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“Happy Anniversary”
Review of Sal's Caffe Italia

Sal's Caffe Italia
Ranked #31 of 556 Restaurants in Charlottesville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $25
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Takeout
Dining style: Casual Dining
Reviewed March 28, 2013

My partner and I met here 3 years ago and ordered their Pizza Bianca with some Calimari. I thought it would be cute to have our anniversary there this year, and we ordered the exact same thing. I called ahead and placed a reservation. It was downpour snowing outside, so we went a little early so as not to make anybody have to drive in horrid conditions. They accepted us early with open arms.

We arrived to an empty boutique style Italian restaurant with a 5 star atmosphere. The opening appetizers were superb. Mozzarella triangles with a lovely dipping sause. They were superb, and out of this world. Then we got some more Italian goodness with some Calimari and their Arancini. To top it off, we ordered our 3 year Pizza Bianca!

The prices are exactly what to expect for a business on the Downtown Mall. Sal's has been there for years, and I didn't expect them to undercut their quality of service and foods!

I have experienced slower than usual service here before, but that is when every table is filled with hungry people. It happens, it's not a large chain with numerous chefs and ovens, they are a mom & pop shop with delicious hand made Italian food. We have and always will come to this place, it just like wine, it gets better with age!

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Thank Sven G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (193)
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165 - 169 of 193 reviews

Reviewed March 14, 2013

nice decor, great location on the per. mall, but the food was mediocre at best. started with the calamari .. which I humbly believe was not all calamari... not sure what it was. lentil soup was good. we both had the chix caesar salads ... had better at chain pizza restaurants. The pizza looked good... if you go, perhaps try that.

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Thank Artificious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2013

My wife and I decided to try Sal's for the first time on Valentines Day 2013...I got mixed reviews from several friends/acquaintances beforehand and decided to try it for myself. Upon entering the decor was impressive for the approximately 15 tables...white table cloths, ample lighting and background music. Once seated I first noticed the white "paper" napkins which seemed a bit out of place considering everything else. Our waitress was prompt and friendly...the warm bread and olive oil with our wine was nice. My wife ordered lobster ravioli and I ordered my favorite dish manicotti. My wife's dish was well presented and quite good...my was well presented but not so good due to the pasta being so tough it was not edible. At $17.95 for my dish and in an Italian restaurant I expected more...The waitress via manager did offer free desserts, then free champagne but at that point my experience was over...they did however reduce our final bill which was appreciated...bottom line...for a restaurant of that size and those prices extra attention from the "chef" is expected...a rookie "cook" wouldn't make that mistake...will we return? Maybe, but not before we try other Italian Restaurants in the area.

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1  Thank George M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

My husband and I went on a weekend for lunch. The interior of the restaurant was very appealing as was the menu. The variety of offerings was impressive. Our dinner salads were nothing special and were slathered in dressing. The bread that came with the meal was quite delicious as were the main dishes.

Here are the points that dropped the rating for me...

* The decor gives the impression of the restaurant having a little higher standards. It would have been nice to be offered freshly ground pepper for the salads and fresh parmessan for the dishes. The powdered parmessan took away from an otherwise great dish.

* The service was substandard. We were shown to our table and then left to sit there for several minutes while both waitresses cleaned off a 2 person table. Only then were we given menus. While we were eating, one of the waitresses sat at a table across from ours texting. She then went on to do a series of stretches in her chair and leaned back to reach the bar and stretch her back. It was rather odd.

The small details that make for a great experience were missing. While I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again, I would go if in the area.

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Thank EmersonL68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013 via mobile

This was my second visit to Sal's. My husband and I went there about 2 and a half years ago on a visit to C'ville during the summer. We ate outside in the downtown mall with my daughter and son-in-law and had a thoroughly good time and plenty of delicious food!
Last weekend we were searching for a place to eat in downtown C'ville and didn't want to wait an hour. I remembered Sal's and we checked it out. It was a very different experience this time. We ate inside on a chilly January night, and had a delightful meal in a very cozy spot.
We all ordered from the nightly specials menu. I had a gnocchi with peas and artichoke hearts in a pink lady sauce. The peas were a wonderful flavor treat as we've all gotten used to spinach with our artichoke hearts. The sauce was great (my daughter had the same sauce on a different dish and loved it too!). We had cheesecake with Nutella and raspberries for dessert, and vowed to put Nutella on every piece of cheesecake we eat from now on! What a great idea!
The decor is warm and family-feeling, and the service was excellent. The wine list was interesting, and the pours were generous. Altogether a great night of dining, and an experience to recommend!

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

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