Strawberries lining the top of this home made cheesecake

Review – Tarantini Italian Restaurant in Chapel Hill

Outside of Tarantinis in Chatham County
Tarantini's is across the street from the Governor's Club in Chatham County.

It was my husband’s birthday recently and we wanted to go somewhere special. We decided to try Tarantini Italian Restaurant near Governor’s Club. We heard that the food was supposed to be good and it’s certainly close to where we live.

Outdoor dining area with white table cloths, big ceiling fans and gold drapes
The outdoor dining is very pleasant at Tarantinis.

Tarantini’s is in a little strip mall across the street from the main entrance to the Governor’s Club in Chatham County, just south of Chapel Hill. The building is separate from the rest of the strip mall and has a lovely outdoor seating area. It was a bit breezy the evening we were dining, so we opted to eat inside instead.

Inside Tarantinis with warm colors and white table cloths.
The inside of Tarantini's is small and elegant.

The interior of the restaurant is intimate and elegant. The walls were beige with tones of rust and long, flowing cream-colored drapes. Many of the diners were from nearby Carolina Meadows and Governor’s Club.  There were many items that seemed worthy of trying, but we settled on splitting a Greek salad as an appetizer.  The greens were nice and fresh and the dressing had some balsamic vinegar and just a bit of sweetness counterbalancing the acids.

Foccachia bread with lots of garlic on top
The bread was warm and crispy.

Our waitress, Milana, had a beautiful accent which we later learned was from Brazil. She gave us a few suggestions of entrées to try and served us some great complimentary foccacia bread. The bread was warm and spongy. It was topped with lots of Parmesan cheese. We dipped the bread in a little bit of olive oil.

Mushroom ravioli with a white cream sauce
Mushroom ravioli

I had the mushroom ravioli for my entrée. The raviolis were homemade and filled with Portobello mushrooms and topped with more sliced mushrooms and served with a mascarpone cream sauce. I loved the raviolis, but wished the sauce was a little more complex than it was.  It needed a little bit of sherry or something to it.

Rigatoni with a tomato and vodka based sauce
Rigatoni alla Vodka

Scott ordered the Rigatoni alla Vodka, which was a home run! The large round noodles were covered in a creamy tomato vodka sauce with very small pieces of pancetta, which gave the sauce a bit of saltiness. Next time, I may order this dish!

Lots of dark berries over a lemon cream
This dessert was tart and sweet - a great way to end a meal.

For dessert, we tried the lemon mousse that was a recipe from Milana’s grandmother. Wow, was it ever great! The mousse was made from Greek yogurt and riccota cheese. The lemon was prominent, but not overpowering, and the berries on top were a combination of blueberries, blackberries and I think raspberries.

Strawberries lining the top of this home made cheesecake
This cheesecake was light and fluffy. I loved it!

We also tried the cheesecake and I swear, both my husband and I think this is one of the best pieces of cheesecake we’ve had in a long time! Rather than the dense cheesecake, this is a very fluffy, fresh cheesecake made with Tahitian vanilla and large slices of strawberries strewn on top. There was a caramel sauce on the sides and it was served with a fresh, homemade whipped cream.

I probably gained 10 pounds eating this dinner, but it was worth every calorie! Taratini’s offers many dishes that don’t have cream sauces on them too! One dish I want to try is the grouper, which is served with a white wine, pineapple and orange sauce. It sounds really great!

Tarantini’s is a great date night. Prices will run between $13 – $23 for most of the entrées. They also have pizzas starting at $10.50 and have a carry out area for the pizzas.

Taratini’s is located at 50160 Governor’s Drive in Chapel Hill, NC 27517. They are open Sunday – Thursday from 5-9pm and on Friday and Saturday from 5-10pm.
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