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“I quail at the thought!”

Al Firenze Ristorante and pizzeria
Ranked #1 of 7 Restaurants in La-Lucia
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza, European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Groups, Child-friendly
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
142 reviews
97 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“I quail at the thought!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 August 2014

In 2010 I had planned a 60th Birthday celebration at Al Firenze for a bunch of my nearest and dearest because it was then my favourite restaurant. It didn’t happen due to Tony’s ineptitude in facilitating the whole thing. So we added to the coffers of the Tin Roof then just outside Ballito where Althea went out of her way to make it a resounding success for the 30 of us!
We did drop in for a brief lunch some time back and apart from the rigid service the pasta was still great.
So it was that I thought ‘let bygones be bygones’ and I again booked for 9 of us to celebrate my 64th over a languid lunch!
The venue has taken on some great cosmetic changes and was fairly busy.
Having cracked a couple of bottles of Moet [which I brought along] to celebrate we were off to a good start.
I managed to get around ½ a dozen huge KZN fresh oysters – superb! The others loved their Roasted Brinjal starters and seemed happy with their selection of mains. [Rump, Saddleof Lamb, Calamari etc......]
That is when we hit rock bottom, Rita and I ordered one of Mirko’s [ex owner] signature dishes, Quaglia Arrosto – quail stuffed with olives, herbs, coppa ham and roasted in the wood fire oven. When Tony passed our table and asked how it was, we hadn’t got to the stuffing. My retort at that stage was ‘bland’ and with that off he went never to come our way again. My take has always been – don’t cut corners! Rather increase the price if you need to, but replacing the advertised stuffing with savoury rice is a BIG no-no! The poor birds were very bland, swimming in oil and with not a hint of lemon as in Mirko’s days – URGH!
Sorry Tony, if this is how you are going to misrepresent your dishes to your customers I would rather prepare the quail Mirko-style at home!

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank russell a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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139 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    58
    53
    19
    6
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Delicious food - great ambience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2014

I just love Al Firenze! Thin based pizza's done the proper italian way. Calamari and prawns are great too. Fresh and tasty. I eat here often with my family and it's a lovely casual dining experience. Sitting out on the terrace is relaxed and breezy. Highly recommend this restaurant

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank 12bianca12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burleigh Heads, Australia
Level Contributor
392 reviews
147 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 172 helpful votes
“A local find!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2014

Staying with a family of locals, we enjoyed a lovely evening at Al Firenze.
Glad we'd booked seeing it was really busy, even on a week night.
My veal piccata was great and there were no complaints from those ordering the quail or pizza.
Nice atmosphere. Good times with good friends.
Takeaway options also available.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Amanda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A very pleasant evening”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2014

Four of us ate here for dinner and had a very pleasant evening. The food was good although service was a little slow but the atmosphere is great. A very good place to eat

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Anne C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Dissapointing food and service”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2014

I recently visited Al Firenze with my family for what was supposed to have been a "father's day dinner". The experience was one that left me quite disappointed. We arrived about 10minutes late and were made to wait another half hour for a table. Although the restaurant was full, it would be ludicrous to give away a customer’s table if they're 10minutes late. We were then given a table that was bordering the outside of the restaurant (and it was a fairly cold night at 15deg C) although I was never asked when I made the booking what my preference was. Perhaps I could have forgiven these shortcomings if the food was good. After requesting to be moved to an inside table we placed our order and waited a good 50minutes. My sister and I had both ordered the chicken which we quickly realised had a very offensive smell and taste. The meals were taken away and the waiter returned with menu's and muttered the following, "the manager tasted the chicken and although there's nothing wrong with it, you may order something else". Five minutes later, we were approached by the owner who is also the chef as I understand. I was most surprised by his response. He made a very unsuccessful attempt at passing off his condescending tone as politeness. He proceeded to tell me that they sell a hundred chickens a day and that's why it could never be expired but he would quickly make us anything we wanted anyway. Very poor logic indeed. Not once did he ever apologize, as other chefs do when there is a customer complaint. Haven't you ever heard that the customer is always right.
In my opinion the restaurant is quite pricey for the quality of food served, the service staff could definitely be more polite and the owner/chef needs to learn some humility and the art of admitting that someone else may be right. I have eaten at the best and worst establishments in Durban and this one is way too overpriced for what you get. At the end of the day, it is your customers that will make or break your restaurant and while you can't please everyone, at least make half an attempt to try.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Mil-ZN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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