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Restaurants & Bars 6

trattoria la siciliana, oakland

anniebananie | Jan 9, 200601:03 PM

My husband's been wanting to try Trattoria La Siciliana in Oakland for a long time. We were always daunted by long lines. This weekend, we decided to hunker down and put our name on the list, encouraged by the charming and cheery hostess popping out the door to check on folks. She clearly knew the regulars, kissing them on both cheeks in a nice European gesture. The wait outside was close to her prediction. When she ushered us in, it wasn't to a table, but to a narrow, backless wooden bench in the back of the restaurant opposite the hot and at times smoky open kitchen, where we watched the pyrotechnics (figuratively and literally [dished flamed]). We were finally seated and asked if this were our first time at the place. We said yes, and the hostess said she'd lived in Italy, and this was among the best Italian food she'd had. Unfortunately that wasn't our experience. We waited a long time for our order to be taken. The standard-issue Italian bread that the waiter eventually brought was uninteresting. Portions were huge. My starter of broccoli rabe was good and garlicky--the main part of the veg was nicely sauteed, but the thick stems had been chopped up separately and over-cooked. My husband enjoyed his seafood salad starter, but my tastes of one of his shrimps and mussels left me underwhelmed--not much flavor. We waited and waited some more for the main course. The waiter zipped by at one point and said it was in the saute pan. A very long time passed (he later apologized, saying it must have been someone else's food in the pan). When it finally came, my pasta w/ cauliflower was too salty, too sweet, mushy--hungry as I was, I couldn't eat it. My husband liked his rolled beef, which was very cheesy and saucy and garlicky. They took my pasta off the bill without our asking, which we appreciated (although the waiter twice asked if I wanted them to box it up and take it home, not getting that the only problem wasn't timing). Even my husband, who enjoyed his food for what it was, didn't feel like it was worth the wait.

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