Having lived in Chicago and been a Mia Francesca fan for many, many years, I was ecstatic when I found out a Mia Francesca was now in Raleigh. Sadly, it was Mia in name only. It had none of the uniquely awesome characteristics of its hometown locations in Chicago. The location here is beautiful, but not as cozy, and I feel like the goal here was to be focused on looking "high end" than to focus on service and a unique experience. The locations in Chicago are small have a great family feel and no request is ever out of the question. You almost feel like you are at a dinner party at someone's home and I remember always being told, "if it's in our kitchen or bar, then we can do it", because their menu always changes, so why not. You could go and hardly ever have the same thing. Or always have the same thing, even if it's not on the menu..as long as they have it. This is NOT the Mia Francesca of Chicago, just an Italian restaurant with the Mia name and menu resembling.
On our much anticipated visit in Raleigh, we went for an early dinner on a Friday night with our 3 year old. As mentioned earlier, it's very nicely done inside and I was still excited as we were seated, but quickly after, the love affair stopped. Our server was nice, but did not give us specials or make recommendations. He only told us what wasn't available. The menu looked to be standard (i.e. not the "flex" menu I was used to). When asked if we could have a bowl of freshly grated parm for our cheese loving daughter to sprinkle on her pasta, we were told no. Only that he would bring the grater and we could say "when". I was used to feeling adventurous with the Mia menu, mixing a bit with ingredients I love but don't have at home, that are on the menu but not all in one dish. That is part of what makes Mia so much fun (and makes you tip very well!). When we noticed that the table behind us had bread and again...we have a hungry 3 yr old...so we asked if we could have some. Rather than "of course, sorry I forgot", we got "umm...yeah, I guess I can go get some for you". Lastly, our food did not come out together with enough time between that I begged my husband and daughter to go ahead and start without me. How can the kitchen be that backed up at and if you are looking for a good restaurant, then this is okay, but it's NOT the Mia Francesca that I love, love, love and visit every time I'm in Chicago. Very far from it. They have a long way to go in staff training. Your staff can make or break you, even if the food is good. This Mia is a long enough drive and there are plenty of awesome restaurants between us and them that I don't see us making the driving and cost investment again. I'll just wait until I go back to Chicago. Very bummed.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.