Homemade Italian Food in Lutz.
Being from the northeast , having moved to Fl two years ago, we really miss good Italian restaurants. The chain restaurants in Fl just don't come close to what we were used to in CT. We tried a few other non-chain pizza and pasta places in the Lutz area that were also so-so.
We heard about Villagio from a "friend of a friend of a friend that knows good food" (of course we've been given this bum steer before). We've now been there twice and cannot say enough great things about the place.
If you are looking for a family run, traditional Italian restaurant where everything is home made, this is your place. Our family has tried many dishes, from simple spaghetti and meatballs to Ossobucco - all were sensational. Garlic knots are super fresh, gnocchi are to die for. Service from Italian waiters was also excellent. Although you will find the prices higher than the Olive Garden, they are, IMO, very reasonable for the caliber of the food served. I believe you can find a menu online.
You really need to give this place a shot . Although you might consider getting there early on a Sat night- they do get a pretty good crowd.
Amazing Italian Ristorante!. My grandparents were from Italy. This food is just like grandma used to make. Greeted with a boisterous "bueno serra!" this place hits the spot with welcoming you in like family. The decor is homey and comfortable, not pretentious. It feels just like coming home. The food is OUTSTANDING, the service TOP NOTCH, the wine list is not only affordable, but IMPRESSIVE. We were invited to take the tour by none other than the owner himself. The wine "cellar" is very large and well stocked. I think they may have more wine than ABC Liquor... This is a must dine for any foodie and anyone that loves Italian food. The garlic knots are the best, crisply toasty on the outside and soft and hot on the inside and sprinkled liberally with Parmesan cheese, but their bruchetta is the best I've had. Be sure to get it with the fresh mozzarella! I've had nearly every item on the menu and have not been disappointed once. The lasagna is BETTER than my mama's (oh God, don't tell her!) and that's really saying something. They have the best primavera I've ever had. Tonight was the Pasta Al Forno which tasted so much like Grandma's mosticcoli that it brought a tear to my eye. The desserts are out of this world. My favorite is the Tiramisu. Its very rich as are the scrumptious canolis, but the tartufo (the chocolate one) is delicioso. If you're looking for light, there is a lemon tartufo and a limoncello sorbetto that is light, palate cleansing and refreshing. The orange one is beautiful too. I recommend this restaurant to everyone. I don't know why anyone would have anything negative to say about Villagios. I've been there frequently and they always do a wonderful job with the food and the service is exemplary. My mom and I are always greeted with a hug. They also will make your food any way you want, even if its not something that's on the menu. I ordered gnochi alfredo.... oh man, was THAT rich! It was buttery/garlicy/cheesy goodness....heaven on a plate! They made it special, just for me. My mom gets capellini aglio e olio with mushrooms, capers and pomodoro. MMMMMMM!
We have been to Villaggio's many times in the past and have always had good food and good service. Owners always made rounds and checked our your food was. It is sad to see an old friend slip so far.
It was my birthday, and my husband asked where I would like to go for dinner. As it had been a while since we had been here......I voted for Villaggio's.......big mistake.
The service was poor. Waiters seemed distracted. I ordered the Surf and Turf for my main course. For starters we had the bruschetta. Very bland chopped tomato; poorly seasoned. The crostini was soggy. You would think the waiter would have gotten the hint when I asked for the Parmesan cheese, and then added salt and pepper and some vinegar. The vinaigrette dressing on the salad was past it's prime as evidenced by the acidic zing. My main course was so bland. Very little flavor. No flavor to the veal or the sauce. The shrimp had a fishy taste and the presentation could have used a little garnish. It was a study in white! I didn't even finish it. Busboy asked if I wanted to take it home. I told him it was a 4 out of 10 and not worth taking home. He shrugged and took it away.
For dessert we ordered Tiramisu. Yet another disappointment. Basically overly sweet custard, something spongy and way too much powdered cocoa on top. No coffee flavor at all. Again, I ate only a few forkfuls and pushed it away.
We had to wave our waiter down to get a check. It was slapped on the table without so much as a thank you. And no one ever asked how our food was.......not once during the dinner! My negative comment to the busboy got a shrug of the shoulders and that was it.
It will be a long time until we consider trying Villaggio's again. Guess they figure after years of producing good food and giving good service, it's time to relax and ride on their laurels.
I can't believe I am saying this, but continue driving north and go to Carraba's. At least they are consistent.
Excellent Italian - in Lutz!. Authentic and very good italian food. I felt like I was back on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Attentive service. Solid wine list with good offerings at multiple price points. Highly recommend.
