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Nov 29, 2011 06:31 PM

Disappointing Lidia

Twice in the past three months we dined at Lidia in Pittsburgh. It wasn't great, it wasn't even good. Several dishes on both occasions were too salty (and I like salt!), most notably the pork tenderloin which was nearly inedible. Pastas were OK. Espresso was served in a demitasse cup with about 5 mm of liquid in it on both occasions. It must rely on tourists. What a shame. Olive Garden is several cuts above Lidia.

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  1. Why don't you complain to them?

    I did. I had a not-so-good meal there two weeks ago. The manager sent me a very nice response the next morning, telling me to contact him the next time I make a reservation, so he can make sure everything is as good as Lidia's usually is, and has been for the last ten years.

    It's been one of my instant recommendations for as long as I've been commenting online about the restaurants I visit. I really do believe they want to get it right.

    1. I agree with Jay F. I've had great meals there but have also heard of stories like yours. There was a previous post on Chowhound (see below) and the chef really took care of it the right way. I think that most of us understand that any place can have an off night. How they handle it makes a big difference.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Burghfeeder

        Its nice that Lidia's people are willing to make good. But at the same time, shouldn't they get it right the first time?

        The mistakes we experienced weren't random occurrences. Over-salted us twice ( and more than that, say acquaintances). The few drops of espresso weren't an accident, in that they happened twice.

        So what if Lidia's has a damage control program. They should work more on quality control. In my business, crappy performance isn't acceptable and damage control isn't needed.

        Any place can have a bad night... but not two...without it being a sign of big problems at a restaurant.

        From all I see Lidia's has big problems. Nobody is tasting the food. Nobody is looking at what is served. Olive Garden does better.

      2. Unfortunately, I have to agree more with gfweb1 than either Jay F or Burghfeeder. I have consistently been unimpressed by Lidia's and rarely go there any more. Really, I think it is little more than basic red sauce Italian with a famous name slapped on a big sign outside for which the diner must pay a surcharge.

        My disappointment with Lidia's is wholly food related - I've just found it middling to slightly above average in the dishes I've tried. That said, I am not a fan of their space, either. Too big, too open, too loud. However, I will agree with Jay F and Burghfeeder in terms of service: generally it has been good, and they have been extremely generous in correcting any mistakes.

        Anymore, I only go to Lidia's when my friends are going out and one of them really wants to go, which is infrequent.

        1. I only ate @ Lida's once. Pasta and Red Sauce was pretty good, one of the few places that do not cook thier pasta to death. Italian food is very tough to judge, everyone has somethign they are comparing it too. My family HATES Piccolo because they use more spices and assertive flavor. My family does think Lida's is good red sauce, but laughed at the 20+ fro a plate of pasta.

          Restaruant reviews are subjective, which gives unlimited arguments to both side (which is why this site is so enteratining)

          6 Replies
          1. re: Augie6

            Restaurant reviews are indeed subjective, but there are some absolutes too. For example hot coffee should be hot not cold. A cup of espresso should not be a just the barest dribble of espresso. Meat should be served within a range of saltiness, and there is a point where all would agree that there is too much salt. These are the sort of complaints I had and are not mere quibbling.

            1. re: gfweb1

              You were right. You should eat at Olive Garden.

              1. re: Jay F

                no, Olive Garden is beneath me. But at least OG seems to care about the food they put out.

                1. re: gfweb1

                  It's not beneath me. But then maybe that's why I've always liked Lidia's.

          2. The chain restaurants of "celebrity" chefs are to be avoided. We lunched there the week after Christmas two years ago and I would never go back. The Moonlite Café in Brookline is a more gemütlich space, and their food is hotter, too.