Mediterranean flavor

Cuisine

February 1, 2021



First look: Volo Ristorante

by Cathy Martin

Thousands of commuters drive down Providence Road daily, passing the small, well-kept shopping center adjacent to the Harris Teeter in Myers Park. If they slow down a bit, they might notice Volo Ristorante, the 60-seat restaurant that opened in late 2019 — just a few months before the pandemic forced restaurants to close, then reopen at reduced capacity.

Volo’s debut might have gotten lost in the shuffle of the 2020 news cycle, but Myers Park residents took notice, and the restaurant quickly became a neighborhood favorite for a quiet night out away from the crowds. Amid a slew of Italian restaurants that recently opened in the city, Volo sets itself apart with a Sardinia-influenced menu — updated every couple of months — that’s heavy on fresh seafood and grilled specialties. The interior — reimagined after the previous occupant Lumiere closed in 2018 — is sleek and modern with black leather booths, a small bar and a glass-enclosed kitchen so diners can watch the chefs in action.

Starters include mussels, served in a lightly seasoned broth of white wine and garlic; grilled octopus with fingerling potatoes; and bruschetta. The burrata prosciutto board, accompanied by grilled bread, olives and herb-infused oil, is ideal for sharing.

You will find housemade pastas at Volo, but not the heavy, stick-to-your-ribs variety prevalent at Italian-American establishments. The Nero — black squid-ink scialatielli (thick ribbon noodles) with shrimp and confit tomatoes — is simple, fresh and flavorful. For those avoiding carbs, the Painted Hills filet mignon comes with a hearty portion of perfectly grilled vegetables and a zesty salsa verde. For a healthy option with a unique presentation, order the branzino: A whole Mediterranean sea bass seasoned with lemon, garlic and white wine is fileted tableside and served with fresh vegetables.

Like the pasta, bread at Volo is made in house, delicate little pockets served with tomato-infused olive oil. The cocktail menu includes Italian favorites like an Aperol spritz and the Volo negroni, and more creative choices like the refreshing and slightly spicy Engine 6 C.F.D. — Casamigos Blanco tequila, lime juice, triple sec and passion fruit — and the smoked old fashioned made with bacon-infused, barrel-aged George Dickel rye.

Black-clad servers are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable about the menu. Owner Domenico Marsocci and his business partner Matthew Porillo wanted to create a place for Charlotteans to experience authentic Italian food. Marsocci’s father is from Italy, along with several staff members. 

“When I would visit family in Italy, I thoroughly enjoyed the real authentic Italian food, the traditional way they lived, and how everyone can feel truly like family,” Marsocci says. “I looked for it in Charlotte and there were not many, if any, authentic Italian restaurants. We like to pride ourselves on that authenticity from the country with the best food in the world.” 

For a relaxing, elegant meal in a comfortable setting that’s a little off the beaten path, commuters on this busy stretch of road might give Volo more than just a passing glance. SP

Volo Ristorante is open for dinner only Tuesday-Saturday, and takeout is available. Since Covid, the restaurant has expanded its outdoor seating, with heaters to keep diners comfortable. 1039 Providence Road, voloclt.com

Photographs courtesy of Volo Ristorante

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