I read some positive Yahoo reviews about an Italian restaurant close to our place here in Memphis, so The Hubby and I decided to check it out. Villa Castrioti is located in a strip mall off of a main thoroughfare in Cordova, a suburb of Memphis. When we first arrived I was extremely impressed for two reasons. First of all, it was packed. Almost every table was filled. Also, the decor was extremely elegant. However, the host did not seem to fit the decor as he was wearing very baggy jeans, grungy tennis shoes, and an over-sized purple and white striped polo shirt. Since all of the waitstaff were wearing standard white tops and black pants, I originally mistook the host for a customer waiting for takeout.
We were seated promptly, but it took several minutes for a server to come by and bring us water, and several more minutes for our waitress to greet us and take our drink orders. Our server's blouse was about 2-3 sizes too small, the last two buttons seemed to be missing, and this left her shirt gaping open and her stomach hanging over her pants...not very appetizing.
For an appetizer we ordered the gnocchi. The portion size was very good for an appetizer; the gnocchi had great texture-very light and fluffy. It was served with a white sauce that I found to be pretty bland, but The Hubby thought it was tasty.
The first time I go to an Italian restaurant, I try to order a simple, classic, pasta dish because I love pasta, and if they can't do the simple stuff well, then the more intricate dishes probably won't be any good either. A simple pasta dish also helps me determine how good their sauce is, and lets me know if they use high-quality ingredients. With this in mind, I ordered baked ziti for my entrée.
At Villa Castrioti, the baked ziti consists of penne tossed with marinara sauce and ricotta cheese, and finished with melted mozzarella. My ziti was mediocre at best. While the pasta was perfectly al dente, the sauce was extremely watery and very, very bland. The only part worth eating was the part that was covered with melted mozzarella. After three or four bites, the mozzarella was pretty much gone, leaving a plate of watery noodles, that I found pretty much inedible.
Now, Tom L. ordered the seafood pizza (the daily fish selection with your choice of whtie or red sauce). He chose the white sauce, and while that was probably the best choice for the type of pizza it was, he found the pizza to be pretty terrible. There was an overwhelming flavor of lemon, and the chunks of fish were so large that when he picked up the slice, they fell off. On a positive note, even though the pizza was fairly expensive, there was so much seafood on the pizza that he definitely felt as though he got his money's worth.
Final Impressions: This meal was pretty terrible. After reading the reviews, we had high expectations. I didn't even order dessert. However, the complimentary bread was tasty, and the texture on the gnocchi appetizer was perfect. That being said, we won't be coming back. Tom L. said it hurt to spend fifty dollars on such a bad meal.
Tiffany's Favorite Part: Complimentary Bread
Tom L's Favorite Part: Gnocchi Appetizer
Tiffany's Rating :) out of :) :) :) :)
714 N. Germantown Parkway
Cordova, TN 38018
Average Appetizer Price: $5-$9
Avereage Soup/Salad Price: $3-$9
Average Pizza Price: $9-$30
Average Pasta Price: $10-$20
Average Entrée Price: $14-$30
Average Dessert Price: $3-$5
Lunch: Monday-Thursday 11:00am-2:00pm
Dinner: Monday-Saturday 5:00pm-11:00pm