7 Best Italian Restaurants in Charlotte

PETER TAYLOR
Civetta's snapper picatta, Bolognese papperdelle, crab arancini, penne alla Civetta, seared scallops and risotto.

These picks are based on our 2019 Best of the Best Awards, the 2019 25 Best New Restaurants and 2018 50 Best Restaurants lists, and rolling editorial decisions.


Angeline’s

The pappardelle Bolognese and cioppino at Angeline’s are both excellent, but if you’re feeling adventurous, order a few of chef Robert Hoffman’s appetizers. The whipped ricotta with sourdough, lavender honey, and pistachio is an unexpected sweet-and-salty combo, and the lamb and pork meatballs are great for sharing. Ride the elevator to the 19th floor of the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel for a nightcap from its sister cocktail bar, Merchant & Trade. 303 S. Church St., 704-445-2540.


Flour Shop

The smell of fresh bread baking in the wood-fired oven hits you as soon as you walk into Flour Shop. From the counter, you can watch as handmade pasta is prepared in the open kitchen. Chef Trey Wilson’s shared plates are great for a larger group, but if you don’t want to share, try the lamb Bolognese. 530 Brandywine Rd., 980-299-3754.


Stagioni

Now under the leadership of Chef Eric Ferguson, 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. 715 Providence Rd., 704-372-8110.


Aqua e Vino

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. 4219 Providence Rd., 704-364-4445.


Vivace 

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


forchetta Italian Kitchen

Award-winning chef Luca Annunziata serves Italian dishes inspired by his childhood in Naples. Eat lasagna just like his mom made it, and carbonara the way you’d have it in Rome. His fagottini, which won Best of the Taste at this year’s Taste of Charlotte, is a crepe stuffed with mascarpone, Parmesan, herbs, and lobster, and topped with vodka sauce. Sous Chef Ashley Smith is responsible for those made-from-scratch breads, and the dessert menu with items like tiramisu, flourless chocolate cake, and fruit crostata. 230 N. College St., 704-602-2750


Civetta

Civetta Italian Kitchen + Bar opened in 2019 in Ballantyne’s StoneCrest at Piper Glen among a sea of chains. The restaurant is warmer than its sister concept, Vivace, with rustic brick and wood accents like an expansive bar with a sliding wooden ladder and red patent booths. Among the recommended dishes, our recent review points to "Executive Chef Stephen Ollard’s version of Italian-American penne alla vodka with Parmesan cream, sun-dried tomato pesto, and chicken. It’s near-perfect, with al dente penne and a sweet vodka sauce balanced with pepper and garlic." 7828-E Rea Rd., 980-335-2758.