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“Take your Italian grandmother here!”

Francesca's Trattoria
Ranked #24 of 583 Restaurants in Gainesville
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Families with children, Large groups, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
Reviewed July 5, 2009

I love Italian food. My family contains more Rosas', Tonys and Marias than an episode of the Sopranos. Francesca's took me back to a very happy time and place of my life. Usually I avoid restaurants like this, being of the opinion nobody does it like my family, so why spend the money to make what I can (and do) produce at home? Francesca's transported me to the kitchen of my grandmother, a place where a no nonsense tradition of taking the freshest (usually bought that morning) ingredients and letting them speak for themselves let you know how much you were loved. I went there with my roommate expecting good food after many of my co-workers sang its praises. I did not, however, expect to be impressed to the point of ordering an extra meal to take home just so the experience would not end. The pizza makes you want to go "Saint Valentine's day massacre" on anyone who would dare use the same word for what most of us have regrettably learned to accept from the slingers of doughy, acid sauced delivery garbage. The white pie with spinach arrived on a heavenly light crust which stood aside politely while the cheeses and herbs managed to make both my roommate and myself utter words which would have gotten me slapped as a kid. The mussels marinara (our appetizer) featured sauce so fresh and perfectly cooked a person would think the mussels had volunteered for the job. The key here is flavor. Made to appear effortless and deceptively simple, the food takes the Italian notion of just a few ingredients standing out without any need for pretense and runs with it until you are convinced someone has flown either your grandmother or her sisters in for the weekend. The tortellini with chicken and cream sauce made my lunchtime companion immediately ask me why I don't cook like this every night. The reason is simple: Now that I know Francesca's is in the neighborhood I can take a night off comfortable in the fact I will not be diappointed. From the culinary uninitiated to the hardest, usually cynical old school Italian, there isomething at this place to make you very happy and (in my case) very comfortably full. The highest praise I can give this place is Grandma would have loved it. In my family, that says it all. Fresh, unpretencious food served by friendly, attentive people who love what they are doing. It shows in every bite, from your starter to the homemade dessert for which you know somehow , some way, you will make room, Francesca's is an affordable pleasure.
Grandma was a no BS, skip the flowery adjectives kind of lady, so here it is: Go there hungry and with enough people to order a little of everything. You will leave happy and satisfied, but remember to grab a to go menu. With prices better or equal to those of the ridiculous chain mills, do yourself a favor and eat here. Flavor wins every time. I give this place the "Grandma would love it here" seal of approval. You can't do better than that.

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1  Thank tonygfl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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403 - 407 of 433 reviews

Reviewed July 3, 2009

The food was mediocre at best. The only thing included with the entree was a couple little rolls. The service was terrible. The server needs a course in manners and service. They acted like we were a major inconvenience. Save your money and time, go to Fazioli's.

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4  Thank charlestonwv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2009

We ate at Francesca's and the atmosphere was excellent.
The service was attentive.
The meal of eggplant parmesean was well prepared and most tasty. The red sauce was excellent.
The complaint is the value of the other meal at $18.50 for penne with shrimp and broccoli. There were total of 3 large shrimp in the entree.
The salad is a la carte.
3 garlic rolls came with the meal for two.

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2  Thank werabtsmiles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2009

Having lived in Italy and growing up with an Italian mother, I have always found it difficult to find restaurants in North America that prepare real Italian style cuisine. Francesca's has been a wonderful surprise to say the least! In speaking with the wait staff I came to learn that the Owner and Head Chef is Swiss born and raised, and trained in Italy - A truly talented man whose pasta creations come to life and warm the soul. Each time I enter the front doors to Francesca's, I am met with the smell of my Nonna's kitchen. And each dish that I have tried thus far - pasta, veal, seafood - have never left me disappointed. For those couples dining together I would most definitely recommend requesting Johnathon as your server - a kind, honest man with great stories of Brooklyn. If you intend to dine alone I would not hesitate to sit at the bar and have Lhiannon look after you - such a warm and friendly person is a rare find.

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1  Thank BeenVaiched
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2009

When my husband asked where I wanted to go for anniversary I immediately replied Francesca's! This would be our 6th plus visit. The service, food, atmosphere and owners are second to none. Gainesville is truly blessed to have homemade pasta, ravioli, gnocci topped with outstanding sauces and the best tasting garlic snails (rolls) you ever put in your mouth. The wine selection is great and growing or if you like bring your own (corking fee charged). My favorite dish is the tortelinni, it is outstanding. The gnocci is a "special" and if you ever get the opportunity to taste this dish you will know you are in heaven! Everything about this restaurant excels-Lila ans Steve DeCubellis

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

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