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“Follow these Rules”
Review of Cafe Artist

Cafe Artist
Ranked #16 of 29 Restaurants in Spring Lake
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed July 14, 2012

This was the best dinner I've ever had - both times incredible. That said, it's not for everyone.

1. Go on a Saturday night (different chefs on different nights, Friday is not supposed to be as good)

2. Prepare to be there for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. There is really only one seating - get there by 7:15. You will get the courses hot out of the oven. There is some time between courses so bring a bottle of wine.

3. Don't ask the chef for anything, he is busy with the food. Ask Armando to help you, seat you etc.

4. Make a reservation.

5. Be prepared to eat whatever they bring. There is no menu. The chef makes a salad, pasta, entree and dessert. You have no idea what you ate getting until it comes out, but it is all delicious. No special requests, everyone gets the same thing. For two people no coffees, juice etc it was $75 total for my husband and I both times. There is no check. They tell you how much you owe and you pay in cash.

If none of these things bother you then you have to go here. It is absolutely worth every penny.

    • Value
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2  Thank ICanBeCritical
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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72 - 76 of 83 reviews

Reviewed June 30, 2012

My husband and I planned to go to the Black trumpet but after reading the great reviews for Cafe Artist we decided to give it a go. We arrived at noon. A family of four were eating at one of the tables.

We waited by the door to be seated. Nobody acknowledged us. We moved to the middle of the restaurant and waited there to no avail. There was one gent working behind a counter. My husband approached him. He looked up and said "I just a prepared a some a fresh pasta, do you want a some?" My husband said OK. There was a big bowl of salad and three bowls of pasta behind the counter. He filled up a small soup plate with the pasta and handed it to him. I I inquired about the the pasta n the other. He said "it's a shrimp pasta". I decided to try it. He said "I will a warm it up". He went to the back to microwave it.

We sat down at one of the tables. There were no utensils. My husband noticed some to the side of the counter and got us two forks. There were no condiments and no napkins on the tables.

My husband's dish was penne in a meat sauce. It tasted like Chef Boyardee with a Ragu meat sauce. There were no herbs or spices and no cheese. No pepper nor cheese, nor water were available at the table. My dish was a warmed over penne with shrimp, (probably left over from the prior night's dinner). There were about four small shrimp with tail in my dish.

At this time a few customers walked in. One was explaining to her friend that you just point to what you want and he fills up a plate. Pieces of roast chicken were available now. They got plates of salad with a piece of chicken and some chick peas. One customer looked at a menu. The man behind the counter said "no order from menu, choose a what you like here".

My husband went to the register to pay, having no idea what the amount would be. He was charged $19.

By 2:30 PM we were hungry, so we went to the Black Trumpet. The lunch special is pasta, salad, main course, dessert and coffee for $14.95. I had the steak dish. My husband had the crab cake. Both dishes were gourmet quality and delicious. The service was impecable.

If you are in the Spring Lake area, avoid Cafe Artist and go to the Black Trumpet.

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1  Thank Gie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2012

So sorry to report this place was way below our expectations. Not good at all. Atmosphere is no where to be found and wouldn't mind that if the food was good. You go in thinking you are going to enjoy homemade Italian food, and come away feeling you could have done better at home. My husband had ordered what could only have been frozen ravioli and I had the worst pasta, olive and caper dish. It was so, so salty that it was borderline inedible. Now, a redeeming feature -- the espresso and Biscotti. The owners/cooks seemed so very nice and that is why I feel badly about having no other choice but to give this place a poor review.

Thank Susan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2012

We had a wonderful casual lunch on sunny saturday afternoon. The salad and pastas were fresh and tasted distinctive, well balanced. Everyone kept inquiring from the gentleman at the counter who may have been Cosimo about the ingredients and he would rattle off answers while providing extra heapings to whomever was close by. Cafe Artiste was an absolute joy to stumble upon on my first trip to Spring Lake. I couldnt believe the prices we paid for this delicious feast. Highly recommended!

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Thank Albert N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2012

We saw the reviews in Tripadvisor for Cafe Artist, and decided to try it on thursday night. We walked up and the owner said please have a seat outside, the place was packed, he did not offer any menus. He came over and told us that we would get five courses and it was whatever he was cooking that night. Very unusual but it was spectacular! We have a lentil soup(I thought I did not like lentil soup) and it was delicious. This was followed by a very good salad and then came roasted chicken thighs with sauted peppers and green peas that were wonderful. We have as our final course a delicious peach and marscapone pie. The owner came by and gave us some proseco and then later some white wine. It was a new experience for us and we enjoyed it very much. The owner is very interesting and entertaining person and a very good chef. He told us the price for our two meals, and we could not believe the low price for the quantity and quality of this dinner. Loved this place and wish we lived closer. Give yourself an interesting and delicious treat and have dinner at Cafe Artist.

Thank johnson1165
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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