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“A Nice Meal and Friendly Service” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Caffe Lago Restorante Italiano - CLOSED

Caffe Lago Restorante Italiano
Cuisines: Italian, American, Canadian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
132 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“A Nice Meal and Friendly Service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 27, 2011

We overnighted in Nakusp and ate at Caffe Lago at the recommendation of a local resident. It was Thursday evening and the restaurant was not busy as it was getting closer to closing. We were greeted in a friendly manner and seated at a table of our choice. The menu was reasonably varied and the dishes we ordered were tasty and competently prepared.
We would try this restaurant again if we are in the area.

  • Visited September 2011
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank TeeP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

59 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    25
    23
    2
    4
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Kamloops, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Fantastic meal and very friendly staff”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 19, 2011

On a scale of 1-10, our experience was a ten. Service was excellent, atmosphere was friendly, and the food was terrific. It's the best Italian food for miles around.

  • Visited September 2011
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank photographynut_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
“A true Gold Nugget”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2011

I am a food snob and I found this pasta amongst the best I have eaten. This is definitely not" just pasta". The prices surprizingly low for such quality. The beautiful evening and view added to the ambiance. The owner told us when she looks at the view it reconfirms why she puts in 16 -18 hour days. The taste and quality of the food indicated to us she loves more than the view. The meal was made with passion definitely no chain restaraunt boredom here. The waitress who chose her favorites for our meal friendly and efficient, the bartender and hostess along with the owner were all extremely accomodating on this busy evening . The meal was excellent in every way. My husband and I will definitely return even if it means driving hours out of our way. We were more than satisfied this was one of my top 10 meals ever.

  • Visited August 2011
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank 936Nan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nakusp
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Owner is a tyrant”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2011

We have been to this restaurant twice. The second time was with our son and family for a total of 4 plus a 4 year old for supper. We were directed to a table in the hot sun and asked the waitress for a different table. She reluctantly agreed.
This is an Italian restaurant which serves basically pasta.
Two af the four guest wanted to order spaghetti, but were told that it was substituted for linguini. Wow, an Italian restaurant that doesn't have enough spaghetti?
The menu states that all pasta dishes will be served with fresh brea. We saw other customers with pasta dishes who had no bread. When we asked for bread we received one small piece for 4 adults. No butter, no olive oil was served.
When we asked for more one additional piece was served close to when we had finished our meal.
The spaghetti (I mean linguini was served with "meat" balls which consisted of a lot of filling. To save cost?
The veal that was served with one of the meals was not overcooked, but very dry and tough.
This alone would not have been enough to prompt me to write this review. What really did it was the behaviour of the chef/owner.
My wife and I had some trouble with our debit card and the waitress was very helpful in resolving the problem. The owner/chef came running out of the kitchen and yelled at the waitress to get back to serving, and that she would take care of things, which she didn't.
We live in a very small town, and word gets around. This awful behaviour has been mentioned by quite a few people we know.
We like to support local businesses, but when this kind of business treat customers and staff inappropriately, we feel it needs to be brought to the attention of the public.
In addition, I wrote a letter to the owner/chef about these concerns and never received a reply.
AVOID this place at all cost!!

  • Visited August 2011
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
5 Thank dutchie47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaffeLago, Owner at Caffe Lago Restorante Italiano, responded to this review, August 18, 2011
I would like to apologize that you and your family felt that you did not receive exceptionally food or service at my Restaurant. I wish that during your dinning experience with us you would have mentioned all the problems before hand because we would have done everything in our power to fix everything that was wrong to you.

When you dropped off your letter I was in the back and you refused to talk to me then.
I am here 16 hours a day 7 days a week you have every opportunity to come see me face to face.

Rita Redavid
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cranbrook, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“The unfortunate tarnish on a beautiful Nakusp vacation.”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2011

My parents retired to Nakusp, BC three years ago and my wife and I visit at least once per year. Going to eat at the Leland Hotel has always been a highlight of our vacation here. The great view, relaxed, casual atmosphere, cold beer and humungous burgers were always a treat. This year was no different and we looked forward to eating there at least once if not twice this visit.
We were surprised to find out that the restaurant was under new ownership and was now a "fine dining" Italian restaurant called Cafe Lago. Loving Italian food as much as we do, we were excited to give it a try. We went for lunch on Sunday, August 7th. Sitting on the patio and looking out over the beautiful Arrow Lake is always so relaxing and we were eager to try out the new menu which boasted homemade pastas. My wife was craving pasta and ordered the baked lasagna. I was in the mood for meat and ordered the pulled pork sandwich which was listed in the menu as being covered in a homemade signature sauce. We started with the calamari.

The calamari came out and was quite tasty, but a bit too greasy for my liking. It would have been better if it had been allowed to dry off a bit more after coming out of the deep fryer. The tzatsiki sauce was tasty but there was way too little of it. Not even enough sauce for half the order.

We were told by the server that the lasagna takes about 25 minutes to bake and she would bring both entrees out at the same time. She offered to refill my coke while we waited.

