Stellini, the self-proclaimed “Jersey-style” Italian restaurant tucked among the pines off Executive Park Road on Hilton Head Island, has been family owned and operated since Joe Pesce opened Stellini Italian Restaurant in 1989.
Since then, his daughter Elise and her husband, Kyle Parlagreco, have built a loyal following among locals and visitors.
“Great food, consistency, service and family are the heart and soul of a restaurant,” Elise said. “Kyle, myself or my dad are always on premise, and our executive chef Larry Schneider has been with us for 18 years.”
The restaurant’s traditional Italian recipes come from the Pesce and Schneider families. Signature dishes include zuppa dipesce, rigatoni bolognese and pesto tortellini. Other standouts are crabmeat ravioli, mozzarella-stuffed meatballs, lamb shank osso buco, and veal saltimbocca.
Innovative nightly chef specials also are offered, and the popular three-course early bird menu includes an appetizer, house salad and entrée with a choice of house wine or a soft drink.
Elise makes the majority of Stellini’s desserts. In the fall and winter, she features a panettone bread pudding — an Italian Christmas sweet bread traditionally made with candied fruit and raisins — served with a creamy Amaretto sauce. The restaurant’s famous cheesecakes are offered year-round; the pumpkin cheesecake runs through fall, spring’s offering is a ricotta cheesecake, and in the summer, blueberry cheesecake takes center stage.
Gluten-free and children’s menu available. Early bird dining 5-5:45 p.m. Take out and private parties. Serving dinner Monday to Saturday from 5 p.m. Reservations suggested.
15 Executive Park (off Pope Avenue, near Sea Pines Circle), 843-785-7006. stellinihhi.com.