We were in Destin last week, and needed a restaurant to celebrate my wife's birthday (our kids were with us, too). I had a bottle of one of my wife's favorite wines picked out from our cellar, so corkage was a must, as was Italian cuisine to match the wine (a 1990 Felsina CCR "Rancia" for those who care).
Scant web info on what was good and what was not.
LaRocco's looked promising - I liked the "family style" concept and it looked kid friendly, but they struck out quickly. First, I sent an email inquiring about corkage and a reservation, and it went unanswered (to this day). So I called a few days before:
Me: "What's your corkage policy, please?"
Young girl answering phone: "Excuse me?"
Me: What's your corkage policy, please?
YG: I don't know what that is.
(Uh oh, strike two)
Me: [Explain the concept of corkage to her]
YG: Oh no, we don't do that, unless you order a bottle in the bar downstairs and want to bring it up or something. We sell wine.
Me: Thank you very much.
So much for LaRocco's.
I then went on to Guglielmo's, where a phone inquiry produced a quick response of $10 corkage fee. Excellent!
All in all, we had a very nice time at La Fiamma, but much of that was due to being on vacation and thus in a better mood to overlook things that we wouldn't otherwise.
Pros: Kid friendly (including children's menu with a few choices).
Good food. My wife rated her pasta entree well beyond good - it was cheese ravioli with scallops, shrimp, and shrooms in a gorgonzola/cream/tomato sauce. Menu featured many standards in the pasta and meat departments, but also a few with some personalized twists, if nothing to astonish or amaze.
Cons: Seriously understaffed, at least last Friday. Needed more staff everywhere in the front of the house - hostess, waitstaff, bussers. This was the biggest flaw as it resulted in many avoidable problems - long wait to be greeted and sat (not for lack of open tables, but for lack of a hostess), long waits for service, having to ask multiple times for more bread, dishes not being cleared, water not being refilled, etc. Everyone working was polite, friendly, aiming to please, etc. - there just weren't enough of them given the number of customers in the place.
Wine glasses were ridiculous - cheap, shallow bowl, thick glass.
Corkage was charged at $15 on the bill, not the $10 I was quoted on the phone.
Prices were a bit steep for what it was, but not rapacious, and I suppose not out of line considering a typical "resort city premium." Dinner was about $120 for three adult pasta entrees, three kid's menu entrees, plus some apps and salads and one bottle's corkage.
We'll be back again next time we're in Destin to give the service staff another chance, though I'll be tempted to bring my own glasses (notwithstanding the ridicule I'll get from my wife).
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