We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Authentic, old school Italian”
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: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, 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.
Reviewed November 7, 2013

We were referred here by the staff at the Grand Bohemian when we asked for the best Italian restaurant in town. We were not disappointed! A little nervous when we walked in the door, the downstairs has loud piano music playing and we were in the mood for conversation, but some locals ahead of us told us to ask to sit upstairs. We had great service, we were waited on immediately on a Friday night. We started with appetizers, not the best calamari but the stuffed peppers were excellent! When we went to order our entrees, the server recommended we only order the small portions since there was so much food. Nice tip since we couldn't bring home leftovers. Everyone's meal was great. The bread and rosemary, Parmesan oil was excellent. We didn't save room for desserts but ordered them anyway! Great NY style cheesecake, tiramisu and key lime pie. We would definitely return! Caution though to anyone with a difficulty with stairs.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank wolfmajors
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (325)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language

97 - 101 of 325 reviews

Reviewed November 4, 2013 via mobile

We were very leery of trying this restaurant due to the reviews. However, the locals all were saying to give it a try. We were so glad we did it was wonderful! Our waitress Molly knew the menu well and was extremely helpful. The food was really good and served in a timely manner. The piano player was very talented. The owner greeted us and was very welcoming. Give this place a try!

1  Thank Tanya S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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!

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

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
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 reviewResponded 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.
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.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
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 reviewResponded 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.

Travelers who viewed Vincenzo's Asheville also viewed

Asheville, North Carolina Mountains
Asheville, North Carolina Mountains
 
Asheville, North Carolina Mountains
Asheville, North Carolina Mountains
 
Asheville, North Carolina Mountains
Asheville, North Carolina Mountains
 

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing