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“No Bueno” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Laughing Cat - CLOSED

The Laughing Cat
1811 N 15th St, Tampa, FL 33605 (Historic Ybor)
813 241 2998
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Cuisines: Italian, Seafood, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Takeout, Buffet, Late Night, Dessert
Neighborhood: Historic Ybor
St. Petersburg, Florida
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“No Bueno”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

Came in for lunch and decided to do the buffet. No pasta was at the lunch buffet at all. Only thing on buffet that was good was the meatballs and lettuce. Friends ordered actual meals, they enjoyed them but they did not look good. They put so much pasta sauce on the dish that it looked like a soup. Also the decor is less than mediocre.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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329 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“overpriced. bad ownership/management”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

I read through the first few pages of reviews, and it is pretty obvious that the owner doesnt care for customers' opinions / negative reviews. I will be sure not to come here again too.

A friend brought me here prior to going to see a movie. Portions were huge, but quality was bland and tasteless. Look at the pictures that other people posted. Everything is drenched in kraft cheese and overly-salty sauce. Ambiance reminds me of high-school cafeteria floors and walls. Chairs are cheap and wobbly.

Finally - very expensive for such a low-class joint.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“As a foodie a good option”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

Service is very friendly, maybe a little bit to pushy for a European taste, we feel is quite insulting to have the check placed on the table without asking for it, but "Gemuetlichkeit" is a European thing we enjoy food indulge and take our time. Eating is not a necessity to be fulfilled. - we don't like TVs in restaurants, but prefer nice piano music or classic opera music in the background - nice ambience in an Italian restaurant.
The pasta portions are way to much, less is more, but I like that they are flexible and you can ask to leave certain ingredients out.- Good for a vegan or vegetarian. Unfortunately I feel that this Italian food is very americanized. Had hope to get a real good Tiramisu with Mascarpone and Amaretto...unfortunately it was nothing but sweet sweet sweet sweet…and whatever sauce was caramel and chocolate definitely killed it all…
The prices are normal, if you want cheap you can go to any chain restaurant and get cheap unhealthy food., I recommend Olive Garden ;)
The staff is very friendly and even let me show them once how Italians make a real Latte Macchiato. Unfortunately it wasn't implemented.
I hope to find more real restaurants in the US and Tampa Bay area, lots of space for development and improvement. The Laughing Cat is definitely a good start.
After all you are in the US and have to produce what sells, and cook for the American mouth.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ft laud, FL
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Poor quality, cheap ambiance, expensive!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

My fiancee and I ventured into the Laughing Cat last week. The name is whimsical and the location in Ybor is nice (Near CentroYbor).

Sumamry: Dont come here for dinner.

Cons:
1) Expensive! The average entree is $20/per person. NO SHARING ($5 service charge per person if you want to share. Ordering a salad/appetizer is not enough to waive this fee). Average glass of wine is $9. You want bread and butter? Thats an additional $2 charge for 5 small pieces. You can view their menu and prices on their website.
2) Poor ambiance! Cheap tile floor, no chandeliers, no paintings on the walls, etc (You can see images of the inside if you use google maps and search for laughing cat tampa). Does not live up to the $40/per person average bill.
3) Poor quality of food! We ordered: Gnocchi (caramelized with minimal sauce. Tasted very sweet, and was passable, but not worth $19 by far). Lasagna (Cheese squares were layered on top and microwaved - You can tell because of the rubbery feeling of the pasta). Side of vegetables were sauteed in garlic, but came out cold. Dont order the house wine - it comes from a box. Also, pastas were definitely over-salty and lacked any spice (no oregano/mint/etc). I recommend asking for a side of red pepper and black pepper (Sorry, guys it comes in a shaker. not freshly ground... still better than nothing).
4) Location: I have mixed feelings on this... On one hand, it is in Ybor (If you look out the window, you see a sign for GaY-Ybor). Therefore, it is in a hot-spot... However, it is attached right next door to Club Skye (which is a ghetto, low class nightclub). If you go for a late dinner (after 9PM, you see a bunch of tattooed, gold-tooth crack babies lined up right outside your dinner table. Not something you may want to see when eating a romantic dinner)
5) Sangria only comes in carafes/pitchers. No such thing as a glass..

Pros:
1) Waiters were very friendly. From the minute you walk in, they welcomed us nicely and escorted us to our table very quickly. Extremely polite and very attentive.
2) Food came out quickly.
3) Portions are huge. Unfortunately, no sharing ($5/per person)and the quality isnt good.

Recommendations to management:
1) Instead of a sharing charge, make it a minimum charge per table/per person ($15 or whatever). You will make the same/increased profit if a person orders an appetizer, drink, dessert - rather than not coming at all. I will not recommend anyone to come here until this changes. You are excluding a huge population: families, elderly individuals, etc.
2) Change the tiles on the floor and paint the walls a dark orange/red. The floor looks very cheap and ugly.
3) Replace the $1 salt and pepper shakers and the cheap utensils with something nicer. If you want to have upscale prices, you should have upscale amenities.
4) Make sure there are free refills with bread and soft drinks. Every major restaurant around the country has this.
5) Valet parking on weekends is a great way for you to increase some profits and provide a service. There are companies who will manage this for you (independent). Look into it. Your customers will really appreciate it on cold/rainy days.
6) Food really needs to be revamped. Looking at the reviews on here, most people appreciate your lunch buffet because there is a large quantity, but no one is really talking about the quality. That's not a good sign.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
YborCat, Owner at The Laughing Cat, responded to this review, March 3, 2013
well,since you don't like us,simply don't come anymore,you have over a thousands restaurants to choose from,go some place else,i won't loose any sleep over it.I hope this response is getting listed on the trip advisor.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Italian comfort food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013 via mobile

I'm a regular at "The Cat." For me, it's wonderful, plentiful Italian comfort food. Sitting at a high-top in the bar exposes you to Chef/owner Franco's scolding to the staff about something they did incorrectly or failed to do at all. It overflows from the kitchen to the bar. Franco doesn't remain still during his rants. He's right 99% of the time. Nearly every other sentence contains "[--]" alònng with other expletives. It's his milieu like the soup Nazi in NYC.
The food is excellent and plentiful. Tonight's fish was Monkfish.....excellent. The last week it was Cobia, also excellent.
One of the bartenders, Will, is a certified barista. He makes the best cappuccino I've had. -- with or without Sambucca.

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