2.08.2013

Il Palio in Chapel Hill, NC: Leigh’s Fabulous Friday Pick

Tucked away on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is a little taste of romantic Italy.  My Fabulous Friday Pick this week is the award-winning restaurant, Il Palio.

Il Palio is located in The Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill, NC. 

Il Palio Exudes Romance

The atmosphere at Il Palio exudes romance, and the chef prepares every dish with passion. Under the leadership of Executive Chef Adam Rose,  Il Palio is a farm-to-table Italian experience that has roots in small trattorias in Siena, Italy. It truly is divine.  I’ve been to Italy, and the whole time I was at this restaurant, I kept telling Will, “Wow, I feel as if I’m having dinner in a Tuscan villa.”

As North Carolina’s only AAA Four Diamond Italian restaurant, the experience does not disappoint.  It is definitely a splurge-type restaurant, but the expense is so worth it.  The Italian-inspired cuisine showcases the freshness, excellence and diversity of North Carolina’s local farmers and artisan producers.

A highlight of the evening was tagliatelle al tartufo.

Tagiliatelle al tartufo at Il Palio Ristorante in Chapel Hill, NC

Although difficult to pronounce, tagliatelle is a flat pasta that is big on taste.  The pasta is tossed in a winter black truffle pesto, extra-virgin olive oil, grana padano, and toasted pine nuts. 

Chef de Cuisine Isaiah Allen, who we met the night we dined, told us that he learned more about this special Italian dish while he worked in a trattoria during his month long honeymoon to Italy


Il Palio serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.  It's named after a famous horse race in Siena, Italy
Il Palio has a full-time, 40-hour pasta maker whom staff jokingly call “Freddie Spaghetti.”so all pastas are fresh, and made in-house. The beer and wine list is extensive, and impressive.  

Will and I ate four courses plus dessert.  We were too busy looking into each other's eyes for me to get good photographs of our dinner so you'll just have to trust my recommendations sans photos. Ok.  The real truth. I'm a poor photographer. The restaurant is romantic, and the lighting is low. 

We didn’t think we could eat dessert, but despite being so full, we couldn’t stop eating the Pistachio Crème Brulee when it was placed in front of us.  It was creamy, light, and the perfect ending to a fabulous meal. 

Il Palio Valentine's Day Menu

The Pistacio Crème Brulee will be part of Il Palio’s special Prix Fixe Valentine’s Day menu, which is $95 per person plus tax and gratuity.

We took our romantic evening one step further and checked into the gorgeous Siena Hotel, A Summit Hotel, which will be a “Pack my Bags” segment in the very near future.

All I can say is that it is good to be Queen for a day, and Il Palio makes you feel as if you have dined like an Italian royal, which is why I’ve made it my Fabulous Friday Pick for this week.


Isn't this chair grand? It is an Italian antique that the original owners of the hotel found in Italy


Want to Go:
Il Palio Ristorante
The Siena Hotel
1505 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC


Il Palio on Urbanspoon

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