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Tucson - Dolce Vita

In Tucson last week for business and someone recommended Dolce Vita as a good, inexpensive Italian restaurant. Unfortunately, I can't agree! Personally I've never had NUTMEG in my marinara sauce...is this "normal"? My friend had chicken fettucini alfredo, and the sauce was very bland. Portions were large and the price was right, but the lack of flavor made for a very expensive meal. Neither of us ate more than a quarter of our meal!

Does anyone know about nutmeg in marinara sauce?

Dy

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  1. Was it nutmeg? I thought it was a dash of cinnamon. Whatever it was, it was when it first relocated to the east side from the west, AND it was maybe 9 years ago, and I'VE NEVER BEEN BACK!

    One of the things I judge an Italian restaurant on is primarily their marinara sauce. I make much better stuff myself.

    1 Reply
    1. re: personalcheffie

      Personalcheffie,
      My friend and I both thought it was nutmeg, but perhaps you are right with the cinnamon...regardless, it was terrible! And I'll never go back either! Maybe the next time we visit Tucson we should come to your house to try your marinara... : )

    2. OK! Too funny. I thought by now the guy might have changed his recipe, or closed his doors. Obviously not.

      There is another place that is now closed due to a lease problem. They put a bowl of what you would think is parmesan cheese on the table. I sprinkled this on, and WHOA! Too Salty. Come to find out it's Romano. I ask for Parmesan. THEY DON'T HAVE ANY. I wonder what the veal parmesan on the menu is made with? We started calling it Veal Romano. Have you ever heard of an Italian restaurant with no parmesan? Too cheap IMHO.

      1 Reply
      1. re: personalcheffie

        YOU ARE WRONG HERE BUDDY. IT IS CALLED CHICKEN PARMIGIANA NOT PARMESAN. PARMIGIANA REFERS TO WERE IT ORIGINATED AND HOW ITS COOKED NOT THE CHEESE THAT GOES ON TOP.

      2. I had a disappointing meal here, too... It's a real shame, too, as there's another Italian place in the same little complex that is much better. I'm consistently surprised to see that this place is still in business.

        For some of Tucsons BEST Italian, you have to go to the other side of town, however, and check out Tavolino. I'm going there this evening. It is far and away my favorite Italian place in town.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Booklegger451

          Thank you for this. In another post on this board, I mentioned three NW side Italians I have not been to. Livorno, Cibaria, Michaelangelo, and Tavolino was the one I couldn't remember! Please give us a review when you return.

          Vivace is always good, but I think we are always looking for another outstanding Italian restaurant. Gavi does OK, that is the restaurant in front of this place, and they have three locations.

          1. re: personalcheffie

            Tavolino was wonderful. I had a dish of broad noodles in a rabbit ragu that was just entirely out of this world. My step mother had the squash ravioli, which were also outstanding, and my dad had the shrimp and angel hair pasta which was very good, though not quite able to keep up with the other entree's.

            Next time I go, I'll bring a camera, and take some notes, and do a real review.

          2. re: Booklegger451

            The "other" Italian place in the same complex...is that Gavi's? That was recommended to us, but it appeared to be a sports bar so we declined.

            We are eating on "per diem" so most of the higher end places are out of our price range. If you can recommend some other places (not only Italian), I'll be glad to pass your thoughts along as another co-worker is heading that way in a week or so.

            What do you think of City Grill?

            1. re: Dymonnprl

              So-So. Nearby, Galo's and Le Delice for moderate pricing.

              1. re: Dymonnprl

                Yeah, Gavi's, that's it. Not a sports bar... just decked out in soccer paraphenalia. It's not Italian to write home about, but it's leagues and leagues better than Dolce Vita.

                As for City Grill... A sad story, that. It used to be one of my favorite lunch places, but in the last couple of years the food has gone down hill and the service has nearly evaporated... I can't get out of there for lunch in less that two hours. They still have a very nice bar, if you just want drinks and snackies, though. I would recommend, instead, that you check out Montana Avenue, which is near by, and features similar food and pricing, and is much better.

            2. I put Nutmeg in my bechemel sauce for my eggplant lasagna and I have had nutmeg in tortellini dishes or white sauces...never in a red sauce.....yuck!

              1. Thank you SO much for the heads up about Dolce Vita. My husband and I moved to the east side recently and ate at Gavi for the last time and were thinking about trying Dolce Vita. We will skip it and move on to some others suggested here. We don't get out much and seem to remember that Gavi was good, but our last 2 experiences changed our minds. The food was unpalatably SALTY!! The Piccatta sauce didn't taste much different than the marinara because of the overwhelming amount of salt. Also, the bread was hard and stale. As I mentioned, we don't get out much due to our child with special needs and so we want the experience to be great, if not impeccable when we are dropping $150 for 2 people. The upnote was the server was nice and the wine was great. Unless you love salt, I'd recommend skipping Gavi (Kolb location) and eat at Vivace.

                1 Reply
                1. re: marionkc

                  YOU MUSTN'T LISTEN TO THE OTHERS I HAVE BEEN GOING TO DOLCE VITA SINCE BEFORE THEY CHANGED THEIR NAME. tHEY HAVE GOTTEN SO BETTER WITH AMAZING SAUCE I EAT THERE ONCE A MONTH. GIVE IT A CHANCE THE OWNERS SON IS JUST SO NICE TO EVERYONE WHO COMES IN AND THE FOOD IS ALWAYS HOT.