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“Many things to like...but a few things need improvement”
Review of Stella Luna

Stella Luna
Ranked #3 of 74 Dessert in Ottawa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $4 - $12
Cuisines: Cafe
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast
Description: Awarded a Bronze Medal in The Americas at the Gelato World Tour 2016, advancing to the World Tour Finals in Italy, 2017! Trained in Bologna by Italy's finest; owner and Master Gelato Chef Tammy Giuliani combines old-world techniques and recipes with a passion for finely prepared food. Stella Luna has been rated Top 5 Desserts in Ontario and is listed on Urban Spoon as "Canada's Best 100 Places to Eat". More than just gelato, Stella Luna is a family owned and operated European style Cafe, serving up gourmet panini, hearty soups, eclectic salads, buttermilk waffles, crepes, decadent desserts and specialty coffees with Italian flare. Stella Luna - intimate ambiance, exceptional food!
Reviewed March 14, 2013

I've visited Stella Luna now on four separate occasions, with family and with family and friends. It has a welcoming feel to it, good and diverse seating options, and nice decor.

The sandwiches and waffles are tasty, as are the gelato and coffee. Nothing is over the moon exceptional, but I can't say we've been disappointed at all with anything we've had to eat or drink.

Be forewarned...it's busy, and sometimes seating can be hard to find. The business can't be faulted for that, just an observation.

Things that could be improved are as follows:

1. the service model (order at the counter, take a number) while sensible in principle, in practice doesn't seem to work all that well. Each time we've been there there have been errors with our order, or other people's orders brought to our table by mistake.

2. Some of the staff are friendly, other seem indifferent or disinterested. This is a turn off, and easily remedied by owners and/or management.

3. Customers come and go, often leaving quite messy tables. With seating at a premium, the staff should make more of an effort to quickly clear off and clean tables once customers leave and new ones arrive. The last time we were there we found ourselves having to clean off and wipe down our own tables as the staff seemed oblivious. When one employee finally did come by she gave the table only the most cursory of wipedowns, leaving liquid and debris still on the surface for us to deal with on our own.

Overall we really like Stella Luna, but we hope that it doesn't become a victim of its own success and lose sight of the little details that make all the difference.

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1  Thank CaptCanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TammyGiuliani, Owner at Stella Luna, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review Stella Luna, a family owned and operated Café. Alessandro and I pour our heart and soul into running it and are incredibly appreciative of everyone’s compliments as much as we take to heart criticism and feedback. Your comments allow us the opportunity to review the areas where we are most challenged.

Your observation that Stella Luna can sometimes be a victim of its own success is not far from the truth - the line-ups can be quite long and the challenge of serving in excess of 1500 people per day keeps us hopping to stay on top. Remaining focused on the finer details means a great deal to us – our appreciation for our patrons, the quality of the products we serve (everything is made from scratch, in-house!), and the warm and competency of our staff – are all critical to making sure customers have a wonderful experience.

When designing Stella Luna, Alessandro and I created the space we craved to go to with our kids – excellent quality without being too expensive (an affordable treat you could splurge on frequently). We came up with a business model that would allow you to pay Café prices (as opposed to eating in a restaurant) without having to stand around and wait for your food and beverages, as is the case in most Coffee Shops. When you pay at the cash, you are free to sit down and chat while waiting for our staff to bring your treats to your table. 99% of the time this system works well and saves customers the hassle of having to stand around. However, sometimes when we get really busy, human error is possible. What is unacceptable is that you felt our staff was indifferent and disinterested. We have a whopping crew of 25, mostly students and I consider them to be some of the best employees the city has to offer. They are all aware that excellent customer service is critical to our philosophy and is what distinguishes an average business from an exceptional one. I will speak with each and every staff member to ensure that they are aware of your impression.

Properly wiping down tables is a pet-peeve of mine as well and when I am in a food establishment I expect nothing short of meticulous. I will go over the importance of a thorough table-wiping with the kids (it’s not unlike parenting a group of 25 and getting them to clean their rooms!). When we have a full-house with people coming and going quickly, we struggle with customers leaving dishes behind on their tables rather than putting them in the dish bins – it’s that cross between the inexpensive Café model verses the Restaurant model where someone else cleans your table after you leave.

Having the opportunity to follow-up on customer feedback is critical for a business to grow, improve and be successful. The advantage of supporting a “mom and pop” family business as opposed to a franchise or big-box store means that you can count on the owners to take your feedback to heart and try to improve in areas where we haven’t met your expectations. If you should decide to give Stella Luna another try, I would welcome a phone call or an email should something not live up to your expectations.

Warm regards,
Tammy Giuliani
Owner, Stella Luna Gelato Café
613 523 1116
tammy.stellaluna@hotmail.com

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151 - 155 of 199 reviews

Reviewed February 17, 2013

Judging from the reviews here, I will be in the minority with this opinion, but I've visited on two occasions and found both disappointing.

First time was in the summer. Joined a huge line waiting for the gelato only to find when I went to order that there were separate lines to pay and to order and I had gone to the wrong line. Fair enough, but getting rude guff from the staff about my mistake was not appreciated, especially as there's no sign to indicate to pay at the register before joining the line to order.

I wasn't the only one confused, as after paying and starting again in the line the lady in front of me had the same experience, as did a fellow who was behind me the first time I was in line. Both ended up leaving without buying anything. While in line the second time a couple with a kid found that they had only been charged for two of the three gelatos they ordered so were told if they wanted the third they'd have to go back to the register and rejoin the long line again. I didn't see them rejoin the line. I also decided against ordering more than the gelato as I didn't feel like spending any more money there. I would have left as well, but I really wanted that gelato! As for the gelato itself, I must say it was tasty, though I wouldn't rank it higher than other gelato I've had in Ottawa.

