223 Columbia Ave
Chapin, SC 29036-8322

Alfredo's Italian Restaurant

Cuisine: Italian

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  • 5/20/2013

    An Italian food lover from US tried it and didn't like it.

RJSC photo


 Winston Salem, NC

This Place Will Surprise You

Alfredo’s Italian Restaurant
233 A Columbia Ave.
Chapin, SC
(803) 945-0350

Okay, let’s say you’re driving down I-26 in mid-state South Carolina. And let’s say you’re suddenly hungry for Italian food. What are you going to do?

Let me give you some advice. Hunt up exit 91 and head for Chapin. (That’s “CHAY-pin,” by the way, not “CHAP-in.”) A short distance from the interstate, on the right hand side of Columbia Avenue, you’ll find Alfredo’s Italian Restaurant.

If you’re familiar with any of my other reviews, you’ll know that I’m always on the lookout for little, out of the way, family run Italian places. Why? Because that’s usually where you’ll find the best food. Chain places are fine in a pinch, but give me a Mamma e Papa trattoria any day.

Inside or out, Alfredo’s doesn’t look a lot different from any other run-of-the-mill little Italian place. Booths and tables with checkered plastic tablecloths, Italian flags, Italian art and posters, Mediterranean color palette. Nice, clean, well-kept, but nothing spectacular. That, however, is where the common aspects of the place end.

On the day of our visit, the hostess and the waitress were cheery and friendly as well as polite and efficient. We were seated immediately and our drink order was taken and delivered promptly. I knew we were in good hands when I saw the menu. A lot of small operations have a fairly limited menu of “the usual stuff.” Garlic bread and cheese sticks for appetizers, a couple of pasta dishes and maybe some chicken or fish entrees, a nice salad, and, of course, pizza. Alfredo’s will shock you with the variety of their menu. Take the appetizer selection, for instance. Yeah, they’ve got the bread and the sticks – we had both and they were delicious. But how about Calamari Fritti? Or Stuffed Portobello? Mussels, anyone? Calamalone? Crab Cakes? Wow!

And the entrees are just as eclectic. We were in a “play it safe” mood, I guess, and opted for the ravioli. It was a wonderful choice. And you can have it with just cheese, with veal or with a combination. More than ample portions, too. But even so, we both managed to do it a lot of damage. The pasta was perfetto al dente with a delizioso ripieno. The salsa di pomodori was molto gustoso. If your Italian’s a little rusty, trust me, it was good.

As I said, we played it safe, but the choices were simply amazing. Chicken alla Rusticana, Spinach and Feta, Chicken and/or Veal Marsala, Mahi Mahi, Linguini con Vongole, Veal Scallopine Saltimbocca. And more. Wow, again!

We thoroughly enjoyed the fresh-from-the-oven Italian Garlic Rolls that accompanied our meal and my wife declared the house salad with bleu cheese dressing quite delectable.

I noticed a couple of slight misspellings on the menu and pointed them out to the waitress. That’s when I got my next surprise. She said, “Well, the owners are Mexican, so I guess their Italian isn’t very good.” I just said, “I gotta meet the chef.” Within a few minutes, I was talking with Alfredo himself as he told me about his eighteen years’ culinary experience in restaurants in Atlanta and other major cities. The opportunity came to open his own place in Chapin, SC and he took it. And I’m glad he did. I’ll definitely be going back to Alfredo’s again. After all, I didn’t get halfway through the menu. He’s got five soups, for crying out loud, including Tomato Basil, Pasta Fagioli, and Minestrone. Five salads, a sandwich menu, a lunch menu, a dinner menu, a kid’s menu, daily specials – all that, and pizza, too! The place is just amazing.

The prices are very reasonable. The two of us were stuffed for under twenty-five bucks.

Okay, so with its cookie cutter design and decidedly non-traditional-Italian-family proprietorship, Alfredo’s Italian Restaurant in Chapin stretches my usual parameters a little bit. But the food! Ah! Whatever language the cook converses in, the food speaks Italian! Check it out. If you live in the Columbia area, it’s worth the drive and if you’re just passing through, it’s worth the stop. Alfredo’s Italian Restaurant is molto buono, or, maybe in this case, muy bueno.


Perfectly cooked pasta stuffed with ricotta, served in a tasty tomato sauce. Also had the ravioli stuffed with tender veal. Both were wonderful!

June 17, 2011



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