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La Tavola Waterbury CT

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Emory Palmer Nov 25, 2008 02:54 PM

Was the former Faces .Is this as good!

  1. f
    foodaholicme Nov 26, 2008 05:53 AM

    i don't know anything about la tavola but the late owner of faces sig other operates emmanuels in middlebury.

    1. j
      joan mar Feb 2, 2009 07:03 AM

      We went to La Tavola with a group of 8 people on Sat. night. We had a reservation for 8:00 p.m. (which I had changed earlier in the week from a 7:30 p.m. reservation), but didn't get seated at our table until almost 9:00 p.m. We placed our orders and it took quite a while for our apps to come out (and I and my friends were starved by this time)! I ordered the Pane cotta because I had never had it (white beans, escarole, bread in buttery sauce) - it was tasty, but I had nothing to compare it to. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their lobster bisque and the calimari. I ordered the salmon for my entree. It was served over a bed of orzo. It was very good, but by the time I got it I had eaten so much bread/oil, pane cotta, antipasto, etc., I only finished half of it. But I did have room to split a terra misu with my friend. :) It was very good. It's a very nice restaurant. The only bad part is its location in a residential area of Waterbury. Parking was definitely an issue on Sat. night. One of the neighbors about 3 house in back of the restaurant was outside yelling at people when they tried to park on the street in front of his house. When we left the restaurant, the bar area was packed with 20-somethings. It must be a hang-out after the restaurant clears out. The glass floor over their wine cellar is very clever.

      1. c
        coldduck Feb 2, 2009 05:00 PM

        The food is very, very good at La Tavola, but unfortunately it is upstaged by the noise of the people at the bar and sometimes in the dining room. We were seated at a tiny table in a row of tiny tables situated between two rows of booths. As we sat down a drunk leaned across our table to yell something at some people in a booth. He kept doing it until I pushed him away. No one on the staff attempted to clear him out. There is a large opening between the bar and the dining room so the noise comes straight out. But my God the food is wonderful, and I think the neighborhood scene is kind of charming.

        1. m
          mallomarmom Feb 3, 2009 12:37 PM

          We were there, too, on Saturday night -- party of 4 -- and had a fantastic meal as well as great service. Our reservation was for 7 and we were promptly seated. With respect to the large party waiting for their table for an hour, it was probably due to people like us, sitting and enjoying our meal over time. (Sorry) Anyway, everyone's food was perfectly prepared, portions were more than ample, and our server was friendly AND available for anything we needed. When I make reservations, I always ask for a quiet or corner table to avoid additional noise problems. The bar was pretty noisy, but it seemed that most noise came from the large party tables. Parking in the neighborhood is a real problem. The other couple was told to move his car because he was "blocking" the sidewalk (HUH?) and apparently they were expecting people to come to the house. (Guess he could have put a garbage can in front of the house, like some of his neighbors!) So, big deal, we walked a little further. The restaurant is worth the walk, believe me. Oh, and be sure to order the nutella cake for dessert.

          1. f
            fredmant Mar 2, 2009 01:04 PM

            More than good, I've been there 3 times for dinner, once for lunch. Service is excellent, but the food is divine, at least everything I've tried. Twice I had short ribs, and they were amazing both times. A veal chop with wild mushrooms demiglace was insanely flavorful of both the grill and subtler flavors of the veal. I always get a pasta course too and split it with someone. They have prepared and made pastas, left column, prepared, right column, made at the restaurant, and I always order from the right column. Twice I had gnocchi, the last time with a lamb and wild mushroom ragu that was incredible, the lamb falling apart into beautiful shreds The dry meat plate appetizer has the best dried meats (prosciutto, home made dry sausage, dry beef, with some candied fruit at the center that has a real bite), desserts - to tell the truth, I'm usually too full for deserts. This is now my favorite restaurant. If you go for lunch and they have the grilled cheese and lobster sandwich on the menu, you have to give it a try. Just be sure to get on the treadmill for at least an hour that night - it's a bit rich!

            1. kattyeyes Apr 16, 2009 11:56 AM

              I've been reading all your comments since joan mar's first review and have been anxiously awaiting a trip to La Tavola. Now we have reservations for Saturday night. Please help a fellow hound--what is the trick for parking? I actually asked the restaurant when I made reservations, but the person I spoke with said you can park on-street...though it sounds like some of you have run into a snag. We're going to celebrate a milestone b'day, so any advice you can offer would be appreciated. Thank you!

