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Stagioni has been known for several years as one of the best Italian restaurants in Charlotte. Owned by award-winning chef, Bruce Moffatt, this is a place where making an advance reservation is almost mandatory due to its immense popularity. Moffatt is the creator and owner of several successful and popular restaurants in recent years such as Barringtons and Good Food on Montford.

Located in what longtime Charlotteans call The Villa, the building is formally known as the Reynolds-Gormanjenko House. Built in 1925, and purportedly designed by NY architect William Lawrence Bottomley, the building is considered to be a great example of Tuscan revival architecture.

We were at Stagioni recently with our foodie friends Melissa & Paul to celebrate two birthdays and Valentine’s. With it being Valentine's weekend, we were unable to get a reservation for a regular table so we sat at a 4 person high top in the bar area. While not ideal since we were near the front door, it didn’t make the food taste any less delicious.

Our server had a good working knowledge of the menu and gave us great feedback on some of the items we were considering. Their menu changes quarterly to provide seasonal ingredients for their dishes which makes for a fun experience.

Some of the menu items that we especially liked were the grilled octopus appetizer. This dish seems to be quite popular with many fine dining restaurants in Charlotte right now. Stagioni’s interpretation was quite good. Beth thought that it was even better than one of our favorites on The Jimmy’s menu. Paul ordered the truffle tagliatelle which had porcini mushrooms and truffle pecorino in a truffle oil and Vermont butter sauce. Beth had the scallops which were topped with basil and fennel puree and accompanied by a fennel and apple arugula salad with toasted hazelnuts and a minted lemon vinaigrette. Melissa and I both had the rigatoni served with braised pork and fennel sausage sugo along with herbed ricotta. Sugo is an authentic Italian tomato sauce usually made with ripe tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and onions.

SO the big question is always, would we go back? Stagioni is known as being a loud restaurant. For those who struggle with hearing conversations with a lot of ambient noise, that might be an issue. Normally, I don't like noisy restaurants for that reason. But it was not as much for us since we were sitting in the bar. And the food is good enough that we will definitely return.

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