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“I should have checked here first!”

Trattoria da Franco
Ranked #484 of 757 Restaurants in Alexandria
Price range: US$30 - US$30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Duke street
Transit: In the same block. Both directions. Washington st. and Duke st.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
36 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“I should have checked here first!”
Reviewed 31 December 2010

OK, while I'm frequently contributing to the TA forums, I seldom post reviews. Something has to be outstandingly good, or horrifically poor . . . and the latter is the case last night (12/30/10) at Trattoria da Franco. When decided on dining here while on vacation in Alexandria, thanks to Restaurant.com, a valued dining resource we've used dozens of times over the past five plus years. For $10, you can buy a $25 gift certificate, making dining out (in theory) an affordable experience.

I have been a very happy and loyal Restaurant.com customer for many years and have never had any issues or problems in using the certificates within the terms posted. We had a very bad experience last night at this participating restaurant, which included dealing with the owner.

When we were greeted by our server, I provided him with the g/c as it states to do. He came back and told us in order to use the $25 certificate, we would have to order an appetizer and dessert, in addition to the two entrees. When I stated that the certificate only requires a minimum $35 purchase, excluding alcohol, he pointed out the info in the lower right side that provides suggestions on "how" to get to $35. Trust me, it was no issue as the entrees we were ordering were $20 and $25.

The server held firm to their house policy, stating that Restaurant.com had it "wrong" on the website and certificate and that we would have to order that much food in order to use the g/c. When I asked to speak with the manager, the owner Franco himself came to the table. He told us that he no longer participated in this program because they (Restaurant.com) couldn't get it right and that he was not happy with having to give away $25 in food when people just come in to spent $35.

I tried to explain to him that we were frequent diners using this program and that he was mistaken and that in fact, he could change that $35 to $50 as I have seen that at other restaurants. He got a bit snippy with me, to which I told him that if they were not going to honor the certificate as issued, we would pay for my husband's cocktail and leave w/o dining there. He said not to do that and that he would honor it. He went on to point out what we already knew about their 20% gratuity policy. (While we've seen others do it at 18% with the g/c, we did see that this place was going to tack on 20%.)

Well, as we ordered our entrees the server asked if we wanted garlic bread with our meal and well, of course, we're in an Italian place. He failed to mention the $4 charge for it. Dinner came and the portions were as reported, were on the small side. I had never dined at an Italian place where the mix the sauce in with the pasta. The spaghetti was mushy and not very good. My veal parm was decent but over sauced . . . and my hubby's chicken marsala was a bit too sweet. We did enjoy a $6.95 pastry dessert to split, which was better than the reported "bread" taste in an earlier review.

Given the entrees were $25 and $20, did not come with bread or a salad, we felt this was terribly overpriced. Their bar prices are a ripoff at $9 for a "short" rail drink. Our total check came to $78.76, plus 10% tax ($7.88) . . . and to that total amount he tacked on the "mandatory" 20% gratuity ($17.37).

I would not recommend this place to anyone . . . and again, am only too sorry I didn't check in here at TA before buying the Restaurant.com certificate.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank TimeshareVon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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87 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Park City, Utah
Level Contributor
231 reviews
165 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
“Wasn't the worst, wasn't the best”
Reviewed 5 October 2010

We had a coupon so we decided to give it try. The service was good but the food was very very average. Certainly not what one would think from a true Italian eatery. My friend had a $10 gin and tonic which seemed outrageous for what she got, and my $7 pinot grigio wasn't that special either. Pass on the puff pastry for dessert, very bread like instead of pastry. Portions were reasonable but nothing to say I'd hurry back for.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank NikR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, D.C.
Level Contributor
28 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Let's set the record straight”
Reviewed 12 July 2010

If you like:
Slow somnambulant service
Eggplant parmesan with sweet tomato sauce poured over a mass of unrecognizable eggplant glop
Mozarella and tomatoes served with waxy tomatoes that have absolutely no flavor
A warm bottle of red wine served at 98 degrees fahrenheit
An old angry woman banging out show tunes on an upright piano

Then this is the place for you!!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Sophie-Mar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, va
Level Contributor
28 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“So disappointed.. food and service both lacking - sad, such a nice spot”
Reviewed 13 April 2010

This is my first time back in this restaurant in over ten years - drive past it daily and finally my husband and I went in on a weeknite. Not busy at all, but took 15 minutes to get someone to take our order - tables who came in after us were eating 15 minutes before we were. The owner was there and seemed friendly enough - but not sure how he didn't notice. We had to practically beg to have the waiter come to the table when we wanted to order, or needed something - in a nice restaurant I'm used to having them swoop as soon as I'm done - sometimes before! LOL But here it was the opposite... our waiter walked by back and forth for a good 10 -15 minutes just tidying up, etc. and we had to flag him down to remove our plates. The food was just okay. I thought the portions were small for the prices, and the $6.00+ dessert was tiny! I didn't read the other reviews before going, but now I'm concerned about the credit card charge - so I will keep an eye on my statements... Lovely atmosphere and very quaint - NO reason why the service and food aren't better.

    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank debinnova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“One of our favorites”
Reviewed 17 February 2010

One of our favorite "date night" spots. Very cozy and charming. Consistent theme of detractors seems to be orchestrated and not authentic. Which could never be said about the excellent cuisine served here. Excellent in all regards.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Aldatidbits
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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