Celebrated Hilton Head Island Chef Michael Cirafesi has reunited with his long time mentor, Chef Nunzio Patruno to open OMBRA Cucina Rustica offering classical regional Italian cuisine with an innovative style. Chef Michael worked and studied under Chef Nunzio for 11 years at Nunzio’s world renowned Monte Carlo Living Room in Philadelphia. Nunzio has been recognized as one of the top Italian chefs in the U.S. for many years. After earning his culinary degree in Italy, Nunzio began his training at number of resorts on the Italian Riviera, followed by Monaco, and then finally coming to the U.S. in the early 1980’s. Chef Michael earned his culinary degree in Philadelphia and was an Executive Chef on Hilton Head Island for 10 years and now has partnered with his mentor to express his culinary vision.

OMBRA translates to a small glass of white wine from the Veneto region. Tellingly, the term “ombra”, which literally means “shadow”, derives its name from the times when wine was sold in the shady sides of the “calli”, side streets, or the “campi”, plazas.

Michael & Nunzio have created a warm and welcoming ambiance that transports you to Italy. The décor is rustic with modern accents. Antique brick and reclaimed barn wood timbers give the restaurant a Tuscan farmhouse feel. The restaurant boasts an energetic bar and lounge offering an array of Italian specialty cocktails and premier wines. Past the main dining room nestled for private dining, Michael & Nunzio have created a Chef’s Table that accommodates up to 12 guests. The Chef’s Table hosts an exclusive dining experience with personal server where Chef Michael prepares a degustation menu with hand selected wine pairings.

In the main dining room, the menu is classical regional Italian cuisine celebrating the dishes from their childhood and heritage – Michael from Sicily and Nunzio from Puglia. Michael & Nunzio are dedicated to bringing you the finest and freshest of ingredients in the simple tradition of Italy. Their dishes will be the reflection of their work together as a team in Philadelphia developing traditional, yet innovative Italian cuisine. All desserts, pastas, bread and focaccia are homemade, in the style of Patruno. Signature dishes include Piemontese Beef Carpaccio with Parmigiano-Reggiano, Lobster Stuffed Squid Ink Ravioli, and Roasted Veal Tenderloin with Black Truffles, Caramel Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta and Limoncello Zabaglione.

The cellar is a carefully selected collection of compelling benchmark Italian wines from unique premier producers, some with centuries of history and others, innovators in their own right – Quintarelli, GAJA, and Tenuta San Guido – to complement this regional cuisine.