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Comment Archives: Locations: Restaurants: Italian: 5 Stars

Re: “Bacco Italian Restaurant

Bacco has steadily been my favorite restaurant in Charleston (actually, period) for the past few years since it opened. It is very tasty, very inexpensive, and very cozy.

If you're reading this thinking "huh, I should try this place" then please consider this: go during the week. The word has gotten out and the restaurant is starting to fill up on weekends. I like eating here at 7 pm on a Saturday, so don't steal my table. Go on Tuesday or Wednesday, when chef/owner Michael offers his 7 course tasting menu for a mere $20. This includes 3 antipasti (appetizers), 3 primi (pasta), and a choice of dessert. The full menu is also available. Or go on Thursday, for half price wine bottles.

The food is the star here. Have you ever eaten something, closed your eyes, and had a moment, an experience? Not just putting food in your mouth because it's a metabolic necessity of life, but an actual experience from food? I've had that at probably 3 restaurants in my life, and Bacco is not only on the list, it's a repeat performer. Let's talk about some of those foods/moments.

Chicken liver crostini: If you don't like to eat "gross" stuff, you can skip this and go on to the pasta. That leaves more for me. These are magical. I order extra plates of this when I see it on the menu. When I was in Paris, I ordered goose live foie gras pate at every occasion. These crostini aren't just the next best thing to a Parisian cafe, they're better.

Pappardelle: On my first trip to Bacco, I had never heard of pappardelle. Afterwards, I scouted every grocery store in Charleston to find it (I'll save you the trouble: Whole Foods and Harris Teeter). This is a wide fettucini-like pasta with tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella, as simple as it can get. It is also spectacular, a real example of the beauty of simplicity.

Ricotta cheese cake: I am not a dessert person, so just making it on this list is an accomplishment for the chef. This is unlike any other cheese cake you've had. It focuses on flavor and texture, not just cramming sugar and saturated fat into a wedge and calling it dessert. Also to note are the strawberries with balsamic reduction, again actual cuisine and a tasty way to end the meal.

Butternut squash soup: This is my wife's favorite dish. I normally think of soup as a course you get out of the way so you can get to the actual food. Much like salad. I make exceptions for only two: this and she crab soup. And wedge salads with bacon, but that's a different story.

Duck: I normally don't order, or particularly enjoy, duck. However, Michael makes the best duck leg, which my wife thankfully ordered, let me try, and I will now order next time I am there. I had similar tasting duck at a double Michelin starred restaurant, but Michael's is tastier, tenderer, and crispier.

There are many others, but considering the menu rotates seasonly, if not weekly, you're likely to have different choices each time you arrive.

In regards to the other aspects of the restaurant, as if the food isn't sufficient, the atmosphere is perfectly simple and comfortable, much like the food. The wait staff is perfect. I know most of them by name, because they are noteworthy.

Again, and I can't stress this enough, this restaurant is a must visit and my unequivocal favorite in town, but the 7 course chef's tasting menu on Tuesday and Wednesday is not only a steal of a deal, but a great way to experiment, diversify, and try some world class food you might otherwise not consider. If you go any other day, the regular menu is sure to please. Just don't take the last table, I want it.

5 of 6 people like this.
Posted by K and B on March 4, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Re: “Trattoria Lucca

Lucca is my favorite restaurant in all of Charleston, and in my top three nationwide. I've eaten there many times over the past two years and have never been less than ecstatic about the food.

Posted by carolinagirlygirl on March 1, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Re: “Mondo's

I am a huge fan of Mondos! I love the artichoke hearts appetizer that is wrapped in prosciutto and stuffed with goat cheese! And for dinner I have had their Flamed Vodka Cream Sauce with shrimp, but now I just order from one of the chef's specials of the night! Everything is delicious and I am never disappointed!

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by annagsu on February 23, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Re: “Wild Olive

Lovely atmosphere- great lighting even upon entry to the parking lot. The mussels were awesome, as was the local beet salad with farro. Ricotta gnocchi with boar ragu was an unexpectedly delicious entree. Desserts looked creative and delicious. Definitley worth the drive to John's Island.

