What many readers of restaurant reviews don’t realize is that a review of a good dining experience is the most difficult review to write. The reviewer must walk a fine line between praising a place and sounding like a publicist. No chance of that happening with this review. So much of our experience was negative, that I was hesitant to even review IT! Italy. However, I decided that there were two reasons to do so: to warn potential diners and, hopefully give the management some tips on how to improve the dining experience.
We arrived a few minutes before seven on a weeknight and found the place eerily empty. There was one other table inside and two on the terrace: on Las Olas in season! As soon as our butts hit the chairs, we were handed a menu and asked about our drink order. I understand the staff had little to do, but give folks a chance to settle in. We asked for water for the table and perused the menu. My first impression was that it was a chain restaurant, the laminated tri-fold menu had a very Olive Garden feel.
When our friendly server arrived with our waters, I asked her about the Tuesday wine special, she had no idea what I was talking about. I then showed her the card on the table advertising the half-priced wine event. It turned out that it was for all wines by the glass. My sauvignon blanc was one of the best I’ve had and a deal even without the special.
Our dining companions ordered the tomato bisque as a first course. A few minutes later another server showed up at our table to take our order, we then informed him that we had already ordered. A minute later a third server delivered the steaming bowls of soup and a basket of warm bread. After one taste, both of our friends determined that the soup was too salty. (I tasted it and agreed). Suddenly there was not a server to be found. We waved down the host who had seated us and explained the problem and he whisked the soups away. We chatted while we waited for the soup to return. But we didn’t have much time, our entrees arrived a mere minute or two later. We told the server to cancel the soups since we now had our entrees before us.
My husband’s gnocchi was drowning in sauce, but was otherwise well prepared, although we did have to flag down our server to get some parmesan cheese.
500 E. Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale
My grilled steak arrived with a good char and was perfectly cooked to order. However, it was loaded with gristle, making a good portion of it inedible. Our friend, who also ordered the steak, had only one little piece of fatty gristle. Obviously not prime cuts of beef, which at $32 for an 8 oz. steak it should be. When our dishes were removed, the inedible portions of my steak were sitting on the side of my plate. If our server noticed, she made no mention of it.
The host presented us with the dessert menu and raved highly about the fregola merengatta. Our server, also recommended the dish, so we felt we had to check it out. That dessert almost saved the day. Crunchy bits of meringue studded a confection of vanilla ice cream, strawberries and dulce de leche sauce. It was delish and the serving was plentiful enough for the four of us to share.
When the bills were presented the soups were included. We flagged down our server and informed her of the mistake. She then apologized saying she had no idea we had returned our soups! The wine also was not discounted. It seems as if there’s a major problem in communication between the front of the house and the kitchen.
As we walked out of the restaurant a couple was perusing the menu. I said one word to them and it’s the same I will share with you, “Don’t.”
If you’re looking for Italian along Las Olas, there’s no shortage of options:
1032 E. Las Olas
910 E. Las Olas
Gran Forno Pronto
704 E. Las Olas
Timpano Italian Chophouse
450 E. Las Olas
Luigi's Coal Oven Pizza
1415 E. Las Olas
821 E. Las Olas