On a trip to Florence, Italy in 1983, Il Giardino co-owner Tony Gargiulo spotted a wood-burning stove being used for baking and knew it should be the ... More
IL Giardino Ristorante
On a trip to Florence, Italy in 1983, Il Giardino co-owner Tony Gargiulo spotted a wood-burning stove being used for baking and knew it should be the centerpiece for his new restaurant. That same oven ac the first of its kind in Virginia -- has churned out fresh foccccia and delicious to-order pizza as the cornerstone of the full-service Il Giardino ever since.
My wife and I thought we'd participate in the VA Beach Restaurant Week by checking out some of the locally owned participating restaurants. I will admit before I begin that since we've moved to Hampton Roads we have not yet found a restaurant where the service has been anything other than average so take that for what it's worth while reading my review--but we were definitely expecting better from Il Giardino.
We made a reservation and arrived right on time and were seated promptly (so far so good). Our waiter was quick to ask us if we were there because of restaurant week and we answered yes so 3 entrees, 3 appetizers, and 3 desserts from which to choose. My wife and I always order different items so we can share and we did the same here. I will admit that looking at the regular menu we were very tempted to forgo the restaurant week offerings and choose off of it since they did read very well, but decided to stick with our agenda for going in the first place. Things started going downhill with the arrival of the appetizers. My wife got the asparagus and unfortunately of the 3 she received had to discreetly remove one of them from her mouth due to it being entirely too tough to chew. When the entrees arrived, we both got the same thing even though I had ordered something different. I mentioned to the waiter that it wasn't correct, he was not quick to offer a correction and not wanting to create any kind of scene I offered to keep what he brought out. I personally feel that a respectable restaurant would have been a little more insistent to correct an error but this was not the case...oh well. The entree was good, just not what I wanted. To end the dinner my wife and I normally get specialty coffee and considering this is an Italian restaurant I was looking forward to a well-prepared macchiato and my wife a cappuccino. Our waiter didn't know what a macchiato was, went to the bar to ask, and came back telling me they could prepare espresso, cappuccino and coffee. I was a little dumbfounded since they have all that is required for a macchiato and finally he admitted that no one there knew what a macchiato was. But unfortunately I was beginning to feel that he was perhaps getting a little irritated with me. Again, not wanting a scene or confrontational situation which appeared to be developing with the waiter I went ahead and just got an espresso and my wife a cappuccino.
My wife and I were sincerely hoping we would have gone away saying to ourselves that we finally found in Hampton Roads a restaurant that was a pleasant experience to which we would look forward to returning. That restaurant was not Il Giardino in VA Beach and our search will continue.
I was very disappointed in this restaurant. We had to ask several times in order to get drink refills and our waiter seemed as if we were bothering him. I ordered Chicken Francese and all it came with was chicken! It was good but what kind of restaurant serves only meat - where is the side? When I asked the waiter about it he said it did not come w/a side and turned his nose up! I will never go back nor would I recommend anyone to eat at this restaurant. Very disappointing.
Our first and only visit to Il Giardino was a disaster!
We had family in from New York and decided to try what we were told was the best authentic italian food in Hampton Roads.
Everyone ordered Veal Marsala. When the food arrived, we questioned whether it was actually Veal. The dish was served with diced prosciutto, tomatoes, shallots and smelled like cooking sherry.
What happened to the fresh mushrooms and Marsala Wine??????
Authentic Marsala nver has tomatoes in in it and the Marsala Wine is a distinctive taste and smell.
The service was wonderful, if we could only hear the waiter and understand him.
The menu is plentiful in authentic Italian dishes. Everything is made from fresh ingredients. If you ever wanted to taste food the way it's actually prepared in Italy then come here. It's not only the best Italian place in Virginia Beach, but one of the best overall.
My wife and I have been to Il Giardino several times, and have enjoyed the food. The last time we were there may have been our last. We had reservations for 7:30 pm, which were made earlier in the day. We arrived on time, but weren't shown to our table until 8:45 pm. We were simply told that they were busy, and offered no apologies. We should have walked out, but finding another restaurant wouldn't have been any quicker. If you do eat there, try the veal.