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by macmor1234 on February 21, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Re: “Wild Olive


Posted by lowcountry15 on December 5, 2010 at 10:38 PM

Re: “Wild Olive

Fantastic! Simple, rustic and great food. Service was first class. Special attention to gnocchi with boar ragu; venison with cherry-stuffed gnocchi (Uau!) and short ribs with fontina-stuffed risotto cake (delicious sugo). As mentioned above, the chocolate pistachio custard is to die for. Also, we got a special deal: certain wine bottles were $19 (Sunday night; not sure if it were a Thanksgiving weekend special or just a Sunday dinner special).

Posted by CHS-food on November 28, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Re: “Al di La

We went yesterday for the Halloween party and had a great time. The food and service were outstanding. The patio was very nice yesterday as well. Highly recommended.

Posted by Gingerman on November 1, 2010 at 7:12 AM

Re: “Bella Napoli

Bella Napoli is a classic, family owned Italian-American restaurant. For me it feels like home.

As an Italian-American myself, I love going to Bella Napoli, not just for the food, but for the experience I get interacting with the staff and other patrons. It feels like home. Chef Gary treats everyone like they are his kin. The wait staff is just a friendly, warm and welcoming, especially our favorite waiter, Chuck. Ask for him next time you are in and you will not be disappointed.

But lets talk about the food. It is absolute heaven. Everything is fresh made everyday from scratch, even down to the ladyfingers they use in the Tiramisu. Chef Gary invited my boyfriend and me back to the kitchen our first visit to take a look at the operation. I have seen living proof of the love and hard work that goes into this restaurant and I am impressed and thankful that this place is in my own neighborhood.

Their specials never disappoint, my favorite so far being a seafood manicotti. They also make amazing Chicken Marsala. Whatever brand of Marsala they are using in this dish is perfecto!

Ignore any negative comments about this place. They are not true!

1 of 2 people like this.
Posted by ddefebbo on September 19, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Re: “Mondo's

I had the eggplant parm for lunch, and it was absolutely delicious! Came with a very nice salad with the house vinegarette. I was stuffed, and the price was a mere $9.00. Mondo's is a hidden gem on James Island on the corner of Folly and Camp Roads.

Posted by Casey508 on July 27, 2010 at 9:29 PM

Re: “Bella Napoli

After reading Skrymik's comments about Bella Napoli, I am convinced he must of been at Fazoli's and didn't realize it! I can personally say that everything he wrote was a bold face lie!

The folks at Bella Napoli prepared two lasagnas for an office luchenon. Both lasagnas were fresh, hot and YUMMY! including the fresh home made bread. I have never had cold, frozen, old or plasticy tasting food from Bella Napoli.
And if the food and service was so bad, why not 'complain' while in the restaurant? If there was a problem, the owners would have made it right. I have yet to meet anyone that has eaten at Bella Napoli say anything bad about the food or the service.

Skrymik also complained about a LONG wait. Impossible! Every time I've gone there they had more than enough servers to get things done fast and efficiently. My boyfriend and I went to Bella Napoli for dinner one night and didn't have much time. We told the server that we had about 45 mins to eat dinner before we had to leave for an appointment. We order Veal Marsala and Spaghetti Carbonara. Both meals were out on the table in less than 20 minutes (fresh, hot and yummy). I also go to Bella Napoli for lunch several times a week and I am never late getting back to work. Skrymik doesn't know what real Italian food is, so I suggest he keep eating at Fazolis and quit making false accusations.

SKRYMIK...why not man up and go back to the restaurant and talk to the owners face to face instead of slandering their business?

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by sapphire on June 14, 2010 at 11:35 PM

Re: “Wild Olive

the real deal but not cheap, great service and food

Posted by coachz on June 13, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Re: “Pane e Vino

Bellissimo! Now that Alfredo is in on the team, this Italian gem is even better. He made us a lightly fried mushroom and cheese appertiv (funghi e formaggio) before a Spoleto event that was amazing.
Their service was attentive yet busy as usual. Pane e Vino seems to be a popular dinner and celebration spot off the beaten paths of upper King.
Tried the creamy ravioli, spicy spaghetti, and homemade gnocci with gorgonzola -- tutto bene! The Sicilian wine selection is also robust, delicious, and well-priced. I would highly recommend keeping Pane e vino on your local culinary radar screen for authentic northern-, southern-, and Sicilian-Italian fare.

