Stella Mare Ristorante & Pizzaria

We’ve been on a search for yummy calzone in the North Raleigh area and decided to give Stella Mare a try.

We sat outside for our first visit and ordered a pepperoni and sausage calzone and a spinach calzone. I tried the hummus appetizer (I love a particular brand of prepackaged hummus and wanted to try some fresh hummus!).  The hummus and soft pita was delicious (although I didn’t like the traditional pour of olive oil).

The calzones were both amazingly delicious. The outside top shell was light and crispy but not burnt. The inside was thoroughly cooked and not doughy. The marinara sauce that is served on the side is probably hands-down the best marinara sauce I’ve ever had.

Unfortunately, our pleasant lunch was disrupted by a smoker a few feet away so the fresh air turned smoky fast and my nose started to itch and prickle and so we finished up and headed out.

A few weeks later we were craving the calzone and went to the restaurant and opted to eat in. At Stella Mare, one side of the restaurant is a take-out kitchen area, the other side is a dining room and bar, and then the outside patio has several tables and a cute little water fountain.

We ate inside and ordered the same calzones (sometimes your first impression is dashed by a bad follow-up) and also tried the garlic bread cheese sticks. Again, the food was absolutely delicious.

The only problem we encountered with Stella Mares was when we went to sit down in the dining room, we had to wait about five minutes before someone realized we were there to seat us. The older servers are a little brisk in their service and appear annoyed while the younger servers are more friendly and personable.

The restaurant location is in an older space and the restaurant is a little dark and dingy feeling. However, the amazing food trumps any problem or issue we’ve ever had and we really believe we’ve found THE BEST calzone in the Raleigh area.

** Update 5/2012 We think Stella Mares has closed down or is remodeling! :(

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