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Feb 13, 2008 08:41 AM


Anyone been to the new place yet in Travis Walk?

Please post a review if/when you do.


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  1. Had dinner there last night; the service is still working out a lot of kinks, but the food was pretty good.

    I called almost a week in advance for reservations; the hostess was generally confused about whether they even accepted res, so she took a message, and a manager called me back. They put me down for a reservation for 6 ppl at 7:30 Saturday. I called back Saturday at 5:45 to let them know we were down to a party of 4. Because they now only allegedly take reservations for parties of 6+, the hostess said she would have to shift me from the reservation list to the wait list immediately, but that she was sure a table for 4 would be available within 15 minutes of the original reservation. Upon arrival at 7:30, we were assured we had been moved to the wait list immediately upon our call, making us 9th on the wait list, and that a table would be available within 30 minutes (which would indicate that there were 9 parties who had been waiting for a table for an hour and 45 minutes, with no hope of being seated soon. . . ). When I checked on the status of our reservation again at 8:20, I was told it would be another 30 minutes. At that point, I was sorry I hadn't gone with the 9:30 reservations that Nonna had originally offered me for that night. We were finally seated around 8:45.

    To be fair to the hostess, the restaurant was past capacity. 2 weeks after opening, every table was full, and people were milling around the bar and up and down Travis, waiting for their table. Well-heeled and several had been starving for much longer than the time they had been waiting for a table

    Owned by the same people as Trece, I had been expecting a fairly similar experience. The drinks (Black Sapphire martini, Lemontini, White Peach Bellini, Mexican Martini) indeed were well-designed and expensive. The food was good at a better price point than at Trece. We started with the calamari ($9), which was differentiated from the other versions in town by the addition of sweet peppers-- the combination went over well with the group. I opted for make your own pasta combination-- angel hair tossed in alfredo ($13). The pasta is made in house; its fresh, homemade character came through. My companions were happy with their puttanesca with organic sausage and peppers, seafood risotto, and pizza. We ended the meal with a shared tiramisu and espresso, which were also fair.

    The "O" part of the gimmick is apparently that they try to make everything with organic ingredients-- organic strawberries with our tiramisu, etc. I can't say that the organic schtick really made much difference that we noticed throughout the meal.

    All in all, I enjoyed the food well enough, the people watching was great, but I don't plan on returning until the crowd dies down.

    2 Replies
    1. re: vktp

      quote: "Well-heeled and several had been starving for much longer than the time they had been waiting for a table"

      haha thanks for the chuckle. surprising with all the good eats in this city.

      1. re: vktp

        I ate there yesterday for brunch/lunch. The menu is the same as at dinner with three "off the menu" brunch items. We had the roast chicken (a little dry) and the branzino which was average to a little above average. Far and away the best thing tasted was the mac and cheese. Also, an eggplant appetizer was a little better than okay. The restaurant is very inviting and service was fine. The Italian wine list is a tad pricey but has great selections by the glass and half bottle. All wine glasses are stemless. I would say give it a try but do not expect a truly great dining experience. By the way, Villa O begins serving lunch today according to a sign on the door.

      2. I went to Villa-O a couple weeks ago and so wanted to like this place. I went for lunch with a business associate and there were only 2 people eating inside and about 6 tables of people outside (it was a beautiful day). Anyway, upon walking into the place, you look around and it is so cute - makes you think you are not in dallas but should be someplace by the beach given the nautical theme. The menu looks fab at lunch with the pastas and pizza, etc. The wait staff was pleasant although a little too eager at times but that's ok.

        So, we both got appetizers and entrees. My friend had a salad which was basic however with way too much dressing. I had the clams oreganata. Now, this is one of my favorite dishes (usually). Well not this time. The clams were swimming, almost drowning in vegetable oil! There were some breadcrumbs but not enough to soak up the oil. It was horrible and a bit embarrassing to have it dribble down my chin as i attempted to eat them. For our entree, my friend got the turkey burger. Now i thought this was hilarious to see at an Italian restaurant but wrote it off since they are trying to appeal to the lunch crowd. I don't even think an Italian in Italy would even know what a turkey burger was! I assume this is not on the menu at night. I heard it was good however. I was excited to try the Penne with Puttanesca sauce. Well, yet another disappointment. I was only able to eat a few bites of it. I tried to play it off that i was full from the bread but i think my friend saw right through me. I got it boxed up to bring home just to be sure the oily clams did not ruin it for me. Well even later that evening when i tried it again, it still was not good. Aside from the overwhelming taste of salt (seems to be a big theme here in Dallas. I think chefs here in Dallas need to learn that salt is not a spice! They must of had some people cooking that day who normally cook at Trece across the street- which is the owner's other restaurant). Sorry i was sidetracked...So, along with the overwhelming taste of salt (yes there are capers in this dish which should give it a little of a salt taste but not like you are sucking on the salt shaker) there was a strange after-taste to it. I called the strange taste "dish water" but my husband who sampled the left overs could not pin-point what exactly was wrong with it. He and I have had this dish many many times. I make it, my mom makes it, my grandmother used to make it. You get the point. Anyway, like I said, i so wanted to like this place! But this was one of the worst meals in a long time that I have had in a non-chain restaurant. On a side note, I did not have their pizza but i looked around at the few tables that had it. The menu claims it is Neopoletan pizza however it looks WAY too think with WAY too much cheese to make that claim.

