Winterlicious at Romagna Mia
I've heard that Romagna Mia has been slipping lately, and they are not nearly the restaurant they once were. However, their lunch menu just looked so good to me, I had to try it. We were three, and shared everything, so I can comment on most of the food.
First off, the service was not great. It was not very busy. We had to ask for water and bread to be brought out, and our server had a tendancy to walk through the room without glancing at his tables, making him hard to flag down. The other servers were a bit rude when we resorted to asking them for water. There were no real gaffes, luckily.
The soup of the day was a veg and bean puree, so we all decided to go for the Parmesan Timbale with mushrooms and asparagus. It was excellent. Light and fluffy, it was like an omelette-souflee hybrid, with a delicious parmesan taste. The mushrooms and asparagus were flavourful and complimented it perfectly.
We were going to all order the seafood risotto, but eventually we decided it'd be best if we tried all of the mains. My seafood risotto was good, but not great. A very generous portion size, with plenty of calimari, scallop, and shrimp mixed in. Curiously, it was served with long-grain rice, and certainly wasn't as creamy as most risottos, which was a bit disappointing. The flavour was nice, but not oustanding. The bechamel lasagna was fantastic, although I should mention that I am a big, big lasagna lover. The rich bechamel sauce complimented it perfectly, I'm hard-pressed to think of a better lasagna I've had. The gnocchi were excellent as well. Soft and fluffy, served in a mushroom cream sauce, they were totally decadent and delicious. The only complaint I had about this dish was that there weren't a lot of whole mushrooms in the sauce, but the flavour was still fantastic.
The desserts were both very good. The espresso 'berry' tiramasu was served on an angel food cake rather than lady fingers. It was served with all of three berries, which was upsetting. However, it still tasted great despite of all this, and by no means was I unhappy with it. The panna cotta was most remarkable for its perfect just-gelatinous-enough texture. The sauce had a remarkable mild, boozy flavour. Not too sweet either, the panna cotta could have used a bit more sauce than it was served with, this was the only thing that held this dessert back from being perfect.
Overall, this was one of the best Winterlicious experiences I've had, with only Celestin's dinner this year surpassing it for me. However, at $20, Romagna Mia has topped it when it comes to value - the portions were probably the biggest I've ever seen for a 'Licious, and this was lunch! Not to mention that considering the richness of the dishes, even typically-small Winterlicious portions would have been more than adequate. As a student, I'm definitely willing to put up with the lacking service for a deal like this.
Agree with everyone about the poor service.
We've been to Romagna Mia many times and the food was always pretty good. About a couple of months ago, I decided to take a friend there who has never been before. It was about 5:45pm on a Saturday (note: this was not during Winterlicious) and the restaurant was nearly empty at the time. We approached the maitre di and asked for a table for 2 but did not have a reservation. He responded in very arrogant tone that he could do us a favour and seat us but he needed the table back by 7pm. I've been to Romagna Mia maybe 5-6 times before and it had never once been full. Needless to say, we declined and went and had a great dinner at nearby Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar instead.
We finished dinner at about 7:30pm and decided to go back to Romagna Mia to see if they were full or was the Maitre di just full of it. Just as I expected, they had lots of empty tables! There are lots of good reasonably priced Italian restaurants in town and I will likely not ever go back to Romagna Mia because of their arrogant service.