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Is there anything more romantic than eating Italian food by candlelight? These are five of our favorite Charlottesville Italian restaurants to help to set the mood, from a classic Belmont spot to pasta-at-home. That’s amore!


While the popular Belmont restaurant is still open for seated dinner, there’s something exciting about taking it to-go (maybe it’s that you can eat in your PJs?). Go for bestseller linguine alla carbonara, then follow it up with crowd-pleasing tiramisu. Add the restaurant’s popular old fashioned to the order and you’ve got yourself a perfect evening on the way.


And the most romantic locale award goes to… We can’t think of a place more ripe for a meet-cute than under the streetlight at this to-go pasta spot. Order your Bolo (pork ragu over pappardelle with mint, toast crumbs, and parmesan) at the window, then work on your selfie game until your meant-to-be strolls up with dessert.

Mona Lisa Pasta

If you’re more of the DIY sort, here’s your best bet: At Mona Lisa, choose your pasta cut and flavor (the Preston Plaza spot has more than 10 on offer, from lemon pepper to squid ink), then bring it home to boil up and top with your favorite sauce (which you can also get in the store).


We’re feeling serious Lady & the Tramp vibes here. This no-frills design-your-own pasta spot offers up traditional dishes like fettuccini alfredo, aglio e olio, and, yes, spaghetti. Build a bowl or (our advice) go for the family meal: Enough to feed four, it’ll cover you on date night and breakfast the next morning.


For something a little more casual (but no less delicious), we suggest Lampo, the Neapolitan pizza spot that specializes in authentic pies—often with the restaurant’s own creative twist. Don’t forget to load up your order with sides (like the shaved Brussels sprouts salad), dessert (you’ll need some zeppole, aka fried ricotta donuts), and beers.