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“Criminal...”
Review of Tony Capones

Tony Capones
Ranked #353 of 2,823 Restaurants in Ottawa
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed September 1, 2011

Last night my Mister and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. If you knew us, you'd know there is reason to celebrate, for our marriage took place after a loooooong, drawn out courtship. Finally getting married for me was almost like finishing my Bachelor Degree, except at the starting line rather than at the finish. But it felt like I had won a prize all the same.

For whatever reason, my Mister decided he wanted to go to dinner at Tony Capone's West. We had driven past it a bajillion times when we were house hunting, and even stopped in once to look at menu prices for lunch. At the time it seemed like it was priced too high for lunch, so we pressed on. But, on occasions like an anniversary, we don't usually exclude options for any reason, especially not price. Since I usually pick where we go, and most oft times WHY we are going, it didn't bother me in the least to let him take the wheel on this one. For the moment anyhow....

Just walking into the place I felt like I was walking into a den. It had all the feeling of a place from prohibition time...dark, close quartered and richly decorated. It took me quite a while for my eyes to adjust so I could clearly read the menu. I didn't want to waste time waiting to be able to see so I appealed to the waitress and the hostess for their recommendations. Problem was everything they recommended was nothing I was in the mood for. Their special last night was veal with ham and cheese rolled into it. Way too heavy for me, and ham WITH veal? No. My eyes had finally adjusted so I was able to study the menu carefully; knowing I was in the mood for something rich with meat flavor, fruity but light on the grease. When I asked our waitress for something that perhaps had red wine in the sauce she directed me to the Veal Marsala. Done. The appetizer was either going to be bruschetta or something else she recommended. Both the waitress and the hostess asserted that a customer favorite was the Capone's Zucchini. With my choices taken care of, we sent the orders in for Veal and the zucchini, and for the Sprout, Capone's spaghetti and meat sauce.

I was ready to explore...

There is SO much Capone nostalgia art in this place you really feel like you're in a time warp. It was kind of cool, plenty of things to look at AND read on the walls. If you had NO idea who Alphonse Capone was before, you could walk around, literally read the walls and find out. Very cool!

When I got back to the table there was a basket of dinner rolls waiting there.

I was really hungry, so we prayed and dug right in. There was pumpernickel, multigrain and two white rolls. We both had half each and gave the Sprout whatever he reached for; we didn't want any meltdowns tonight. Little did we know the tantrums were right around the corner, so we were enjoying the tranquility while it lasted.

I was excited for our dinner. When you go out, you WANT to enjoy it. I don't know a single person that leaves their house thinking "I gotta find a place that makes me wish I would have stayed home and had a grilled cheese sandwich instead." When our waitress marched up with the Sprouts spaghetti and our fried zucchini I was ready to have my socks blown off. It LOOKED fabulous....

At first glance these looked great! I couldn't wait to eat them. They LOOKED so crispy and the dip looked exactly how it was named, "creamy". I grabbed a spear and greedily dunked it in the dip; I took a sound, largish bite and chewed....and chewed some more....then frowned. It tasted exactly like fried zucchini. This might not sound like much of a tragedy to most people...but for me, I felt like this appetizer lacked some SERIOUS imagination. I couldn't fathom how this was a customer "favorite". There was no flavor in the breading and the zucchini of course tasted JUST like zucchini. Zucchini is a rather bland vegetable that has an AMAZING ability. It can take on the flavor of just about ANYthing when prepared properly. It was clear there was no effort made to give them any flavor other than "fried". The creamy garlic dip just added even MORE heaviness to the dish as a whole. I don't really need to beat a dead horse here, this appetizer was beyond disappointing. Moving on...

I was a little afraid of what my entree was going to be like. Right around this point I was eying up what little remnants were left in the bread basket, wondering if I should be selfish and eat them all without offering any to my beloved or my spawn. Just then our entrees appeared....

