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“Olive Garden Masquerading as a fine restaurant”

Buona Sera Ristorante & Bar
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Ranked #8 of 140 Restaurants in Red Bank
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Fairfax, Virginia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Olive Garden Masquerading as a fine restaurant”
Reviewed December 31, 2012

I took my wife here for a nice meal. It had been several years since I had been there, and it will be several years before I return.

First of all, this is not an authentic Italian restaurant. The food was mass produced and lacked flavor, and was incredibly salty.

(Appetizer) We started with the escarole and bean soup. The escarole appeared to be boiled and not sauteed (easy way out- shortcut). It was very average. We also ordered the the fried mozz, which was incredibly salty and overcooked. The third appy was the eggplant rollantine (my absolute favorite). However, again the ricotta cheese inside the eggplant was not doctored or authentic..it was like store bought Ricotta..( again a cheap way out) The sauce was average.

For Dinner I ordered the pork saltibocca. The spinach was served on the side ( I've eaten this dish endless times elsewhere, but have never seen this presentation). The spinach was boiled an not sauteed, and was served in a bowl of garlic water.. it was AWFUL. The pork was also very very rough.. The sherry sauce was ok. My wife had the gnocchi bologense. It was so salty she refused to eat it...In fact, we brought the leftovers home and my father ( who will eat anything)and he said it was awful.

Desert .. The only reason we ordered desert was because they had Ricotta cheesecake on the menu.. It was the only thing on menu worth eating.

One other item... The waiter was the pits.. We waited 20 minutes to order and 30 minutes after the meal to get out bill. Plus, he seemed generally unhappy during the entire meal.

As I told my wife upon leaving, this was no better than the Olive Garden and the food was as authentic as an Irish Pub.. There are too many good Italian restaurants in Monmouth County than to waste your time here. There are clearly no chef's in this restaurant any longer, only short order cooks.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Matthew H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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340 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    130
    91
    52
    39
    28
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Marlboro, New Jersey, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Customer Dinner for 20...Dec 20th”
Reviewed December 26, 2012

I hosted 20 people for a customer dinner on December 20th and chose Buona Sera for its diverse menu that would satisfy most any dietary requirement including vegetarian. Parking was a nightmare with the holiday season in full force. Some of us had no choice but to park in private lots that clearly stated You will Be Towed. Fortunately nobody was. Our table was set and ready for our 7pm reservation and we have no wait for the table. The wait staff was attentive and took drink orders immediately. Appetizer orders were taken as soon as drinks were served. We ordered several items that could be shared. Hot plates and cheese plates as a grilled vegetable plate. Everything was very good. Entrees were ordered after appetizers were served. We had Veal Chops, Lamb Chops, Pasta's and Seafood dishes. All were served at the same time and everyone loved there items. I ordered the Zuppe De Pesce. Some of the seafood was overcooked including the Lobster Tail which was a very nice size and the shrimps which were also very large. The taste was perfect as was the other seafood, The Veal Au Vito was a tremendous Veal Chop stuffed with Prosciuotto, Mushrooms and Mozzarello and was fantastic. We had a couple of different wines that were reasonably priced.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Ken O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Dissapointed”
Reviewed December 22, 2012

We were a group of ten people who had tickets to a show that was located right next door. The restaurant was very nice looking but the service was terrible. We had to leave right after our entrees because they were so slow. The food was not hot and so it was not a good experience. Not going back there!!

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Aquarian47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andover, New Jersey
Level Contributor
100 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Excellant food”
Reviewed December 20, 2012

Ate here for a business meeting. They brought out sample platters which were shared by the table, family style. Everything was delicious, including the two pasta dishes that were served. Would like to try it for a regular sit down dinner one day.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank MayorMike12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
41 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Food has gone down hill”
Reviewed December 14, 2012

This is one of the most nicely decorated restaurants during the holidays. Gorgeous and just festive. This is why we choose to dine here for a girls holiday dinner out. LOVE the decorations and as a local Red Bank resident, come here every year at the holiday, and throughout the year.

The food however has been disappointing the last few times. I had a chicken and sausage dish, recommended by the waiter. It was barely edible and the entire dish was soaked in grease and not the delicious sauce it should have been. My puppy at home enjoyed it.

The waiter was also TERRIBLE. He had just come on shift (Sat. 08Dec2012) and was not in a good mood until he presented the check to us.

I hope the management is reading these reviews because I think it would be shame that this establishment continues on the downhill spiral it's been on for the past year or two. You need some attention and control on food prep and quality along with attention on your service. I hope to return again, but if the past few visits is not a fluke but now the standard, you will loose this customer for ever. Pazzo has been better all around lately....

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank diverlinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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