We walked into Italian Tomato at approximately 5:52pm today (a Saturday night) and the restaurant was strangely quiet. We were greeted by a bubbly waitress who informed us that ALL the tables were booked and we would have to sit at the bar (note: make reservations even if you’re going as a party of 2, or expect to be seated at the bar and having the bartender play the role of your server). Quite surprised, we were reluctant to stay but eventually gave each other approving glances and accepted her offer. To be completely honest, Gabriel has been to this establishment a few times; perhaps a few too many times. Himself, along with his friends, probably come here once or twice a year because we usually forget about our past experiences eating at Italian Tomato. It’s always the same: We start off extremely hungry, chow down the first few delicious bites, and then eventually fill up before half of the plates are gone! If you haven’t heard about Italian Tomato yet, their portions are absolutely massive! One plate of pasta could easily feed three people but because of the minimum table charge, most people order one pasta dish each.
Complementary Bread (3.75/7)
The bread is simply just a cold baguette served with cold butter. When you try to spread the butter on, you end up with a layer of something that resembles cottage cheese. We ended up dipping the bread in the meat sauce later to make it more edible.
Mezza Luna with Linguine - $18.95 (3.75/7)
(diced chicken breast, bacon in a garlic cream sauce)
Before + After
This rating may be a bit harsh, but compared to other Italian restaurants such as Cin Cin, Italian Kitchen, and Zefferelli’s, this honestly was not very good. The thick and heavy Alfredo sauce made the entire dish way too dense and it seemed like half a pound of butter was used. The linguine was still a bit chewy, as if they tried to cook it al dente but took it out way too early. While there were a few pieces of chicken (quite dry), it was hard to find any of the bacon at all.
Veneziana with Gnocchi (add $4 for gnocchi) - $17.95 (3.5)
(spicy Italian sausage, diced chicken breast, garlic in spicy tomato sauce)
Before + After
The gnocchi itself was mediocre but the sauce and meat did not really live up to our expectations. We’ve had much better elsewhere and probably won’t be ordering this ever again. The sauce to pasta ratio was not up to par as there was an unnecessarily excessive amount of sauce, which totally drenched the entire dish.
The overall service was just OK. The bartender was a bit awkward and it took us a while to flag down a waiter. Diana isn’t coming here ever again. Gabriel might though.
So naturally, we’d have leftovers, and this is what it looks like the following day:
A POOL of OIL! The moment we saw it, we felt our arteries clogging INSTANTLY! Please excuse all the caps lock, but you can probably imagine how APPALLED we were when we took this out of the microwave. Is it really necessary to use THIS much oil?! Pardon this stereotype, but even Chinese restaurants don’t use THIS much oil (and we’re Chinese, so we’re used to eating food with copious amounts of oil). Hopefully the compost will be able to appreciate this. I’m sorry, Italian Tomato, you are a HUGE disappointment. In addition to everything we’ve said, did we mention how horrible the parking lot is? Yes, we should be thankful there’s FREE parking, however, the lot is asking for a disaster waiting to happen. The exit is no where to be found, and the closest driveway out is one way. Onto the oncoming traffic. Why are there no signs informing anyone this?! Again, pardon the stereotype, but Italian Tomato is situated in the most awkward area in RICHMOND, the epitome city of HORRIBLE (Asian) drivers. Do you really expect them to know that that exit is one way? And yes, one may argue that some/most drivers in Richmond don’t follow signage, but I’m sure a simple ARROW will suffice.
Random picture of the whipped butter they provide with the bread, and the cover of their menu
Tuesday’s - Friday’s: 11AM till late
Saturday’s - Monday’s & Holiday’s- 4PM till late