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“Once Upon a Time...”
Review of C'era Una Volta

C'era Una Volta
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Ranked #25 of 251 Restaurants in Alameda
Price range: $20 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Alameda Avenue
Transit: C'era Una Volta Italian Restaurant in Alameda, one block from AC Transit Bus lines O, OX, 20, 21, 51A. BART connections available for each bus line. Bus 51A from Berkeley to Alameda via Downtown Oakland. Bus 20 & 21 from Fruitvale BART Station to Downtown Alameda in 10 min.
Reviewed February 24, 2012

I stumbled on this place looking to kill a few hours before a flight out of Oakland. It's as authentic an Italian restaurant as you can find, short of Sorrento. It's on a quiet pedestrian alley. And the food and the service is delightful. I highly recommend it.

1  Thank Jackcatscal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (51)
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44 - 48 of 51 reviews

Reviewed September 21, 2011

We really liked this place. There were 5 of us and it was later in the evening so it wasn't real busy. The food tasted great. We really liked the option of 'small plate' portions. This was plenty of food for one person. AND it left room for the great desserts. The staff was attentive but not hovering over your shoulder. We completely recommend it.

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1  Thank hibb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2009

I truly wished I had read lillybella77's review before trying this place--she nailed it!! I, wholeheartedly, agree with her assessment and comments. This place is totally make believe--It looks good and when you're there, you want to like it. On the surface, it feels genuine. BUT it is not what it seems. They pretend to be Italian, our waiter spoke with a phoney Italian accent. Then food is NOT good--starting with the flavorless bread and oil dip containing something like hot mustard (or horseradish). There is NO olive oil to be found. I think they use a canola oil. This same, flavorless oil dressed the Cesare salad (that was the whole dressing) which was served with boxed croutons! It was NOT a Cesare salad. The pasta was swimming in this same oil--NOT olive--and contained about half a sausage worth of meat! The gnochi were chewy and the meat sauce contained about a tablespoon worth of meat. Overall, the food is edible, but certainly not something we'd ever recommend or want to eat again. Honestly, Pasta Pomodoro has better tasting food! Save yourselves--don't go!

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1  Thank justpassingthru21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2008

so "once upon a time" (c'era una volta) usually starts off a good story with a happy ending, not so much here. This place looks the part, charming, rustic, italian restaurant, friendly staff that greets you with italian phrases, but the most important thing in a restaurant should be the food and that is what was absolutely terrrible.
I knew right away when they brought the bread to the table and it wasn't even good french bread, with bland flavorless olive oil in a dish with a scoop of horseradish in it, what? never seen that before,that was the first bad sign,...it's like the chips and salsa in a mexican restaurant, if that's not good it usually tells you that nothing else will be good either...so we ordered 2 of the specials on a not so busy saturday night 1) grilled scallops over romaine which were not cooked all the way and were too salty and 2) the ribeye which is always a favorite in any other place, but this one was simply blah- no flavor whatsoever, wouldn't even give that to the dog- and we ordered the lobster raviolis, okay, I'm sorry but a ravioli should not be hard around the edges, yuk!
The best thing we ordered was the warm spinach salad, and the wine was okay. All in all it was a big disapointment! and for the price we could have had an excellent meal at B in downtown oakland, which I highly recommend,or anywhere else, CHECK PLEASE! and the rating is 2 thumbs down!

3  Thank lillybella77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2008

Best Italian in town.

Thank Chuck_B
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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