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Boston Restaurant Blog >> 2008 archives >> April, 2008 >> blog entry

Boston Restaurant Blog -- April, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Ristorante Lucia, Winchester: Great Food, But...

Last month, a group of us went to Ristorante Lucia for a Saturday night dinner. I was a bit cautious going in, as even though I love the food at Lucia's, the service has not always been up to snuff. Well, it turned out that the gap between the quality of food and quality of service was wide enough to drive a truck through on this particular night, as we were both blown away by the delicious Italian cuisine, while at the same time frustrated by the surly, seemingly uncaring service.

photo of Lucia Ristorante, Winchester, Massachusetts We arrived at Lucia's in time for our 7:00 reservation, and waited for the hostess while admiring the interesting, if slightly tacky old-world Italian atmosphere that is unlike anything I have seen in the Boston area. We waited and waited, and I tried to make eye contact with the hostess, but she kept looking away each time she walked by. Finally we were able to wave her down, telling her that we had a reservation. She said it would be a few minutes. Well, 10 minutes later, we were still waiting, and wondering if we should just leave when she came up to us, pointed at a table in one of the rooms, and said "That's your table," and walked away. We walked to the table, shaking our heads the whole way, and wondering if this would be the start of a long night at Lucia.

We settled down at the table and looked at the menu, as someone came over and placed bread on our table. Unfortunately, no one had any silverware or plates, and we were unable to flag down the person in time to ask, so we waited another 5 minutes, finally telling someone else what we were missing. Another person came back to the table, dropped the plates and silverware at one end, and walked away without saying a word. At this point, we figured that the service couldn't get any worse, and, well, fortunately we were correct for the most part, as our waiter, while unsmiling and at times surly, was actually pretty efficient. He brought our drinks, appetizers, and salads fairly quickly, and the meals came out shortly after we were done with the apps and salads. And was the food ever good; the veal saltimbocca was simply outstanding, the pollo arrabbiata (chicken with mushrooms and anchovies in a spicy tomato sauce) was absolutely memorable, and the chicken parmigiana, which was ordered by a couple of people, was about the best they have had anywhere. The other dishes were equally good, including even the simple, straightforward spaghetti with bolognese sauce.

So would I recommend Lucia's to diners? Well, I don't know, really; I suppose it depends on your tolerance for potentially poor service. Personally, I would probably go back, mainly because the food was so incredibly good, but I certainly wouldn't go with people who are easily frustrated. It's a shame, really, as this restaurant could be one of the greats in the northern suburbs of Boston. Perhaps someday they will realize this at Lucia's, but until then, my recommendation comes with a very big caution sign attached to it.

If you are looking for the address for Ristorante Lucia, here it is: Ristorante Lucia, 11 Mount Vernon Street, Winchester, MA 01890. The phone number is (781) 729-0515.

Lucia Ristorante on Urbanspoon


Related Blog Entries: Italian restaurants

mhm said:
Your experience at Lucia was not typical. Something must have been going on with the staff that night. We have been going there for years and have had the same senior waiters frequently. They are friendly and efficient.
Posted on 5/14/08
vcl said:
I think that sometimes things happen at a restaurant; I've been going to Lucia's for fifteen years now. I've never have a bad experience there, ever.The food is wonderful, and the service has always been great. My children love the pizza there. I give it a thumbs up.
Posted on 9/12/08
GF said:
I've seen enough posts about this restaurant on different sites to say that the original reviewer's experience is certainly not atypical. The restaurant's reviews seem to be split between "been going there for years, love it, know the owner" and "surly, inattentive service with plenty of attitude." My guess is that loyal regulars get good service, all others take their chances.
Posted on 3/4/09
TK said:
We go here a few times a year. It is the frequent stand by for my in laws, so every birthday dinner is spent here or at Rudy's in Somerville. What can I say, they are creatures of habit. The food, at times (over the past 15 years) has been good but mostly it is not. I have had more bad meals than memorable. The service has always been on the negative side. We usually get an older gentleman waiter, sometimes the same guy! He's usually pretty efficient but has an attitude. He seems like we're bothering him. I dread coming here with my family but like I said, they are creatures of habit and just won't try something new.
Posted on 2/6/10
AA said:
I have been there just a few times and they all have been really good experiences.....It sounds to me that Lucias is like everything, some peole like it and others don't.
Posted on 2/26/10
ellen taylor said:
food service and atmosphere was all a !0!!!!
Posted on 12/31/11

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