Lafayette Village is one of those cool little plazas that brings a lot of charm and style to N. Raleigh. While it’s been open for several years now, a lot of people are still unaware of Lafayette Village and some of the good eats in the plaza. I had run into Farina a while back for a special event and snacked a bit here but wanted to do a full meal before reviewing the place. So off I head to Farina on a Thursday night to meet up with a friend (TrishW- @tdubhokie) for dinner!
What’s fun about Lafayette Village is the European styled buildings with lights strung overhead which fit perfectly for an Italian joint like Farina. The dining room at Farina is open and comfortable with a kitchen and wood-fired oven front and center. A small bar to the back right is great for single diners or quick drinks. We grab a table by the side and crack open the menus to lay out a plan for dinner.
Given it was my first full visit, I planned on dabbling a bit across the menu but that requires some coordination with your dining buddy to make sure you can share! Wines are 1/2 price today (Wednesday) so I go with a light red to start the meal. Trish and I aren’t pulling any punches tonight. We’ll start off with fried calamari-meatballs and then share a margherita pizza before moving on to our mains (carbonara pasta for me)! The fried calamari is excellent with a light, crunchy coating and well-simmered marinara sauce, a thumbs up here.
Farina’s meatball app is next and it’s served up a bit differently, in a bowl with a slice of crusty bread and dollop of soft, fluffy ricotta on top. While it’s not as visually appealing, it works well for scooping out the tender meatball with just the right amount of sauce and ricotta for balance, nicely done!
Moving on to the margherita pizza, it shows off the white smears so indicative of fresh mozzarella. With a snappy thin-crust that was salted a bit, I liked the pie but would prefer a more tender, thin-crust for my margherita. Still a good pie and slice. And now for the finale, my carbonara served up with pork belly instead of the usual pancetta. This dish is huge and filling, the carbonara sauce is rich and lightly flecked across the spaghetti. There’s just the right about of cream, butter and savory in Farina’s version, very nice! I only managed to eat a third of this dish and let’s just say that the leftovers still held up on their own.
As you can guess, our dinner at Farina was a long meal and we pretty much closed out the place. Maybe it was just because we were too full to move but I definitely enjoyed dinner here. While Farina sticks to the classic Italian-American dishes, it does them quite well with good portion size. So glad to finally have done it right here at Farina! If you’re ever up in N. Raleigh near Falls of Neuse, stop on by for some great wood-fired pizza and pasta at Farina Neighborhood Italian…