The Critic, Better Half and Mini Critic felt like some Italian food for dinner on a Sunday night so it was decided that Due Torri should be the place. Arriving there, a waiter came out and said, sorry we’re closing now. (FYI: Sundays Due Torri is open from noon to 7 pm)
Next choice, Villa Italia. Closed as well. This outing was turning into a bust.
On the way to Superama to buy some ingredients for dinner, the Critic saw an opportunity for a new review: Da Vinci Italian restaurant, on the corner of Montejo and Calle 17 in the space formerly occupied by Le Chujuk, had all its lights on and appeared open, so in the group went.
The place was empty, probably due to the late/early hour of 7:00 PM which is neither here nor there in terms of dinnertime in Merida, or the fact that the Semana Santa (holy week) has just started which means Meridanos are off at the beach. Several white-shirted waiter types lounged about, all of whom dispersed to their work areas upon seeing some customers approach except for one who, menu in hand, opened the door and led the three to a table inside.
The feeling was that this place didn’t quite click; maybe it was the fact that there was Italian music playing a little too loudly combined with the sound of a giant TV showing Spiderman in Spanish. Confusing.
The elderly gentleman sitting in the restaurant who said hello initially but abstained from further interaction and sat nearby was watching the movie; was he the owner? Hard to tell.
A further lack of cohesiveness was provided by the menu, which offered an enormous variety of dishes both Italian and not. From carpaccio to pastas to veal, with names in Spanish, Italian and misspelled English apparently at random. On the last page, the Critic was surprised to see BBQ ribs, chicken wings and German sausage.
The group ordered a carpaccio to start and then waited for a looong time before the waiter came back with some bread and tomato salsa. He took the dinner orders at that time and shortly thereafter reappeared with the salmon carpaccio, which was sparse but delicious and came with arugula and hot homemade bread.
Spaghetti carbonara which the MiniCritic described as ‘X’ which is teenspeak for just average;
Raviolis al pomodoro which the BetterHalf thought very good and the Critic agreed;
Pizza 4 Estazione, which was enormous. The crust tasted like the bread but was crispy and the toppings were flavorful; it was far too much for one person, however.
The overall feel was that the food was made fresh and from scratch; the service was just alright and the restaurant itself needs to define what it wants to be: fine dining, casual, international cuisine or Italian.
This place might survive; right now the Critic predicts a 50/50 chance of making it since this location is Meridas most expensive strip of real estate.