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“The Worst Dining Experience of my Life” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Villa d'Este

Villa d'Este
818 North St. Asaph Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
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Ranked #179 of 650 Restaurants in Alexandria
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
1 review
“The Worst Dining Experience of my Life”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

I dined here during Restaurant Week this past Saturday evening; to say that my experience was “terrible” would be a gross understatement.

Note: this review is based solely on the service I received. I didn’t have a chance to rate the meal because I never received my order. Let me explain:

My friend and I came to Villa a little after 7pm (we had made a reservation). The maître d’ showed us to our table yet did not provide us with any menus. A few minutes passed before our server came by and presented us with menus. After placing our orders soon thereafter, two tables (of two) were sat, one on either side of us. From there, our dining experience went downhill quickly.

I had realized that a long time had passed without so much as our server coming to refill our drinks, but I didn’t realize that 40 minutes had elapsed and we had yet to receive our appetizer. I knew something was wrong when I noticed that the tables on either side of us were enjoying their appetizers and entrees respectively. From that moment, my friend and I made multiple attempts to catch the attention of our server (or any server for that matter) but to no avail. The wait staff completely ignored us.

At this point, my friend and I were understandably frustrated and eager to leave. When he walked up to the bar to pay for his glass of wine, one of the servers told him that it was on the house. When I directly inquired the staff as to why we were never served and were ignored, no one could provide us with an adequate explanation; they merely shook their heads and told us that our order had been put in. Only the maître d’ apologized! Our server would not even give us the courtesy of listening to our grievances. The staff simply let us walk out the door.

It was only after my friend and I had left the establishment that we realized we should have asked to speak to the manager. Soon thereafter, we called the restaurant and asked to speak to the general manager. When explaining our poor dining experience, the manager offered a halfhearted apology and weak justification for the long wait time, citing that “some dishes take longer to prepare,” (we waited 40 minutes for a house salad and bruschetta that never even came!). The conversation ended with her saying that she would investigate the situation and call us back tomorrow. Lo’ and behold, that call never came.

I have never received such poor treatment by restaurant staff. I was not only disgusted by the general indifference of our server, but appalled by the poor customer service that we were subjected to by the entire staff. In general, my friend and I came to the conclusion that we were “overlooked” due to ageism. It saddens me to say that they made the assumption that we were not worthy of good service because we were the youngest patrons in the restaurant. I can only hope that future patrons do not experience this kind of treatment.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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29 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Defiance, Missouri
Top Contributor
439 reviews 439 reviews
298 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 127 cities Reviews in 127 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
“Good, SOlid Italina!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

Very nice, off the beaten location though if you are at the Sheraton in the north end of Alex it is across the street. Very complete menu, good wine list, and good specials, recommend!

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, VA
Top Contributor
563 reviews 563 reviews
263 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 106 cities Reviews in 106 cities
199 helpful votes 199 helpful votes
“Good Italian Food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

This is a good Italian restaurant that has settled into middle age. The trappings are traditional (white table cloths) the veteran owners and wait staff gracious and the food and wine conventional. Villa d'Este carries on its tradition of serviing very good food without a lot of showmanship, unlike other places that attempt to hide their mediocre kitchens behind the "buzz." The wine list is limited, a bit of a disappointment while searching for a good bottle to accompany a favortie dish. It is a gentile place in which to relax after a shopping or walking tour of Old Town. Choose a table facing the kitchen for a view of a multicultural team of cooks preparing a full range of Italian dishes, tied all together with freshly made pasta.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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northern virginia
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“It's All Good but the Service”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

On a Saturday evening in early November, with the restaurant about two thirds full, the food was excellent and reasonably priced, the ambience very pleasant and not loud, but the service was slow. Dinner for four took two hours which is the norm in Italy but not in Alexandria. It was ten minutes before the waiter even came buy to ask for drinks, there was a long wait between each of the courses, the entrees were brought out one plate at a time, so that by the time the last plate came, the first was was not hot. Our elderly Asian waiter (in an Italian restaurant - LOL), whose English was hard to understand, has worked here for years and has been better in the past. The other waiter was much more on the ball. We'll come back for sure because we love the food, but will ask for a different waiter.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Orlando, Florida
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“good food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

We had a large family dinner here. Maria helped us plan a lovely buffet dinner menu. The food was very good.

Visited September 2012
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