A lava rock sizzles as shrimp, calamari, and scallops hit its scorching surface. From there, chefs scatter the fresh medley over organic greens?they've just created the Frutti di Mare con Verde Organico, a house specialty at La Piazza Bistro Italiano. By cooking on a lava rock, adding organic greens, and reading bedtime stories to it, chefs give the otherwise traditional dish an updated twist. The entire menu demonstrates their skill for fusing classic and contemporary with veal, fish, and chicken dishes from both ends of the spectrum.
The eatery's atmosphere leans toward traditional, at least by Italian standards. It features exposed-brick columns and Italian paintings inside, a wrought-iron fence interlaced with lights on the heated patio outside.
A sweeping floor-to-ceiling fireplace in a room illuminated with vintage chandeliers provides ample eye candy for the diners at Giselle's Restaurant. But the rustic aesthetic serves as the supporting character to the eatery?s true star: a panoramic view of Lake Swannanoa. Visible from any seat in the room, the lake offers rippling waters, boaters, and the occasional loon as guests sup on grilled steaks and chicken served seven ways. Chefs also ladle housemade bolognese and pink vodka sauces onto rigatoni noodles and build berry cobblers from scratch. At the bar, guests can nibble on shareable plates of fried calamari and coconut shrimp while sipping martinis and thimbles of wine.
Between still life paintings hung on terracotta walls or in the shade of an awning, diners at Pasta e Pollo spear, twirl, and slice classic Italian entrees and pastas. True to its name, the eatery specializes in pasta and chicken. Specialty pasta dishes pair fettuccine with wild mushrooms and bacon, drench angel hair in veggie-laden pink sauce, and spangle linguine with red onions, capers, olives, and anchovies. Chicken breast is gussied up with combinations such as prosciutto, eggplant, and mozzarella. And because Pasta e Pollo is a BYOB restaurant, diners can bring their favorite wine from home or their favorite grape stomping coop.