We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Classy, elegant, old-school, and delicious”
Review of Il Palio

Il Palio
Reserve with OpenTable
Il Palio is not available for your requested time. Choose another time, or search restaurants with availability.
The time you selected has already passed.
Ranked #16 of 307 Restaurants in Chapel Hill
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Business meetings, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Franklin St. and Estes Dr.
Description: Il Palio is an intimate restaurant located in the Siena Hotel. We strive to emulate the best of the great Italian tradition of hospitality and quality at the table and in the glass. Our vision is simple - use the best local and Italian ingredients as purely as possible and serve them with comfort and pride. We cook as an Italian might in North Carolina.
Reviewed May 26, 2013

So some reviewers have hammered Il Palio for their decor. This intimate, small-footprint restaurant is a little jewel in the Sienna Hotel.

We made reservations for a Saturday night, about three hours before we wanted to go. The dress code is relaxed in summer, and we were seated within fifteen minutes of our reservation. There were a couple of large parties but our service didn't suffer at all. Almost immediately after we sat down, we received a shot glass of a sauce for tasting from the chef which was delicious. My husband had a micro-brew from a local brewery and I had an apple martini. Both were excellent.

As an appetizer, my husband had beef tartare and I had the buffaletta mozzarella caprese. My husband reports that the tartare was well seasoned and buttery, and the mozzarella in the caprese was probably the creamiest I have ever had. The balsamic glaze was tangy and sweet, and I ate it all! We then received a basil chickpea pesto to go with the bread basket. Really delicious, although when we requested the second helping, we asked for cracked pepper, which it definitely needed.

For supper, when we ordered, my husband's menu said the pappardelle bolognese and mine said the lasagnaetti bolognese. Turns out they'd had a menu change the day before so no pappardelle for me! :( That is my favorite pasta. The dish came with a thick hearty bolognese with veal, pork, and beef. It was meaty and rich, with I think cinnamon on it. My husband ate his whole portion; I ate all my pasta and wished for a little more pasta and a little less meat sauce, but that is definitely not the fault of the kitchen, it is a personal taste of mine.

Dessert was awesome. Hubby had the caramel butterscotch pudding with Hawaiian lava sea salt, and I had, omg, limoncello tiramisu. The pudding was good, and if I hadn't had the tiramisu I would have thought it was really excellent. Compared to the limoncello tiramisu, there was no competition. I savored every bite.

Service here was excellent, glasses were constantly filled, and this would be a lovely place for a romantic dinner or even a business meeting. I would most definitely go back and highly recommend it!

1  Thank wrensaver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (254)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

152 - 156 of 254 reviews

Reviewed May 19, 2013

Wonderful food, pleasant ambience, but a major faux pas: in a sea of empty tables, the host placed us at a table next to one set up for 14 people. We didn’t notice that set-up until our wine was served, and the group started coming in. We ate in a hurry and left as the noise grew.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank GundlachB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2013

Don't miss this jewel of a restaurant. Small, intimate, excellent service and local, organic foods - we highly recommend!

Thank CharlotteSadie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Wonderful food, service was excellent. The entire experience was well recevied. Staff was attentive to every need, even down to keeping the room warm (was a rainy night) and the food and drink flowing!

Thank TravelArunk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2013

The entrance of the hotel is very nice and for a few minutes if you close your eyes you feel llike you are in a small town in Italy. Lots of pink marble. The ceiling of the restaurant is too low and if the restaurant is full (as it was the night we were there) is not that pleasant. The food was good but way overpriced for the small portions. We are not big eaters but left "hungry". The decor of the restaurant does not match the "Italian" look of the hotel. They should change the decor and make it more "sophisticated" to match the hotel (at least the marble entrance).

Thank Johhny D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AnthonyCH, General Manager at Il Palio, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to share your dining experience at Il Palio. We are delighted you are fond of the hotel entrance and lobby. Although we are sorry to hear the ceilings feel too low. The restaurant and bar area are going through a full renovation, and the new design will improve the restaurants look and feel, creating a beautiful transition from the hotel entrance into the restaurant.

Our menu pricing fluctuates based on the local farmers and artesian producers pricing. Our portion size is on the smaller scale to allow our guests to enjoy multiple courses and have a pleasurable dining experience (not feeling overly stuffed). I apologize our portion size was not to your satisfaction. Our Chef is reviewing the menu and will double check his portion to pricing making adjustments where possible.

Thank you again for taking the time to provide us feedback about your dining experience.


Anthony Carey

General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Il Palio also viewed


Been to Il Palio? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing