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Very disappointed at Savona

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Melissa Feb 21, 2003 10:09 PM

My husband and I had a belated Valentine's dinner at Savona tonight. It was my first time there; he'd been once before and long ago, and didn't remember how it was (he goes out to a lot of expensive Main Line restaurants for work, and they all start to blur after you've been to Taquet 12 or more times). Our overall impression: absolutely not worth what they are charging.

We couldn't get a 7 PM reservation; they could only give us 6:30. When we left (at 8), half the tables were still empty, so we're not sure what that was about. The sommelier was visibly disappointed that my husband (a complete non-drinker) didn't order any wine and that I only ordered a glass, despite the fact that I asked for his recommendation and took great interest in it.

We found the menu far too seafood-heavy. Everything had seafood in it except the filet and the lamb; ALL of the specials were fish. We skipped the appetizer course because we are usually too full for three courses and decided we wanted dessert; when we saw the dinner portion sizes, we were sorry. $33 for a scallop dish that was 95% peas and edamame; it included *five* scallops. $33 buys you five scallops? Greg's sea bass was overcooked and dry and served with what could only be considered garnish, not any sort of side item. I had the chocolate souffle for dessert which was delicious; if it hadn't been I'd have been even more annoyed than I am. Greg had the warm chocolate cake which was about the size of the lid from a jar of spaghetti sauce. It was the smallest $10 dessert I'd ever seen.

The little extras were good (except for the most dry sourdough roll I've ever had) but didn't make up for the sad entree; we had little cups of lobster bisque (which was nice, but there wasn't enough seafood already?) and little squares of pear-apricot strudel. The chocolate and chocolate covered strawberry that came with the check were nice, but again: would have rather had a few more scallops.

The service was at first annoyingly non-attentive (we sat for almost ten minutes waiting for menus or water or even a greeting from a waiter, despite being the only people in our particular room AND there being five employees within view) and then annoyingly over-attentive. There was someone at our table every. five. minutes. For a "romantic dinner," it was incredibly crowded. And when they weren't actually coming over to the table, they were walking halfway across the room, craning their necks to look at our plates, and walking away. People, this restaurant was UNDERbooked. It's not like there was someone waiting for our table (in fact, the three tables surrounding us were empty). It's hard to enjoy your $33 entree when you feel like the waiter (and the sommelier, and the bread guy, and the water guy, and the guy who takes the plates away, and the guy with the little crumb vacuum, and the guy who brings you more silverware) are all having dinner with you. The servers were all nice, they just wouldn't go away long enough to let us enjoy the meal.

It was $120, including tip, and wasn't worth nearly that much. We were much, much more pleased with our dinner last week at Chloe and next time we will go with our instinct: cancel the stupid reservation and go to Rx instead.

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    Charlene RE: Melissa Feb 24, 2003 04:54 PM

    We ate their 2 years ago and all I can say is--you took the words right out of my mouth. Overpriced ,miniscule portions and overbearing service.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Charlene
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      jen RE: Charlene Feb 24, 2003 06:11 PM

      We have had amazing meals there. We have gotten the chef's tasting menu twice and have been very happy with it. If anything it is way too much food.
      I agree that the service is overattentive, but the positive side is that if you need anything, there is always someone to ask.

      1. re: jen
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        Melissa RE: jen Feb 26, 2003 11:39 AM

        But the tasting menu was five courses, correct? If I'd eaten three additional courses in addition to what I did eat, it would have been too much food for me, too.

        Also, I personally would rather have to wait a minute or two for extra water than have a waiter reaching across the table for the bread plates as I'm lifting a forkful of entree to my mouth.

      2. re: Charlene
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        Jack Newsome RE: Charlene May 2, 2003 12:02 PM

        I am so surprised to hear this. The servers were always there when I needed something and stayed tucked away other times. The cheese selection was one of the best in Philadelphia. The portions were fine for us. We always order an appetizer, entree and dessert and it was just enough food. By the time we had some of the homemade breads and all of the little "extras", we were stuffed. I just wish the bar was bigger - - we had to share the bar with ten others. I loved it and we now eat at Savona for business dinners and birthdays.

