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“WOW! This is better than Chef Boyardee!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of La Tavola Ristorante Italiano

La Tavola Ristorante Italiano
Ranked #4 of 154 Restaurants in Smyrna
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Business meetings, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Smyrna, Tennessee
Level Contributor
312 reviews
274 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“WOW! This is better than Chef Boyardee!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 15, 2013

We chose to celebrate Mother’s Day the night before – my wife and I, daughter and son-in-law and my wife’s parents. It was the first time for all of us to eat here. The place has a very unassuming exterior and quaint on the inside. The place seats maybe 100. Unlike most chains – with soaring ceilings, their ceiling is similar in height to your house and painted brown, but that adds to the cozy appeal. Called ahead and were able to be seated within a few minutes of everyone arriving. They have real tablecloths that are changed after each sitting, but paper napkins.

If I were reviewing based on the entrées it would definitely been a 5. The beginning and end of the meal brought it down to a 4. The house salad, served on a typical salad plate, consisted of basically spring mix greens which are limp by their very nature – room temp – finely chopped tomatoes, feta cheese sprinkles and a couple olives. The Greek salad was similar. The house made dressing may have been really good if there had been enough to really taste it. As small and sparse as the salad was, it would have been better with more dressing and a little crunch. The house made bread and herb butter was great and disappeared fast. Before bragging on the entrées, I want to fast forward to the dessert. We ordered 3 – chocolate chip cannoli, strawberry cheesecake and tiramisu’. Each dessert is $6 – which is a little much for what you get. They were all good – and I understand the cheesecake is a super-secret family recipe – but we were underwhelmed. Both the cannoli and tiramisu’ had chocolate syrup drizzles – too obviously Hershey’s chocolate syrup. They really need to develop their own chocolate sauce. For $6, you get one cannoli and not a very big one. The cheesecake was good, but it had more of a pie texture – and again the serving size was somewhat lacking for the price. Even though we shared, they really were not a sharable size.

Everyone absolutely loved their entrees. Well, except one that got one of the specials of the night – the Wahoo. It had a strong fish taste and since he had never had it, didn’t realize if it was supposed to be that way or not. Son-in-law had the huge pork chop with eggplant and gravy over risotto - proclaimed it excellent. My daughter’s meal, which also happened to be the cheapest on the dinner menu, was considered by all as the best. She got the Penne Alla Vodka and added chicken ($4 extra). Other meals ordered were Cheese Lasagna with an added chicken side ($4 extra). Chicken Marsala with vegetables and I order a veal dish with eggplant, cheese, mushrooms and angel hair pasta in marinara per the server’s suggestion – just can’t remember the name. It was similar in content to the Pollo Ripieno.

My wife and her family are “sharers”. By that I mean they want everyone at the table to try what they chose. So the first few minutes of dinner there are forks and plates crisscrossing the table reaching for the proffered meal sample. It took me a while to get used to this and I am still usually the last one to offer up my food – not that I’m selfish – it just takes me a minute. I thought once they were going to ask the table behind us if they want to try something. While I am not a wine expert, they seemed to have a good selection and the house wines are reasonable at $5.50 a pour.

After liking their Facebook page, I received a notice that this past Tuesday, the pizza and calzone was 2 for 1 carryout. We ordered just regular 2 item pizzas with tomato sauce - ham with mushroom and onion with green pepper. There again, underwhelmed. Good pizza – just not great pizza. REALLY glad it was 2 for 1! The regular sauce was just a little bland for my tastes – but someone else may love it. It was also under cooked. The cheese had no browning and it was really soggy in the middle and the crust stuck to the box. This may have been because of the special and they were busy and rushed it as the ingredients were haphazardly strewn across the pie to the point that there were at least one or two slices of cheese pizza in each box. I intend to try one of their specialty pizzas. I have a feeling that is where they will really shine.

Definitely love this place and would recommend it to anyone. I plan on being back again and again and again…OH! They have a lunch buffet Monday – Friday that is $7.99 – and that includes salad and drink!

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank room121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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141 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    99
    28
    7
    3
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
173 reviews
112 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Mangia, Mangia!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2013

This was a sleeper, we just dropped in for dinner, and were pleasantly surprised. We were greeted immediately, seated, and had drinks within a few moments. The waiter shared recommendations, and took our order. The salads were very fresh, the bread steamy hot, followed by piping hot meals. Great! Mangia!

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank JohnKare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Not in a mall”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 5, 2013

We were traveling to Atlanta from Chicago and stayed in a highway hotel. Skipping the easy mall locations, we went in to town and had a very nice dinner at La Tavola. The food was very good, the service friendly, and overall a great value. Get out of the malls...support a nice place.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank RIck M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“The calzones are huge!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

I recently ate at La Tavola with my book club friends. I would suggest making reservations because it is a very small but cozy restaurant. Most of us had calzones which had to be 10-12" wide. The menu is full of authentic Italian dishes which you wouldn't expect in little Smyrna, TN.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Jaime G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville. TN
Level Contributor
167 reviews
92 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Holy Canoli”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2013

A REAL chef from Italy! A cozy place that offers superb food and unbelievable desserts. For those in a hurry, they serve an inexpensive buffet at lunch. We ordered from the menu. Our waiter ( shout out to the wonderful Kent, so sorry we stayed too long-- we were having such a good time) recommended the Chicken Marsala ( I detest Marsala, but this Marsala was out of this world) and Spaghetti and meatballs--excellent and Spaghetti with white wine, clams and mussels. The best--- Crunchy loaves of fresh baked bread, nice salad.
So much better than any Italian chain. Chef Massimo Esposito also has a super secret family cheesecake recipe that is truly the best we had ever tasted. ---and of course, the Canoli--perfecto! We will be back soon, La Tavola Ristorante Italiano is fabulous.

--FYI---Closed on Sunday, and does not offer full bar service--only beer and wine.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank SVtravelagent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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