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Pizza, pasta, and small plates.
The menu at Indaco.
Indaco

8 Great Establishments for Italian Dining in Charleston

From creative pastas to crowd-pleasing mains

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The menu at Indaco.
| Indaco

Old recipes, extra carbs, complex sauces, and cheese — it’s no shocker why Italian cuisine is adored. The temperature is dropping in the Lowcountry, so there’s no better time to cozy up to a bowl of handmade pasta. Restaurants choose the traditional approach or a fresh take on the classics, but one thing remains constant — dishes are always full of housemade components.

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Hip Huger Street stop Renzo might be better known for wood-fired pizza and funky wines, but this restaurant also packs in some great versions of Italian staples in the “Not Pizza” section of the menu. The pillowy ricotta gnudi with maitake mushrooms and the baked cavetelli with pork ragu are in heavy rotation this winter, but always try the special, whatever it is.

Renzo
The bar at Renzo.
Leslie Ryann McKellar

Melfi's

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Classic Italian dishes are revamped with bright, unexpected ingredients at Melfi’s. Slices of doughy bread topped with combinations like avocado and pistachio invigorate the bruschetta, and handmade pastas are packed with intense flavors. Diners also can’t go wrong with the crisp Melfi’s Roman-style pizzas — the kitchen’s take on the margherita is a standout thanks to a creamy, housemade stracciatella cheese.

A favorite of the Mount Pleasant set, Bacco is a welcoming space to enjoy a hearty rigatoni with braised beef ragu or share a plate of fried calamari. Chef Michael Scognamiglio has a way with seafood, so if there’s a fish special, go for it.

Indaco is a cozy nook of a restaurant on Upper King. The wood-fired oven glows as pizzas and Italian entrees are prepared. The burrata is always a hit to share and the seasonal pastas always have comforting combinations like the cappettelli with short rib, ricotta, and parmesan brodo,

Indaco/Facebook

Coda Del Pesce

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Take in the ocean views at this Isle of Palms destination while exploring an Italian menu with no shortage of seafood. Signature dishes like ricotta gnocchi with Italian duck sausage and tagliolini with burrata offer a distinct take on Italian favorites. 

Snowy grouper
Coda del Pesce/Facebook

Le Farfalle

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Le Farfalle’s modern take on Italian cuisine makes the dimly lit eatery a go-to spot for a a family gathering, date night, or comforting meal alone with a plate full of perfectly cooked pasta. Memorable dishes include the duck-confit-stuffed agnolotti and the blue crab with angel hair pasta.

Le Farfalle Brian Stetson

The Obstinate Daughter

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This Sullivan’s Island stunner offers a menu full of seafood, handmade pastas, and wood-fired pizzas. Melt-in-your-mouth short rib gnocchi and lamb sausage orecchiette with pistachio-mint pesto are among the diverse pasta options. Pizzas are topped with any and everything — the Funky Baller features meatball, kimchi collard flower, scallion, mozzarella, and parmesan. 

Wild Olive Restaurant

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Make the short drive off the peninsula to Johns Island for authentic Italian cuisine using local ingredients. Look for handmade ravioli, pappardelle, and lasagna with added flare from a lamb sausage and goat cheese combination. Customers can get the best of both worlds by adding a $6 side of gnocchi to any meat or seafood entree.

Wild Olive/Facebook

Renzo

Renzo
The bar at Renzo.
Leslie Ryann McKellar

Hip Huger Street stop Renzo might be better known for wood-fired pizza and funky wines, but this restaurant also packs in some great versions of Italian staples in the “Not Pizza” section of the menu. The pillowy ricotta gnudi with maitake mushrooms and the baked cavetelli with pork ragu are in heavy rotation this winter, but always try the special, whatever it is.

Renzo
The bar at Renzo.
Leslie Ryann McKellar

Melfi's

Classic Italian dishes are revamped with bright, unexpected ingredients at Melfi’s. Slices of doughy bread topped with combinations like avocado and pistachio invigorate the bruschetta, and handmade pastas are packed with intense flavors. Diners also can’t go wrong with the crisp Melfi’s Roman-style pizzas — the kitchen’s take on the margherita is a standout thanks to a creamy, housemade stracciatella cheese.

Bacco

A favorite of the Mount Pleasant set, Bacco is a welcoming space to enjoy a hearty rigatoni with braised beef ragu or share a plate of fried calamari. Chef Michael Scognamiglio has a way with seafood, so if there’s a fish special, go for it.

Indaco

Indaco/Facebook

Indaco is a cozy nook of a restaurant on Upper King. The wood-fired oven glows as pizzas and Italian entrees are prepared. The burrata is always a hit to share and the seasonal pastas always have comforting combinations like the cappettelli with short rib, ricotta, and parmesan brodo,

Indaco/Facebook

Coda Del Pesce

Snowy grouper
Coda del Pesce/Facebook

Take in the ocean views at this Isle of Palms destination while exploring an Italian menu with no shortage of seafood. Signature dishes like ricotta gnocchi with Italian duck sausage and tagliolini with burrata offer a distinct take on Italian favorites. 

Snowy grouper
Coda del Pesce/Facebook

Le Farfalle

Le Farfalle Brian Stetson

Le Farfalle’s modern take on Italian cuisine makes the dimly lit eatery a go-to spot for a a family gathering, date night, or comforting meal alone with a plate full of perfectly cooked pasta. Memorable dishes include the duck-confit-stuffed agnolotti and the blue crab with angel hair pasta.

Le Farfalle Brian Stetson

The Obstinate Daughter

This Sullivan’s Island stunner offers a menu full of seafood, handmade pastas, and wood-fired pizzas. Melt-in-your-mouth short rib gnocchi and lamb sausage orecchiette with pistachio-mint pesto are among the diverse pasta options. Pizzas are topped with any and everything — the Funky Baller features meatball, kimchi collard flower, scallion, mozzarella, and parmesan. 

Wild Olive Restaurant

Wild Olive/Facebook

Make the short drive off the peninsula to Johns Island for authentic Italian cuisine using local ingredients. Look for handmade ravioli, pappardelle, and lasagna with added flare from a lamb sausage and goat cheese combination. Customers can get the best of both worlds by adding a $6 side of gnocchi to any meat or seafood entree.

Wild Olive/Facebook

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