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“Foodies beware! Over-rated”

Carmelo's Italian Ristorante
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2
Thu, 2/27
8:00 PM
Ranked #6 of 157 Restaurants in Punta Gorda
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian, Mediterranean
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed January 21, 2020

January 20, 2020

Carmelo Restaurant: A Mediocre and Inhospitable dining experience.

Anticipation or excitement for this evening quickly faded when our hostess greeted us in a rude and unfriendly manner. She informed us that yes we had a reservation, but she tried to place us in the outside garden room when the temperature hovered at a cool fifty eight degrees. When I objected, she coldly replied that “perhaps she could find us a space indoors.”
I have used ‘Open table’ for many years, and have always relied on its professional and efficient service, never have I been treated in such a manner. My table was booked on January 8, for the evening of January 20. Why would the hostess not honor my reservation as listed below instead try to dictate where we would sit?
Our table service was perfunctory at best. Our young waitress was attentive but not forthright with her answers. My companion and I ordered the Antipasto Misti: an assortment of slices of mozzarella and provolone cheese, a few olives, slivers of roasted red pepper, some artichoke hearts, and slices of soppresata and mortadella, atop arugula greens; This was acceptable, however lacking in any presentation. My companion and I ordered the salads; her’s a Caesar salad, mine a garden salad. We both did not care for the croutons, store-bought and dry to the bite; the dressing clearly poured from a bottle. My dressing described as ‘a raspberry vinagrette arrived bright red, very sweet and syrupy. My companion ordered ‘fettucini alla marissa’ consisting of eggplant, pine nuts, roasted cherry tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms tossed with a pesto garlic sauce. What arrived instead was a dark concoction of noodles that were not ‘al dente’; large slices of eggplant, the spinach almost invisible, and the Pesto lacking in flavor, and not at all bright and basil-like as fresh basil should taste. All in all, the dish was under-seasoned. I ordered what was supposedly a ‘pork osso buco’.
“Ossobuco or osso buco is a specialty of Lombard cuisine of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. “
Usually the bone in veal is thick enough to encase delicious marrow which makes the dish rich and unique tasting. However my Pork shank was too small to contain any marrow, and though braised to tenderness, did not impress. What was even more distressing, was the addition to the sauce what appeared to be ‘store-bought’ dry gnocchi; these were over-cooked, and tasteless. When we asked our waitress if their desserts were made on premise, she hesitated and said yes. We opted for the tiramisu. A properly made tiramisu would showcase delicate lady-fingers dipped in coffee, encasing a rich marsala tasting cream usually made with mascarpone, and accented with slivers of dark chocolate, and would be light and airy in texture. What appeared instead was a sponge cake with layers of frositng?and topped with melted chocolate.
All in all, I find Carmelo’s food in-authentic, and not prepared in the true spirit of Italian cuisine. Amazingly, this place attracts many diners, and is well suited for the many ‘snow-birds’ that flock here at this time of the year. ~tiaotse~

Date of visit: January 2020
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Joge T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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23 - 27 of 816 reviews

Reviewed January 16, 2020

Authentic Italian food! Delicious food, great ambiance and super service!
Our server Linda was extraordinary!!!! We will be back!
Karin & Jamie

Date of visit: January 2020
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 89jamiev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2020

So Many good restaurants in Punta Gorda. Where to go? Well, one evening we decided that this seemed like a great place to have dinner. I could not have been more disappointed.

I have no complaints about the service as our server was attentive. However, It is very unfortunate that the bread was the best part of oir meal.

We both had Caesar salads, which were drenched in salad dressing. Whew, just overloaded. Less dressing would have probably made the salad’s tolerable. Neither of us finished our salads.

My DH got the gnocchi bolognese and said it was okay. I got the filet medallions in a Marsala sauce and ordered it medium rare. The medallions did not look like any tenderloin I am used to seeing, and was not done medium rare. Not only that, it was a terrible cut of tenderloin (if that is what it was) and they compensated with a huge serving of mashed potatoes and green beans. I only could have a few bites of the steak, as It was awful, and this is one of my favorite dishes. We both took our leftovers home, which promptly ended up in the trash. This place is a definite pass.

Date of visit: January 2020
Thank Picky_Vacationer_50s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2020 via mobile

Old Italian style theme restaurant, with a bright, stylish, warm, & inviting ambience. Our bartender/waitress was friendly and hospitable. Crusty ciabatta rolls and mixed greens served with most sandwiches, pizzas, and flat breads. The feeling around the table was the food was pretty good! Between, 3 people dining we enjoyed, chicken piccata, chicken parmigiana, & a veggie pesto flatbread. The back outside patio is beautifully decorated with murals and I'm sure even better at night w/the Edison bulbs.
I really appreciatethe fact that they use eco friendly products, ex. paper straws, (although, 'one time use' product completely unnecessary, unless, a toddler, or w/a disability, should not be given, unless asked) compostable takeaways, and biodegradable plastic bags. Thanks for a great lunch experience, I'd love to come back for dinner, desert, and a cappuccino! This is definitely one of the better restaurants in, Punta Gorda.

Date of visit: January 2020
Thank mandilynnef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2020 via mobile

Great spot!

Service terrific. Food terrific. Atmosphere terrific. Make reservations and enjoy, if you like authentic italian parmesan cheese do not miss the bada boom!

Great wine selection. Fresh salad. Bread with olive oil was amazing!!!

Date of visit: January 2020
Thank Dtruck75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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