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raleigh nc - vino restaurant or other italian

Anyone have some good Italian restaurants, not pizza, to recommend?

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  1. Gravy in downtown is a satisfying red sauce joint. Vivace in North Hills is usually pretty good too. They steer more towards northern Italian items. Casalinga in North Raleigh on Capital Blvd might be worth a look. I've had a couple of pretty good pasta dishes there. They do a variety of Italian dishes and some of the Anglo-Italian favorites. Of these, Vivace has the most upscale feel, Casalinga feels more like a mom n pop, and Gravy falls somewhere in between.

    1. I like Vic's, downtown in City Market. Not a huge menu, and not fancy, but nicely done.

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      1. Haven't been there in quite some time (On Atkins), but Casa Carbone off Glenwood was really good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: zuklaak

          Oh my god, ate at Casa Carbone and thought it was awful. Sauces heavy; food didn't feel freshly made, decor outdated, a retro feel (but not in the good sense). Have liked Vivace in the past. Still want to try Gravy and 518 West.

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          1. Another possibility along the lines of Casalinga and Vics is Piccola Italia in Cameron Village. I'd put it at the top of the list among those types of red sauce joints. They also have pretty good pizza too IMHO. Another possibility is Casa San Carlo on Falls of the Neuse--haven't been there but I believe one of the former owners or chefs at Casalinga opened it not too long ago and it likely has a similar menu, etc. There's also Caffe Luna downtown and the more recent Tuscan Blu opened by a former Luna chef, also downtown, which both have a more upscale menu / feel than the Casa / Piccola joints. Finally, we also recently tried Al Dente on Creedmoor which I believe is supposed to have a coal fired oven and does a range of non-pizza dishes. I thought it was good but my wife was not too impressed and it's a good bit of a drive for us so we haven't been back.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Guilty Gourmand

              Just tried Tuscan Blu last night. I'm sad to say I was disappointed. We started with a Caesar Salad that was goopy with a heavy dressing that had no lightness of fresh ingredients. My SO had a grilled salmon that was fine... very simple and unburdened with any disguising flavors or sauces. But served with some very wet and flavorless sauteed spinach. I had fiocchi di carne ("beggars purses" of pasta stuffed with a meat filling) in a marinara sauce. The pasta was al dente... no complaints there. But the meat filling was mushy and not well seasoned. And the marinara seemed like diced tomatoes in their juice just heated up a bit. No transformation or spices. And then the waitress brought around a big bowl of that fine-ground (powdered?) parmesan looking like Kraft green-can stuff. It just didn't feel like a quality Italian restaurant meal. Oh, and stay away from their house Chianti by the glass!

              1. re: klmonline

                We were at Tuscan Blu several weeks ago and had a similarly disappointing meal of some smallish fish that was pushed on me and fileted at the table. I don't know if the fish wasn't fresh or that was typical of that fish, but... no plans to go back.