I took my fork, closed my eyes and all the while I was talking to myself; just HOPING this food wasn't going to suck. Quite frankly it didn't look too good. I knew before we ordered that the vegetables for the night were cauliflower and braised cabbage. I didn't know it was going to be red cabbage and that there would be SO much more of it than the cauliflower. My Mister and I got an identical serving of vegetables which consisted of a GIANT posy of cauliflower with a drizzle of Italian flavored red sauce oozed on top of it and a even larger blob of braised red cabbage globbed onto the plate. I tried the cabbage, knowing that was going to be the biggest challenge on the plate for taste...well, THINKing it was going to be the biggest challenge. Lordy, was I ever wrong. The cabbage WAS bitter and tasted horrible. But, that thing you see on the plate that looks like a fried Twinkie is my "potato". *whince* Before I ordered, I asked the waitress what "potato" meant and did it include a baked potato or mashed or what, she said I COULD get a baked potato but what it typically is that comes is a potato croquet. Oh, that sounded great! I have had those before and loved them, but when it came out the way it did my excitement was quickly deflated. My Mister kept calling it "the hush puppy", so I knew I wasn't imagining that they seemed rather DRY for potato croquet. I moved on to the veal... I assumed after the other elements proved to be less than up to par that at least one thing with the veal would be amiss. *facepalm* EVERYthing was "amiss"...it was a TOTAL miss. The scallopini itself was on life support. I tried to cut my veal with my fork...nada. Not a good sign. I whimpered as I reached for my butter knife. I actually had to saw the pieces off. Then there was the sauce. The chef didn't cook off the alcohol completely; not even close. The only redeeming quality to the veal portion was that the mushrooms were large beautiful, stem on pieces. But, for those to be the ONLY thing on that plate that turned out correctly... *sigh* Epic fail.

I wouldn't recommend Tony Capone's for anyone that appreciates good Italian. I've read other customer reviews of this place and I scratch my head. Being part Italian, I can't figure out how people can classify this place's food as "great Italian" food and they attest that they keep going back for more. I almost feel bad for them. It goes without saying that if they find THIS place's Italian to be "top quality", they haven't had food in Italy let ALONE food made by a real Italian. My vote is to take your 70 loonies and go to Little Italy and take your chances. Buona fortuna!!

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4  Thank TheFoodnatic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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94 - 98 of 105 reviews

Reviewed August 10, 2011

This is my favourite restaurant in Ottawa. We have been going here for the last 20 years and it always pleases. The owner is usually walking around and very social with all the guests. The meal is top notch, and not really expensive. Great for a family outing. The Ottawa Senators eat here sometime and the owner is a big fan. Never know who you will see.... enjoy

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Thank Barry H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2011

Went for Valentine's Dinner. Great decor, fascinating fish tank, super service and delicious food. Tony, the owner, seems to make a point of visiting each table, a very classy touch. My wife got a red rose and we both left feeling special.

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Thank doc4dds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2010

Upon our arrival we were told there was no Vegan option, which would have been fine had we not called ahead and been told the contrary by the manager.

I don't expect to be catered to for such a special request but I don't like being lied to.

Anyway they were able to scrape something together: the portion consisted of some veggies, oil, garlic and noodles which was edible although insultingly small.

I was finished before anyone even warmed their bellies.

I expected more for $16.95 (I couldn't possibly have expected less). Honestly this meal couldn't have cost more than 1 dollar to make.

Next time I'll just buy some groceries.

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2  Thank Todd28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2010

My wife and I have enjoyed Capone's from the mid-90's to today...in fact we are heading there this Saturday to celebrate some birthdays. Whiile any restaurant has an occassional dip in the overall "experience", we have never found any part, be it the food, atmosphere, or service to be anything below what I would classify as "good", and most of the time it is "very good" to "excellent". The Chicken Amaretto, Bistecca Alla Siciliana and the Cavatelli are not to be missed. I would reccomend to all!

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Thank Dave110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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