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“Fun Night at Vinnie's”
Review of Vincenzo's Asheville - CLOSED

Vincenzo's Asheville
Price range: $22 - $35
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville
Cross street: College
Description: For over twenty-two years, Vincenzo's has been an institution in Ashevile's vibrant, downtown restaurant scene. Providing award winning food and service, live local music nightly and both white tablecloth and Bistro style service has allowed us to survive and thrive. We hope you come and build a wonderful memory with us soon.
Palmetto Bay, FL
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Fun Night at Vinnie's”
Reviewed November 1, 2013

We stopped at Vincenzo's as it was the only place in downtown Asheville with parking within walking distance (true story). I found the decor a bit dated and grandma-ish, but my husband called it cosy. We both liked that there was a live piano player. I said jokingly "Play Free Bird" and to our surprise an delight he did! We had a blast calling out and listening to all kinds of tunes from Johnny Mathis to the Beatles to Led Zeppelin. (Seriously, Stairway to Heaven!) Our waiter-a nice young man with a curlicue mustache- brought us fresh bread with olive oil and fresh grated cheese. I ordered a generous and very tasty cheese ravioli that came with mushrooms and pecans- which added flavor and texture. My husband had a large bowl of tomato bisque. He enjoyed it but found it a bit spicier than expected. We topped it off with mini cannoli which was yummy and just enough. We lucked out!

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

326 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    136
    93
    44
    25
    28
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Camdenton, Missouri
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great place”
Reviewed October 25, 2013

What a great place! The food is good and we ate in the bistro area where they have a piano with Steve doing the playing. Steve is great, food is great, could not have had a better time. Don't miss this if you are in Asheville.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank haw56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vinpiano, Owner at Vincenzo's Asheville, responded to this review, October 26, 2013
Thank-you so much for the complements. Steve is a great pianist and an even better human being. We look forward to seeing you again.

Dwight Butner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanford, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“AVOID this place at all costs.”
Reviewed October 24, 2013

Asheville is known for it's fresh, local, delicious ingredients. We have been to so many good restaurants in downtown Asheville we decided to give Vincenzo's a shot. This place was a horror story from the moment we sat down. Our waiter was completely aloof and even told us he was feeling "air-headed". Nice. It took 20 minutes to get bread. We had our waters refilled once.

Let's talk about the 'food'. My wife ordered the "gnocchi". This paste ball tasted like it traveled across the country and then hopped right into the microwave. It was DISGUSTING. Our waiter came to the table (amazingly) and had the nerve to tell us how savory and fresh he thought they were. I stunned him mid-sentence when i asked him if they were made fresh at the restaurant every day. He stumbled around a bit and finally told us that their kitchen was 'too small' to make them in house and they had a "place" make them specially for Vincenzos... Right... You mean Sysco foods?

I ordered the Risotto con Funghi and the Chicked Arrabiata (spicy marinara). We took one bite each of the overcooked, strange tasting mush and put the spoon down. My chicken had a REALLY disturbing after taste and there was absolutely no spice in the marinara. Yes, it did have some italian seasoning like oregano, but that does not qualify it as spicy. It was so overly bland (no real seasoning) and strange tasting that I had him take it all off the check. I normally feel bad doing this, but Vincenzos was so unforgivably, unbelievably terrible that I HAD to. In a town like Asheville with SO many good restaurants, there is just no excuse for this place to still be in business. STAY AWAY!

**Update**

I thought I would update this review as the owner has responded to my thoughts. Although I appreciate that the owner is eager to respond to critique, the dismissive and creative way he avoids my direct criticism requires me to detail the experience.

1. We waited over 10 minutes for your *head* waiter to even stop by our table. Meanwhile, the other 2 or 3 servers on the second floor were hitting all of their guests. I had to flag down the waitress to ask for bread and water. She told me our waiter was very busy that night, so she would flag him down. When he did come by, he told us he was feeling air headed and we didn't see him after that for another 10 minutes.

2. How can you be 'confident that the food and service delivered to this table were of high quality and met your standards'? Excuse me, but I believe your guests determine that and not your employees. I am telling you... It was NOT.

3. Let's start with the pre-made gnocchi. It was pasty. It was over-cooked. It did NOT taste fresh. Pre made gnocchi at a nice Italian restaurant is not acceptable by any standard. People can TELL when something is pre-made and heated up. Are you trying to tell us that something like gnocchi that is frozen, shipped, and then heated at a restaurant is just as good as fresh? Your head waiter told us it was shipped in. It was bad.

4. Your risotto was OVER COOKED. It was mushy. It was pasty. It was watery beyond belief. It had absolutely NO seasoning. No salt and pepper. Come ON!

5. The Pollo Arrabiata was not spicy at all. Most shockingly, it was more under-seasoned than everything else we received. Really? The *spicy* marinara chicken had no seasoning? The chicken was rubbery. The Penne was just so-so. The house(?) Marinara is so bland and watery that my dish was swimming.

