La Stella Cucina Verace brings star-powered, quality Italian cuisine to Dallas Arts District

Alto cucina has arrived to the Dallas Arts District with the March 10 opening of La Stella Cucina Verace, an elevated Italian restaurant with star power.

Serving only dinner for now, La Stella inhabits the former Flora Street Cafe space at 2330 Flora Street. It’s from Giuseppe “JP” Piccinini, Luigi Iannuario, and Riccardo Ravaglia, three guys who know the charms of Italian cuisine;  Iannuario and Ravaglia both helmed Da Mario, the brief-tenured Italian restaurant that insiders favored at The Star in Frisco (the restaurant closed in 2020 due to the pandemic. Prior to Da Mario, Iannuario led the kitchen at the former Italian restaurant Nicola’s Ristorante Italiano, which closed in 2019. Ravaglia’s CV includes Lombardi Concepts and Cipriani in NYC. Piccinini is a real estate guy, which means he knows how to celebrate closing a big transaction in style: fancy food, big steaks (La Stella serves a nice one from Allen Brothers) and even bigger wines.

You’ll probably recognize the location, but La Stella’s small dining room has been made over to feel more welcoming than Flora, which could seem stilted and hushed.

The tight menu nods nods strongly to Iannuario’s native Italy, offering handmade and dried pastas, seafood, braised meats, grilled vegetables and a deep wine cellar. Though you’ll find crusty breads on offer, don’t expect to see pizzas passing through the dining room. “We won’t be making pizzas,” Iannuario told me prior to announcing the project months ago. “This is going to be serious cuisine.”

photos: La Stella