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Italian Restaurants in Raleigh NC

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Whether you’re seeking candle-lit romantic outdoor dining or something quick and casual, there are Italian restaurants in Raleigh to meet your needs. While the South may be known for dining choices like barbecue and comfort food, it’s certainly not limited to that. You don’t have to visit a chain either. Raleigh has a number of places that are unique to the Triangle that specialize in Italian fare. Dress up and head downtown for an evening meal or grab a quick lunch at a location outside the beltline.

1. Gravy

While the word “gravy” makes many a Southerner think of its common counterpart of biscuits, the term also refers to pasta sauce, which is where the restaurant derives its name. Serving up classic Italian-American dishes with a modern twist at its downtown location, Gravy makes fresh pasta sauce daily, using locally-grown tomatoes and herbs. The brick walls and dark wood give the restaurant an ambience of old-world Italy. Stop by for lunch options reminiscent of a New York deli, such as the meatball sub, Italian sausage hero or chicken parmesan. Dinner offers choices including chicken marsala, eggplant pie, pork cannelloni or sautéed potato gnocci. The restaurant has a relationship with six local farms and tries to use local ingredients whenever possible.

Hours: Lunch – Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Dinner – Monday-Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday- Saturday 5-11 p.m., Sunday 5-10 p.m.

Address: 135 Wilmington St., Raleigh.

2. Casalinga Ristorante Italiano

Located off of Capital Boulevard, Casalinga Ristorante Italiano is convenient to many who are looking for Italian food in Raleigh, NC. In business for more than 17 years, the restaurant uses recipes that are over 100 years old, passed down from the owner’s great-great-great grandparents. The high ceilings and intricately-painted walls lined with columns lend a sophisticated vibe to the dining room. Casalinga’s menu is extensive, with a wide range of pasta dishes, chicken dishes, pizzas, strombolis, paninis, seafood dishes and salads. Come during lunch to try the buffet, where you can sample a number of different specialties.

Hours: Lunch Buffet – Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner – Monday-Thursday 4:30-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 4:30-10 p.m., Sunday 5-9 p.m.

Address:4538 Capital Blvd., Raleigh.

3. 518 West Italian Café

Located in the heart of the Raleigh’s Glenwood South district, 518 West Italian Café offers multi-level dining in its open, expansive space. The restaurant offers free valet parking every night and during its Sunday brunch, allowing for convenient access. Specializing in fresh seafood, steaks, pasta and wood-fired pizza, a selection of beer, wine and cocktails are also available. Unique dinner options include shrimp polenta with lobster broth, leeks, prosciutto and mushrooms and whole wheat fettucini with grilled chicken, sautéed mushrooms, rosemary and marsala cream sauce. More traditional options include lasagna Bolognese and chicken parmesan.

Hours: Brunch – Sunday 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Lunch – Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Dinner – Monday 5-9:30 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-10:30 p.m., Sunday 5-9 p.m.

Address: 518 W. Jones St., Raleigh.

4. Piccola Italia

Piccola Italia is located in the popular upscale shopping center of Cameron Village. Offering candlelight dining, both indoors and out, this Italian restaurant in Raleigh has been in business since 1982. Owned and operated by a native of Palermo, Sicily, the large menu features all the Italian classics. Appetizers include bruchetta, fried mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, mozzarella caprese and fried calamari. All entrees come with bread and a choice of salad or soup. Choose from pasta dishes, chicken, seafood, veal or pizza.

Hours: Lunch – Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Saturday noon-3:30 p.m.; Dinner – Monday-Friday 5-9:30 p.m., Saturday 3:30-9:30 p.m.

Address: 423 Woodburn Ave., Raleigh.

5. Café Luna

One of Café Luna’s distinctive features is its location in a downtown historic building across from Moore Square Park. In addition to its main dining room, three private rooms filled with art are available and can accommodate up to 200 people. Anyone going to the nearby ballet, Carolina Theater, opera or symphony can receive 10 percent off by making a reservation and presenting tickets. Start a meal with an appetizer of cured parma ham with fresh melon or fresh mozzarella with sliced tomatoes and basil. Entrée options range from fresh pasta stuffed with ricotta and spinach to Angus ribeye with roasted potatoes.

Hours: Lunch – Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Dinner – Wednesday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.

Address: 136 E. Hargett St., Raleigh.

6. Bella Monica

Bella Monica offers casual Italian dining, both indoors and out, in suburban Raleigh. Voted as the best Italian restaurant in Raleigh in 2012 by readers of “Raleigh Downtowner,” this popular establishment offers a large separate gluten-free menu in addition to its standard menu. Opt for a pizza topped with items such as pesto, pineapple, red peppers, artichoke hearts or sausage or go for a pasta dish like manicotti, cannelloni or baked ziti. Flatbreads offer another option.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Closed Sunday

Address: 3121-103 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh.

7. Brixx Wood Fired Pizza

For those seeking an Italian restaurant in Raleigh away from the downtown, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza in Brier Creek Shopping Center offers a delicious option. Also good for those seeking a late-night option, this casual location stays open until 1 a.m. TVs inside offer the chance to view the latest sporting events. Brixx serves up a menu of more than 20 types of pizza, cooked over a fire. Sandwiches, wraps and pastas are also available as is a full bar.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 1 a.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Address: 8511 Brier Creek Parkway, Raleigh.

8. Vic’s Italian Restaurant

Vic’s Italian Restaurant is located in the historic City Market, with brick-lined streets in downtown Raleigh. Open since 1998, Vic’s also serves up New York-style pizza in addition to traditional Italian favorites like linguini with clams, manicotti, spaghetti and lasagna. Pizza toppings range from the common- pepperoni, mushrooms, olives and peppers, to the less common- zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, pineapple and feta cheese.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Closed Sunday

Address: 331 Blake St., Raleigh.

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