A Valentine’s Day Feast in Charlotte

My husband and I had a much needed date night this Valentine’s Day after weeks of recovery from surgery. We had planned to go to a restaurant in Dilworth, but when we called to make reservations they told us they would only be offering a set menu with a fixed price. So, we decided to try a restaurant that we had never been to before. A few of our friends told us about Zio, a casual Italian restaurant off of Queens road, so we thought we would try it out. They don’t except reservations so we arrived early just in case. The only negative thing I have to say about this restaurant is the parking. We witnessed two minor fender benders just in the parking lot!

Once we got inside, we only had to wait 10-15 minutes to be seated. Not bad for Valentine’s Day and not having reservations! Our waiter was prompt and was very knowledgeable about the wine list. The wine was moderately priced with a variety of whites and reds. I went with a buttery Chardonnay while my husband chose a dry, earthy red. And that’s all I know about wine.

Once we had our drinks we looked over the menu. I had done a little research to find out what other people ordered and loved. The Beef Spiedies (pronounced speedies) came highly recommended, so we ordered them for an appetizer. But before they arrived, our waiter brought us a basket of warm, home-made bread with olive oil for dipping. Oh my! I could have filled up on bread alone. I’m sure it was very unromantic of me to scarf down the complimentary bread, but this girl loves carbs! Especially, if they are home-made. Okay, enough about the bread. The Beef Spiedies lived up to the hype. They are bite-size pieces of steak, cooked to medium, and put on skewers. The steak marinade was excellent, although a bit vinegary.

For the main course, we both chose the grilled pizzas. I ordered the grilled pear and Gorgonzola pizza with arugula and smoked bacon. My husband chose the grilled pizza with sweet Italian sausage and roasted red pepper. Both pizzas had thin crispy crusts that held up to the plentiful toppings. I would have never thought to put pear on a pizza, but it was delicious! The soft, sweet pear perfectly paired with the smoky bacon and peppery greens. The Italian sausage and red peppers were also  delicious, albeit  more traditional toppings. We each had half a pizza leftover!

After debating if our stomachs could hold it, we ordered the Tiramisu. It came in a glass sundae dish and was perfect for splitting! The custard mixture on top was very sweet, but still creamy and rich. The strong espresso and chocolate took the edge off the sweetness, making for a delicious end to an outstanding, affordable Italian feast!

Total, with tip, we paid just under 60 dollars and had almost a whole pizza leftover! We will definitely be visiting Zio again!


The Southern Bee