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“An Italian Treat”
Review of DePalma's

Ranked #1 of 289 Restaurants in Tuscaloosa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $5 - $15
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Kids, Families with children, Large groups, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Mobile, Alabama
Level Contributor
74 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“An Italian Treat”
Reviewed July 21, 2012

DePalma's was the scene of a birthday dinner for my GD and family. It is a busy, bustling place with an open kitchen. No reservations but worth the wait. Service was attentive and food was great! Try bread sticks stuffed with meatballs for an appetizer and White Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert. We had a variety of entrees and no complaints.

Serve wines and beer, no Johnnie Walker Red! Lost a star on that! Kidding, but a fun place to eat.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank James H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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539 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
“Great food and service!”
Reviewed July 15, 2012

I had a great experience at this restaurant and will be going back the next time I am in Tuscaloosa. I ate at the bar as I was traveling alone. The bartender was great -- very attentive. The mushroom ravioli was fantastic and they had a great wine selection.

Visited July 2012
Thank tamf2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
101 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Great little Italian in the heart of downtown”
Reviewed July 11, 2012

We have eaten here on both our visits to Tusc, and have enjoyed each visit. Interesting deco. Service has always been good, and food has always been good. Hubby had veal marsala, and I always have a special. Creame Brulee cheesecake was good, and canoli's are good as well. Little pricey but worth it.

Visited July 2012
Thank Angela S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northport, Alabama
Level Contributor
126 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“As Good as it Gets”
Reviewed July 11, 2012

If you like Italian food you will love Depalma's. They have a wide range of entrees and the best pizza in town. They have a nice selection of wines served in a New York neighborhood type restaurant atmosphere.

A heads up is in order - if you go on a weekend night or during special events in town then get there early or expect a long wait. But it is worth it. Only drawback is it can get quite noisy with the place packed.

The wait staff, mostly UA students, do a fine job. They know the menu and are happy to make recommendations.Have never failed to have a waiter or waitress that was not friendly and helpful.

We have out of town friends who make a beeline to Depalma's every time they are in Tuscaloosa.

Lunch or dinner, Depalma's is a happening place.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 1BamaBacker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
58 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“What is going on in this place?”
Reviewed June 24, 2012

This was such a weird and troubling experience I had to take a few days to figure it all out. My overall summary is that the kitchen is excellent and producing fantastic food but the front of the house is completely screwed up. So beware of the bittersweet potential.

We called to see if DePalma's took reservations having seen a big lineup the night before. The result of that unpleasant experience was that I swore I would refuse to have the person we spoke to on the phone as our waiter. We were seated immediately by the hostess but then never saw anyone again for some time which is strange because either the hostess should get a drink going or a waiter should do that quickly. One of my favourite metrics is the time taken to get a waiter to your table. A minute is great, 10 minutes is a walk-away. When the waiter did show, he was impatient, nameless and went away as we tried to decide on food. Not a single waiter that night had a smile. We were hungry and managed to get some meatballs in a marinara sauce. Once dropped off, we asked our waiter three times for cheese which was eventually deposited on the table in the classic shake jar. I guess this is a valuable commodity at DePalma's.

I enjoyed the marinara and meatballs so much I quickly ordered spaghetti and meatballs with that sauce. Unfortunately, my dish arrived with little of the sauce that I wanted and the waiter disappeared never to be seen again before I finished. No cheese of course, no "how's everything", nothing. He was gone the entire meal. I will say the pasta was outstanding and I would agree the kitchen seems to be all people say it is.

The other two at our table decided to split a large pizza and take some home for our return trip the next day. The waiter offered that it could be split into two orders. Half was ordered fully dressed with virtually everything on the menu. But my picky friend wanted none of that and ordered the second half with no olives, peppers and other things that he finds unappealing. The waiter was told three times but seemed troubled by the order and had difficulty understanding. So, we tried another approach and ordered "crust, double cheese, meat and sauce" and he went away. Maybe thirty minutes went by with no food so we asked for some bread which brought more troubled looks because "the bread comes with the dinner". We did get it though but only because we would not accept "no".

When the pizza finally arrived, it was enormous as advertised at 18 inches, half was fully dressed and the other half was plastered with green olives--exactly what we didn't want. The waiter then tried to squirm out by saying he only heard "no black olives". Then there was some nonsense about picking out the green olives and I thought this had to be a bad dream or Candid Camera. My picky friend, not wanting his daughter to stay hungry simply suggested to the waiter that he bring a really small pizza with just the basics he had asked for--no olives this time. The waiter declined stating "I can't ring that in" and once again the computers define what service will be forthcoming. These two are hungry, waiting for almost an hour, then the waiter starts to take the entire meal away including the good half of the pizza. After a few unpleasant words we dismissed the waiter and called the manager over. There was no reason not to leave the good half and the manager agreed but said he could not provide a small pizza--only a medium (which was also enormous). Huh?

Get this--I'm facing the kitchen which is about 15 feet behind the manager. The apparently excellent chefs are hand forming and spinning pizza crusts in the air as I watch the manager explain why a small pizza can't be made. They could make a small pizza, a square pizza or anything they wanted but I guess the computer won't "ring that in". All he has to do is turn around, take 5 steps and ask the kitchen to fire up a small pizza to get the table moving. Nope.

Here in Calgary, when they screw up, the manager typically bends over backwards to make things right including credits, apologies, and enough treats that you would feel embarrassed not to come back and give them another chance. DePalma's seems to thrive on reputation but it will erode quickly if our experience becomes typical.

Another thirty minutes pass and the replacement medium pizza arrives. The table is now completely full of pizza--I mean end to end. I'm done my spaghetti long ago, nobody is really happy any more and the waiter has disappeared never to be seen again until we ask for the check. There was no apology and no attention afterwards. We did take the leftovers home, we did enjoy them and it was a great pizza absent the turmoil to get it.

I don't know who runs this place but it seems staff can't make things right or deal with simple customer requests. And, as is normal with crappy service, I did not see a customer feedback card to register complaints in writing. I would encourage their use to see what is happening and when.

Having said all this, I gave it two stars only because the food was excellent but the experience ruined the night. I would visit the other top listings in TripAdvisor before going back to DePalma's.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank pjdm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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