Durham Date Night: Gocciolina

Gocciolina has been on my list of restaurants to try basically since I moved to Durham four years ago, and I finally crossed it off the list this weekend! If you haven’t heard of Gocciolina, it’s an Italian restaurant located at an unassuming strip mall in North Durham. They are open for dinner only Tuesday through Sunday.

Alex and I were able to make a reservation for Friday dinner earlier in the week though there were limited time slots left. When you make reservations, you can choose from dining room, lounge, or patio. We sat outside and felt comfortable with the spacing between the tables. It’s peak mosquito season though so I recommend using a bug spray beforehand (wish we had)! They have a beaded curtain type of thing hanging on the patio so it doesn’t feel like you are sitting out in a parking lot. They do require masks when not seated at the table.

Their menu changes daily, and they post the photo of the menu on the website. Because our reservation was at 6pm right when they opened, they were still finishing writing up the menu so we waited inside and took a photo of the food menu. I am not sure if their cocktail and wine menus change but we also took photos of those because they are listed on the chalkboard in the main dining room, and paper menus are not provided.

Because it was #DateNight, we started with drinks. I got the Gocciolina Sour, which was tasty and strong, and Alex had a white wine that was not Pinot Grigio (apologies for my ignorance).

The food menu is divided into antipasti, main dishes, and sides. We shared a few antipasti—anchovy-wrapped stuffed olives; fried eggplant, gorgonzola, and tomato; and Boxcarr Lissome crostini with fig port jam. Everything was delicious but our favorite was definitely the fried eggplant antipasto! We’re thinking of coming back already and maybe doing an all-antipasti meal!

For mains, I ordered the Spicy Seafood Spaghetti with Octopus-Shrimp Sausage and Oyster Mushrooms, and Alex got the Fox Farm Mushroom Ravioli with Paolo Petrilli Tomato and Butter (but really both of us wanted to get the Spicy Seafood Spaghetti haha). The Ravioli tasted flavorful and clean (I don’t know why I am using the word clean but it did taste clean), and we loved the Spicy Seafood Spaghetti. It definitely had some heat, and the mushrooms and the sausage were delightful. We really appreciated that their main dishes were a good amount of food.

They do offer a small selection of desserts, but we didn’t get any because they didn’t have tiramisu (call us basic) and we had a ton of ice cream at home (but also call us responsible adults?!). We were really happy with our dining experience at Gocciolina and can’t wait to be back!

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