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“A Good Alternative”
Review of North Italia

North Italia
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Ranked #14 of 2,003 Restaurants in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $35
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Bar scene
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: We’ve turned a modern lens on traditional Italian cooking. North Italia is our love letter to Italy—a place that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped off a charming side street to discover a culinary gem. After a decade in business, we’ve learned a thing or two and we’re approaching perfection in the art of handmade pasta and pizza. Every day, we start from scratch to create dishes like Strozzapreti with Bloomsdale spinach or supple ribbons of tagliatelle for our Bolognese. Our pizza is a revelation: an airy, barely chewy center embraced by a perfectly crisp crust. With the spirit of the Italian taverna, North is the place to talk shop over a cocktail or swap gossip sharing delectable chef creations.Every neighborhood would be lucky to have a place like North.
Waikoloa, Hawaii
Level 6 Contributor
284 reviews
181 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“A Good Alternative”
Reviewed October 1, 2013

Went here for dinner recently, having not been in here for many years. Did't care for it was back when, but I had heard they had done a make-over.
In short... its a big improvement.
The service was good, and the dishes tasty. I still wish the menu was a little more extensive... but it's better to do less items well, than more choices that are inferior.
I like Fox restaurants... and while this is a good alternative, I would still probably go to Wildflower, or Blaco's as a first choice!
Biggest pet peeve... very high noise levels, hard to have a conversation!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Muadib84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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480 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Hebrew first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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  • Any
English first
Tucson
Level 6 Contributor
213 reviews
134 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
“Faux Tastic - Average With a Fancy Address - "How's it Tastin?"”
Reviewed September 21, 2013

On my many visits to North over the years, I have NEVER had a bad meal. However, they have also NEVER been that special or outstanding. It is a "safe" stop for lunch with co-workers and clients, though I only visit when someone else requests that we go to North.

Even though they now claim that this is "family style" and "farm-house rustic" Italian, it is not the type of Italian that will leave you feeling stuffed. The pizzas and salads are fresh and tasty; however, the flavor combinations are common of the "new" Italian cuisine served all over the country, and it is not as unique as some may think.

The service has been consistent for many years at North... mediocre. The recent theme change from more upscale to the current "rustic farmhouse" Italian did not change the service. It still feels like a Chile's or other chain joint, which is also often staffed with mediocre servers. (Unfortunately, many of the "upscale" restaurants in Tucson share the same mediocre service philosophy, so North fits right in.)

As is so typical in Tucson, the restaurant is overstaffed (to the point of crowding) with the world's friendliest, energetic, bubbly, unskilled, college-aged "servers" that you can find. (Yes, occasionally, there is an experienced server, but never consistently.) Many leaving positive reviews seem to have conflated "bubbly, energetic, and friendly" with "well trained and shows attention to detail". These are not the same. The world's friendliest server can still be clueless on the proper pairing of a wine to the food selected, completely forget special requests, and cap off an evening with the world's LAZIEST server question "How's it tastin?".

(NOTE: "How's it tastin?" is lazy throw-away question asked when a server truly does not want to do anything else for the customer. 98% of the time, the answer is "OK", even when things are not. Quality servers ask open ended questions, such as "Can I get you anything else?" and then the work hard to satisfy the customer.)

I'm sure I will return many more times to this popular stop, at the request of co-workers and clients. However, when I have guests to Tucson seeking great Italian, this will not be the stop. There are many other more satisfying experiences awaiting just a few miles East, West, or South.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank HornsAndTail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
yuma
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Good food great ambiance!”
Reviewed August 21, 2013

The pasta bolognese could be revised!!!!!! I hope that someday they can taste it themselves. Salmon was great! Most amazing is the view, with good company and a great cocktail you are set!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank amazedhappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Mateo, CA
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“More Veggie Options Please”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

I went to North while visiting Tucson recently to dine with my mother and step-father. I try to eat mostly vegan or vegetarian and generally find that Italian food offers plenty of options. But I wasn't so lucky at North. The waiter started out by offering the salami plate as the best appetizer...ominous start. I settled for a spaghetti thinking how can you ruin pasta, the dish was decent enough but the size seemed more like an appetizer than a heaping bowl of pasta. I ended up having to sop up all the sauce with the complimentary bread to fill up. My mom enjoyed here mezaluna pasta and my father in law enjoyed his chicken parm with flash fried potatoes. I am a fan of good homemade bread and the bread here was lacking as well. Common North, you got the decor down, you got the handcranked salami slicer down, now how about some decent veggie options and maybe some tasty homemade bread!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank leventhald
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Ok, not great”
Reviewed July 16, 2013

We have gone to North in Denver when we lived in that area and liked it. This was good. Service was fine. Nothing over the top. It is located at La Encantado, so going for some gelato across the way was a nice end to the meal.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jill N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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