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“Food, Food, Food”

Carmen's Italian Cafe
Ranked #137 of 625 Restaurants in Bradenton
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed 28 June 2018

When you want "real" Italian cooking, this is the place to go. The special that night was a huge stuffed lobster, adding scallops and shrimp. Not inexpensive, but plenty to feast on. The other meal was eggplant parmesan and again very good. For drinks, the wines are well priced. We were early and service was OK. A little puzzled on the inexperience in the service staff. Finally, Mr. Carmen, if that's his name, should have come to the table, to check on his lobster special and say Happy Birthday to me.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Lou B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 148 reviews

Reviewed 18 June 2018 via mobile

Group of 3 having quality in a family atmosphere. We enjoyed are dinner food was slow since it was busy and late. Owner and chef both apologized but the food attention made it worth the wait. We had calamari as an appetizer which was delicious. It was over seasoned and it was tasty. Bread was fresh and hot. Salad was good with house dressing. All 3 had seafood and pasta. One was spiced as requested but the other were just right. Tangy sauce was very tasty.

Thank Bob577672
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2018 via mobile

Oh dear. Where do we begin? This shabby “Italian” cafe/restaurant/martini bar, next door to a Pawn shop that specialises in ‘Gun’s & Gold’ should have been warning enough. This place is so dire it’s just laughable.

Decor is decades past its prime - just like the food, and the cracked martini glasses that come out of the weird “martini bar” (that has hilariously bad live music and smells of cabbage!). I kid you not.

Food: A paltry, limp salad drizzled with an insipid dressing. A chicken masala coated in breadcrumbs that was so slimy my wife couldn’t eat it. My lasagne was dry, chewy and so utterly tasteless it made a frozen one from Walmart look like fine dining.

When you can’t even bring dishes out to the table together in a restaurant that was empty, then the alarm bells start to ring.

Simply put: avoid and don’t waste your hard earned cash (over $200 in this case) on third rate food & second rate service. Just terrible.

Thank TheObservers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2018

Well, everyone has them, even restaurants. Want to give them the benefit of the doubt since they have so many wonderful reviews, but our experience was definitely sub par and with so many other great restaurants in the area, I'm afraid we won't be back here.

There were 6 of us and from the outset, it seemed everything we asked got a negative answer - no early bird specials, misleading info on their website (happy hour drink prices only honored if you drink at the bar), server's lack of information on how dishes were prepared (one person in our party has culinary experience so asked several questions). The waitress who served our salads and offered fresh ground pepper was a little rude and wanted us to answer her in a certain way when we'd had enough. A little strange. Our biggest complaint was on when the meal was served. Waiter mixed up everyone's entrees serving them to the wrong person and brought everything out one at a time. It was about 10 minutes before our entire party was served which means the first to be served had to wait and their dishes cooled down. In polling everyone in our party, taste was okay but not over the top. We've all had better elsewhere.

Again, I try recognize everyone has a bad day and this was theirs. Unfortunately, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. In this case, we were unimpressed based on other's positive feedback. Better luck next time.

    • Value
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    • Food
1  Thank jch0814
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2018 via mobile

We had spent part of 2 winters in Bradenton but had frequented mostly restaurants closer to downtown or on Anna Marie, and then we found this little gem.

It would truly be lovely if they could figure out how to expand for some outdoor eating; Never the less the restaurant atmosphere is warm and intimate. It's a good place for a romantic dinner. The wine and cocktail list is ample with a lot of very good choices and varying price points.

The server brings warm bread straight from the oven. This is not a night to count carbs!!
My husband and I shared the mussels as an appetizer and loved the sauce so much we asked for the leftovers to be wrapped up.

We followed that with veal scalopini and I had the best chicken parmesan I have ever had. We loved this place so much we brought some friends back one night and they all loved it.

When we were about to leave, the chef/proprietor asked how our meal was. At a very rare moment being lost for words on how to describe it, I merely said.'Can I hug you?'... Sometimes words alone are not enough☺️

Thank Karen A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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