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“Interesting setting, disappointing food”
Review of The Fat Tuscan - CLOSED

The Fat Tuscan
Cuisines: Italian, Mediterranean, Cafe
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: The Fat Tuscan Cafe is located in the downstairs portion of the completely restored Historic 100 year old plus Vidal House built in 1908. With its warm wood floors and historic features the Fat Tuscan Cafe is the perfect spot for lunching or dinning with friends. The outside Courtyard with its french inspired Lion fountain provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing experience on nice days. The cafe is located just 8 blocks from downtown Gainesville and is on the edge of the NE Historic District and Beautiful Thomas Center Gardens. We recommend strolling through the neighborhood after dinning.
Hawthorne, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
141 reviews
91 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Interesting setting, disappointing food”
Reviewed July 1, 2014

We had read the mixed reviews and decided to try this for ourselves. It is located in the Gainesville historic district, a little out of the way but quaint. The facility is a historic house converted to a restaurant with outside patio. Live cello and music were playing in the anteroom on arrival and a nice backdrop. Each room on the ground floor is set up with different seating. We sat in the largest "fireplace" room. Service was good, but the food was marginal. Angel hair pasta was underdone, and our other meal was disappointing. A lot of promise, but underdelivered. Undecided on trying again.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank mpe12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

54 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    21
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Gainesville, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Really good food and so-so service”
Reviewed June 27, 2014

The food here is really good. I've been for dinner once and several times for lunch and enjoyed each item I've ordered.
As with most of the restaurants in town the service leaves something to be desired. But it is a beautiful building and great location...definitely worth a try!

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jmsandstorm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“will try again but”
Reviewed May 16, 2014

went on a Friday night and seated immediately which was great

love the old house turned into eatery concept but something lacking in the atmosphere .
be great to see good white tablecloths and real napkins candles at table would be lovely touch
no bread /breadsticks offered
our server was great
my polenta and rosa sauce was really good
decent amount of vegetarian options .
wine list lacking
and my date's salad was just a so so salad
expected more dessert options
was so hoping for a Casa Palermo experience ( for those who remember )


will try again for sure

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank burmawallah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Flagler Beach, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Disappointing and bland”
Reviewed April 13, 2014

I really wanted to love this place. It is housed in a beautiful old Victorian home and the courtyard is private and inviting. Unfortunately, the food and service were below par.

The house wine is listed on the menu as "slightly sweet". Slightly sweet? Think Manischewitz Concord Grape! When our server also mentioned the sweetness we asked if we could taste it and I'm glad we did. We ordered another wine, but they were out of that. Finally settled on a pretty good cab.

The house salads were flat -- as in 2-dimensional. A tiny bit of spring mix was flattened to the plate by the dressing. This was accompanied by a razor thin piece of toasted bread. About the equivalent of one crouton.

I ordered the Mediterranean Pasta, which was listed as a house specialty. This is the Fat Tuscan's version of a very traditional dish, and should be difficult to do badly. The menu touted sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, and capers. The tomatoes were not the flavorful sun-dried variety at all, there were four spinach leaves, and neither the capers nor the feta cheese had any flavor. How can a caper have no flavor? It seemed as if the ingredients were simply tossed on top of the (clumpy) angel hair pasta and some essential steps had been overlooked in preparation.

My husband's sausage lasagna was OK, he said, but the serving was small and left him hungry. We ordered focaccia, but they were out of that. Instead of letting us know, the server brought us a basket of grilled baguette slices and told us she wouldn't charge as much.

With their location and venue, the Fat Tuscan could be one of Gainesville's gems. However, the two nearby well-established Italian restaurants have nothing to fear from this place.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Redqueen875
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gainesville, Florida
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Hidden Gem”
Reviewed March 25, 2014

"Hiding in plain sight" in the Historic District in Gainesville; is a "charming" cafe that delivers the magic of "savory" Tuscan cuisine. Owner and Chef Michelle, puts her "heart and soul" into this cafe where the "ample portions" of "wonderful" Italian fare, reasonable pricing and genuine hospitality inspire many a "permanent smile". From a variety of fresh made Panini’s to Spicy Shrimp Arrabiata, no matter what you select you are a winner…I have been to this café on many occasions for both business/pleasure and keep on coming back…

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Anthony M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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