A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of checking out the newly renovated Il Palio restaurant inside the sophisticated Siena Hotel in Chapel Hill. It’s a big deal because it is the first major update for the restaurant in over 25 years! The modern yet welcoming new look comes with an impressive new menu, carefully created by Chef Teddy Diggs.
Rustic Italian food meets modern technique for a meal that’s perfect for a date night, a celebration, or if you want to feel like escaping for a night—the food will make you feel like you’re somewhere far beyond the main road in Chapel Hill.
It’s hard to stop yourself from filling up on the fluffy house-made focaccia bread alone, which takes 24 hours to bake to perfection. It’s saturated in olive oil, so there’s no need for dipping, and is sprinkled with sea salt. But you’ll want to save room because the other items on the menu are as skillfully prepared, such as hay smoked potato gnocchi. Hay is smoked beneath the potatoes as they bake under cover so that they take on the flavor and incredible smell that wafts up from the plate.
Other vegetarian dishes were also a pleasant surprise for us carnivores: Acorn “fazzoletti” with roasted local mushrooms or creamy risotto with green apples and a side of roasted cauliflower would leave me just as satisfied as the whole grilled sea bass and beautiful tuna carpaccio with large capers from Sicily.
Those who make a regular appearance at Il Palio can expect a personalized experience as the staff take note of preferences and favorites.
The chef’s enthusiasm for the new menu really comes through in each plate and is showcased in a new upscale yet comfortable environment you will have to experience for yourself.
Photos: Tommie Watson Photography