Unfortunate Service: Pazzo Pazzo

April 12, 2012

A couple weeks maybe months.. ago, I found myself standing in a long lineup outside of Pazzo Pazzo, waiting in the cold like an idiot. Knowing me, I don't dress warmly to be outside when I expect to be indoors eating.. and if the line was any indication, I thought I would be standing outside for at least an hour.

Pazzo Pazzo - 10016 103 Avenue NW - Edmonton AB

It was the weekend that the Groupon deal for Pazzo Pazzo was coming to an end, but many of the patrons in line weren't those with the Groupon. They just plain loved the food! We were told that the food was awesome, and the portions were massive - there was no way we could eat two entrees. Challenge accepted.

When we finally entered the doors of the building after freezing for 10 minutes, I sent Vince up to the front to put our name down for a table. Funny thing is, I had called two days in advance trying to get a reservation, but the gentleman I spoke to on the phone assured me it wouldn't be necessary and would be seated when I got there. Poor judgement call, sir. It took 20 minutes for Vince to even get the attention of anyone in the restaurant, despite many of the employees standing in front of him, not acknowledging his presence. They were obviously understaffed for the night, as multiple tables were vacant, waiting to be cleaned. I had no idea how long we would be waiting for.

We waited a full 50 minutes before we were called to be seated at the table, and we knew exactly what we wanted to order after staring at the menu *which was covered in dirty food residue* while we were waiting.

I started off by ordering a peach & raspberry Italian soda. It looked beautiful when it arrived to the table, but the syrup proportions were way off - I felt like I was drinking cough medicine. Drinks aside, the waitress brought along a basket of bread for us to snack on until our appetizers came.

The bread itself was nice and soft on the outside, with a crisp exterior. With a bit of butter, it tasted delicious, and was so satisfying because both of us were starving.

Prosciutto e'Bocconcini ($16)

As we sat and waited for our appetizer, it seemed like the table next to us had ordered the same thing.. too bad they didn't, and our dish was actually sitting at their table. After sorting out the confusion with our waitress, they passed the dish over and we were able to eat. Honestly, something like that really shouldn't be happening in Edmonton's "finest" Italian restaurant.

For our appetizer, we ordered the prosciutto wrapped bocconcini, smothered and baked with tomato sauce and basil. The balls of bocconcini were substantial and much larger than I imagined, but wrapped in the proscuitto they were delicious. The only thing I wasn't too fond of was the middle of the bocconcini were still quite cold - possibly a little longer in the oven would have made this dish much better for me.

Carbonara ($22)

Next up to arrive was Vince's entree, the pasta carbonara. I was shocked at the mere size of the pasta, wondering if he would be able to eat it all. Then I started to wonder how big my entree was going to be - the people in the line while we waited were right! Pazzo Pazzo's version of the carbonara is made with chopped bacon, Italian sausage, mushrooms, garlic, parmesan cheese, eggs, and basil. While the pasta tasted good after the first few bites, the ratios of meat to pasta were too wonky for our liking. The dish was overwhelming to eat, because the meat was quite salty, and there wasn't enough pasta on the plate to tone it down. We ended up taking a lot of the dish home, and recooking it with more pasta to even it out.

Beef Tenderloin ($33)

Under normal circumstances, you may say I was out of my mind to order beef tenderloin at an Italian restaurant. And I would fully agree. BUT, I had read that the tenderloin here is amazing, and someone even recommended it to me on Twitter! All the main entree dishes on the menu at Pazzo Pazzo are served with your choice of salad or pasta, so I ordered the tenderloin to be served with penne pasta and a cream sauce.

But I received something different. Both a tomato and a cream sauce. Turns out it was pretty good, and I was able to try out both of their offerings - I must say that I enjoyed the cream sauce more though, as the tomato sauce wasn't really anything special. Looking at the plate above, it doesn't seem like my entree was that big.. but turn the plate at another angle and you will see that I had a ton of food to eat.

There were TWO pieces of tenderloin on my plate! Cooked medium rare and served with veggies on the side, this tenderloin was perfectly cooked and seasoned, tender and moist. Probably one of the best steak dishes I've eaten out in a long time. My only wish for this particular dish, was for it to be dressed with less olive oil. My food was smothered in it, and was very oily. I would've liked having my food not dripping with oil.

