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Located in the heart of Charlottesville, Tavola's has earned a reputation for fine dining and authentic Italian food.

Tavola's menu is like something you would read during a trip to Italy: pane e olio (baguette, artisanal olive oil, sea salt, black pepper), linguini con vongole (littleneck clams, Calabrian chili, orvieto, garlic, lemon, parsley, oregano), and melanzane alla parmigiana (breaded eggplant, san marzano tomatoes, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, basil).

Straight from Italy.

"Tavola offers inspired rustic Italian food through the use of quality ingredients and a simple philosophy fostered by a staff passionate about food, wine, and personal service," says Tami Keaveny, owner.

Located in the Belmont section of town, which lies in the southeast area close to Monticello, Tavola is most definitely worth a visit if you're looking to spend a nice evening eating really good food in an intimate atmosphere. Due to its small size (nine tables, just like in Italy), however, the restaurant does not accept reservations other than for special events.

Keaveny's husband Michael is the head chef, and he has created a menu full of simple dishes and a wine list Tami calls "unique."

"We have chalkboard specials for food, wine and beer that rotate daily," she said, adding that the restaurant posts these specials on its Facebook and Twitter pages. "And our unique artisanal wine list is a big draw for vino fans."

Tavola's most popular items are the linguini carbonara, which uses a house recipe complete with house-made sausage, and the pork ragu with homemade pappardelle.

T. Keaveny

If you're able to stop by Tavola on your way through Charlottesville and want to get the full Italian treatment, order an item from each course on the menu and enjoy every bite. Start with the skillet-roasted mussels, which are served with garlic butter, parsley and a baguette. Then move to the roasted beet salad, followed by any of the delicious pasta courses — they're all a good choice. From there, pick a main entree, and then a contorni (vegetables and salads). End your meal with a yummy desert, like the tiramisu or the gelato.

If you're feeling particularly bold, pair each course with a different glass of wine. Like we said, it's worth it.

Hours: Opens at 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday

Season: Year-round

Location: 826 Hinton Avenue


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