La Rustica is good, but frustrating

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  • #586532

    WSJ
    Member

    The food at La Rustica is fantastic, however, the experience can be so frustrating it can ruin the evening overall.

    The biggest complaint is that it is so small, that the wait is an hour (at least) on all nights, and at all times. However, this is due to a very popular restaurant inhabiting a very small space. But to make the wait shorter, they’ve crammed so many tables in, that most of the tables are extremely uncomfortable. The other night, sitting at one of the center tables, I was bumped by servers four times (twice causing me to spill food).

    However, what annoyed me the most was the menu structure. They intend the pastas and entrees to be stand alone dinners for one person only. They charge a $4-5 fee if you intend to share with your friend.

    If you order a pasta, it comes with a (rather boring) green salad. And if you order an entree, it comes with an ok side of pasta and the boring green salad. It discourages you from sampling the rather impressive salad and pasta options they have on the menu.

    My wife and I wanted to split an appetizer and an (interesting) salad, split a pasta dish, then each have an entree. But if we’d done so, we’d have been charged an extra $5 to split the pasta, and had been served an extra salad and pasta each. Instead, we had two appetizers, ignored the boring green salads, and each had our entrees.

    They should drop $4-5 off the entree prices, and ditch the salad and pasta side (they already serve potatoes as part of the mixed vegetables). Same thing with the pasta dishes. This would encourage people to order salad and pasta courses before their entree. They would probably make more money in the long run also.

    However, even if nothing changes, I’ll probably still go back every once in a while for the veal wrapped shrimp. It’s one of the most decadent and wonderful dishes I’ve ever eaten. I just wish it was easier to get.

    #617219

    Anonymous
    Inactive

    WSJ – I agree with you on the salad. But La Rustica pre-dinner salad is much better than Angelina’s.

    We actually went to La Rustica last night and we got seated right away. We waited until about 8:00pm to try and avoid the rush. Seems it worked. The good thing about going at that time is that there was hardly anyone else there. We practically had the place to ourselves.

    I also don’t like that they charge to split dinners. That seems chintzy to me. We’ve never split a dinner, so it’s never affected us, but I would be annoyed if we did.

    #617220

    Keith
    Member

    I actually don’t mind a bit of a wait there, because that weird little bar is kind of a hoot… except for the time I was in there and the bartender had “High School Musical” on the TV. It was borderline torture, but the bartender was so obsessed with the TV that it actually became quite entertaining to watch *him*.

    #617221

    beachdrivegirl
    Participant

    La Rustica is either a major hit or its not for most people i know. The food and people are amainzing. I admit, it could be a tad bit less crowded and some of the menu items could be a bit less but he fact that it is family owned makes up for all of that :). but hey I could be biased… I got engaged there. :)

    #617222

    cruiser
    Member

    WSJ,

    So what the folks at La Rustica say when you told them of these concerns? You did take the time to tell them didn’t you?

    #617223

    WSJ
    Member

    I mentioned my concerns over the structure of the menu to the waitress, but all she replied was that she would relay them to the manager. It was the end of the evening, and I imagine she was tired.

    I didn’t mention the issues with the table, as I think it would have been pointless. If they removed one or two tables, the wait would get that much longer. I guess I just wish they were in a larger space. Not a lot that the server can do about that.

    #617224

    Jennifer
    Member

    The only time I’ve ever been to LaRustica, it was a Tuesday night and there was no wait at all. The food and service were excellent. I loved the quaint, small European feel. I believe if you’re someone who wants a food experience like they offer, but you don’t want to wait for it or be overly crowded, then you have to prepare for dining at off hours on off days. Going at 7:30pm on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night is NOT going to give you the experience you’re looking for. Use common sense when going to small dining spots like that. If it’s a larger restaurant you want, then go to one.

    #617225

    WSJ
    Member

    I mentioned my concerns over the structure of the menu to the waitress, but all she replied was that she would relay them to the manager. It was the end of the evening, and I imagine she was tired.

    I didn’t mention the issues with the table, as I think it would have been pointless. If they removed one or two tables, the wait would get that much longer. I guess I just wish they were in a larger space. Not a lot that the server can do about that.

    #617226

    flowerpetal
    Member

    I can’t imagine thinking of La Rustica and Angelina’s in the same thought! Day and night difference!

    I prefer the longer wait for my food. It is so American to rush people through their restaurant dinner. I ask the waitress not to even put my dinner order in until I have finished my appetizer. At La Rustica I want to sit and enjoy the evening. I can’t recall how many times my main course has come out before I finished an appetizer. That is, until I got to the place of telling the wait staff to take it back.

    That La Rustica is “slow” is a plus for me!

    #617227

    Bonnie
    Participant

    I haven’t been to LaRustica in awhile. We used to go all the time when they first opened years ago but not recently. I remember when they first opened (’97??) I thought they prices were TOO LOW. LOL! How times have changed.

