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“Wonderful Local Family owned Dining”
Review of Desiderio - CLOSED

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Desiderio
Cuisines: American, Italian
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed 4 November 2014

The best local Family owned Restaurant in town. Food is always fresh and the service is second to none. We have been going there for 5 years. Best meatballs I have ever had.

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Thank joannewalker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (24)
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2 - 6 of 24 reviews

Reviewed 22 August 2014

This small, family-owned Italian restaurant is better than one would expect from it's non-descript strip mall location. If you are looking for (DC) Fiola-level Italian in Gainesville, you may be disappointed. If, however, you are looking for good American Italian, with a lovely atmosphere, reasonable prices, patio options and excellent service, PLEASE visit this quaint restaurant.

Do not let the random trophies in the entry way scare you off. My boyfriend explained to me that this may actually be a benefit, showcasing the local flavor of families proud of their kids' accomplishments. The hostess was friendly and waiter, Joe, even better. He walked us through his favorites, explaining the benefits of various dishes.

Start with the fresh mozzarella. It is a bit salty (I LOVE salt, but just in case you do not), but good, overall. They use cherry tomatoes rather than larger, heirlooms, but the cheese is the focus. The portion is HUGE, so plan for that if you are actually considering a several course (Italian style) dinner.

The lasagna was solid and special "portobello mushroom" ravioli with vodka sauce very good as well. The homemade Cesar dressing was a nice touch for the Cesar salad. Light, not too heavy on the cream.

The service at Desiderio was outstanding. This, alone, would raise the review. While the food may not be at the level of a 5 star in the big city, the service beats out almost any NOVA hotspot you can name. Joe is a terrific waiter. He will give you his opinion and make suggestions, if you are trying to choose between options on the menu. The wine list is sparse, but decent and reasonable.

Allegedly they are considering a happy hour, so make Desiderio a stop on your way home.

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1  Thank RedVespaDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2014

I feel like this place suffers from the same problem as many in this area - local restauranteurs dreaming of their own place open up a quaint establishment, but their ambition exceeds their talent. The food here just isn't very good. I've been here twice, and both times, the meal disappointed. Our waitress this time around was absolutely lovely, and I believe she may have been one of the owners and not just one of the waitstaff. We were seated outside, where we could hear the outdoor events going on in the community square, which was pleasant. There were a lot of families here enjoying their dinners.

I had the steak and pasta dish. My meat was overcooked and not very flavorful and the pasta was drowning in either butter or olive oil. My dining companion ordered a pasta dish as well. He is not as picky as I am, yet he complained that his dish was laden in sauce. That's the biggest accusation I'd loft at Desiderio - every item on the menu, without exception, comes covered in cheese or cream sauce. There is more to Italian food than a pile of cheese and cream.

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1  Thank Phlyjets
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014

Consistently excellent food from this locally owned restaurant. Service is friendly but the food is top notch and not a chain. Usually don't order chicken a lot out but their chicken piccata is the best I've had.

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1  Thank Gaingal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2014

My wife and I both had seafood when we were there and it was CRUNCHY its like the chef had not rinsed the clams or mussel before cooking them. I mentioned the sand to the waiter and was told that it is normal to have sand with mussels; I am sorry but it is not normal. Never been back, may be we will try again in the future.

1  Thank Raymond B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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