a few pasta dishes, and some meat dishes that really should be served on a hero roll. Some other places seem to have seen too many B gangster movies and think that naming everything after characters from the Sopranos somehow makes it "real."

            What I think you're looking for is more like trattoria food and no, there just plain isn't any here. To my lasting regret.

            1. re: rockycat

              est, est, est in raleigh was good in it's time. those were the days before downtown was hopping after hours -- just a ghostly drive to try and park as close as you could :)

              wasn't there a good place in sanford, run by a woman/family from italy? it's been years since i read about it in the independent.

          2. Another idea is Panzanella in Carrboro. I love their pizzas, and they do a few pastas too. Not strictly italian (despite the name) but worth checking out.

            I've never been to Pops but have heard good things - anyone have any thoughts on that?

            1 Reply
            1. re: LulusMom

              i'm not sure that panzanella or pop's (which is very good) is exactly what they are looking for. it certainly wouldn't hurt to try them.

              aurora would have been a good recommendation if they were still around.