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raleigh nc - vino restaurant or other italian

normanc Nov 13, 2011 09:52 AM

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

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  1. d
    dinersaurus RE: normanc Nov 13, 2011 02:21 PM

    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. s
      sisterbeer RE: normanc Nov 13, 2011 03:48 PM

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: sisterbeer
        supernc RE: sisterbeer May 2, 2012 02:18 PM

        I second Vic's

      2. zuklaak RE: normanc Nov 14, 2011 03:55 PM

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

        1 Reply
        1. re: zuklaak
          normanc RE: zuklaak Apr 30, 2012 08:28 AM

          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 Sauces heavy; food didn't feel freshly made, decor outdated, a retro feel (but not in the good sense).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.

        2. g
          Guilty Gourmand RE: normanc Apr 30, 2012 08:48 AM

          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
            klmonline RE: Guilty Gourmand May 13, 2012 09:33 AM

            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
              Tehama RE: klmonline Mar 4, 2013 05:13 AM

              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.

          2. v
            veganhater RE: normanc Apr 30, 2012 09:35 AM

            Vivace certainly has the best Italian wine list I've encountered in Raleigh. The beverage program is great all around.

            1. b
              burgeoningfoodie RE: normanc Apr 30, 2012 09:37 AM

              Whats the story on the Italian place called La Volta?

              3 Replies
              1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                supernc RE: burgeoningfoodie May 1, 2012 01:31 PM

                I saw LaVolta the other day. Looked like buisness as usual. I like LaVolta. Good but not upscale. Their Chicken Spatzello or something was great. Basically a chicken and sausage dish.

                1. re: supernc
                  rockycat RE: supernc May 1, 2012 05:48 PM

                  Do you mean "Chicken Scarpariello?"

                  1. re: rockycat
                    supernc RE: rockycat May 2, 2012 02:18 PM

                    Yes, Thank you.

              2. Tehama RE: normanc Apr 30, 2012 06:05 PM

                Assaggio's. 3501 W Millbrook Rd, Raleigh NC 27613 I used to go there every so often when I had a friend that lived nearby and it was always very good. It is like behind the FedEx at the corner of Millbrook & Glenwood.

                Anyone else been? I enjoyed it, but it isn't close and I haven't been since my friend moved.


                2 Replies
                1. re: Tehama
                  libeerian RE: Tehama May 1, 2012 05:19 AM

                  I like Assaggio's. We don't eat out a lot, but we're pretty close to them and have gotten pizza and pasta dishes to bring home. I've been impressed.

                  1. re: libeerian
                    pickleme RE: libeerian May 1, 2012 11:22 AM

                    Bella Monica on Edwards Mill is very good - they have the standard red sauce items, with a sprinkling of some upper scale appetizers and entrees. Just make reservations if you go!

                2. m
                  mdv31616 RE: normanc May 11, 2012 02:10 PM

                  It is worth the 45 minute drive from West Raleigh to drive to Burlington and go to Prego. I found them searching the web. They were written up in Our State magazine. http://pregostrattoria.com/ Four trips later, I will keep going there. They have nightly specials, Fresh Figs wrapped in phyllo on salad, homemade pastas and desserts... and the patrons are so much friendlier and laid back then Raleigh. A community atmosphere. Reasonably priced and have a full complement of pastas as well as lamb, veal, etc.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mdv31616
                    Tehama RE: mdv31616 May 13, 2012 02:39 PM

                    Oh that sounds delicious! Thanks for the rec!

                  2. Tehama RE: normanc Mar 4, 2013 05:10 AM

                    This past weekend we had a group-style birthday dinner at Capri on Falls of Neuse and it was just fantastic. My BF had arranged the details beforehand and everything was served family style.

                    As a side note, one of the 16 of us is gluten free and the kind and thoughtful owner, Dino, made sure she had gluten-free bread and later brought her a separate dish of corn-based pasta. Very considerate.

                    To start, we had plates of four brushettas: the most delicious tomato-topping I have ever had, pumpkin, mushroom, and sheep's milk ricotta were the 4 different toppings.

                    Then we had a salad course with fresh greens topped with an amazing meat similar to spec, but it was extremely thinly sliced filet.

                    The pasta course was (1) pear and walnut stuffed purses and (2) squid ink fettucini with a lovely tomato sauce.

                    It had been a few years since I had been to Capri, but was very glad to make its reacquaintance and will definitely go back soon. Plus, Dino, the owner, is just a complete delight and made the experience a real treat. Well done!


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