              2 Replies
              1. re: kattyeyes
                r
                rbailin Apr 16, 2009 01:04 PM

                Basically, there's only on-street parking on Highland Ave (the main street the restaurant's on). If you try to park on one of the side street, you'll probably upset the neighbors (some get rather incensed!). So park on Highland, and be prepared to walk a short block or three.

                1. re: rbailin
                  kattyeyes Apr 16, 2009 01:18 PM

                  So I gathered about the neighbors. Thanks for the advice. At least the weather will be nice for a walk. :)

              2. kattyeyes Apr 18, 2009 08:16 PM

                BUENA SERA! I've been wanting to go since I first read all your reviews here. We toasted you/Chowhound tonight in thanks for *yet another* great find! We do not usually think of meals in terms of letter grades, but we both agreed, La Tavola place rates a solid A+!

                And thanks, too, for your thorough feedback which meant:
                a. We arrived 15 minutes earlier than our reservation in an attempt to find parking which was every bit as complicated as you warned! We drove through the surrounding residential neighborhood and, not only were there cones, but posted signs all around the block "NO PARKING." We finally drove down Highland Ave. toward the church and parked in the Wachovia Bank parking lot. Not sure what everyone else does, but this is the ONLY downside to La Tavola.
                b. We asked for a quiet table based on some of your comments re noise and had a lovely table in the corner of the wine room downstairs. Very cool with a view of the wine cellar and a large screen monitor that played a beautiful slideshow of pictures of Napa and Sonoma. Really nice! We arrived at 6 and were the first table seated there. By the time we left, only one table downstairs was empty! Music in the background was so perfect, too--Sinatra, Louis Prima, other Italian singers I couldn't identify. It wasn't at all kitschy, it just seemed to go with the atmosphere.

                But, THE FOOD! From the bread with bean puree and olives all the way to the tiramisu and cappucino, it was simply perfection from start to finish.

                The birthday man had the one special offering of the night--salmon and corn chowder--and shared with me so I could have a taste. EXCELLENT! He had the pepper-crusted ahi tuna (rare) with eggplant caponata, French green beans and white bean puree . EXCELLENT! I had the filet mignon topped with a housemade giant gorgonzola ravioli (guess that'd be raviolo) with spinach and thinly sliced portobellos. EXCELLENT! I wanted to save room for dessert, and to be quite honest, it's not as though I was still hungry, but I had to do it, even though I only finished half and took the rest home. The tiramisu was served with an ultra thin toffee-like crisp and a scoop of mascarpone gelato--just exquisite.

                The bar was jammin' both on our way in and on our way out. I cannot imagine eating up there--the noise level was outta hand. But everyone, regardless of where they were sitting, seemed to be enjoying themselves. I was just grateful for our quiet spot in the wine room...and to all of you for letting us know about what a wonderful this place is. You guys are the best! CENT'ANNI, CHOWHOUNDS!

                http://latavolaristorante.com/index.html

                -----
                La Tavola Ristorante
                702 Highland Ave, Waterbury, CT 06708

                1. kattyeyes May 8, 2009 08:50 PM

                  I had to post again about La Tavola. We went back tonight and had completely different meals. There aren't enough words to describe how much I love this food. WOW.

                  We shared our entrees--seared diver scallops over a pea and pancetta risotto and housemade asparagus ravioli. These had to be the best ravioli I've eaten in my entire life. The creamy, full-fat ricotta simply oozed when my fork hit the pasta...they were exceptional...and served in a sauce with orange zest. The scallops were perfectly seared and placed atop a very generous portion of risotto (at least half of which came home with us). The Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc paired really nicely with the ravs.

