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“Best Italian food since Italy!!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sarafina's Italian Kitchen

Sarafina's Italian Kitchen
Ranked #1 of 20 Restaurants in Arnold
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Kids, Families with children, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
The Villages, Florida
Level Contributor
124 reviews
92 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Best Italian food since Italy!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 1, 2013

We heard good things about this place long before we went. Last weekend we decided to take a trip from Angels Camp to the Calaveras Big Tree State Park to see the Sequoias. Therefore, we planned to stop for dinner at Sarafina's. We tried to make reservations, but they were booked until 8:30. After touring the State Park, we opted to stop by Sarafina's just before they opened at 5pm. We were sitting in the car at about 4:45 when we were told by a friend of the staff to go in and sit at the bar to see if we could get a table at 5.

However, once we sat at the bar and got a glass of wine, we decided to stay right there and have dinner. We love watching the chefs prepare meals, so this was a perfect seat for us. The waitresses frequently had conversations with us which was great! The atmosphere inside the restaurant in rustic elegance. Beautiful...

Sarafina's features a lot of local wines and even makes suggestions as to what pairs best with each dish. Very nice touch.

Now for the food:
We have traveled to Europe of more than one occasion and have dined at awesome Italian restaurants while in Italy (specifically Rome). Sarafina's reminds both the wife and I of the best restaurant we ever had Italian at IN ITALY!.

Fresh ingredients, simply made with love and tenderness. Our appetizer, Calamari, was lightly breaded and cooked to perfection. There was plenty of Calamari as evidenced by the photo attached. The wife had Shrimp Mediterraneo and raved about it to everyone. She said that you could taste every ingredient individually and nothing was overwhelmed by anything in the dish. The pasta was perfect along with the prawns and veggies. All they had to do was mention that the Lasagna was one of the specials of the night, and I was "in". A nice large portion was presented to me and I had a hard time holding myself back from devouring the entire dish. After the Calamari, a fresh salad and then the Lasagna, I was stuffed before I could finish. But, it made for a great lunch the following day for both of us.

Dessert- Yummy. Our waitress told us that they were known for their Bananas Foster. No kidding! It was wonderful. We opted for the vanilla ice cream as well and waddled out of the place.

I recommend that anyone craving Italian food within 50 miles of this place should make a reservation (early) and GO. It is obvious everyone working here loves this place and it is featured in Food Magazines more than once a year. Something to be said for that since most restaurants TRY hard to get featured in ANY food magazine. Kudo's to Sarafina's for giving us a very memorable meal.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Brad F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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141 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    89
    42
    6
    4
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
“Best Restaurant in Arnold or Murphys!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2013

Sarafina's is the best restaurant around for a nice dinner out. Cozy atmosphere during the winter, with a warm fireplace a d during the summer you can eat outside on the deck in the forest. The food is Italian with lots of seafood, pasta and meat dishes. Everyone loves the dish "Sara's Favorite"! We've always had good service and been seated very close to our reservation time. During the busy seasons though, it is packed.
$$-$$$

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Pattyesq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
52 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“OK but not always great”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2013

Most folks in this area will tell you that this is the best restaurant in Arnold, but we have had some varied experiences here. I always eat the same thing ("Sara's Favorite") which I like, but my family sometimes try the specials, with mixed success. The food is generally very heavy, very garlic laden, and not advised for anyone counting calories. This is fine, it's Italian/pasta after all, but the last special that my husband ordered; spaghetti with lots of garlic & anchovies, was just too much and he only ate ~10% of it as a result. The teenagers like it, they are certainly never hungry afterwards which is good, but I would advise folks to stay with the tried & tested & be wary of the specials. The premises are cosy and cabin-y, which is great in the mountains, can be very noisy however with big parties of folks on big tables. Service can be patchy in terms of timeliness, but is always friendly. Lively, not for a quiet dinner that's for sure. Prices are not too high and it's a lot of food, hence why I have given it 4 stars for "value" because most folks leave with boxes. Be sure to book, they are always busy.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Tracy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Level Contributor
75 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“The Best Food " But Please Dont Forget your Coustomers"”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2013

Food Great and it is the best place in town. This time had Reservations at 815 but did not get table for 40 minutes. Service was poor. I filled my glass of wine everytime and plates pilled up. And we were only 1 of 4 tables that late. When you wait that long offer a dessert for free or dont charge me the coakage. Just giving my two cents.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank MrPV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
海外
Level Contributor
20 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Simply the best restaurant in Arnold”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 17, 2012

My in-laws live in Arnold so I frequent Sarafina. They serve the most delicious food in the area. Their food taste fresh, made from scratch and with care. I love their carbonara pasta and specials of the day. Don't forget to order the dessert too. I have never been disappointed by their food and the service.

They give you big portions so we always have leftover the next day, which is an extra bonus.

The atmosphere is cozy and comfortable. I would say it has a feel of a sophisticated restaurant but it also has a family friendly atmosphere. Go there when you are in the area. You won't be disappointed!

My in-laws love me especially because I send Sarafina's gift certificates to them! One time, we couldn't pick up the gift certificate personally. When i asked, the restaurant kindly sent the gift certificate directly to my in-laws. What a great service!

  • Visited November 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Ilovefrenchpolynesia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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