Look, I'm not out trying to destroy Vincenzo's with a bad review because I'm bored. It was so bad that I created a yelp account just to express how bad our night there was. This was our second time to Asheville in 3 months. We stayed for a total of 12 days between the 2 trips and this was the only bad experience we had out of 9 or 10 dinners. We tried Salsa, Avenue M, Black Bird, Bouchon, and many others and they were so spectacularly good that it made this night seem that much worse.

You say that the dishes were prepared true to the recipes that you learned in Italy. Were you there that night? How long ago did you learn those recipes? Is it possibly time to update a little bit and start innovating again? And why does my review keep disappearing?

Comment from Dwight B. of Vincenzo's Ristorante and Bistro 10/1/2013 « Hide

I am always told to proceed with caution when responding to this type of review. It is good advice but there are times when candor is demanded. Times when Vincenzo's staff deserves better.

I spoke at length with my chef, sous chef and head waiter (who incidentally served this party). I am confident that the food and service delivered to this table were of high quality and met our standards. Standards that have had us successfully in business for twenty-four years.

We live in an age where ideological purity abounds. A time when preferences often devolve into prejudice. Where political correctness and judgement penetrates even to the dinner table. I make no apologies for using a broad range of purveyors to deliver a superior product to my guests. I value my Sysco relationship which provides imported risotto as much as I support the young man to harvests mushrooms from the surrounding mountains to produce the Risotto con Fungi that this person was displeased with. I assure everyone that reads this, that the preparation was true to the recipes I learned in Piedmonte, Italy as ever.

To my guests, I am sorry that you were unhappy. I hope your future dinners are more enjoyable for you.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Christopher_Evensen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vinpiano, Owner at Vincenzo's Asheville, responded to this review, October 26, 2013
Since this is the second time you have posted on this website, thank-you again for your feedback. We always take our customer comments seriously.

We stand by our original response. Vincenzo's is an old school, old world Italian restaurant. We have sucessfully served our customers for over 23 years by replicating to the best of our ability the cuisine of Northern Italy. I, personally, have been in the industry for over 47 years, working in restaurants specializing in French, Chinese, German, Indian, Spanish, Nouvel, Cajun and Italian. As such, I have seen a lot and heard a lot. Your comments will be taken under advisement. I do hope your future meals are more enjoyable for you.

Dwight Butner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
253 reviews
145 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Hit and Miss”
Reviewed October 24, 2013

It seems by previous review that you can be lucky or not at this place.

Fortunately for me and my wife had an excellent evening here, we were greeted at the door and selected to sit downstairs, Food was good, service was fine, but the guy on the piano made it, this place is definitely one of a kind
They pipe the music from the bar outside, so if you do not like the sound of it, you may want to walk on, however this place is definitely quirky,

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vinpiano, Owner at Vincenzo's Asheville, responded to this review, October 26, 2013
I am delighted that you had a good experience at Vincenzo's. We try to make sure that we consistently provide high quality food and service. From talking to our guests virtually every night, I believe we do that the vast majority of the time. I know that everyone at Vincenzo's is disappointed with ourselves when we fail to do that. Feedback like yours is helpful for everyone hear.

Dwight Butner
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Louis, MO
Level 6 Contributor
271 reviews
124 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 202 helpful votes
“Would have rated better, but...”
Reviewed October 22, 2013

On our first night in Asheville, my partner and I headed to Vincenzo’s for a good Italian meal. The building was old school and charming and in a good location in Downtown Asheville (and in walking distance from the few hotels downtown). It was a Saturday night and I did make reservations prior to arriving in Asheville. I am glad I did because the wait was 90 minutes without one. We were seated upstairs right away and were ready to eat some good grub.

But we waited, and waited, and waited some more. Our waiter (gosh I cannot remember his name unfortunately) was less than attentive to say the least. I think we waited at least 10 minutes before he even came over and asked us if we wanted something to drink. Another 10 minutes before that drink came, and then another LONG while passed before he returned to take our order. So before I get to the food, I would like to say the service was underwhelming.

But then we finally got our food. YEAH! We started off with the house salad and it was pretty dang good. For the main meal - I got the Filet Gorgonzola with a side of Penne Quills Alla Boscaiola. I will have to say both were fantastic. My partner got the Linguini Aglio Olio Pepperconcino and really liked his as well. We were too stuffed at that point for dessert, so we had a cup of coffee (again after waiting) and called it a night.

I would have given it a better rating if the service had been up to par, as we both really liked the food. Would I recommend Vincenzo’s? Yes – just hope for better service.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank JTF_1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vinpiano, Owner at Vincenzo's Asheville, responded to this review, October 26, 2013
I am delighted you enjoyed your food and disappointed in us for letting you down on your service. October is our busiest month but that is no excuse for not meeting your expectations. I will get with our diningroom staff and emphasize the need to be prompt.

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

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