Chapel Hill: Carmine's in East Gate
Just a word of warning. Sal's Pizza in East Gate has become Carmine's Pizza, apparently under new ownership. Carmine's is just as mediocre as Sal's was. If you are in the area and yearning for pizza and/or red sauce pastas, I recommend Bocci near South Gate. Bocci itself is nothing particularly special, but it's the best one can do in our neck of the woods.
We've been to Carmines twice. First time it was delicious, with good service, just having pizza.. Second time, not so good. Food was average, service average, and even some food was completely wrong - menu stated meal was served with mashed potatoes, but I was served what the waiter called "lemongrass risotto". The finally substituted potatoes, but it took some time.
I went to Carmine's a couple weeks ago for lunch. The service and the food were fine (I had the caprese sandwich), but they were out of about half the beers on the menu, which didn't leave much other than Budweiser and its relations (I ended up having sparkling water instead). There are no beers on tap, just bottles. I didn't ask about wine, so I don't know how that would have gone. The menu is very predictable - nothing but Italian-American staples.
I didn't try the pizza - I should, but with The Loop just a few doors down, I tend to go there for pizza since I really like theirs.
I love Carmine's. The pizza crust is fantastic, it's not greasy and the toppings are fresh. As much as I love the pizza, I find myself usually getting an entree (the alla vodka is great). Don't pass on the dessert either. The tiramisu is imported from Italy and the chocolate cobbler they make in-house. Yum!
My wife and i ate there last night around 8:15. We were disappointed.
The food was just "ok." The bread was pretty good but the house salads were rather bland. My wife's Antonio pasta with shrimp was above average. They gave her about 8 shrimp and the tomato cream sauce was tasty. My veal parmigiana was dry and there was barely any sauce on the entire dish.
Service was poor. Again, we showed up at 8:15 and searched for a sign as to the hours but none were listed. We noticed several tables inside and entered and were seated with no questions. Then, as we ate they started to clean the inside of the restaurant and put the chairs up on ALL the tables. We were finished eating before 9:00 (as we tried to rush since it was obvious they wanted us out of there). But, we could only go so fast as our waiter would walk right by our table without acknowledging us. We had drained our water glasses for 5+ minutes before we were able to stop him. Plus, he did not ask us how our food was prepared until we were ready to ask for a box for our leftovers.
So, we do not plan on returning though there should be some kudos for how amazing the interior of the restaurant looks.