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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

La Vite Ristorante: Rather disappointing

Lunch date #48: December 13, 2013 The last for this year!

I thought it would be nice to take mom out for a special holiday lunch so I wanted to find something a bit more upscale; certainly a step-or two-up from the Sunshine Saloon we tried on our last lunch date. Considering the plan to try all of the restaurants in Pleasanton, and that we had already tried most of the "nicer" ones, I was scrambling to find the perfect spot. I realized that we had not tried the current inhabitant at the Hopyard Village (Hopyard and Valley) location that seems to change hands every few years. We went to La Vite Ristorante (3037 Hopyard Road; http://www.laviterestaurant.com/), and were delighted that Emily was home from SB and able to join us!

Location 3.5 points-since that is what we awarded the location when we went to the Hopyard across the parking lot. Sometimes it is tough to get a parking space in this lot, however.

Ambiance 3.5 points: fairly cute interior, but nothing special, with somewhat of a bistro style décor. Mom liked the wall hangings, but pointed out it was not anywhere near the impressive interior of The Cheesecake Factory, for example. The adjoining banquet room looks a bit dated. I thought it was fair.

Menu selection 3 points: Reasonable selection for a typical Italian-American style café. Mom was disappointed not to see minestrone on the menu. They offer soup or salad to accompany each entrée, and have a fair selection of sandwiches and pasta dishes. Mom and I both ordered the chicken panino and Emily, excited to be eating something other than dorm food, went with the salmon-pasta lunch special.  

Service 2 points: Very disappointed. I actually had made a reservation through Open Table, due to the holiday season. There were two large office-holiday lunch parties (one in the banquet room) and only one other table seated. It was odd that they gave us a somewhat disappointing table tucked in the back near the kitchen, when the center of the restaurant was open.  Also, when we were ready to order, the server told us we had to wait a bit as she wasn't ready to help us. Seemed that there was only one server taking orders, and the one large party near us had not yet ordered. Then, she ended up taking our order before theirs-go figure! The salads were all served pretty quickly after that, but the server seemed very abrupt and not at all friendly.        

Food quality 2 points: Again, even more disappointed. The salads were very average: crisp lettuce drowned in dressing. Emily's salmon pasta was caked in a pasty-cream sauce with overcooked, bland salmon. I felt the panino was very boring-lacking flavor and the only thing positive for mom was the large portion size. We both took home half of our sandwiches, but I never even ate mine!
Emily-out guest diner

Value 3 points: The sandwich prices at $10 each including salad were very good-however, again when considering the quality of the food, the value score is affected. The price for the salmon pasta at $13 would have been a good deal, if more edible! We were unhappy to see the fee of $3 each for hot coffee or basic iced tea.

Overall score for La Vite 2.8 points: This one certainly fell short of our expectations. The results on Yelp are mixed. I'm wondering if the ownership has changed. It was Garlic di Pasta previously, and I thought better quality then. It is not unusual for an Italian-American style restaurant to disappoint me (especially after traveling in Italy recently), but this one is well below many others in town including Pasta's, Baci, Chianti's and Mangia Mi. We still had  grand holiday lunch-largely due to the company and enjoyed our conversation and time together, despite the ho-hum food. Needless to say, we won't be in a hurry to return!