Il Palio in Chapel Hill ~ Italian Dining at its Best

I was recently invited to dine at Il Palio, the four-diamond rated Italian restaurant located inside the beautiful historic Sienna Hotel along East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. The restaurant opened in 1987 but the hotel and restaurant changed ownership back in 2009 and both underwent major renovations last summer resulting in a new modern & open design in the dining room and a revamped menu from the kitchen.
Il Palio Executive Chef Teddy Diggs (Photo courtesy Star Chefs)
The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Teddy Diggs who took the reins at Il Palio in early 2014 and oversaw the restaurants renovations. He was recently named one of the top “16 Chefs to Watch in 2016” by the foodservice website Restaurant Hospitality and was previously the head chef of prestigious restaurants in Washington DC and Martha’s Vineyard prior to moving to Chapel Hill. A main element of the kitchen renovation was the addition of a wood-fired grill which helped to reshape Il Palio’s Northern Italian menu featuring wood-grilled steaks, chops and whole fish incorporating flavors indigenous to Italian cooking like “smoke” and “wood” as a result of the grilling process.

Of course being there several fresh pasta dishes as well featuring seasonal local ingredients. But when I say pasta here don’t think of your typical pasta and sauce dishes. The menu features dishes like hand-crafted acorn fazzoletti with roasted local mushrooms and pappardelle with bolognese ragu just to name a few. We started things off with the delicious house made rosemary and sea salt focaccia bread and the nine herb salad was which was amazing. It came with great light lemon dressing and garnished with a tiny edible flower.

Next up we enjoyed the fresh house made fettuccine pasta & porcini mushrooms. It is honestly one of the best things I have ever had. I’m actually not the biggest fan of mushrooms but the way Chef Teddy prepared them they were

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