Now here comes the bad part. The service. I've had some pretty bad experiences at some restaurants here in the city, but the service during the meal that night was nothing compared to some of the worst times I've spent in certain establishments. While I do understand that the restaurant was busy, I don't think waiters or waitresses should ever ignore patrons that they are serving. While I thought waiting 20 minutes just to have our names written down to get a table was bad, or even having one of our dishes sent to the wrong table was bad, our waitress never once checked in on us during our entire meal, or even cracked a slight smile. She never came over to our table to ask how our food was, she never came over to fill our glasses of water (which were basically empty throughout the entire meal), even despite seeing her look over at our table. IF our food was unacceptable, we wouldn't have been able to tell anyone, because no one ever came over to our table. After we finished with our entrees, we waited 20 minutes for her to come by to take away our plates. Seeing as we wanted the Carbonara to be packed up, she disappeared for another 15 minutes before reappearing with the bill. Not only did she come back with the bill, but our packaged food was nowhere in sight. 10 minutes later she returned, and we had to remind her that she had packed up food for us.

Honestly, for a place where the food is good, the service needs to be set at a higher standard. I wasted so much time at the restaurant that night just sitting around and waiting, I could have sat at home watching paint dry. I wish I could say that maybe this experience was just an isolated one and it won't happen again, but looking at the reviews on Urbanspoon, it seems that there is consistently bad service. It really is unfortunate because patrons such as myself may have possibly returned in the future if my dining experience had been better.

Pazzo Pazzo on Urbanspoon

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  1. Wow, the food looks amazing. This post made me hungry. I bet if I went to that restaurant I would have been super hungry just waiting so long to get a table. Sorry to hear about the poor service. You guys still planning on going back to the restaurant? Maybe next time around the service might be better.

  2. What a disappointment. The food looks delicious but I completely agree - the service needs to be to standard as well. It doesn't even sound like you received the minimum service standard (of just getting your water refilled).

  3. Yikes... as a server I do understand your waitress being unable to give you as much attention as she would have been able to under less busy circumstances but she could have at least checked in. Even at my busiest I do my best to make sure that my tables are satisfied, even if I'm doing it while on the run.

    What a lame experience =-(

  4. The presentation makes the food look so yummy! Sucks that it wasn't everything you would epect it to be~ Especially the service .. you would expect that the finest italian restaurant in Edmonton would have exceptional food and service ..

  5. I fully agree with you. The portions were actually a lot bigger maybe 4 years ago? But the service has definitely gone down hill. When I went with friends, I had to get up and walk to the front to ask for the bill. We were also seated right by the kitchen area and when we were looking for someone to fill out water, it was actually the kitchen staff who noticed us needing help and got someone to fill our water.

    1. Its just so unfortunate that things whittle down to poor service! Luckily it's not just me that thinks the restaurant has terrible service!

  6. That is my pet peeve lately, filling a water glass is such an easy part of serving, how can they screw that up?

  7. I am so sorry for your bad experience with the service, but being a waitress at a sushi restaurant throughout my high school years, I have to say it's not uncommon that incidents like this happen. Even if we run around the restaurants, customers still may not get the best services. Most of the time, I blame on manager's bad judgement and insufficient staff. I remember walking down an aisle and having every single table stopping me and giving me some kind of order (which may explain why she kept disappearing for a long time).

    Nonetheless, I really enjoy your blog :)

    1. I definitely agree that management has a huge part in the service issue - management needs to be able to take the problems that customers bring up, and fix them quickly. Evidently Pazzo Pazzo has not done so, as I've read many more complaints since my visit there!

  8. Hahaha, I loved at end when you said that you could watch paint dry, that really made me laugh! XD
    And I want all these delicious dishes, love love steak! <3


  9. Bad service will keep me from going to a really great restaurant. I don't have time to waste. Glad you enjoyed the food though.


  10. Hi Andrea, I'm with you. I can't understand why restaurant with good food have bad service. What I do is leave them a smaller than average tip, just to show them that I didn't appreciate their crummy service. Well, at least you enjoy the food.:)

    xo Jo

  11. mmm that pasta looks deliiiii!!! you made me hungry :P


  12. Lovely pictures, looks delicious!



  13. Glad to hear the food was good but I do agree the service is pretty unimpressive. I tried going once but even though the place was pretty empty, we were ignored for 10-15 minutes by the staff and I took it as a sign and left instead.

  14. great pictures! the food looks soo delish. I think that Im hungry now

  15. The food looks really good it's too bad they have bad service. I have had my run in with some places here in SF that are like that and it really is too bad because slow service is one thing that will make me stay away from a restaurant.

  16. Great pictures! I love pasta! :) Nice blog!
    Your newest follower from Vienna,
    Greets Bianca


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