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“Smothered in heavy sauce”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Piacere

Piacere
Ranked #1 of 29 Restaurants in Cloverdale
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $20
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Families with children, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Calistoga
Level Contributor
88 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Smothered in heavy sauce”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2006

I dined at Piacere in Cloverdale, CA June 24 and found the entire experience wretched. Virtually every dish came smothered in a heavy cream based sauce made distinctive by a few drops of flavoring. As an entree I had Sonoma Roast Duck, which appeared to be drowned in a heavy apricot flavored sauce. Poking through the sauce were a few chunks of unidentifiable solid matter, which tasted faintly like duck, although they could have easily been chicken or even pork.

The sauce overwhelmed everything on the plate. I ordered, with a friend, the scallop entree as an appetizer. It, too, arrived drenched in nearly identical heavy sauce minus the apricot flavoring. The scallops were breaded, fried and tossed into the sea of sauce and arrived on my plate as sodden, lumps tasting entirely of sauce. There was not even the faintest taste of scallop.

The sauces at Piacere brought back not so fond memories of one of my least favorite Army meals, creamed chipped beef on toast, known to millions of soldiers as “SOS.”

Cloverdale sits at the far northern end of Sonoma County, one of the world’s great Wine producing regions. So it was especially disappointing to find a miserable wine list. The wines were poorly chosen and priced. The one Zinfandel on the list was a Parducci at $31, or 3.3 times the retail price. Most Wine Country restaurants charge 2.5 times the wholesale price. Wines were served in tiny 4 oz. goblets that eliminated any possible bouquet from reaching my nose. Larger glasses would probably not have made a difference as the wine lacked body and taste, perhaps because of the unacceptable storage conditions. Wines at Piacere are stored in racks in the dining room, which seemed to be 80-82 degrees on the evening we visited.

My meal cost $39, with tip. I could have eaten better at the Olive Garden or other neo Tuscan/Italian chain for half the price.

Helpful?
4 Thank Calistoga Grower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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132 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
38 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“Italian family charm in a small wine country town”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2005

We drove up to Cloverdale for the Russian River winery barrel tastings this past weekend, and a local resident sent us to Piacere for a Friday night dinner that got things off to a great start. Although it was somewhat late (8:45 pm) when we arrived, we received a warm greeting from the apparent proprietors (including a guy who looked like he might be the chef since he appeared to be emerging from the kitchen). In fact, the place exuded an intimate, family-style atmosphere that was part of its charm.

The menu is basic Italian trattoria. We shared a plate of battered and fried
calamari to start with that was wonderfully crispy and light, then moved on to veal saltimbocca (my husband) and veal piccata (me). Portions were fairly generous and I thought the sauces for both dishes were delicious, although my husband was less impressed by the saltimbocca than by the
creamy lemon-caper sauce for the veal. Both dishes came with an assortment of steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes, plus green salad with Italian dressing (which we chose over the alternative soup option). As you'd expect in the heart of Sonoma County wine country, the restaurant offers a decent if not huge selection of wines, some by the glass and others by the bottle. Prices overall (but especially for the wines) were moderate for the portions and the region (meaning anywhere else they'd be considered high).

I'm not going to say Piacere served the best Italian meal I've ever eaten, but it certainly was far from the worst. Add to that the friendly yet professional service, and you've got a restaurant I'd like to try again.

Helpful?
9 Thank Yardena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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