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Sep 27, 2010 05:29 PM

Authentic Italian restaurants in Leesburg, Virginia or close by?

Recommendations and why would be most appreciated!

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    1. re: 3crazydogs

      I second 3crazydogs on Palio....wonderful food and good service. Pastas are homemade and are very good. Make a reservation - especially on a weekend. We made a last minute decision to go out to dinner last Saturday and tried to walk-in (no reservations) around 7:30 and not a chance that we were getting in - they were totally booked for the night. Settled for La Lou across the street - NOT a good 2nd choice.

      1. re: marleymom

        Curious about your experience at La Lou, why was it bad? I havent been there for quite a while and went only twice at that. What was your experience? May need another thread as OP may not be interested. ;)

        1. re: 3crazydogs

          Re: La Lou -
          This was the second time I was here. First time I thought the food was just OK - I had some sort of dinner salad. The owner (i believe) waited on us and he was attentive, but in a way, overly so. I didn't feel comfortable with his style; maybe that's just me.

          So - last Saturday: Despite Palio (right across the street) turning people away right and left, LaLou was virtually empty. That gave us pause and we were outside deciding whether or not to go in when the owner came out and urged us to come in for dinner. It was getting late, so we figured - we're here, we'll give it another try.
          I ordered a salad to start and the seasonal (mushroom) ravioli as main course. My husband only ordered a main course - steak. The waitress, who was a sweet and well-meaning young woman, brought my salad. I had eaten no more than 1/3 of it when both of our entrees appeared. Now, I wasn't eating slowly or dawdling. I looked surprised and motioned that I was still eating my salad. I asked if she could please take the entrees back and let me finish my salad. She said something like "Oh, just move your plate and I'll put it right next to it." I replied "well, it would be cold by the time I ate it." She looked at me like I was a little crazy, but then took my entree back and left my husbands. OK, not a big deal - at least we could both eat. Owner breezed by and said "Everything OK?' and without even pausing for an answer, he kept going. What??? Anyway DH slowed his pace and I finished my salad. Then came the several minutes wait for my entree; it was nearly impossible to get the waitress's attention in order to get the rest of my meal (reminder that the place was almost empty.) So husband slowed his eating even more. Finally I got the owner's attention and nicely told him that there seemed to be a little problem with the timing of the food coming out of the kitchen and I was waiting for my entree. He basically cut me off and said in a fairly unfriendly voice "So you want your entree, right?" They brought it out; it had been kept warm, likely under a heat lamp. The ravioli flavor was OK but the sauce was unbelievably salty (and I tend to like saltier food, so you know this had to be pretty bad.)
          Overall, not a great dining experience. One other thing that kind of irked me - they had all of their specials listed on a blackboard outside - and there were lots of them. All of the pricing on the specials seemed extremely high in comparison to the menu items (like double the cost of a lot of the entrees on the menu.) That kind of rubs me the wrong way, especially when the waitstaff just rattles off the specials without noting the prices. If you didn't see them outside, you'd likely be in for a rude awakening when the bill came if you expected them to be somewhat in line with what you saw on the menu.
          So, that was my second and last experience with La Lou. Food not great and service/management even worse.
          I kept this on this thread instead of starting a new one, because I also wanted to add a story showing the contrast between Palio and La Lou. Earlier that evening, when we were leaving Palio, we ran into the owner who apologized for not being able to seat us that evening. We said it was quite all right - we knew we were taking a chance with no reservations and we were happy that they were doing so well. He encouraged us to come back again and pulled out a business card from his wallet and wrote "2 complimentary drinks" on the back of it and said "when you come back, have a drink on the house." Now that's great customer service.

          1. re: marleymom

            Thanks for the info re: La Lou. That's really too bad because I remember that the owner is a pretty nice guy but can definitely be a little abrupt sometimes. Lot's of potential but unfortunately I think they're doomed if that's how they execute.