Ella’s Eats: A Look into Melfi’s

A raving review about one of Charleston’s hottest restaurants.


A memorable restaurant experience requires a variety of different aspects from the food, the service, and the overall ambience. Melfi’s, an Italian restaurant located on Upper King Street in Downtown Charleston, went above and beyond in all of these categories. Let’s dig in.

Melfi’s patio, as described.
The iconic red sign in question.

Across from Little Jack’s Tavern, Melfi’s is tucked away into a cute building, and features one of the Charleston restaurant scene’s cutest patios. The patio is a beautiful cumulaton of plants, lights, and all the fans you could need to beat the summer heat. For those who take my very serious advice, this patio would also be perfect for fall or winter dining, due to the beautiful 60º we currently still are waiting on. Apart from the patio itself, the inside of the restaurant has great decor and a friendly atmosphere. The iconic red sign greets you at the door, inviting you to dine on some of the yummiest Italian I have had in our city by far. And now, we can discuss the food.

To start, I ordered a lemonade, just as I always do at any restaurant. The lemonade was up to par and very delicious, although it may be more tart than others. Needless to say, it was a perfect lemonade, adding to the perfection of the meal itself. Additionally, the bread was also delicious, which is key to a good meal. 

Cue the heart eyes.

Our first appetizer was arancini bites, which is one of my favorite appetizers ever, as it reminds me of my time in Connecticut. Since many Southern establishments do not offer arancini, this was a joy and somewhat of a delicacy. For those of you who don’t know, arancini balls are rice and cheese mixed together, fried, and covered in red sauce. Just perfection. Melfi’s serves 3 bites in one for $12. Next, we ordered zucchini fritti (zucchini fries.) While this sounds way out there, they were absolutely delicious and my grandparent’s favorite item from the evening. They were thinly sliced and lightly fried, making them a light bite and very savory. Unfortunately, I did not get a photo, but the serving size is heaping and enough for a large table. A must try for only $12. 


The Beautiful Lettuce salad is a must-have.

Salads are some of my favorite parts of going out to dinner, and these salads did not disappoint, enough to serve multiple people. The ‘Sort-of-Spicy Caesar Salad’ for $18 was one of the best ceesars I have ever had. The slight spiciness to the dressing added complexity to the dish. If you like ceasar salad, you will love this. The next salad was ‘A Beautiful Lettuce Salad’ ($19) and it was, in fact, beautiful. The salad was a cumulation of butter lettuce, prosciutto (heart eyes) and peas. It was so phenomenal, I am afraid my words wouldn’t do it justice.

The Bucatini pasta.

Now for the main courses. I ordered the Bucatini pasta ($30), which was described as their take on “a classic roman pasta with 3 cheeses, butter, and cracked pink & black peppercorns.” It was absolutely divine. The sauce was flavorful and dense, with the pasta cooked to perfection. Another pasta I was lucky to try was the Paccheri dish, described as “large tube shaped pasta with a hearty duck ragu and parmigiano reggiano” for $32. This pasta was so fun, as I am a big fan of individual shaped pastas. The duck ragu sounded slightly scary to someone who isn’t fond of duck, but like they always say, you couldn’t tell. This dish was delicious and definitely worth the price.


The pizza (and the lemonade): a match made in heaven.

Finally, the prize of the restaurant was their pizza. Shortly before my dinner, Melfi’s Facebook informed me that the pizza oven was down, which was a harrowing fact to face. Luckily, by the time we ordered, the pizza ovens were up and running, and I was graced with a certainly tasty pizza. Normally, I like to branch out into a pizza with a variety of toppings, but Melfi’s cheese pizza ($27) is to die for. It was cooked to prime pizza perfection and the flavors were so delicious that I could write a whole article on the pizza itself. Sadly, we did not get any dessert as it was my grandparent’s anniversary and there was cake waiting for us back in Mount Pleasant, but I am sure their desserts are as fantastic as the other foods. 

Me, leaving Melfi’s with my leftover pasta.


Me, enjoying a Bucatini pasta on the patio. Two thumbs up.

Overall, Melfi’s is a must-go-to restaurant and a must-return for myself. The interior and patio made for an enjoyable dining experience and the servers were so kind and accommodating. One server talked to us about her time in Naples, Italy and gave us various food and drink recommendations. Service is crucial to an enjoyable dinner, and Melfi’s went over and beyond. While Melfi’s is delicious, it can become very expensive. The food is filling but everyone loves a good leftover. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable place to be and they do not rush the course of your dining time, which was splendid. I could eat their food for the rest of my life and I can’t wait to go back. If you are a fan of Charleston’s restaurants, you are bound to be a fan of Melfi’s.