Second visit was in February. After the first visit I didn't think I'd end up there again, but saw during the previews at the Mayfair movie theatre that if you took your ticket stub you'd get 25% off a small gelato. I thought it would be nice to show support for a business that sponsors my favourite movie theatre, so stopped by after the show with my ticket stub.

When I showed my ticket stub the girl at the cash seemed confused and went to talk to a co-worker. She said that I needed to come back with the coupon for the 25% off. I explained that I had seen it during the previews and that the advertisement stated to bring your ticket stub, which I had shown her. She was apologetic, but said she needed the voucher. At this point it finally hit home that my money and this business were just not meant to be together.

My wife noticed as we left Stella Luna that in the Mayfair brochure she had picked up an advertisement clearly states "25% off a small gelato when you show your Mayfair ticket stub." No mention of a voucher. Oh well.

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12  Thank mcnamn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TammyGiuliani, Owner at Stella Luna, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review Stella Luna, a family owned and operated Café. It was a long time dream of ours to open the shop and Alessandro and I pour our heart and soul into running it. We are incredibly appreciative of everyone’s compliments as much as we take to heart criticism and feedback. Your comments allow us the opportunity to review the areas where we are most challenged. Sometimes we are a victim of our own success as the line-ups can be quite long. We really try hard to make sure that once you reach the gelato display, you have our undivided attention – you are free to taste and sample in abundance before deciding, and are welcome to choose multiple flavours in even the smallest size. We work on producing a freshly made, artisan gelato from scratch, using premium ingredients, state of the art equipment and pure passion for our art and hope that the end result is worth the wait!

Our line-up begins at the cash, at the front of the shop. Once you have chosen your cup or cone size, our staff eagerly waits for you at the display to scoop your favourite flavours. Our experience serving in excess of 1500 people per day has demonstrated that beginning at the cash serves the customers’ needs best – you begin the journey by waiting in line to pay, but once you have your gelato in hand, you are free to enjoy it. We have tried the reverse – scooping first and paying later and have found that the gelato dripped and melted while people were waiting to pay. The help avoid confusion for those like yourself about where to place your order, I will set up some stanchions to assist with the flow.

With regards to the customer whom you mentioned with the child who wanted an additional gelato but didn’t want to wait in line again – I will use this opportunity to speak to my staff about the importance of flexibility so they are sensitive to this type of situation. Our goal is to make sure that everyone who comes into the shop leaves satisfied and happier than when they came in!

I have addressed the issue with the Mayfair Theatre coupon with my staff. We used to have a coupon in the Mayfair program which offered “25% off a small gelato”. I redesigned the coupon to include “show us your ticket stub” with the coupon” to make sure people didn’t simply rip up the program to get the coupon without first supporting our local independent theatre. The change seems to be working well.

Having the opportunity to follow-up on customer feedback is critical for a business to grow, improve and be successful. The advantage of supporting a “mom and pop” family business as opposed to a franchise or big-box store means that you can count on the owners to take your feedback to heart and try to improve in areas where we haven’t met your expectations. If you should decide to give Stella Luna another try, I would welcome a phone call or an email should something not live up to your expectations.

Warm regards,
Tammy Giuliani
Owner, Stella Luna Gelato Café
613 523 1116
tammy.stellaluna@hotmail.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

As the Rideau Canal is open for skating anything in the Glebe will be packed with skaters warming up. Just head south on Bank past Sunnyside. Parking is always an issue for Bank Street so watch the exclusion zones and parking times.
This is a very nice spot to drop by for fresh panini, gelato, deserts and of course a nice hot caffe latte.
You will find this to be a very popular spot with locals and at times very busy.
Staff are very friendly and do their best to make you feel welcome.

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Thank Bill T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

We are neighbours, so we walked there through the cold and snow. Like this place, lots of floor space and nice seating arrangements so it is a great place to just go spur of the moment for a relaxed evening outing. The texture and consistency of the gelato makes it rank high here in Ottawa and does remind me of gelato in Italy. I've had some really good flavours there and some that are more average but still quite nice. They change the flavours often and often have some seasonal gelato offerings which is fun. I once tried the hot chocolate and yes it is good, follows the melt-a-slab-of-chocolate and pour the resulting thick liquid in a cup idea, but at over $5 with tax, this isn't just a quick treat you want to hand to a kid. I find it a bit rich (and I say this rarely about desserts) and would have been happier with half the serving (if the price was halved too of course!). I also made the mistake of getting it to walk back home with. It's more of the make an occasion of it (sit-and-sip-and-savor-it) type of drink. The business appears to be doing well, often line-ups but unless it's summer, not too bad. Seems that family and friend groups arrive in bulk. A few things they may want to watch, the light patterned arm chairs are a bit grotty in place due to the sticky fingered clientele and though they are open into the evening, I have found that their baked offerings and desserts look too much of a side bar as they appear pretty picked over by late afternoon/evening, not so enticing. This is a shame because I recently tried a cookie (fought a sample away from a 3 1/2 year old) and it was very tasty. Hadn't been since what must have been a few months until a week ago. Came with a friend and her near melting down post canal toddler. The cookie and ambience revived us all and waitress who came to clear our table very kind and tolerant about the toddlers table habits. Table far enough that the older gentleman opposite seemed to enjoy the youthful antics too. So yes, came again last night, not sure I'd go through the snow for gelato normally but remembered certificate for small gelato received from hot chocolate order (broken machine resulted in long wait) but unfortunately it had expired, not quite so fun. I think they kind of missed the point of giving out the certificate in the first place.

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Thank FnP2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2013

Step in to this lovely space and enjoy the spectacle of the gelato bar with mounds of delectable gelato! It tastes as good as it looks!

Thank Traveldogs36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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