This Quanto Basta: Wilmington Review was written by Pete.
If you’re planning a trip to the area, check out all of our Wilmington, NC posts.
My dad’s birthday was last Tuesday, so we made a reservation at Quanto Basta, a relatively new restaurant in Wilmington, NC.
We figured we’d surprise my dad by taking him out for an Italian meal, given the fact that he’s an old New York Italian.
Let’s get this out of the way first. Unfortunately the pizza was a failure in my opinion. For me, an abject pizza psycho, this nearly brought me to tears.
Luckily Quanto Basta more than made up for it with delicious craft cocktails, fresh appetizers, eclectic Italian entrées, decadent desserts, and stellar waiter service.
Other than Tarantelli’s, which is on Drugstore Divas’ list of 20+ Must Try Restaurants In Wilmington, NC, this may have been the first time I’ve gone to an Italian restaurant in North Carolina and been pleasantly surprised.
So let’s start this review.
Quanto Basta: Wilmington Review
Quanto Basta (107 N 2nd St.) is located in downtown Wilmington, directly across from the parking garage on 2nd Street.
Quanto Basta Atmosphere
The décor is cozy. We were seated at a super comfortable corner table that had couch seating with pillows and was situated across from a TV. We were away from other tables, which was awesome, being that I was exhausted from work and had no desire to chit chat.
It also felt very safe and social distanced, which is something my dad had requested when he asked us to choose a restaurant.
The restaurant also has a private courtyard with a large fountain. That area feels just like a piazza in Italy. On a nice night, that outdoor area would be the perfect place for a nice dinner and cocktail.
Quanto Basta Service
Our waiter, whose name we all unfortunately can’t remember, was so good. He was very personable and knowledgeable. My dad commented on how you could just tell that he had tried everything on the menu.
He knew how to describe the dishes and cocktails and helped us in deciding what to order. He was prompt and kept checking on us, but not in an overbearing way.
While he was our server, he was training another waiter. We know for sure the new waiter is going to benefit from our waiter’s training. The service industry is hard, that’s for sure, but it was great to have a waiter who was friendly and who was smiling (under his mask) the whole time he was at work.
Quanto Basta Menu
The menu offers an array of delicious Italian classics.
Let’s start with the appetizers. My dad, aka “Johnny Appetiza,” is known to order several dozen apps for some reason, so we had to reign him in here and limit ourselves to two this time.
Looking at the amazing entrées Quanto Basta offered, I wanted to make sure I saved ample room and not fill up on the 17 different appetizers my dad would normally order.
We ordered the Crispy Calamari and the “3rd & Union” pizza (marinara, tomato, pesto, and mozzarella).
The calamari was light, fresh, and delightfully tender. The marinara dipping sauce was rich and exciting, in the sense that the sweetness of it blasted the deep fried richness with an acidic bite.
Then there was the pizza.
Not my favorite. The crust was flat and lacked the “chew and pull” I was hoping for. It was damp and watery due to the fresh tomato. In my mind I dreamed of what would be contained on the pan. The yeasty, bubbly, chewy-and-charcoal-oven-well-done-crusty-outside-crust of my childhood dreams failed to materialize.
Truth be told, I’m a tough person to please when it comes to pizza, so I may not be the best judge.
Lisa’s notes: I kind of liked the pizza, but I’m not as big of a pizza connoisseur as Pete. The crust did lack the crunch that I like, but I really enjoyed the toppings. I’m a huge fan of pesto on pizza, so I loved the pesto drizzle on this pie. It could have benefited by a little more flavor, though.
The size of the pizza was perfect for the three of us to have as an appetizer, so I definitely liked that. Quanto Basta has seven pies on the menu, so we’ll probably give another a try next time we dine here.
Then there were the cocktails. Amazing, fresh and well balanced. I had the two bourbon concoctions on the menu: I’ll Never Be Your Beast Of Bourbon (Larceny bourbon, Los Vecinos mezcal, ginger liqueur limoncello, and egg whites) and Tuscan Vieux (Elijah Craig bourbon, Tuaca, red vermouth, Benedictine and orange bitters).
Both of them allowed you to taste everything the cocktail contained with none of the individual ingredients overpowering any of the other ingredients.
And they were both perfect after a long day at work.
My dad had two Espresso-tinis — and then had to try the I’ll Never Be Your Beast Of Bourbon cocktail after he saw mine.
The only entrée I can really speak on was the one I had.
