4 Best Italian Restaurants in Charlotte


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Spanish octopus with meats. cheeses, and tarts.

PETER TAYLOR

These picks are based on our 2018 50 Best Restaurants list. See the entire list here.


Stagioni

715 Providence Rd., 704-372-8110

FOOD: ★★★★ 
SERVICE: ★★★★    
AMBIANCE: ★★★★   

Under the leadership of Chef Drew Dodd, this Bruce Moffett restaurant has become a favorite among foodies and food industry folks alike. The interior is warm, with red accents that mimic the heart of the wood-fired grill in the open kitchen. The menu can seem overwhelming with three- or four-syllable words in Italian, but they most often translate to some shape of pasta, and the staff is quick to explain them. The pizzas are crisped next to the fire and topped with things such as house-made sausage. Staff used to joke that you’d never find chicken parmigiana, a stereotyped Italian staple, on the menu here. Dodd decided to add his own interpretation, stuffed with mozzarella and fontina cheese, to the menu. It’s a delicious and popular dish, showing that Dodd isn’t above serving the expected—he just does it on his own level.


Luca Modern Italian Kitchen

1523 Elizabeth Ave., 704-910-3161

FOOD: ★★★★
SERVICE: ★★★1/2  
AMBIANCE: ★★★

Rethinking Passion8 into a place that serves dishes from chef and co-owner Luca Annunziata’s home of Italy has given the restaurant a more cohesive sense of identity. The house-made pastas are the restaurant’s biggest draw.


Aqua e Vino

4219 Providence Rd., 704-364-4445

FOOD: ★★★★
SERVICE: ★★★★  
AMBIANCE: ★★★ 

This Italian restaurant has one of the smallest dining rooms in town, which means it can be hard to nab a reservation without planning. It also means chef Gabriele Grigolon can serve each dish, from pastas to composed plates, with textbook precision. 


Vivace 

1100 Metropolitan Ave., Ste. 100, 704-370-7755

FOOD: ★★★
SERVICE: ★★★1/2   
AMBIANCE: ★★★1/2  

Known for a killer brunch special, hearty pastas, and a convenient lunch, Vivace suits just about any occasion, even when it’s too cold to sit out on the restaurant’s BOB award-winning patio. 

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