Food & Drink

This Italian restaurant is like a home away from home that is stocked with good eats

Benny Rappa’s filet on risotto.
Benny Rappa’s filet on risotto. For The Sun News

Traditionally, trattorias are meant to feel like a home away from home, a place where customers can enjoy delicious food at favorable prices in a relaxed atmosphere. These Italian eateries also tend to not have a printed menu, and one restaurant in North Myrtle Beach has become known for its true-to-tradition style. Over two decades ago, Benny Rappa’s Trattoria opened its doors and has remained a stable presence in the community, though inside its chalkboard menu changes every day.

Beginning with the stone fountains out front to the wine bottle fence in the back, charm exudes from this restaurant, outside to in. The interior is decorated with vines and grapes to play on the theme, and empty bottles in all shapes and sizes can be found from the walls to the handles of the restaurant’s impressive wine cooler. Over the wood bar hangs a little chalkboard, displaying the day’s drink of choice or a list of specials.

A short step up into the main dining room reveals the main chalkboard on the far wall, facing the tables arranged in an intimate setting without being too crowded. While some guests will be able to read that evening’s dishes without trouble, others may find themselves twisting around to read it, and in anticipation of this, the servers provide a printed version of that day’s menu, smartly backlit for ease of reading.

Daily variations and a concise list of meals permit the team more control in regards to freshness and quality. This has also allowed the chefs to have a thorough understanding of the dishes they make and which ingredients best complement one another.

Appetizers can include calamari fried to crispy perfection, savory toasted garlic bread or stuffed banana peppers. Guests can enjoy soup or salad as appetizers as well, or as their entire meal.

Pasta dishes may one day include lasagna and the next have lobster ravioli. Gnocchi Bolognese makes a regular appearance, and seafood lovers will often have the choice for linguini topped with clams and mussels tossed in their preferred wine sauce.

Other entrees may have shrimp fra diavolo as a choice, or a cut of filet mignon topped with gorgonzola and mushrooms over risotto. In the off chance a customer might not find their taste buds tantalized by the chalkboard menu for that day, it is possible to order a simple pasta meal, like a parmesan or Bolognese.

The atmosphere may be casual, but the service is exemplary and attentive. Plus, by having a small menu that changes daily, the Benny Rappa’s Trattoria team keeps a visit to their restaurant fresh in more ways than one.

If you go

What: Benny Rappa’s Trattoria

Where: 1453 U.S. 17, North Myrtle Beach

Hours: 4:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Mon-Sat

Information: bennyrappas.com, 843-361-1056

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