AMBIENCE: A trendy approach to a traditional Italian eatery, the restaurant mixes modern with mood. The dim blue lighting in the inside dining area sets an intimate romantic feel in the heart of downtown, while the tables that line the sidewalk capture an Italian nostalgia for a savored meal. With wireless internet access and a full gourmet self-serve coffee bar coupled with a stainless steel island bar, diners can bring their laptop, have a social cocktail, arrange business, or entertain a date -- or all of the above.
SEATING: In 2,350 square feet, the seating in the main dining area accommodates just under 50 people, the private dining room seats 20, and about 35 can be seated on the terrace.
SOUND LEVEL: Megaphone rating: (A megaphone rating of one is the most quiet, like sneaking food into the library, and four is the loudest, where you might as well be trying to eat a hotdog at a Panthers game). Tables are close -- during a more crowded rush, the main dining area has the potential to carry conversations to the neighboring table. However, with a private dining area available, the bar, and the veranda, the setup is appropriate for any occasion.
WINE LIST: A broad list of Italian wines to California wines, most offered by the bottle or by the glass. The champagne and dessert wine list ranges from a $63 bottle of Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Brut to a $210 bottle of Dom Perignon. Each month the restaurant features various Italian wines by the glass. This month the featured wines include Dal Piave Pinot Grigio, Celsus Chianti Docg, Montericco Sangiovese and Virna Barbera D'Alba.
PRICE RANGE: Lunch prices range from $6.50 to $12 and dinner from $12 to $28.
TYPE OF CUISINE: Traditional Italian dishes. A "Chef's Specialties" section includes the pairing of wines with entrees, from pasta to veal. Menu items also include pizza, paninis, fish, and chicken. Featured desserts from The Cheesecake Factory range from about $4 to $5.
BONUS: A nightly drink special is offered. Offers vary including half-priced Margaritas on Mondays, half-priced Martinis on Tuesdays, and $2 domestic beer on Wednesdays. Thursdays are buy one glass of the month's featured wine and get one free; Fridays are buy one Mojito, get one free; Saturdays are half-priced Martinis; and the week finishes with Sunday's buy one glass of champagne, get one free.
HOURS: Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sunday through Wednesday, 6am to 2pm and 5pm to 11pm; Thursday through Saturday, 6:30am to 2pm and 5pm to 12midnight.
RESERVATIONS: Reservations and carry out are available.
RECOMMENDED PARKING: Valet parking is available, or there is access to the Holiday Inn parking deck.
CREDIT CARDS: All major credit cards accepted.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Accessible.
Fresh Start is Creative Loafing's bi-weekly snapshot of a newly opened restaurant in the Charlotte area. It is not a review. We wait at least several weeks before giving a recently opened restaurant a full-fledged review; Fresh Start is a way to give readers basic information about area restaurant newbies.