Great Italian Restaurant. I have been to Villagios several times and have frequented this established for approximately 10 years now. It has undergone several renovations and is always up-to-date. The food is excellent with some of my favorites being pasta pescatore, any veal dish, and sofia spigola. Villagios has an extensive wine list. Don’t forget to try many of their decadent desserts (one of my favorites the creme brulee). The owner is from Italy and definitely knows his food and wine. It also has a banquet room that is great for parties. Service is very good. Enjoy your dinner while listening to the harpist play beautiful arrangements. Overall, this is one of my favorite places to eat and very family oriented.
Great Place...special find. This is one of the best Italian restaurants in Tampa. We have tried it numerious times and each time we are more satisfied. The owner makes us feel at home even though he does not know us. We've sampled a lot of the menu and like everything from the Pizza (casual) to the special preperations of Italian favorites. The price compares very favorably to South Tampa haunts, and is worth the drive----but its for the food, not the atmosphere. A surprise for Lutz, a quality restaurant no matter where located.
Promising Italian Dining Experience.
We visited on a Friday night at 7:00 and only waited a few minutes to be seated. The owner/host was quite gracious and outgoing and it seemed as though he was friendly with most of the customers in the restaurant that night. No complaints regarding the atmosphere - nice harp music playing, sufficient lighting, healthy mixture of families and couples. A few reviews have noted that the restaurant seems small, but the owner seemed to manage his space effectively, as there never appeared to be a significant wait during our entire meal. A few minor drawbacks regarding the management include the service and seating. It took a few extra minutes for us to receive service, and while our waiter was pretty knowledgeable, he abandoned us after clearing our salads, leaving the bus boys as our only contact with the waitstaff. Such slow and inattentive service seemed to be consistent throughout, as many other tables looked a bit annoyed at their lack of informed service. Also, reservations are only taken for parties of six or more, so if you have a small party, there's no telling where you'll be seated...
However, we had no complaints about the food. We had the gnocchi with shrimp special (lots of flavor but not too overpowering) and the baked eggplant dish. The rolls and salads were all fresh and appetizing, and the entrees seemed very authentic. Portions are not too large either, so the dining experience doesn't turn into a chore rather than an enjoyable night out. While the food was stellar, the wine could have been stored a bit cooler, as our carafe came out warm, thus altering the flavor of the wine. All in all though, we had a very positive experience regarding the food at Villaggio's, and while the service was noticeably slow, our overall night was certainly a positive one and we will return to dine again.
Absolutely horrible experience - twice!.
OK - I had a reasonably OK meal at this place once. It was about 2 years ago (2006). The food was expensive and the service was poor, but the food was pretty good. The place has definitely gone downhill.
The first time we had a lousy experience here, I thought it was a fluke. There were three couples, maybe too much for them to handle, and we had a new waiter, which was an understandable reason, right? Well, after completely messing up all the meals and taking literally 2 hours to get us out of there, the guy followed us out into the parking lot to inform us that the couple who had already left had "paid with an invalid credit card". So I agreed to pay for the guy (a friend) and called him the next day. He was able to see on his card company's website that in fact, the charge did go through. So together we went to the restaurant figuring they would make it right in about 3 minutes. WRONG! Major attitude problem, even after we showed clear evidence that we had been double charged. Giuseppe was called (none of the women working there were allowed to open the cash register(!) - 20 minutes later "pappa" Giuseppe shows up and also proceeded to give us attitude. All we wanted was a refund of a double payment on a very mediocre meal. We finally got it, but wow - what a terrible impression.
Unfortunately, a friend of mine who is a real estate broker gave us a gift certificate from this place. I would rather pay to eat at McDonalds than eat at this place for free. Rather than toss it in the trash, I re-gifted the certificate to a relative (hoping they would find it tolerable). Wrong again! These relatives just now called me, after having sat for an hour waiting for service which finally materialized. They wanted me to know it was one of the worst meals they have ever had and wondered if I could get my money back. I highly recommend you find somewhere else to eat (3 miles north or so is Benedetto's - wonderful food and service)
Excellent in Every Way. I have been to Villaggio six times in the last year. Having spent much time in Italy recently, I can say with authority that this restaurant is without question the most authentic Italian dining experience I have had in Florida. Their presentation and style is like the best osterias I visited in northern Italy. The pasta dishes are cooked to perfection, sauces are deeply satisfying. I usually ask for the pasta served with marinara, but the mixed seafood and pasta is one of the top ten best things I have ever eaten. The frozen sorbet is an exquisite, unforgetable dessert. The service is gracious and attentive, even with kids, which I always bring. The owner greets me like an old friend every time. Villaggio is, in my opinion, what eating out is all about.
Even better than Italy.
This is by far my favorite restaurant. I have traveled to Italy and I think Villagio is better! Wonderful sauce, wonderful service. Molto bene, fantastico!
Ask for Pepito, he is the best waiter in the world. Oh, and ask for the sparkling wine, Banfi. You will not be disappointed.
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