    #617228

    Bernicki
    Member

    People rave about La Rustica, including my husband. Imagine his surprise when he wanted to go out to dinner, suggested La Rustica, and I hesitated. I sincerely apologize if this offends anyone who loves La Rustica (and I know there are many), but I just don’t see the appeal. I’ve been there about five times now. I don’t like the crammed-in feeling from the crowded tables. The last time we went there, we could barely have our own conversation; the people at the closest two tables were speaking normally, but they were literally at our elbows. And, despite all the people, it always seems to be cold in there. I’ve never ordered anything there that has transported me into raptures of yumminess. WHat am I missing?

    #617229

    rs261
    Member

    I’ve eaten there a couple of times, every time my food is WAY oversalted, its loud, and the tables are very close together. I think the food is OK personally, I just wish they’d cut back on the salt. They are super friendly though, and most of the other people at my table seemed to enjoy their meal. Me…I give it an enh. Not great, but not terrible. Will I go back? maybe…in time.

    #617230

    Franci
    Participant

    I like La Rustica, but I also LOVE Bistro Baffi of Burien (formerly The Beach House Cafe at Alki). Great food! Great Service! Wonderful tiramisu!! Yumm..

    They are on 152nd west of Ambuam. There is another thread that has their exact loction.

    The setting inside is much nicer than their Alki days, during the week you can drop in for a table. I’ve heard that on weekends you need a reservation.

    #617231

    Keith
    Member

    My guy and I ate there last night, inspired partly by this thread and motivated partly by the $15 off coupon that arrived in yesterday’s mail. woo hoo!

    The food was quite good and the service was great. I found the prices not unreasonable, but maybe just a little bit high for what’s being served and the funky, sardine-like setting. It’s definitely close quarters but not unbearable. My biggest issue was that it was so dark I could barely see my food. But it tasted good!

    #617232

    WSMom
    Member

    I think LaRustica is okay, but I too LOVE Bistro Baffi!!

    On a different note, I’m worried for the Charlestown Cafe. I wonder if the owner of the building is dragging his feet in repairing the fire damage in order to force the business to close. How long can the owner and employees wait until they run out of money and time? If I’m correct in my suspicions, then this situation seems unjust.

    #617233

    beachdrivegirl
    Participant

    LaRustica had a minor fire this past (early) fall and dragged their feet a bit with their reopening..why? to do a few updates to the kitchen so hopefully that is what Charleston cafe is doing… and Keith i was there last night too who knows we may have seen each other!

    #617234

    squareeyes
    Participant

    The WS Herald just had a story about the Charlestown. The owner said he is waiting on the insurance company. See the whole article at http://www.westseattleherald.com. By the way, it looks like Petco taking over the space is no longer an issue.

    #617235

    Bonnie
    Participant

    I can’t wait to go to Bistro Baffi. Is it big enough in there for a group?

    I know exactly where it is. Across the street from St. Francis and Lollipops.

    #617236

    villagegreen
    Member

    I actually like the close proximity of the tables and crowded feeling. It actually feels very European/Italian. If you don’t like dining so close to your neighbors, be sure to avoid two of the best Italian restaurants downtown – Barolo and Tavolata. They’ve both got the communal table thing goin’ on.

    #617237

    I don’t understand the mentality of party(s) that want to go out and spend money, however nickel & dime their way through the experience! To the people who are looking for a deal, collect your coupons and save your complaining!

    Insofar as the cramped quarters . . . what did you expect? Captains chairs?

    The La Rustica dining experience is designed to be the way it is, take it or leave it . . . I dislike many local restaurants . . . but instead of complaining about my experiences I just don’t patronized the establishment(s).

    #617238

    Keith
    Member

    I love it when posters like BusinessOwner here jump into a discussion just to say “Shut up.”

    #617239

    Bernicki
    Member

    I read threads such as these to get an idea of the dining experience in a specific restaurant. I want to hear both complaints and compliments. And information about why someone liked or didn’t like the place. Instead of “Mojojojo’s in the Junction sucks,” I need details such as “Mojojojo’s has an all-kimchee menu and nightly open-mike yodeling contests. It sucks.”

    That way, I can take it or leave it.

    #617240

    amrakx
    Participant

    La Rustica is inconsistently consistent. It’s a convenient neighborhood eatery. I eat there weekly and enjoy the Amatraciana, although the owner is now substituting homemade pancetta, which I don’t like as much as the previous. The wine list is inconsistent, 70% of the time they substitute because they don’t have the bottle we wanted on their wine list. I keep wishing it would evolve into a Serafina’s. It is what it is, reasonably priced and convenient. For Italian in West Seattle, there aren’t many choices, I don’t consider Angelina’s an option…

    #617241

    Franci
    Participant

    Bistro Baffi does have room for groups. I noticed there was a group event in a room towards the back – it seemed that they had quite a few folks showing up. I have no idea what the capacity is though. I would guess the group I saw was upwards of 20 or so.

    #617242

    beachdrivegirl
    Participant

    I love the fact that they they are inconsistent…the last two times I have been @ La Rustica ( i go there nearly weekly too b/c I live so close) is that for their Port list they bring out the curent selection..not only do you get to read each label but you also get to ask questions and really understand theorigin of the wine..

    Franci and others- i have never tried bistro baffi but it sounds like i need to soon. Thanks for the info!

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