                  You know the rest of the story--by no means do you *need* dessert after a meal like this, but you start off knowing there's no way you'll skip this portion of the program. Tonight's choice: two Boston cream doughnuts with a mini milkshake. INTENSE!!! The doughnuts are made to order, that is FRIED, FILLED and GLAZED in dark chocolate just for you. Dear god! They were blissful. I fully intended to eat one and take the other home, but then decided having them both warm and fresh was the way to go, so I will try to get back to reality tomorrow, take a long walk and perhaps wire my mouth shut. Oh, and the mini milkshake presentation was adorable--a little plastic ribbed tumbler kinda like you'd have had in an ice cream parlor back when...with two straws so we could share. It could've been pretty romantic except trying to share across the table and drink simultaneously resulted in a small accident in which one straw got outta control, and I got a straight shot of shake right in the glasses. Hysterical! But back to the whole food experience, WOW. I could not stop going on and on about how delicious the whole meal was. This place continues to impress.

                  Now, I have no idea how people deal with upstairs seating. It's pretty loud and not my scene. And now that the weather is getting warmer, you can sit outside. But so can smokers, so keep that in mind if you like to dine smoke-free as I do. But I love sitting downstairs in the wine cellar, which we did again tonight. You can request downstairs seating when you call to make your reservation.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kattyeyes
                    c
                    coldduck May 9, 2009 06:35 AM

                    Similarly, I feel the need to check in with my second impressions of La Tavola as well. I don't see how there could be a better Italian restaurant in Connecticut. Our party of five was there recently on a quiet Tuesday evening. We were given the "Godfather booth" in a corner of the bar. The impeccable, friendly service made us feel we actually could have been the godfather and his family. We began with a few appetizers, the highlight of which was the Molisana sausage and broccoli rabe. The wonderful sausage is made in a tiny shop a couple of blocks away in this Italian neighborhood. For entrees, we had the salmon, ricotta gnocci, penne peppered vodka (2) and braised veal shank—all very good, the sauces for the gnocci and veal bordering on the sublime. The dessert highlight was the nutella cake, the rich chocolate/hazlenut square accompanied by banana slices and vanilla gelato. There is focus, talent and creativity in this kitchen that you just don't often see. I suspect the menu will soon be changing into its spring/summer mode. We can't wait to see what treasures await there!

                  2. Scargod Jun 7, 2009 01:40 PM

                    Recently SO and I had lunch at La Tavola with our new friends Kattyeyes and her SO. We had a great time! We arrived shortly after noon and there was no one there! People came in but they basically only had a couple of tables at a time for lunch. We were having such a terrible time that we endured it for three+ hours!
                    We tried a number of white wines and agreed that the Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc was very good. The Grant Burge Shiraz was enjoyed, as well. The restaurant has a fairly deep wine selection and you can get quite a few by the glass. Speaking of glass, they have their wine cellar surrounded by glass so you can even view it from the top!
                    We started with the sausage and broccoli rabe, eggplant Torta and PaneCotta
                    escarole & white beans, parmesan broth, toasted garlic herb bread topping). The white bean soup with carrots and other ingredients was a special of the day, and very flavorful, but I thought overly mushy, without contrasting textures. I liked the sausage and garlicky broccoli rabe. I thought it was a rustic presentation, with one thin slab of very good sausage laying atop the rabe. The eggplant was reminiscent of stacked enchiladas. Very thin breaded and fried eggplant was interspersed with dry mozzarella, peppers and spinach. Almost the highlight of this appetizer was the butter-laden tomato sauce! I didn't get a pic of this; I think it went too fast.
                    Kattyeyes and partner had the shrimp risotto. They grilled the shrimp and the whole dish was luscious with many flavors and great mouthfeel.
                    I had the Penne Vodka with shrimp, but I substituted the garganelli pasta, as it was freshly made, in-house. The dish was very rich and incredibly good. Almost equaling the risotto dish.
                    We shared the nutella cake dessert. This was with rich vanilla ice cream, slices of banana and caper-like balls of crunchy chocolate. There is a rich, creamy chocolate cake with nutella in the middle! The outside is as if they toasted it for a few minutes. I am not familiar with nutella cake, but this was very good.
                    I could use more superlatives for the food, but I won't. The restaurant has four areas to eat in. The bar, where we ate, the deck, the diningroom, off the bar, and the downstairs diningroom. Since there were virtually no other customers inside I cannot comment about noise level, other than to say there are a lot of hard, smooth surfaces, so I could understand the comments that it can get noisy. It is hard to imagine this restaurant being virtually dead at lunchtime; it is too good. We had a sumptuous meal and it worked out to about $38 per person, before tip.
                    Pics of Kattyeyes practicing the Chow high-sign, bar area, sausage/rabe and soup appetizers

                     
                     
                     
                     
                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Scargod
                      Scargod Jun 7, 2009 03:16 PM

                      More pics: Garganelli Vodka, shrimp risotto, Nutella cake dessert (what's left of it), wine room from top.

