Fontana Grill joins the ranks of Magnolia Cafe
on Wilson, offering another fine dining option in the rapidly gentrifying Uptown neighborhood. So take your pick between this place and nearby Godfather's Pizza
(which we do recommend, but only if you're looking for slim slices of the 'za).
Before you venture into Fontana, take note that while it's called Fontana Grill, it also claims the title of "wine bar." And the logo proves even more confusing: the "F" of Fontana is an old-fashioned water pump, one that gathers water from an underground source, but wine spills out instead — just what Dionysus called for. But right now this place is BYOB, so don't forget to bring your own wine-filled water pump.
Now try to ignore the confusing branding, and focus on the spacious, brick-laden patio surrounded by a wrought-iron fence, the space's dimly lit interior whose walls are spackled with slabs of cream-colored paint, and a bevy of plants both inside and out that add a breath of oxygen to the atmosphere. With a little help from some red wine and enough gazing at the blown-up images of the Italian countryside, you might transport yourself to the land of wine and pasta.
Should you happen to crave something more than drinks, the mouth-watering lunch and dinner menus provide myriad options: grilled mussels al tartufo (cooked in truffle oil) for only $8, calamari lightly fried and served with marinara and lemon for a mere $8, a vegetariano sandwich (five-inch Portobello mushroom cap piled with roasted red pepper, grilled onions, blue cheese and marinara sauce) for only $6 and a bevy of pizzas for under $10 (quattro stagioni, margherita, capricciosa, viagra vera and more). With prices this low, maybe you won't have to choose between Fontana and Godfather's.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler