I feel like I’ve been eating so much Italian lately. All my new restaurant reviews in recent weeks have been at Italian places. Last night I made homemade pizzas and this week I will be making homemade stuffed cannelloni. Yes, I’m on an Italian kick.  So here are two more restaurant reviews, Italian style.

Caesar’s Pizza Palace- Lane Cove

Andrew and I ventured out of our comfort zone the other night and ate dinner in Lane Cove. We stopped there on the way home from his dad’s house. We walked up and down the street looking for somewhere to eat. There was a Persian place that looked great but it was a $45 set menu so we quickly passed on that one. We ended up at a little Italian place called Caesar’s. Here’s what I thought about it:

Decor: 3- It was more like a takeaway place, so it wasn’t meant to be fancy- but they could have done a bit more with the place.  I’m not a fan of paper posters put into frames. Just buy some art or paint something.

Value: 7.5- We got a haloumi salad which was a little expensive at $12 but the pasta and pizza we got were a little cheaper than most places we’ve been lately.

Service: 8- I can’t really say anything bad about the service, but it wasn’t phenomenal either.

Taste: 5- My pizza was average. Not good, not horrible, just very average. The base was a bit dry and there was hardly enough sauce or toppings. I definitely make better pizza. The haloumi salad we got was so so. There was some weird lemony gunk on the cheese- it tasted good but we couldn’t figure out what it was. Andrew said his spaghetti and meatballs got better as he ate it.

Da Valentino – Crows Nest

Sunday night we met up with John and Kalee for a nice little dinner catch up. We met in Crows Nest and were debating on a few Italian places until we finally decided to try something new. We ended up at Da Valentino.

Decor:6- We were outdoors, and the little area we were in was decent, but not the type of place I’d walk by and think “Aww that place is cute, let’s go there.” John so kindly pointed out the fumes from the buses that passed us by and that definitely took away from the ambiance. I didn’t see the inside so I can’t really speak for that decor.

Value: 8.5- Compared to other restaurants we’ve been to lately, I thought the portion sizes were really big for the price we paid.

Service: 6 – I asked if I could add chicken to my pasta and without even hesitating, the waiter said “No!” That’s all, not “I’m sorry, but we can’t do that,” which P.S.- why CAN’T they anyways?  So yeah… that was annoying. Also I asked for chili flakes and he brought chili oil and just put it down in front of me with no explanation. I didn’t want oil, but whatever. Then later he came and stated that they don’t have flakes, but that the oil is much better. He then overcharged us for a salad that Andrew ordered, but was quick to fix it when that was pointed out. The waiter wasn’t very good. He was just sort of abrupt and not really friendly- but our food came quickly so it wasn’t too horrible.

Taste: 6 -The garlic bread was crap. Most normal people could make much better garlic bread at home. The 99 cent woolies garlic bread we buy is ten times better than the hard, dry rolls they gave us. My penne arrabiata was really good, the sauce had lots of texture and was very flavorful.  Andrew was impressed with how many prawns came in his chicken and prawn dish. John said his food was good, but he wouldn’t order it again. Honestly, this would have received a higher rating if they had better bread. I think an Italian place should offer decent garlic bread.

Overall… we probably won’t be back to either of these places. They were fine, but there are too many other Italian places around that are much better.

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