Date of Review
September 2, 2001
$20 and up
Our Total Bill:
Wood 1 1/2 foot
|Renee's Side||Steve's Side|
This restaurant is trying to be something that it is not or can not be. It has been billed very highly, but maybe because we were told to turn by fuddruckers it seemed to me to be a high class applebees. The new building was very nicely decorated and when we arrived at 8:30 it was still quite busy--a good sign.
The food itself was not too bad, they charged a quite a bit for it...as much as many downtown fancy restaurants. Which is fine because the food was very well prepared and overall pretty good. The problem is when you charge $20 for an entree in the Minneapolis area, you need to provide the whole package. That means impeccable service. Our waiter was great, but it seemed that everyone else had problems. The bus boy took our appetizer plate before we were done with it, our salad came before our appetizers were done and then we waited a good bit of time before our entree came out.
My walleye was good, not fabulous as one might expect for $21.95. The walleye cakes were fine as was the salad. The bread was very good and they served it with butter not just olive oil, which personally I like. At most upscale Italian restaurants, they don't serve butter, and of course I would never ask for butter either.
I know that Ciao Bella was listed in top ten hot spots a few years ago. It certainly fits among a list of trendy italian restaurants in the Twin Cities, it also benefits from a good location; near France and 494. Our experience, though was fair.
Granted, we arrived at 8:30 pm on a Sunday night. Granted, we were tired and hungry, But those are factors that a restaurant has to deal with, otherwise you could have one seating per night (see Bayport Cookery).
The walleye cakes were the highlight of the meal. They seemed appropriately prices and were flaky and delicious. My only complaint; a bus boy took away the plate with the accompanying sauce and greens almost immediately after we each transferred a cake to another plate. I felt lucky to have a taste of the sauce, which was good. But I also felt angry that they were in such a hurry to rush us through out meal.
Then, they sprang the caprese salad on us before we finished our respective walleye cake. Once again, there was an apparent rush for us to leave. We split the caprese salad which was overpriced. One-half salad included three slices each of Bufala Mozzarella cheese (yummy), ripe tomatoes (juicy in season), and basil leaves (not enough). It also included an overly salty side of what appeared to be salsa.
The taglioni gamberetti was also overpriced for a spaghetti - shrimp pasta with tomatoes, red peppers, and garlic. The dish was good, but not innovative, nor excellent. All of these factors combined for an average experience when I expected more.
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