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“Fantastic meal, great experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Carmella's

Carmella's
716 N. Casaloma Drive, Appleton, WI 54913
+1 920-882-4044
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Ranked #3 of 316 Restaurants in Appleton
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Wisconsin
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Fantastic meal, great experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2012

We got a babysitter for the night (an infrequent affair), and wanted to have a first-rate and fun dining experience ... and Carmella's more than lived up to our expectations. We ate dinner there last evening, and it was a wonderful experience all around. We started at the bar and really enjoyed the lively environment. It reminded us of a bar at a popular restaurant in the big city. The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable and served us both great wine selections. She also checked on our table seating for us a couple of times, so we didn't have to worry about it. When we were seated our table was nice and our server was great. He was friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. We also met the owner, Kristen, and she was especially gracious. Now for the most important part ... our food. It was amazing. For appetizers, one of us had the scallops and the other a special, a "Neopolitan" salad. Both were fantastic. Then we split a Caesar, which was simply and tasty, as it should be. For our entrees, one of us had the Tomato Cream Rigatoni with Spinach and the other a special, Mediterranean Sea Bass on Parsley and Cheese filled Ravoli with a variety of roasted beets. (I rate this as one of the best meals of my life.) We were more than satisfied. Meanwhile, the owner picked up on round of our wine, and offered us free dessert, because she felt we had waited to long for our table (We didn't mind the wait. We were having a good time.). We declined the dessert, because were were more than content. However, her willingness to do this shows this is a first rate restaurant. Good things come to those who wait. Go and enjoy!

  • Visited January 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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374 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    280
    61
    17
    9
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Appleton, WI
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Great coffee”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2012

Carmella's is in a little strip mall across from the Fox Valley Mall in Appleton. It is next to Penzey's Spices. The restaurant is small but comfortable. The coffee is excellent and the main reason we go back. The food is is not 'chain' food but it's also not very complex. I am surprised when I read about children who enjoy it as neither neices nor nephews of mine do. Children in the evening, I believe, would ruin the flavor and ambience. I've always thought of it more as an adult restaurant.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Johannesburg (Jo'burg), South Africa
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“My Happy Place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2011

Everyone in our family loves Carmella's, especially son #4. Whenever we go to Carmella's, he always says with a smile, "This is my Happy Place." It's easy to understand why. I've done it all here: group meals, entertaining customers/clients, out-of-town family and guests, romantic dates, and casual family meals. The food is always incredible and the service is consistently top-notch. The food is so good here, it's easy to get stuck in a rut, always ordering the same favorite; however, recently I've been experimenting with other parts of the extensive Italian menu, and keep finding one gem after another. The classy ladies who run this restaurant are obviously passionate about delivering "gastronomic value", and it shows down to the smallest details. Tips: 1) This is one of the best restaurants in Wisconsin, so it is frequently crowded; call ahead for reservations during peak times; 2) Ask the server for recommendations and be open to trying something new.

  • Visited December 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Applecruzer
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Italian restaurant that hasn't surrendered its kitchen!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2011

Went here as part of our birthday celebration because it had the highest rated desserts in the area. We'll get to that later.
Having traveled in Italy, we have seen that many USA Italian restaurants have Americanized their menus and food prep so much that they are serving dishes that never would have made it to the table at "home." Unless in a bigger city, it's very difficult to find any restaurant that even attempts to preserve authenticity of ingredients and recipes. Happily, Carmella's is trying to maintain its integrity and faithfulness to its roots.
First of all, we noticed that they had maintained their menu structure according to Insalata, Antipasti, Primi, Secundi, Contorni and Dolci. A minor point but informative. The ingredients in my salad were so fresh, I would have believed them if they had told me they had an herb garden for growing their own greens. The pasta fagioli was the most authentic I'd had on this side of the Atlantic. My wife also enjoyed her tomato bisque.
I ordered the Ariana which was their name for a dish of chicken breast / crispy eggplant / prosciutto / asiago / tomato sauce & linguine. Mostly very subtle flavors at their best when blended together set against the sharp saltiness of the prosciutto.
My wife had a daily special of lobster on linguine which was not to her taste.
By the time it came around to dessert, neither of us had the room for what looked like an admirable lineup. Next time, no antipasti or soup and more dessert! Because it was our birthdays (both December 6) we did each get a complementary cupcake.
In two important ways Carmella's is Americanized and it's for the better. First of all our server, Meghan, was helpful and attentive without being intrusive. Moreover, the service was actually prompt. For anyone who has eaten at a restaurant in Italy, you know why it is that the meal lasts two hours and don't even start thinking they will bring your check when you are ready to leave.
The second Americanization is the ambiance. The lighting was better, the tables not as close together and generally a more pleasant dining experience.
In short, we plan on going back because we never got to sample the award-winning desserts but what we did have was enough to convince us that another visit would be rewarding.

  • Visited December 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Yummy”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2011

We had dinner with another couple, and couldn't have been more pleased. One of my friends can be harder to please, but was so happy with his chicken Marsala. My husband had the peppercorn dusted scallops, and I had the shrimp with fusilli. Hubby also had the Ceasar Salad, which is house made, and so delicious. Two small items, there was a tad too much lemon in the fusilli. The other is the atmosphere, made only not great by the whole wide open ceilings thing. We were a noisy group, and I felt badly for the other tables. It's not a place for a quiet meal. All that aside, this restaurant still gets the highest of ratings from us.

Oh, and for lunch, you can't beat 2 or 3 of their cheese selections, along with fig and quince jam. A glass of chardonnay, and you are good to go.

  • Visited November 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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