You know how you can go to the Italian chain restaurants and order a bowl of FRESH pasta? Pasta made THAT VERY DAY? Nah, me neither. But foodies, if you can extricate yourself from the chains of well, the chains, you might discover that right here, in our own backyard, is an Italian trattoria that makes their pasta fresh daily. And frankly, some locally owned restaurants don’t even make their own pasta. It’s a bit of a pain and a lot of a mess. But Dioli’s does fresh pasta right.
Dioli’s Trattoria is in a location that some people might think is perfect for people watching and enjoying downtown Winston-Salem. It’s next to the Stevens Center for the Peforming Arts. You can see people filing into the “theatah” while you enjoy your breadsticks. Or you can have dinner before the big show.
These are real “sticks”, see? It’s great because they are flavorful and you don’t fill up on all those carbs before your really tasty, meaningful carbs arrive.
The foodies have been to Dioli’s a few times. The first time they placed us in the upper part of the restaurant where it felt very fancy. We were all alone and my kids ran all over the place, eventually. I guess they called that one, huh…get the kids away from the other patrons. Anyway it was nice and it’s kind of my favorite place to eat there now. My family and friends dined on many of the specials and house specialties and we were very impressed. But what has kept me going back is this…the FRESH PASTA.
Prior to our carbo-load we decided to try the Antipasto Plate as an appetizer. It was great nosh food. Some great Italian salami, Taleggio cheese (a little on the puny side), Tuscan olives, roasted red peppers, marinated mushrooms and house-made focaccia grilled to perfection. Now, truly, my foodies know I could eat like that all day. Give me a plate of meat and cheese and I’m a happy foodie. Not enough of that yummy cheese, Mr. Dioli…but it is fabulous…it’s still all love.:) It was probably the right amount for someone who couldn’t eat like that all day.
Next, our pizza loving son received his pizza, which they made special for him. This type of regular cheese pizza was not on the menu but the chef did us a favor. Thanks, Chef!
The sauce was robust with a hint of nutmeg and the crust was crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, just as it should be. I love a rustic pizza like this. My kids don’t eat much so this made good leftovers a few days later.
Now, for what we came for. Pasta, pasta, pasta. FRESH, made that day pasta.
My favorite thing at Dioli’s is simply the Spaghetti and Clams, served traditionally with herbs, garlic, tomatoes and white wine. I prefer mine Fra’diavolo style with a medium spice. They will make it as spicy as you dare.
Mr. foodie ordered Spaghetti with house made meat balls, marinara. He added extra meatballs.
What I love about Dioli’s spaghetti is that the pasta is not so long that you’re wrapping and wrapping and splashing your clothes with pasta sauce. They are about half the length of regular pasta. Of course, you can also get a fresh lasagna, tagliatelli, manicotti. All of the pasta is made in Dioli’s Italian Market & Deli on Reynolda Rd. I’m told you can also order it to take home. There was NO pasta when I arrived on a Saturday afternoon and I know now to order ahead. Also at the trattoria for lunch or dinner, you’ll find a not too overwhelming selection of seafood, quail, pork and the most amazing Veal Scaloppini which is lightly breaded and sautéed with Marsala wine, garlic, butter, capers and fresh herbs. This is served with Taleggio polenta and grilled asparagus. If you need some pasta, they will bring it on the side, but that polenta is pretty banging.
On to dessert, because the other thing that Dioli’s does that you don’t hear EVER in the chains and rarely at any local establishment is they make their own cannoli cream with ricotta impastata, imported from Italy. It gives the filling just the right consistency while not being too sweet and the cannoli shell stays crispy, just like I like it.
Mr. foodie had their famous Tiramisu. It is creamy and coffee flavored and just drunk enough with liqueur. We like our Tiramisu a lil’ tipsy!
As you can see it has lots of nice shaved chocolate on top for your chocolate needs. Heaven knows why we didn’t take a side shot of this pretty thing. We were prepared to “dive in”, apparently.
You can find desserts like this and many more cakes as well as lots of deli items at Dioli’s Italian Market on Reynolda Road. There you’ll find sandwiches, etc. for dine-in lunch and bulk items for your lunch or dinner or party on the go. There might be some last minute deliciousness you can score if you go ahead and make your Valentine’s order (who knows, you procrastinators!).
Dioli’s is also participating in The Big Eat in Winston-Salem and the feature, which will be half off on Tuesday, February 11, is scheduled to be Fettuccini with Rabbit & Mushroom ragu—a Dioli’s original made with seasonal mushrooms and local rabbit. That sounds really good to me. I recently fell in love with rabbit, though my children are horrified.
Dioli’s Trattoria is another example of a family-owned business, rolling out pasta, turning sauces and baking cakes and breads with love. So next time you are in the mood for pasta, you really should try FRESH pasta. It is definitely a treat. And while you are at it, save some time before or after your visit to the Trattoria to visit the Italian Market (seen here). You’re bound to walk away with something marvelous (if it’s not all gone). They can handle private parties and catering too.
401 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem