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Jun 14, 2009 05:47 PM

Raleigh: al fresco pizza?

Now that summer's here -

My boyfriend and I are looking for places to sit outside, with service, and eat a good pizza. We live near Cameron and happily go to Piccola Italia about twice a month, but are looking for someplace new. Hopefully this place will have some good wine offerings, but that's not absolutely necessary. We love to sit outside and eat and drink, and eat and drink some more ..... and we love pizza.

Lilly's is out because last time we were there (don't mean to be harsh) it was quite dirty and they got our order wrong/service was bad and it was hard to even get some drinking water.

We usually stay close to home, but will drive to Durham or Chapel Hill for a great outdoor pizza-eating experience.

Serious thanks in advance for any suggestions!


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  1. Have you ever tried Moonlight Pizza? It's just down from Cameron Village, on the corner of Morgan Street and Boylan Avenue. They have nice specialty pizzas, pastas, and starters, decent wine by the glass, and they have a nice terrace for dining outdoors.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cackalackie

      We will definitely check out Moonlight Pizza - thanks both of you for the tips!

      I like Mellow Mushroom fine, except for the hectic running around aspect .... when the weather's good they usually quote us a 2 hour wait, and for me the price:quality ratio, minus the peacefulness drinking a glass of wine uninterrupted without having to move around while waiting = is not worth it.

      1. re: cackalackie

        Agree with the Moonlight rec, they have a great, large terrace. I wouldn't say their pizza is as good as Lilly's or Vivace, but it's tasty and they have unusual topping options. Our favorite thing on their menu is actually the spaghetti and meatballs.

      2. Vivace at North Hills Mall (actually, across the street near the Harris Teeter) at Six Forks and Lassiter Mill Road has a really nice wine menu, a decent pizza and a nice outdoor dining atmosphere.

        For a less expensive and more fun option, there's always Mellow Mushroom at Peace Street.

        1 Reply
        1. re: neenaj

          Excellent suggestion! We eat at Porters and Fraziers all the time, we love the Urban Food Group people but never thought of Vivace for pizza. We'l try this along with Moonlight. (Actually I can't wait. I have to drag my BF out of the downtown/Cameron/5 points area, but for this he will leave.)

          Vivace pizza outside within the next week - I can't wait.

          Unfortunately Mellow Mushroom is out for us, as posted above :(

        2. I second Moonlight Pizza. Their pizza is unlike any other in the area, and the terrace always attracts an eclectic crowd (eclectic=not everyone is under 25).

          1 Reply
          1. re: ediblerock

            Mellow Mushroom on Glenwood South has a large, nice patio. In Apex, there is Daniel's on Hwy 55 that has fantastic pasta and pizzas and a nice patio with a fountain and little white lights. In Cary, there is Maximillian's Pizza Kitchen on Hwy 54 that serves amazing pizza, but the service is slow and the outdoor tables are just on the sidewalk along the parking lot, so not exactly a nice view.

          2. "Lilly's is out because last time we were there (don't mean to be harsh) it was quite dirty and they got our order wrong/service was bad and it was hard to even get some drinking water."

            That implies you have been there before and probably enjoyed it or you wouldn't have returned. If you did enjoy Lilly's on previous visits, give them another chance. The last time you were there could have been the night that half the staff called in sick or the owners new baby was up all night sick. Even the best restaurant can have a bad night and the likelihood of a pizza place having a bad night is greater.

            2 Replies
            1. re: blewgo

              I'm wondering if the downturn at Lily's is more of a trend rather than just one bad night. I posted about this visit on another board, but the last time I was there in May, the experience was lousy. It took better than 1/2 hour to take 4 parties' orders, another 40 minutes to deliver the pies to the table. One pie was completely wrong, even though I heard the server repeat back the correct order. The server seemed to be hoping we'd just eat the wrong pie, shut up, and go away, but we made life difficult by insisting on actually getting what we ordered. It was an all-around bad experience and I don't see any need to return there. Yes, I've enjoyed Lily's in the past but I feel there are better options available now where indifferent service and wrong orders are not par for the course.

              1. re: rockycat

                I think it is a trend. I have experienced a slew of appalling behaviors, attitudes and poorly prepared pizzas. I tried them a number of times due to good reviews on this board and the variety and implied quality of their toppings. No more - there are too many places that actually care whether their customers are happy and hire/train employees to be at the very least civil. And their dough was raw in places each time I tried them.

            2. I realize it's been months - just want to give a sincere "thanks!" to the people who suggested Moonlight. We've since become happy semi-regulars, even though it's gotten too cold to sit on the patio.

              We like the food and funkiness, plus they're dog-friendly in the summer. The staff has been wonderful to us, and some of their pizza creations are really interesting. I love permeating garlic or ricotta or lemon zest or fresh rosemary on my pizza.

              I like them much better than Lilly's. If I had to compare the first pizza I ate at Lilly's 7 years ago with the first I had at Moonlight this year .... that would be a tough call, with Lilly's possibly winning.

              But with us, eating out is more than the food, it's the experience. The staff at Moonlight gives us an overall great experience. Not the case at Lilly's the last few times (and I've been at both places when they were REALLY busy.)

              Anyway - half a year later - thanks for the suggestions.


              2 Replies
              1. re: hajnalka

                I think that one of the original owners of Lilys broke off and started Moonlight Pizza, that may explain why the Pizza reminded you of Lilys in years go by.

                1. re: countgrog

                  The brother and sister of one of the creators of Lilly's started Moonlight. But alas they too sold up a few years ago.