dolce ristorante (dilworth)
rating: * * *
1710 kenilworth avenue
charlotte, nc 28203
sometimes, a gal just needs her pasta.
thankfully, i’m apt to overlook this fault when it comes to dolce. i’ve tried pasta from many different places locally, and i long ago decided to award the crown of “best pasta in charlotte” to dolce. their pasta amatriciana is one of the best meals in the city, bar none . . . and be sure to add eggplant to the dish, because there are few things tastier than eggplant and pancetta mixed in a spicy tomato sauce.
dolce is situated in a small shopping center perpendicular to the annoying harris teeter in dilworth. i say “annoying” because it’s too small and lacks many ingredients i like to cook with, so it drives me bonkers. i know they’re currently renovating, but i typically avoid it unless trader joe’s is closed or i wish to purchase meat locally (trader joe’s and food lion don’t cut it in the meat department). dolce is small and unassuming in its little corner, but don’t let the location fool you — it’s usually slammed full on weekend evenings. apparently, pasta is not the enemy of many charlotteans, and dolce is reaping the benefits of this fact.
don’t fill up too much on the complimentary white cannellini bean salad and bread . . . i know it’s hard, but save your cursed carbs allotment for the pasta!!
my husband’s favorite dish at dolce is the penne with chicken. the sauce is creamy with just a hint of tomato, and it’s hearty and satisfying. truly, since the chef at dolce makes all of the pasta fresh in-house, you can’t go wrong with any pasta dish. if you’re a vegetarian, the pummarola is an excellent option, as is the manicotti.
alas, not everything about dolce is as perfect as its pasta. the restaurant’s size can be a problem. i find it cozy, but on really popular nights, it can be a bit stressful. for instance, it’s possible to reach your arm across the aisle and steal food right off of your neighbor’s plate, and, if you back up your chair to leave/go to the restroom, you might just piss off the person behind you, so beware. also, i’ve tried several of their straight meat dishes (like veal scallopini), and i find them a bit underwhelming. stick with the pasta and you’ll be set. seriously.
so, if you’re looking to stick it to the dr. atkins for dinner, give dolce a try! i promise you won’t regret it (much).