I had the Tagliatelle, which came with QB’s signature Bolognese sauce. When I ordered it, the waiter informed me it was probably a different type of Bolognese than I was used to, which it was.
This Bolognese was more broth based, with a hearty amount of beef cooked in. So keep that in mind if you’re planning on ordering this.
The pasta was fresh, light, and perfectly cooked. All the pasta is freshly prepared, and you can definitely tell.
Lisa had pasta too. She ordered the Fettuccini John Angelo. That comes with parmigiano, pancetta, and truffle essence. You can add roasted chicken or spinach and cremini mushrooms (for an additional charge).
Lisa’s notes: I was debating between the Nonna’s Baked Ziti and adding Italian sausage (which was an additional fee) or the Fettuccini and adding the spinach and mushrooms. The waiter said the Fettuccini John Angelo was his favorite dish on the menu and suggested that, plus the spinach and mushrooms, because the mushrooms pair perfectly with the truffle essence.
He wasn’t wrong. The pasta was cooked perfectly. The dish had a generous amount of pancetta chunks, plus enough mushrooms and spinach to justify the upcharge. I really enjoyed the dish that day and the leftover the day after. I would definitely order it again.
It came with housemade focaccia bread, as all the pasta dishes do, and it tasted more like a frozen bread that was warmed rather than a fresh bread. So, that was a bummer.
My dad ordered the Chicken Marsala (with ricotta stuffed rigatoni and pangrattato aka breadcrumbs). The cutlet was gigantic and cooked perfectly. According to him, it was delicious. The serving was so large that he actually took half of it home for lunch the next day.
Then there were the desserts. Lisa ordered the Torta di Cioccolato (a flourless chocolate Nutella torta with candied pistachios, Amarena cherries, and fresh whipped cream) and my dad ordered the Olive Oil Cake (with vanilla gelato, orange blossom prosecco reduction, candied oranges and pistachios).
They looked great, but I didn’t try them. I don’t really do sweets.
Lisa’s notes: I really liked the torta. There was a schmear of Nutella under the torta, and when you ran the candied pistachios through it, that was the best bite I had all night. Honestly, if Quanto Basta started selling bags of those candied pistachios to go, I would stop in every time I was in downtown Wilmington and buy a bag. I liked them that much.
There was a Brownie Affogato Sundae (a triple chocolate brownie, vanilla gelato, espresso, fresh whipped cream, and Amarena cherries). It was too cold that night for me to think about gelato, but I’m definitely getting it next time.
Now that I think about it, it’s actually interesting that the Brownie Affogato Sundae has espresso because the only coffee drinks at the restaurant are regular and decaf coffee. Our waiter told us that there was an espresso machine, which went out for repairs. When it returned, it kept shorting the fuse at the restaurant, so Quanto Basta doesn’t use it anymore.
Quanto Basta Prices
The prices were incredible for what you get. The portion sizes were hearty and the ingredients were fresh. And the prices are lower than you’d expect for that combination.
The calamari app was $12, the pizza was $10, my tagliatelle was $15, my dad’s chicken was $18, and Lisa’s fettuccini was $18 ($13 was the regular price, the add on for her mushrooms and spinach was $5).
The cocktails we had were $12 to $13 (the range on the menu is $11 to $16) and the desserts were $8 each.
Prices are subject to change, of course. But for now, you should probably run out to eat there before the restaurant realizes that people will pay more for what they’re offering. If the prices go up because of this post, sorry, but we warned you to go.
Quanto Basta Wilmington Quick Facts
Address: 107 N 2nd St.
Phone: (910) 395-6120
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 4pm to 9pm; Closed Sunday
When did Quanto Basta: Wilmington open? August 2020
Does Quanto Basta have outdoor seating? Yes.
Does Quanto Basta take reservations? Yes. You can make them over the phone or online via OpenTable.
Is this the only location? No. The original Quanto Basta is located in Winston-Salem.
Heading to Wilmington?
If you’re planning a trip to Wilmington, NC to eat at Quanto Basta, these posts will help you make your trip complete:
- Things To Do In Wilmington, NC
- Tregembo Animal Park
- 10+ Things To Do When It Rains In Wilmington, NC
- Wilmington Sharks
- Free Things To Do In Wilmington, NC
- Axes & Allies (Axe throwing bar)
- The Complete Guide To Distilleries In Wilmington, NC
And, if you’re planning to visit with your significant other and found this review because you’re looking for somewhere to go for date night, check out some Romantic Things To Do In Wilmington, NC to plan some great alone time.