Has anyone eaten at Vivace Ristorante or Piacere's in San Carlos, CA?
Both are located in San Carlos, CA. They're sister restaurants. I'm asking because I've been looking for a decent, mid-range Italian restaurant in the South Bay for years and am still coming up skunked. It's also my friend's birthday in ten days, and she is a dedicated fan of Italian cuisine...very picky about her ravioli. So if anyone has eaten at either of these restaurants, or knows someone who has, please let me know! Thanks much in advance.
ALERT !!! --- 2003 report
Someone added to it in 2009 and I wanted to add some links to the 2009 reports
727 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 94070
1041 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA 94063
769 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 94070
Eight Eight Eight Ristorante Italiano (888 Ristorante)
888 Laurel St, San Carlos, CA
I've eaten at Vivace and Piacere before, but a while ago. I remember they're good, but not great.
However, a couple months ago I had dinner at A Tavola in San Carlos. It's more expensive than Vivace and Piacere, but I felt the food was much better.
716 Laurel Street
San Carlos, CA 94070
We've eaten at both Piacere and Vivace - I wouldn't call either one strictly Italian. Maybe "Cal-Ital" would be better. When they are good, they're great but if you catch them on an "off" night they're pretty dismal. Actually we haven't been back to either one lately because the last visit to Piacere was so bad. To be specific, it was a weeknight, it was Piacere, they were very busy but we were seated right away. Our server seemed to have been assigned to our table at the last minute and she seemed to be trying to handle half the restaurant on her own. She did pretty well considering. Aside from having to wait for extremely long periods of time for things (water, salads,entree, dessert, etc.) what made us really sad was the quality of the food. In the past we had been served carefully prepared, tasty dishes by extremely professional servers. This time the dishes looked like they'd been thrown together, food was almost cold by the time it reached us and the last straw was one of their signature desserts - a trio of mini-creme brulees. This has always been great in the past. This time they looked as though no attempt had been made to "brulee" them - no crackly sugar crust! It took almost 20 minutes to get our server back after she dropped them on our table on the fly! When I asked about it, she was very offhand; made no offer to replace them, nothing. I asked if the kitchen staff had changed and she said that it had. We haven't been back...
I've eaten at Piacere for lunch during the work week. The food wasn't bad, but it wasn't the greatest either. I had a scallop salad - they were generous with the seafood and the salad was good, but I didn't care for the service too much; servers were slow on refilling the water and I had to wait some time for the bill.
There is an interesting looking Italian restaurant that I've always wanted to try on El Camino . . . down the street from Judy's Flag Store (northbound towards Belmont). It's called Messina. Anyone ever been?
You said you have been looking for good Italian in the "South Bay," but I consider San Carlos the Peninsula. :-) However, if you're willing to venture over to Hwy 92 and then Hwy 1, you may want to try Mezza Luna in Princeton, which offers excellent authentic mid-priced Italian food.
re: Melanie Wong
My absolute favorite is the clam/mussels pasta (linguine ala toto) in white sauce. It tastes exactly like what I had in Florence. They also make a very nice pizzeta. But everything I've had there is quite good, including veal, soups, etc. I'm organizing a banquet there next week.