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by fighter_pilot on June 6, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Re: “La Tabella

Was excited to hear about the Flounder special, then saw the menu! This place has everything that anyone could possibly want. My husband got the ribeye, cooked to perfection. our guests opted for the luingini Stefani and chicken saltimbocca -- incredible compliments on both. As starters, we had the Antipasto, and sun dried tomato basil dip, which were reccomended by the incredible service staff. And a wonderful reccomendation they were! I finally decided to splurge and get the Pork Osso Buco as my main course. Never had any better. This place deserves to be downtown. We just happened to be in town for Spolleto (live in Mt. P), but will most certaintly make the drive back to James Island on a regular basis to frequent La Tabella. Kudos to Chef Kevin!

2 of 3 people like this.
Posted by xperience is a plus on June 5, 2010 at 2:39 AM

Re: “Al di La

This place is amazing, and we are treated so well every time we visit. From the food to the service, Mark and Gillian know how to make you family. The food is always made to perfection, the staff is gracious and knowledgeable, and they always win you over with every detail. I would recommend Al di La to anyone.

Posted by LaurenRN on May 27, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Re: “Al di La

My fiance took me to Al di La on our first date over a year ago. It was the perfect setting where we felt comfortable dressed up in a casual environment. Romantic yet easy. The bolognese is amazing. The service is friendly but not obtrusive. Obviously the first date went well. We've continued date night at Al di La throughout our engagement and will be back again next week- 2 weeks before our wedding.

Posted by Mrsmajesky6410 on May 9, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Re: “Al di La

Indisputably the BEST restaurant in the Charleston area!! This orange-hued, fifties-inspired Trattoria offered a wonderful dining experience. Though Al Di La has been in the midst of renovations to their outside patios, the service and experience has not been affected. My boyfriend and I ate out on their patio last night and, needless to mention, enjoyed a romantic dinner under bulbed lights. Not only was the service impeccable, but the food was absolutely wonderful! We enjoyed their seasonal beet salad and swordfish specials, which were absolutely DELICIOUS. We continued our evening in their barco. Their wine selection is infinite! Enjoy a class of Friulano--for the white wine lovers, like myself-- or some bubbly, Prosecco! Al Di La, hands down, has it going on!

Posted by lawstudent on May 7, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Re: “Michaelangelo's Kitchen

This is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to! I am addicted to the amazing pizza, I have been ruined for all other pizzas. The dessert selections are so incredible I had them do my wedding cake. That cake was the most talked about part of my wedding. I plan to remain a loyal customer!

Posted by stephfoux on March 17, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Re: “Al di La

I've been going here ever since it first opened, and I've never been disappointed. The service has always been great, the food is always excellent, and the prices are so reasonable. The gnocchi is probably my hands down favorite meal. ever. I think i will make a reservation for this week!

Posted by mmc1979 on March 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Re: “La Tabella

Everything about LaTabella's not only met my expectations going in, but well exceeded them. We were extremely pleased with not only the food, but the exceptional service we received this past weekend. The waiters were friendly and knowledgeable and both the chef and owners were circulating from table to table checking in with their customers throughout the meal. I'm so excited to have a new restaurant that serves delicious food while making you feel like you're eating with one big family!

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by SharonO on February 1, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Re: “The Red Pepper

My wife and I recently went to the Red Pepper on the advice of our nexr door neighbors who are from Naples Italy who said it was the best Italian food they have eaten since moving here 6 months ago from Naples. After looking on the web at we decided to go there for new years eve. We started with spicy fresh mussel dish with a hot creamy tomato sauce and Carpaccio which is paper thin filet of beef that was served on a large dinner plate with chopped red onions, capers, artichoke hearts, and parmesan. Our salads were served chilled with a house balsamic vinegar and olive oil. For dinner I had the mountain trout encrusted with crushed pistachios and fontina cheese over angel hair pasta tossed in a creamy sundried tomato sauce. My wife had the Italian chicken pot pie full of fresh veggies and
topped with puff pastry. Both dishes were wonderful and our waiter had us try a bottle of Fiano from Naples which was a perfect to our food. Our waiter also recommended that we try the homemade tartufo with a glass of dessert wine. We cannot say enough about the Red Pepper as the staff took care of our every need and made us feel right at home. We loved the ambience of this 100 year old home turned into a Italian restaurant and we are looking forward to also dining on the outside porch and patio.

2 of 5 people like this.
Posted by golfman on January 22, 2010 at 6:05 PM
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