                       
                       
                       
                      1. re: Scargod
                        kattyeyes Jun 7, 2009 03:35 PM

                        I know--sorry about that--"what's left of it" is largely my fault, I think. Our meal was excellent (we especially loved the shrimp risotto and the eggplant torta), but I couldn't keep my paws off that Nutella cake. ;) And we took a long walk after lunch to try to "pay" for it!

                      2. re: Scargod
                        Scargod Jun 7, 2009 03:21 PM

                        Damn, the shrimp risotto didn't upload, so it and more of restaurant

                         
                         
                        1. re: Scargod
                          kattyeyes Jun 7, 2009 03:52 PM

                          Let's see if I have better luck--here's the shrimp risotto! Mmmmmmmmm.

                          1. re: kattyeyes
                            Jacquilynne Jun 8, 2009 01:34 PM

                            Trying this for you.

                             
                            1. re: Jacquilynne
                              kattyeyes Jun 8, 2009 01:37 PM

                              Thank you kindly, Jacquilynne. I don't know why it didn't work for Scargod or me, but we appreciate your addition to our get-together!

                              Doesn't it look like the picture of deliciousness? Can you tell there's a portion of it missing from my side of the plate? :)

                              1. re: Jacquilynne
                                Scargod Jun 8, 2009 02:04 PM

                                Thanks, as well. These plates are more like chargers so the servings aren't really as small as they might appear (except that they couldn't wait to dig in).

                                1. re: Scargod
                                  kattyeyes Jun 8, 2009 02:08 PM

                                  I think that just proves I'm a serious Chowhound!

                          2. re: Scargod
                            Passadumkeg Jun 10, 2009 09:03 AM

                            I'm jealous.

                          3. noreservations Oct 1, 2009 06:51 AM

                            Couldn't have asked for more as they topped themselves on this evening:

                            http://www.restaurantsct.com/blog/her...

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: noreservations
                              jquest619 Dec 8, 2009 10:43 AM

                              http://www.restaurantsct.com/ctfoodma...

                              You can get a $50 gift certificate for $25. Can't wait to try this place!

                              1. re: jquest619
                                kattyeyes Dec 8, 2009 11:29 AM

                                You guys rock--PLEASE keep these gift certificate news flashes coming! That is such a fantastic deal for La Tavola, it isn't even funny! THANK YOU, jquest619!

                                1. re: jquest619
                                  j
                                  joan mar Dec 8, 2009 12:06 PM

                                  Have you purchased gift certificates from this website before. I was just trying to do it and it didn't seem too secure when I was entering my payment info.

                                  1. re: joan mar
                                    jquest619 Dec 8, 2009 06:48 PM

                                    First time today. My browser said site was verified and website was encrypted. Will let you know if I run into any issues. With any luck, I'll have a GC in a few days.

                                    1. re: jquest619
                                      noreservations Dec 10, 2009 08:19 AM

                                      Add yet another BIG thanks to you 'jquest' for sharing this. As much as I enjoy checking the 'RCT' site, I can't say I've looked at the offers before so good eye! Glad you're taking advantage of this as you owe it to you and yours to get there. The Chow-raves to be read here speak for themselves. Memorable food(and then an unbelievable wine dinner to boot) left me looking to return....so thanks for I now have an excuse! Cheers.

                                      I wish I saw the half-priced $100 certificates on BetterCt when they had them for 'The Mill at 2t'. Will definitely post on that meal soon. Yet again, I'm getting emotional here in an oh-so content "I'm in Chow-heaven" way so...I...must... sign...off. :) :) :)

                                      1. re: noreservations
                                        jquest619 Dec 10, 2009 09:25 AM

                                        I snagged one of the Mill at 2t ones when they offered it.....that place is divine, I feel the same way you do, I'm sure. I just loved sitting at the "bar" chatting with the chefs all night. That deal was the only reason I was able to dine there--it is expensive but so good.

                                        Glad I was able to help. 'Tis the season :)

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