Mama Carolla’s Old Italian Restaurant

Don’t go to Mama Carolla’s for culinary innovation or spot-on authentic Italian, but do visit if you want heaping plates of pasta and charm galore. The setting, a 1920s villa with a cozy bar, intimate dining rooms, low lighting, and a fireplace (and, for summertime, a vine-covered patio), makes this beloved SoBro eatery a popular date spot. As do the generous martinis and accessible everyone-loves-Italian-food menu, which runs the gamut of rich and satisfying, with dishes like the Carbonara (pasta with prosciutto and sautéed pancetta in an egg, cream, and white-wine sauce), the tender veal medallions (smothered in Gorgonzola sauce), the creamy pesto-covered ravioli, the various seafood entrees tossed with buttery angel-hair pasta, and the cheese-stuffed steaks. “Comfort” is the catchword here, not subtlety. And although the housemade tiramisu is a staple, look for the sumptuous, berry-topped creme brulee when it’s on special.

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