        Anyone else been to Villa-O? Sadly, I don't think i will be going back because it was just that bad. If i absolutely had too, i guess i would order the turkey burger. sad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pizzaQTpie

          My sister and law and her husband went this past weekend. We origianlly sent them to Cafe Madrid with the passbook discount too. All of that was down the tubes after the long wait of 45 min + at about 8 pm on Saturday. I thought typical for the area. I grilled them on the food though.

          They said they went in just for a drink and wanted to go to Cafe Madrid....they got a glass of wine (I am not much on wine so I didn't grill them on that). They went across the street after they timed out the 45 mins. Unfortunately the "Uptown" crowd was in full force that night as they were about to grab a table at Cafe Madrid some rude woman took their table as they were walking with the waiter to it. (I just love Uptown!!). On to the meal at Villa-O. They started off with a caprese salad (for some reason my sister in law loves a caprese salad). Her husband said it was very tasty with good mozzarella (they wouldn't know if it was mozzarella di buffala or not), great basil, heirloom tomatoes and some finely diced tomatoes. They said it was nicely presented, but came out slow and was heavy handed on the balsalmic vinegar. I grilled them about the rest but could not get anything out of them that was any good past the salad. They said it was fair at best and that it was highly overpriced. They usually go out to fancy places but they vowed never to go back to this one! I told them I had heard about Villa-O from this website and have not seen to many positives. I wonder what is going wrong there b/c there are so many great places with in a block radius (Abacus, Taverna, Cafe Madrid, Little Katana)?

        2. Bummer to hear all the negative reviews - I'm meeting a big group for drinks, and possibly dinner there tomorrow night. Maybe we'll have a drink and walk somewhere else nearby...

          2 Replies
          1. re: texasgirl

            I would highly recommend Cafe Madrid....tapas, sangria, wine, cheese, etc etc. You really can't go wrong there!

            1. re: LewisvilleHounder

              I agree! I just love cafe Madrid!
              Vill-o looked like the drinks would be good. I was only there for a horrible lunch but some people around us were enjoyed some fruity things that looked good. Do that and then head across the street for some pitchers of Sangria!

          2. I didn't realize Villa O was owned by the same folks as Trece. I've noticed a steep decline in Trece over the last several months - in drinks and especially food. They completely changed their classic mojito - at this point the lobster nachos are the only thing I like there, but without the standby mojitos it's hard to imagine a real reason to go as a first stop of the night. I'd like to think their problems are due to the owners putting all their energy into the new venture, but apparently not!

            I was planning on taking a group of out-of-towners to Villo O this weekend, but only for drinks on the patio as a last stop that night. We live right in the neighborhood and I like thinking there's a potential nice patio spot right down the street. Definitely not for dinner though. Hmmm....

            4 Replies
            1. re: magmae

              Maybe you should try the food for yourself. They have been open for about two months now. They have most of the kinks worked out. I have had three great meals there. I would recommend this place to anyone. It is a casual fun atmosphere with great food and a great wine by the glass selection.

              1. re: magmae

                Last Friday we organized a happy hour on the patio at Villa-O. Our waiter was great but the bar manager kept breathing down his neck and told us to not put the menus on the table because it "ruins them". The bar manager was overbearing. From the beginning we told him the number of people we expected in our party, as each person showed up and pulled up a chair, he would come over and get antsy and disapprove of a person sitting with us, even though we were still under our initial estimate and were ordering expensive drinks and appetizers.

                When the sun went down it got chilly outside and when we asked to move inside for dinner they told us it would be over an hour. We paid our tab and happily went around the corner to Taverna for a fantastic meal!

                1. re: sl1

                  Bah, same bad experience at Villa - shOw. The management was rude and unhelpful with our reservation getting delayed repeatedly, though our waiter was solid once we were seated. This place will limp along due to its location but the food is not ready for prime time. Clientele is of the fake tanned and augmented type. If you must, grab a few over priced drinks, gawk at the folks pulling up in their leased boxters, and then have a nice dinner at the other places close by.

                  1. re: Gorilla

                    I am disappointed to write this. I love the penne pasta with tomato vodka sauce there and the desserts are great (the tiramisu is the best I have ever had). But my goodness, the service is TERRIBLE. It is so slow and they seem to have an issue with getting your orders correct (at least for us ... twice now). Hopefully they will get the kinks worked out soon.... Also, the food can me somewhat inconsistent. I always get the pasta (either tomato vodka or pesto cream) and sometimes it is really overcooked and sometimes it just tastes different (usually bland). I feel bad because every time we go in there, we end up complaining and we never complain at restaurants. We go back because our first visit there was soooo good. But I think they have gotten too busy for themselves as of late. I say wait a few months and try it then. They will hopefully get it together,