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“A real shame!”
Review of Vela Bianca

Vela Bianca
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Ranked #93 of 285 Restaurants in Sorrento
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$35 - US$70
Cuisines: Italian, Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Child-friendly, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
London, United Kingdom
1 review
“A real shame!”
Reviewed 10 May 2014

The food was good, but this place is completely let down by its staff!
At the end of the evening, when the bill arrived, we were expressly told that the limoncello was a gift (this is by no way unique as it is customary in every restaurant in Sorrento) and that service charge was not included. However, we were so very appalled that we did not leave a tip. And we did not owe them: there was a cover charge per person and dinner for two adults and a one year old was €120 with only one beer. Besides, tips has to be earned, bad service equals no tip. Anyhow, the two main waiters' parting words were "thanks!" and "good night" with the utmost contempt. I guess it's self-fulfilling, I was only more convinced that we did the right thing by not tipping.
This restaurant was recommended by our hotel. We wanted seafood, and knew it offers a pick-up/drop-off service which we did not require. We turned up after a long day having climbed Vesuvius and explored Ercolano. We just wanted to have a good meal as it was also our last night in Italy.
The main waiter greeted us outside the restaurant, offered us a window table near the door, which normally would be great but because we had our little one with us, we wanted a bigger table and one that was not so in the way. We asked if we could have another table in the corner of the room which had just become vacant. There was a high chair at the table already, so we thought it would be perfect. They disagreed, and from that moment on, they decidedly gave us a bad service. For example, they did not taking our order until they have taken the orders of 2 other tables, both of which arrived some time after us. They tried to take my cutlery away, I told them I would keep them because I was using them to cut my daughter's food into smaller pieces, shortly after that he came back and tried to take them again. The same waiter also tried to take my partner's plate away before he had finished. They did not give us any plates for empty shells but did so for the table right next to us. All pretty small things that amounted to a rather unpleasant experience.
I could tell that other diners received a more attentive service and throughout the evening they were courteous but served us with an arrogance I have not experienced anywhere else!
The food was excellent though, fresh seafood, cooked well. I am very picky with my seafood so more the compliments to the chef!
Honestly, I would go back to eat there, but until they have a new team of staff, I am staying well away. It really was a shame for us. We told ourselves we won't let them spoil our otherwise wonderful day so venting here helps!

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank FYLP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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The Woodlands, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Good Food but Extremely Poor Service - at Shocking Prices”
Reviewed 28 April 2014

We dined at La Vela Bianca on our first night in Sorrento, at the recommendation of our hotel. There was no offer of a free shuttle so we took a taxi. The hotel sits at the top of a hill along the coast, but does not have a sea view. We received a warm welcome from a gentleman who appeared to be either the owner or manager.

We ordered wine (which was very good) and made our dinner selections based on the menu. Prices were typical for the region, with many varieties of fish available. Although there were only two other tables of people at the restaurant it took close to 30 minutes before a waiter came to take our order. In the middle of giving our orders, the Manager interrupted the waiter and presented the fish of the day on a large rolling cart. He was extremely enthusiastic about the fish and in my opinion, employed high pressure tactics to convince us to order this fresh fish rather than from the menu. All four of us took his recommendation and ordered from the cart.

The antipasto course was also very good but again, it took an extraordinarily long time time before the main course arrived. We had been in Italy for over a week and were used to leisurely dining, but this was bordering on neglect. I noticed that while we were waiting the Manager was having extended conversations with the people at the two other tables, but he did not do the same with us. Perhaps it was the language barrier. When the fish was ready the Manager appeared at our table again, took the food from the waiter and insisted on serving us himself. I ordered sea bass which was good, but not great.

We did not see a waiter again for almost an hour. I could see two waiters at the front of the restaurant but was unable to catch their eye. It was as if they could not make a move without the approval of the Manager, who continued to converse with the one remaining group in the restaurant. At last the Manager finished his conversation, looked over at the waiters and one of them came to ask if we would like dessert. We were about to decline when again, the Manager rolled up with a dessert cart and extolled the virtues of each dessert. The waiter served it from the cart but the Manager took the plate from him and literally slapped a double portions of dessert onto our plates. He again served us personally but rather sloppily.

We followed the American tradition of coffee after the meal and were served graciously. By now we were the only customers in the restaurant, and when the waiter eventually brought the bill it was 300 euros for four people - not the 200 euros we were expecting. I realized then that we had not asked the price of the fish of the day. Shame on us for not asking up front. That's a lesson learned. But they also charged 12 euros apiece for cappuccino, which really is unacceptable.

The restaurant itself is attractive, with nice decor and well cooked food. But all four of us felt pressured to order what the Manager wanted to sell, manipulated into ordering more food than we wanted to eat, and overcharged for coffee. It spoiled an otherwise pleasant evening.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Anita V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tulsa, Oklahoma
1 review
Reviewed 7 April 2014

After reading the wonderful reviews I was all set for a delightful meal. While the food was fresh and good the service was terrible. My husband and I sat and watched as many other couples were served and attended to. The time it took to get a drink and our order taken was unnecessarily long. I was never even offered a second glass of wine or coffee. My husband was never offered a second beer. While the dessert cart was rolled around us to other tables, it was never offered to us.

We almost left when it took quite awhile to get our drink orders in the first place; however, we were hungry and wanted to try the food we had read about. Again, the food was good. Not outstanding but good. The entire visit was not worth the pricey tab when you are completely ignored by the waitstaff.

Oh, and it was our 21st anniversary so that made it even more disappointing to us. At least we are in beautiful Italy!

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Vivian P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Queens, NY
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 October 2013 via mobile

Made a stop here through a cruise excursion setup with Carnival in May 2013. The restaurant staff was very accommodating especially being able to accommodate my request since I don't eat anything with cheese (I know out of all places- Italy!). Started off with pasta with fresh tomato sauce and basil. Second course veal with more pasta. Lastly homemade Italian ice cream cake. And the wine was nonstop! My next time going to Sorrento I would love to try their seafood since the restaurant is literally on the marina. Enjoy!!

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank LovetoLive84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cortland, New York
Level 6 Contributor
341 reviews
185 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 265 helpful votes
“Class Act from Start to Finish”
Reviewed 25 October 2013

It was a rainy night at the Hotel BelAir up on the cliffs, and we asked our hotel where the closest place would be to eat, or if anyone would do a pick up. They suggested La Vela Bianca, and we are so happy that they did. The transport picked us up, and brought us down to the Marina. We were greeted at the van by the Maitre D as well as a waitress. That is one thing I noticed as we were eating. The staff is very protective of its guests, and made sure they were safe going both in and out of the van. It was dark, and was in a somewhat secluded area, so I was glad for the safety.
The food was delicious, and the seafood was fresh. Fresh fish were in a case as we entered the door. At one point hubby had a little difficulty getting his seafood open, and the Maitre D was there immediately asking if he wanted help. When told yes he took the seafood over to the side, opened it easily, and returned it to the table. Awesome!!
I was so full when it came time for dessert, but the waitress brought another spoon just in case I changed my mind. I did...and it was delicious!!
We had limoncello to finish off the meal. As we were getting ready to leave we were introduced to the owner of the restaurant, a rather young, unassuming kind of guy. He seems to have a lot of faith in his staff-and rightly so.
This was our final dinner after spending 4 nights in Sorrento-and it was a fantastic finish to a wonderful visit to Sorrento!

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Laurie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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