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“There's better Italian food down the street”

Guarino's Restaurant
Ranked #48 of 1,872 Restaurants in Cleveland
Price range: US$10 - US$30
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Reviewed 13 June 2014

Guarino's advertises themselves as the oldest restaurant in Cleveland. I don't know if it's true, but I was looking for a good meal and thought I'd give it a try. It's located in Cleveland's "Little Italy" district. The area consists of a couple of blocks of one Italian eatery after another. Parking is scarce, so plan accordingly. Additionally, everything in Cleveland closes early, so you better get in there before 7pm if you plan to walk around and visit anyplace else.

I ordered several items off the menu. I ordered the Mussels appetizer, a Caprese salad, and the Braciole which is described as a specialty on the menu. The following accounts what happened during the order and delivery of my meal:

I asked the waitress if the mussels were a good size…not tiny… She responded “yes” to my question. What arrived were 13 of the tiniest mussels I’ve ever been served. Seriously, they were the size of the mussels you get in those tiny little tins in the grocery store. They came in a garlic wine sauce which was ok, but not memorable. To make it worse, one of the mussels was not open…and you don’t want to eat one of those. Strike one.

I asked the waitress if the mozzarella cheese in the Caprese salad was cow or buffalo(which is traditional). She said she thought the cheese was made from buffalo milk. What arrived was a plate with slices of under-ripe tomatoes, rough chopped basil and a cow’s milk mozzarella cheese, drizzled with some cheap olive oil and a vaguely balsamic kind of vinegar. Strike two.

I asked the waitress if the Braciole was good. Stupid question, I know, but for a house specialty, I really wanted to see how excited she was about the dish. She responded “it’s good”. What came to the table was a large dish of average pasta, covered in an average sauce, and topped with what looked like a sausage link. The Braciole was literally about the size of a roll of quarters. What of there was tasted okay, but only okay. Additionally, it took foreeeeeeeeeeeeeever to get this disappointing entrée. Strike three.

If I don’t get a decent meal, I don’t stick around for desert. You don’t deserve any more of my money. The service was below standard. You’d think for being the oldest restaurant in Cleveland they’d take a little more pride, but such was not the case. If you’ve ever seen that show where they take restaurants that are on the brink of collapse due to terrible everything and turn it around, this is one of those places. It's been ridden hard, put away wet too many times and should probably be put out of its misery. I’d skip it and wait until it makes it on the show….

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2  Thank THEDoubleJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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118 - 122 of 199 reviews

Reviewed 11 June 2014

We were a group of 10 . We were seated at a table and our orders were taken . Approximately 10 minutes afterward our food was served .It appeared to have been frozen and warmed up .
However the food was tasty .
Our dessert was served immediately afterward .It was tiramasu .One member of our group has a medical problem and cannot eat chocolate .He asked for something as a substitute was was told that was all that was available .The server conferred with the owner and she said that there will not be any subsitutes .Her son then came to our table and offered to go across the street to a bakery to buy something ,a plus ,however ,it is difficult to believe that in a restaurant as publicized as Guarino's that they could not offer a non chocolate dessert.

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2  Thank len16107
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Let me say this is a great place to eat. This is a traditional family style Italian restaraunt. This is not Olive Garden or some other chain so I guess the people who rated this place low were unhappy they did'nt serve Spagetti O's.

The decor is done in a way to remdind you of your grandmothers house and its done very well. They even have a small bed&breakfast upstairs for romantic getaways.

The food is typical Italian but prepared very well and the presentation is fantastic. The wine list is very good and the array of deserts is impressive. The atmosphere is worth the price of the food alone. Takes you back a bit and sometimes you feel like you are maybe on Mott or Mulberry Street rather than in Clevland. The staff are very friendly and love talking about the history of the neighborhood and the restaurant. Its a quaint lovely place which are harder and harder to come by these days. A real Cleveland gem!!!! We will be back again soon!!!

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1  Thank Christian D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2014

Went to this restaurant in Cleveland's Little Italy with a handicapped person in a wheelchair because it only had one step to maneuver. It is decorated in a 70's bordello look, the menu limited to standard Italian dishes, and several items on the menu were not available. The food was average and the server was not forthcoming with any information unless asked. It was disappointing for someone's first visit to Little Italy. We were there a few years ago with much the same experience and will probably not be back.

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Thank comfortnurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2014

We came for lunch on a Saturday; our 1st time. There is a lunch menu but only from Monday - Friday. Dinner menu is only option for weekends all day. Located in Little Italy so good luck with parking. Was not crowded when we came. The guy who placed our water glasses was not friendly and answered incorrectly when I asked about the place having lunch menu. He said the waitress could tell us more - how could he not know the answer?

There was only 1 waitress and average regarding service. I think this being in Little Italy makes the wait staff average level for service - they figure people will come anyway. Room decor is nice, makes one think of being in your grandparents' house.

The only good thing - food is good - whew! Prices are decent compared to the other Little Italy restaurants.
9 inch personal pizza is base price $10 with each topping at 50 cents extra. You have to ask the waiter to get that info since the menu has no price for their pizza. Again, at least the pizza was delicious. I had the lasagna and it too was delicious. We'd come back and try other dishes but not expect much from service.

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4  Thank Ligaya2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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