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“Cooking Class - through Trip Advisor”
Review of Al Boccalino

Al Boccalino
Ranked #3,037 of 4,250 Restaurants in Seattle
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Cross street: Western
Transit: We are close to the light rail and the bus stops.
Reviewed October 11, 2013

My husband took myself and out three daughters to the restaurant for a night of cooking, wine, and fun. When we tried to have fun we got yelled at by Luigi. We had paid $35 a person for the class. We were assured no more than 10 per cooking class. Imagine our surprise when 19 was supposed to show up. Luckily only 16 did and 8 of them were 30 minutes late! and yes we waited for them. When I signed up for a cooking class I did not know that meant everyone got to chop something up or tear it apart but only a couple actually cook. It is so tight in there and thank God it is dark as I don't think it is very clean though he makes a show of washing hands. The food Luigi prepared was too spicy, he tells no one what is anything and gives not recipes. We paid $175 for 5 of us to go and then still had a $240 bill for 2 bottles of wine and tax and tip. Totally a rip off. The food is sub par for that price and you get the wine in carafes so its not a full bottle either. and how do you know what they are really pouring? It all tasted like red Table wine though it was supposed to be Barbara or Sangiviese. Would not recommend this place.

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Thank Kim N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 - 60 of 102 reviews

Reviewed October 11, 2013

We had the misfortune to opt for a "delicious" combination cooking class/dinner at this restaurant. Eighteen people crowded around the preparation area, and were subjected to a lengthy, frequently inaccurate lecture on how to cook a classic Italian meal. Each prep step was farmed out to individual participants, with predictably dreary results. The worst single thing? After lecturing us about how important it is to serve pasta "al dente", the chef then let one of the participants overcook the angel hair pasta. He told her it was overdone, and then proceeded to immerse it in the blandest of tomato sauces, let it soak and soften for another ten minutes, and then serve it to the group. Unbelievable!

The portions were microscopic (perhaps 1.5 pounds of pasta for 18 people, about the same amount of chicken (I got a single scrap, basically a tender), a tiny salad, a single 2" round of overworked "flat bread", and a desert with a single blackberry and (charitably) two sliced strawberries. I wasn't actually that sad about the portions, as everything was bland to the point that I was actively wishing for Chef Boyardee to spice things up a bit! This was followed by mandatory taxes and tip amounting to another $20 on the advertised $49 price.

Don't be lured in; this is a terrible deal,

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1  Thank William C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2013

We arrived at the restaurant 10 minutes early for a Groupon extravaganza we were not acknowledged or greeted and one of the members in our group was told to wait until they're ready we went outside and waited for 10 minutes when we went back in through the narrow doorway to the restaurant We were ignored again until all 15 people were standing in the restaurant tripping over each other there was used restaurant equipment everywhere and no room to move around we were finally asked if he wanted something to drink so we ordered a half carafe of wine, The cheapest wine was $14 for half a carafe and $28 for a full carafe beer is $14 a bottle (that is not a typo!) One of the members in our group was pregnant and Luigi the owner was trying to have her drink wine when one of the other members in the group heard and intervened, she stated she was pregnant and he continued on about how Americans are uptight and the only reason it's frowned upon is because we would drink in excess while pregnant if it wasn't (funny coming from a guy that smokes) We were then told to go downstairs and wash our hands, so all 15 of us made our way past the broken ICE machine downstairs to the bathroom and individually watch her hands to in the two sinks next to the broken ESPRESSO machine, there are piles of paper, bills, and books throughout the restaurant, when we went back upstairs we were told to chop and prep all of the food, Luigi was not Good at making everybody comfortable and keeping it light if anything he seemed to add stress to the environment and make people more uneasy, I've spent my entire life in the restaurant business and my family owned a wine vineyard in my 20s I worked for an Italian restaurant that was almost identical to Luigi's, when I arrived I wanted to run but I didn't want to ruin it for the rest of the group, so I stayed, the look on everyone's face after we were done was complete devastation I've seen happier people on the flight home from Las Vegas, our bill was $189 and when we asked the waiter with the scribbled charges were he couldn't answer, he then asked us what we had to drink and added it to our bill while crossing out all of the other charges our bill was now $124 Luigi adds 18% gratuity and 9.5% tax to the total of your check, Throughout the night we had to move a dozen times because the waiter chose to walk where the class was being held rather than through his section of the restaurant I still don't know if this was a passive aggressive move or if he is a complete dummy, I would suggest that you buy a nice bottle of wine, make some pasta, salad, bread and dessert and go to Kerry Park for a nice picnic dinner with the incredible view instead.

Luigi has been in the US since 1977 and he still slings "Zingers" about American culture and people throughout the night.

You have been warned.

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Thank Steve18502013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2013

Not great, just OK. I was asked about a groupon deal which I had no idea what the owner was talking about. Made me feel like I wasn't going to get whatever special deal the locals get. Not a good start. The restaurant was very small but comfortable. Service was good and the food was authentic and served hot. (I don't mean spicy.). After the tables next to me were seated, I felt closed in. Way to crowded. I like intimate but this is just way to close. I felt the lady next to me could be sitting in my lap. We enjoyed the food but I would only go here with a small group. Very small.

Thank B W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2013

Last night (9/4/2013) we had a party of 5 dining on the family style plan of $30 per person plus a carafe of red house wine, $28. The food was quite good and bountiful however it was brought to our small table at such a rapid pace it completely overwhelmed the table and made our dining experience harried and uncomfortable.

Early in the meal, our host/owner with the big moustache, turned over a glass of wine which spilled over my dress shirt and pants. Our host said, "Oh, just send me the cleaning bill." Well we are from out of town (NC to be specific) and stay at a local hotel. I explained that my shirt and pants were ruined and couldn't be cleaned enitrely. When we got what I thought was the final bill, it was for the entire amount (5 X $30 + $28 = tax). I asked the owner for at least my meal ($30) for free since he effectively ruined a dress shirt ($50) and slacks ($75). "Oh," he said, "now you bring this up to me!" I said, "Well, yes, since you didn't make any consideration on the bill."

He took the bill back, but didn't have the guts to bring it back to me himself with the "adjustment". He had one of the waiters do it. I found he'd added a 15% charge for "parties of 5 or more". There was no mention of this on the menu or on the first bill. It was not posted anywhere in the establishment.

So my opinion is this. The food was quite good, but beware of the treatment you may receive if the owner spills wine on you. He didn't offer one penny of compensation and could not face me after I asked for a lousy $30 discount.

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

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