Restaurants & Bars

Cittadini Ristorante - Hwy 7/Marycroft

Fac1 | Jan 24, 2010 06:35 AM

My family and I were in the mood for Italian tonight and headed down to Woodbridge to have dinner. After being told a 45 minute wait was required at "That's Italian", we went up the street to Cittadini and expected a good meal considering the location and the sheer amount of competition for business in the immediate vicinity.

The restaurant was nicely decorated, though a bit dark. Still, it made for a pleasant atmosphere. The menu had many Italian staple dishes, including the "Insalata Tre Colori" (essentially a Caprese), the basic "Spaghetti Alla Chitarra Napolitana" (homemade spaghetti in a basil tomato sauce), and a fair sized pizza menu.

Service was slow from the outset. Separate drink and food servers seemed uncoordinated, confused, and overwhelmed despite a relatively empty main dining room (though we were told a private function was taking place in the next room). For appetizers we tried the butternut squash soup, which was their daily special, and a "foccaccia di patate" to share amongst ourselves. Unfortunately, the slow service didn't change. It took more than a half hour for the soup to arrive. Admittedly, it was was quite good, with a mild peppery flavour to it in a decent sized portion. The foccaccia took another 10 minutes to be served, making it close to 40 minutes since we placed the order. The foccaccia was dry and too crispy and simply tasted bland. The spicing wasn't right as it was overloaded with oregano and not much else. A bit of garlic and additional olive oil would have helped, but the pizza was just too dry and overcooked to have been spiced to perfection.

For our mains (which were ordered at the same time as our appetizers) we ordered the aforementioned spaghetti dish, the vitello arrosto ripieno, the "prosciutto" pizza, and my "caprese" pizza which was a foccaccia with olive oil, spiced tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, and basil. At this point, we were hoping the service would pick up as our waiter had started apologizing for the delays, blaming it on a computer system error. We didn't see him much for the next while, and neither did most of the other customers around as it seemed everyone's orders were taking a good while to be served. It took another 40 minutes for two of our mains to arrive (the spaghetti and veal dishes). Again, the server apologized for the delay, this time blaming it on, in his words, "the system, the separate oven and the thing" before rushing back to the kitchen.

I was starting to lose my appetite by now, having been seated in the same chair for nearly an hour and a half with an overcooked potato pizza and some dinner rolls in my stomach. Another 20 minutes passed, at which point both of my parents had finished their meals, and the pizza finally arrived. The result? Another overcooked, dry mess with a few slices of tomatoes, shards of basil, and an extremely conservative amount of mozzarella scattered about the foccaccia. The mozzarella tasted a lot more like store-bought bocconcini than true bufala mozzarella, which really disappointed me, considering I've tried fresh bufala from Napoli when I was in Italy a few summers ago. I'm not expecting that same quality of cheese, but the cheese wasn't even fresh and considering that pizza was amongst the most expensive ones on the menu, I did expect better. Another bland pizza that wasn't properly spiced, cracked in my mouth, and simply was not appetizing. Unsurprisingly, I didn't finish it.

While I understand the staff was pre-occupied with a booked function, the painfully slow service and plethora of excuses were unacceptable. I'd rather the server had been upfront and tell us, honestly, that they were simply unprepared for the night and weren't ready to serve both rooms rather than blaming the ordeal on the malfunctioning computer which (assuming he was being truthful) was probably only responsible for the billing and tabulating of the orders. Then again, if you like spending 2 hours in a restaurant and leaving hungry, this may be what you're looking for.

Miserable service and poor food, will definitely not return and will certainly try to dissuade any future customers from even thinking of dining at this "establishment".

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