Once the meals came out, we right away noticed how over-cooked the lasagna was. The cheese was baked on so hard that it was dark brown and almost black in places around the edge of the dish. My wife dug in and the noodles were no longer noodles. Instead they had formed into a mushy paste. It actually tasted okay, but the texture was more the consistency of baby food rather than lasagna, and there was nothing in there that even remotely resembled a lasagna noodle. After a couple bites each, we decided to send it back. The server apologized and said she would let the chef know and asked if she could bring us anything else instead. My wife asked for the tomato/boccanchini salad.

Meanwhile I ate my pulled pork sandwich which was just okay and the signature sauce tasted more like bottled Kraft BBQ sauce than a homemade concoction. The fries were tasty but a bit undercooked.

When the salad came, my wife was amazed at how large it was and the server remarked that the chef made it extra big for her to help make up for the lasagna. A nice touch and we were impressed. The balsamic vinagrette was delicious and the salad was near perfect!

So although we weren't overly impressed with what we ordered, the tomato/boccancini salad was so good that we assumed what we ordered was not the norm and left saying that we would definitely give it another try.

On to Monday night, and the last night of our stay in Nakusp. My parents wanted to take us out to dinner and we suggested trying Cafe Lago again. We took our 4 year old son this time who was excited to have some spaghetti!

We arrived and were greeted by the young hostess who sat us at a table in the sun. We noticed a table in the shade and asked if we could move and she was fine with that. It was 30 degrees outside but sadly the hostess did not bring us any water.
The restaurant was not too busy (maybe 12 tables total) and there were 2 servers on shift plus the hostess.

The server came by a few minutes later and took our drink order, and it was at this time that we were finally able to ask for waters. We were also ready to order our food. Between the 4 of us we ordered an order of spaghetti with meatballs, a spaghetti with clam sauce, a ravioli stuffed with asiago and spinach, and the veal. There was no children's menu at all so my son would get a side plate and share a bit of everyone's. We were told when we ordered that they were out of spaghetti (absurd for an italian restaurant) and it would be subbed for linguini instead. Okay I guess.

The food came and looked very nice. However, I have eaten at many Italian restaurants and once thing they all have in common is that the server offers fresh cracked pepper ground at the table. Well not here I guess. No parmesan cheese either which is strange for an Italian restaurant.
The menu states that all dinners come with bread, but none came. We asked for it and the server said she would bring some. I guess you have to ask for something that is supposed to come with the meal. The bread came as one tiny little loaf for 5 people to share. No butter. We asked if that was all that was served with 4 entrees and the server said she could bring us another loaf if we wanted. Still no butter.

The meatballs with the spaghetti (or should I say linguini) were mostly breadcrumbs and had little to no meat qualities or flavour. Trying to cut back on food costs is one thing but a true Italian restaurant should never skimp out on the meatballs. The sauce however, was yummy.

The clam spaghetti (or should I say linguini) was quite good.

The ravioli was a little bland (sure would have been better with fresh cracked pepper) and there was very little in the dish to warrant the $17 price tag. My 4 year old thought they were delicious though, which should tell you how bland they really were.

The veal was quite tough and my wife (who has worked in fine dining restaurants for 13 years) insisted that it could not be possibly be veal as she had never seen veal that tough before.

We didn't bother complaining this time and just ate our meal, only commenting quietly amongst ourselves. The table across from us had also ordered the spaghetti with meatballs, and judging by the look on the woman's face after taking a bite of the meatball, I would guess she felt less than impressed as well as she commented quietly to her husband with a scowl on her face.

We opted to pass on dessert and although still a bit hungry we prepared to pay our bill and leave.

At the till, my parents were having a bit of trouble with their ATM card and as the server tried to help, the owner/chef came out and SCREAMED at her to leave the till alone and go into the kitchen to pick up some orders that were up. We were all appalled at the way the owner/chef spoke to her staff. Worse than Gordon Ramsey!
The hostess was actually in tears, the server was red in the face and several customers simply stared with their mouths agape. My mother spoke up and said "you can't talk to her like that!" But the owner/chef simply walked away. After paying, both of my parents pulled the server aside and offered their apologies for the way the boss had screamed at her in front of everyone.

I will never go back there as long as it is the Cafe Lago and under the same ownership. The owner is lucky that the servers did not walk off the job on the spot after that outburst, as I know I certainly would have.

The food was not terrible, but it was below average and certainly not what you'd expect from a true Italian restaurant. Definitely not worth of the hefty prices, which I would never have a problem with as long as the food quality matched.

The service was average at best, but I now suspect this is more due to the lack of leadership they receive from the tyrant of an owner.

The final straw was the owner's outburst. I will tell everyone I know not to patronize that establishment. What a sad and unfortunate shame.

  • Visited August 2011
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
4 Thank TMS0909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaffeLago, Owner at Caffe Lago Restorante Italiano, responded to this review, August 18, 2011
I am Sorry you did not give us the opportunity to fix your concerns at the time.

Rita Redavid
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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