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        ILB RE: Melissa Feb 26, 2003 12:34 PM

        Same reaction--very overpriced. 40 minute wait for an 8:30 reservation. Very poor service. It is not worth the value at all. Food was good, but not great $10.00 for a Bloody Mary, $5.00 for coffee. We were also offered "sparkling" or "still water". Assumed that still water was plain tap water--wrong--it was a $6.50 bottle of water. It was our first and last time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ILB
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          MJS RE: ILB May 12, 2003 02:26 PM

          I would completely disagree. Knowing that we had a reservation on a busy Saturday evening we were got to the restaurant right at 7:30 ready to have a drink and was happily seated right away. Upon arrival a very pleasant sommelier helped us choose just the perfect bottle of wine. Upon receiving our check, I was pleasantly surprised that the bill wasn’t much higher. The portions were just perfect, not to small but at the same tome not to big that you can’t finish them. For the price I think the portions are very generous. The chocolate served at the end of the meal was just a great way to end the night. Savona Restaurant is one in a million. Everything was just perfect from start to finish. The food and service was excellent, the entire service staff deserves a lot of credit. Our special occasion dinner was an all around wonderful experience. I will be glad to recommend Savona to anyone who asks in the future.

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          Karen Reimer RE: Melissa May 2, 2003 12:51 PM

          I have to disagree with your review. I dined at Savona on April 24, for my anniversary. As for a romantic evening for two I can not think of a better place to have dinner but on Savona's patio. North Italian Restaurant is to serve seafood, and the quality that Savona serves it in is exceptional. I recently dined at Savona and not only did I find the staff to be very professional and attentive. The sommelier was kind and more than enthusastic tho help with our wine selection. I think Savona is one of the best restaurnats in the Philadelphia area.

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            FortWashingtonReviewer RE: Melissa Oct 26, 2008 06:42 PM

            Our group of six had a very dellightful meal. Service was ecellent and the menu was great. Loved the progression of crab. The sorbet was great - melon was refreshing.

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              katesprings RE: Melissa Oct 27, 2008 05:50 AM

              Melissa, I have to agree with you. We went for our anniversary a few years ago and we were disappointed as well. We spent over $200 and I can think of many places that would cost half that amount that serve food just as good. It was way too stuffy for us!
              The mainliners can have this place, we work way too hard for our money to waste it here.

              1. Den RE: Melissa Oct 27, 2008 11:54 AM

                I won't disagree with your review but why in the first place did you go to Savona if you don't like places with a "far too seafood heavy" menu? You set yourself up for an expensive disappointment that could have been avoided with a little research.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Den
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                  rocknroll52 RE: Den Oct 27, 2008 12:01 PM

                  What we have here are replies to a 5 year old post, i.e. it is no longer timely to respond to Melissa

                  1. re: rocknroll52
                    The Chowhound Team RE: rocknroll52 Oct 28, 2008 08:55 AM

                    It's not against the rules for people to update older threads with more recent information, so we won't remove these posts. We'd ask everyone to keep discussion on topic, however, and avoid devolving into a debate about whether the posts are permitted -- that's always off topic on a regional board.

                  2. re: Den
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                    ladydisdain RE: Den Nov 3, 2008 11:45 AM

                    This is hilarious - I wrote this so long ago I had a different screen name. However, I still talk about this meal any time Savona comes up in conversation.

                    First of all, "disagreeing" with a review would make no sense as a review is 100% opinion. We went to Savona because EVERYONE said it was THE BEST. At the time there was no menu online that we could find (this was five years ago, remember). And anyway, my main complaints - ridiculously small portions and rude, overattentive service - are not exactly subjective things. $33 should buy you more than five small scallops on a bed of peas and edamame. It just should. And no one should look annoyed when someone doesn't order wine.

                    Re-reading that review I wrote makes the whole thing come flooding back, and man, that was the worst expensive meal we have ever had.

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