We've been in Sicily for 2 weeks (and Italy for over a few months) and we went to Acitrezza this evening to check it out, and hit TA to see what was in town, so thought we'd check it out Gente di Mare based on the positive reviews.
Take a second and read how many of those reviews are from Sicilians, not travellers. If you've used this site for any length of time, you'll know that some places spike their reviews w/ friends. Guessing that's the only excuse for this place ranking high.
The antipasti started on a decent note (vegitables, great orange carrots), but then the mussels were delivered and they were *off* - not kind of questionable, but well off (and smelled really bad). We didn't eat them, and mentioned this to the server, and then when our first plates came we'd ordered 3 of the same farfalle, which was really bland with just some oil and parsley (and not in the minimal fantastic flavor sense we've been served up repeatedly thru italy, just... bland and meh). The worst part was the 4th order was the spaghetti, which was served with mussels - the same batch of mussels that we'd just sent back, and they didn't think we wouldn't want rancid mussels, or to suggest another dish.
The second plates came and there were 2 low grade fast-food style seafood dishes (one mixed grill, one fried grill - both of which were mostly just a pile of sardines), and a groupo fish plate that was way overcooked and dry. The swordfish wasn't bad, but by no means worth the additional cost.
While we were sitting there, another table got up and left (walked out on their meal, it was that bad) and we watched the manager/owner woman come over and try to convince someone that the mussels they'd ordered (the same ones we'd sent away) were good - even though they were obviously rancid, and many wouldn't open.
To top things off, halfway through our meal, even though they'd gone unused, something foul started to eminate from the washrooms that enter/exit directly to the dining room, and by the time we'd settled our bill, the entire restaurant was filled with the overwhelming stench of sewage.
We've been eating our way through Italy and Sicily for months, and we're well versed at picking spots, and this was the first real let down we've had. Luckily, the company and the lively waterfront salvaged the evening after a truly bad dining experience, and feel free to take this review with your own "tripadvisor 3 grains of salt" filter, but take a pause to first check out all the "local" reviews of the restaurant, and stick your head over into the main square before you settle into Gente di Mare -- you can do *much* better in this fantastic little town.
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