I can't stop thinking about this place!. I recently went to Mario Fazio's for a weekday lunch. I did not experience any of the bad things that the other reviewers did. The eggplant parm was crispy around the edges and packed a flavorful punch I can't get out of my mind. The sauce was like fresh tomatoes in the summer made into a beautiful, fragrant sauce, not overcooked. The salad was so pretty and arranged just so. I'd never had fresh peas on my salad and they were so delicate and sweet! The bread could have been more artisanal and less buttered for me. I would prefer a warm, crusty loaf and a tub of whipped butter. The dessert cake was a white frosted slice with a fruit preserve between the layers. A small slice but plenty to cleanse the palate after such a big lunch. We also ordered a serving of gelato (they have about 10 flavors of this Italian ice cream, including pistachio!) and it came with a beautiful great-tasting sugar cookie shaped like a star perched atop. The coffee was very Italian (strong!) and the plates were large, square, ceramic, and brightly colored (think Under the Tuscan Sun). The waitress was friendly and attentive, which I appreciate since I am in the food business, too. I am going back tonight with someone I want to impress- can't wait! :)
New Meaning for "Limp as a wet noodle".
Hard to list everything, but:
1. Icky, overly buttered garlic bread made from some kind of soft Italian bread,
2. Overly sweet salsa used for spreading on already overly buttered garlic bread.
3. Overcooked pasta (regardless of type) sitting in a bed of watery sauce (because pasta is draining water - probably from being pre-cooked),
4. Marinara sauace tastes like uncooked tomatoes with less than any seasoning,
5. Bolognese sauce with hardly any meat was runny,
6. Ridiculously oversized plates, most of which are plastic,
7. Cheap and stained cloth chair covers that get caught under the chair legs when trying to move the chairs to get in or out,
8. Ridiculously over-priced entrees for less than well-made food,
9. Luke warm cappuccino with hardly any foam and way too much milk - tasted more like regular coffee with steamed frothed milk added - served in a cup that is twice as large as it should be.
Even the free complimentary cake offered at the end of the meal can't make up for the less than satisfying meal.
Sad that so many people are willingly to sacrfice taste because of the reasonable pasta prices, but people, there is way better Italian food to be had in Willoughby. Try Pranzo or Gavi's - so much better. I come from an Italian household and unless forced to, won't be going back.
This place needs a complete face lift and better chef!
Leave the dentures at home.
Only one star because:
1) The bread appetizer is super cheap bread and the variable texture of the bread (from stale to soft) plus the fact that nobody finishes their large bowl of bread. seems to be an indication that reuse the uneaten bread.
2) The pasta that accompanies the meal is worse than dorm food pasta. It is obviously made in large batches and held for hours in a steam pan... and that's after being over cooked in the first place.
3) I got the veal Parmesan... somehow they burned it then also must have held it in a steam pan for hours because it was a pile of mush. My wife ordered the eggplant Parmesan... which was overly greasy, and obviously mushy.
4) Maybe we should add a star for the fact that the free dessert was only 1/8 inch thick by 1 inch by 2 inches...
One star for ambiance... mostly because I can't give zero stars in all, so I'll pick the best part. Though the dishes all being plastic did distract from the ambiance.
In summary, this restaurant serves food that you should only find at the worst wedding buffets.
GREAT FAMILY GATHERING PLACE. USED FOR 70 FAMILY MEMBERS AFTER A FUNERAL SERVICE. FAMILY STYLE, GREAT ITALIAN FOOD, THE WEDDING SOUP IS FANTASTIC! SEVERAL OF THE PEOPLE WITH US OWN RESTAURANTS OR ARE PROFFRESSIONAL CHEFS, ABSOLUTELY EVERY ONE WAS IMPRESSED. I WAS OVER JOYED AT THE TERRIFIC VALUE!
Best Service, Salad and Eggplant Bake I've ever had in my life!!. I found this restaurant about 3 months ago and since then I have eaten here at least once a week. I can not say enough good things about this restaurant. First of all the service is the best!! They truly treat you like you are family. Now on to the food. You have to try Lisa's Salad. The ingredients may sound strange in a salad but it is phenomenal-Mixed greens, gorgonzola cheese, candied walnuts and grapes in a delicious vinagrette. I've eated all around the world and this is the best salad I've ever had. For an entree, I always order the Eggplant Bake. Yum. My husband always gets the Spaghetti Bolognese. They are both so delicious. After dinner they bring you out a small piece of cake, the kids can get a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie or italian ice cream. At the end of the meal, the kids can choose a toy out of the toy bin. How cool is that? I really love this place and you will too. They couldn't be nicer and the food is incredible.
It's as if you are having dinner at Lisa's home. The imaginative dishes, the attentive staff, you feel like family except you don't have to clean up.
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