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What’s Good Here? Alodia’s Cucina Italiana at Lake Murray

Pan-seared scallops appetizer at Alodia’s
Pan-seared scallops appetizer at Alodia’s Deena Bouknight/Special to Go Columbia

What’s good here?

The restaurant near Lake Murray, named for Alodia Santoni Contasti, who brought family recipes with her to America many years ago, features real Italian food made by real Italians.

Dishes on the menu are inspired by Alodia’s original recipes. The Mussels Cremoso as an appetizer is a dozen fresh Prince Edward Island mussels topped with a creamy white wine-shallot cream sauce; the mussels are also served as a main dish over angel hair. The Smoked Gouda Cheese Bread is served with a side of the homemade pasta sauce.

Alodia’s also features a Roasted Red Pepper and Gouda Bisque, a Tuscan Onion Soup and pasta dishes such as the Eggplant Parmesan and Manicotti.

The restaurant’s owners, Adam Huneau, Alodia’s great-grandson, and his wife, Betsy, each have a favorite menu item: Adam’s is the Portabella Pork Ribeye, while Betsy’s is the Blackened Duck Penne Gorgonzola. The Sicilian Chop Salad has Gorgonzola cheese, plus greens, tomatoes, Granny Smith apples, toasted pine nuts and a white vinaigrette dressing. Another favorite salad includes two large crabcakes atop a bed of spinach leaves tossed in balsamic vinaigrette with chopped egg and crispy bacon.

“A favorite source of mine,” says Adam, “is quail from Manchester Farms.” Alodia’s runs specials that include the quail. There is also a separate catering menu.

How did Alodia’s get its start?

The Huneaus opened the restaurant in 2008 in the Lake Murray community. Adam’s mother, Nanette, makes the red sauces, while his father, Daniel, assists where needed. The family opened the establishment with a focus on local produce and the freshest in-season seafood, such as mahi mahi, grouper, flounder and shrimp – but you’ll also see unique species, such as wreckfish from Charleston, on the menu.

The Huneaus entrust Chefs Will Roberts and Lance Hayes to oversee the kitchen’s culinary creations. Everyone has input, however, says Adam. “The menu has evolved since we opened. When coming up with new items, we all come together to decide on what to add. We all have input. I would say our strongest attribute as a company is our team … a great crew that truly loves what they do, and none of our success could be possible without them.”

What does the place look like?

The open kitchen allows patrons to watch some of the items being cooked. Customers can feel the warmth and smell the aromas wafting from the kitchen area while they sit at candlelit tables with white tablecloths. On the jewel-toned walls are large, black-framed painted scenes of Italy. There is an Old World map depicting Italy and a wall of family photos.

Who eats here?

Adam and Betsy say Alodia’s has been family-oriented from the start. There is a children’s menu, with such items as cheese ravioli and fettuccine Alfredo, and hours accommodate families during lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Yet Alodia’s is also a special date spot or place to meet friends. Those interested in learning wine pairing with a meal are drawn to the restaurant as a a few on staff are knowledgeable and will assist. Midweek is especially appealing because of the Wine Down Wednesday special; every bottle is discounted by $8. Alodia’s also serves beer and cocktails.

Alodia’s

2736 North Lake Drive

PRICES: Lunch ranges from $7.99 to $13.99, while dinner prices are from $7.99 to $27.95.

HOURS: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday. Reservations are not accepted, but customers can call 30 minutes ahead of time and ask for their name to be placed on a list.

INFO: (803) 781-9814

Deena C. Bouknight, Special to Go Columbia

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