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Feb 19, 2011 03:16 PM

Best Italian preferably near RDU

I've searched and read a few threads but we are flying out of RDU in a few weeks and I'm looking for the current, best Italian cuisine in the Raleigh/RDU area. I'm looking for something that can compete with the best family owned NJ Italian restaurant. Where should we go to be delighted?

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  1. I suggest flying RDU to EWR.

    Bella Monica in Raleigh (near the RBC Center). Caffe Luna (more upscale) downtown Raleigh.

    Pulcinella in Durham - near I-40 exit 274.

    Carmine's in Chapel Hill.

    Pulcinella Restaurant
    4711 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC 27707

    Bella Monica Restaurant
    3121 Edwards Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

    Caffe Luna
    136 E Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

    3 Replies
    1. re: boaviagem

      Have heard good things about Bella Monica but never been there. Casalinga Ristorante on Capital Blvd is also quite good even with it's strip mall location. Gravy on Fayetteville is a good overall experience and you're right in the thick of things in downtown Raleigh.

      Overall, don't get your hopes too high for Italian food in the Triangle, Dave.

      Bella Monica Restaurant
      3121 Edwards Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

      1. re: RonboNC

        What have you liked at Casalinga? I was there once for a friends birthday and haven't been back. It seemed half of the group loved it, the other half did not. Perhaps I ordered their weaker offerings?

        1. re: meatn3

          The Eggplant Rolatini at Casalinga was excellent. The lunch buffet is nice because you can try a variety of things. It's hearty. The restaurant has soul, which is accentuated by the fact that it is a bona fide hole-in-the-wall. The staff is warm. I like it.

    2. The great Italian restaurant that you are seeking does not exist in the Raleigh-Durham area. We have terrific dining here, but I suggest you make your choices based on our local specialties, rather than on what you would hope to find in New Jersey.

      1. It's been a while since I've been, but I think Vic's at city market downtown Raleigh does a good job. I'm from northern NJ.

        1. What about Bella Mia in Cary for coal fired pizza? Best of class for the area and relatively close and a straight shot from the airport?

          Bella Mia
          2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513

          1 Reply
          1. re: Guilty Gourmand

            That's what I was thinking. It's just one exit from Aviation Pkwy (on Harrison Avenue).

          2. EWR would get me to better food but we are headed to Mexico. ;)

            I would prefer a meal over pizza. We can get real NY Pizza at Luigi's in Morehead. It has been depressing recently being disappointed by a number of restaurants...

            1 Reply
            1. re: DaveN

              You might be able to get real NY Pizza in Morehead, but real Neopolitan coal fired pizza at Bella Mia will change your world. It'll make you feel good all the way to Mexico.

              Bella Mia
              2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513