Saturday, March 27, 2010

Elio Locanda

My first visit to Elio Locanda was truly memorable - delicious house-made pasta, creamy risotto, fresh mozzarella, perfect cannoli and cappuccino...a Japanese colleague recommended it as the best Italian restaurant in Tokyo, very high accolade for a city with some of the best Italian cuisine on the planet, and it didn't disappoint. On my first visit.

I couldn't wait to revisit, so I recently went back for dinner, expecting the same great food and service as my first visit.

After we were seated and gave our order, we were served a basket of bread. We waited, watching our neighbors get served salad, then antipasti, then pasta. We waited through two birthday cakes/songs. And waited.

Then a waiter (different from our original waiter) arrived and asked if he could confirm our order, asking us if we had ordered the chef's menu. We had not. We gave our order again, and commenced waiting, again. We were served our salad. Then waited another 20 minutes for our pastas to arrive. To be fair, the salad and pastas were good (although not great). And the staff brought us tiny pieces of brushchetta and flutes of blood orange juice as "gifts" for keeping us waiting. However, our dinner took 2.5 hours, 2 of which were spent waiting. If Elio Locanda was truly sorry for keeping us waiting as long as they did, they could have comped the meal - I think if you keep your patrons waiting that long, it's the least you can do to maintain goodwill. But the bill came with all our items listed, minus only the 600 yen per person service charge. We paid, we left. And I will never be back. Good job, Elio - you made 6500 yen but lost me as a patron and an advocate.

Tagliolini with basil tomato sauce and gnocchi with parmesan and tomato

Food rating: * and a half (3.5 stars for quality of food, minus 2 stars for inexcusable service and lack of adequate remedy)
Bang for buck rating: 1.5

The essentials:
Location: exit 1 of Hanzomon station
Average price of dinner for two (without wine): 9000 yen (~$100)

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