St. Paul >Luci Ancora
Good food, poor service. While spending $200 on dinner and wine, we were never asked how everything was and no one even said goodbye and thanks for coming. That is poor for a restaraunt of this supposed caliber.
Execution of each plate was great. Very fresh ingredients.
For my friend's birthday, my girlfirend and I took my friend and his wife to Luci Ancora last night. My girlfriend and I had been there once before but it had been a couple of years.
It was date night at Luci. The four course taster's meal was only 20.00 each.
First course was fried polenta cake with a thick basil pesto. The polenta was a tad bland, however it usually is. The bed of pesto was very flavorful and tastfully dense which more than made up for the polenta.
Second course was a mixed green salad with gorganzola, white grapes raisins, and a champaigne vinaigrette. The Vinaigrette was ok. It was not tarte enough to offset the sweetness of the white grapes and the pungency of the cheese, but the greens were a mix of frize, arugala, red vine spinach...and a couple others, which made for a nice presentation.
The pasta was next. It was rigatoni with broccoli, red peppers and parmesan cheese. It was tastefully modist in comparison with the first half of the experience, but I couldn't have asked for better execution.
About 2 hours into the night, the main course hits all four sides of the table. Fillet of halibut atop a bed of reduced red peppers, roma tomatoes, and fennel bulb.
This plate was perfect. Perfectly grilled, perfectly portioned fillet of fresh halibut laid out on a bed of very tender vegies that matched the delicate flavor of the fish perfectly. Will attempt to duplicate.
Vanillia bean creme brule and a very dark chocolate torte finished us out in a very fashionable way.
The pasta and the fish redeemed any misques from the previous two plates.
Service was rather remarkable. Everything was timed well. The table was a bit small and the chairs were nothing special, but that didn't seem to hinder the dining experience too much.
My favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities!.
Luci Ancora is growing to be one of my favorite restaurants in the twin cities area. I went a few years ago and again last night and both times the service, food, wine and desserts have been excellent. On Tuesday's and Thursday's they offer a special for 2 people the 4-course "sampler" (which is more than enough food for one person) is only $20 a person! This sampler varies from night to night, but I can imagine you could call and ask what it is that evening.
This place is very small, so make sure to make reservations ahead of time if you want to be guaranteed a seat. The ambiance is beautiful, with a real fireplace, and the bathrooms are very nice and clean.
The food selection here is northern Italian, so it's a heavy based off seafoods. Last night our final course was Halibut and it was cooked perfectly. I don't know if I've ever had a better cooked piece of fish before, it was amazing.
I also love that they list the farms where they receive their food from. This is a local restaurant that gets their food from local farmers!
Check it out, if you go on a Tuesday/Thursday the prices are fabulous!
Excellent Italian with a great attention to detail, superb wine list and great service by the wait staff. I think my headline covers it all. I happen to consider myself an Italian specialist. I love my visits to Luci Ancora. If you haven't experienced it and you love Italian make it happen.
Quickly becoming my favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities. I honestly say I can't say a bad thing about the place and I've been there 5 times.
Our last experience was the best. We tried the Chef's menu. A 4 course sampler meal with appetizer, salad, pasta course and main.
The wine list is extensive with knowlegable and friendly servers. We also went to the original Luci's across the street. I did not enjoy that place nearly enough as I did Ancora.
Northern Italian menu at it's finest. If you have never been to this little gem your missing a great experience.
Nothing Special. My first time here. Went with a group of 8 for my wife's birthday. The experience was average. I chose this place because the menu looked great online...it was a but of a disappointment. The spaghetti bolognese was very bland. The beef dishes were good...cooked well (though my medium was a little more towards medium rare) and portion sizes were good. People who ordered the fish seemed to enjoy it. The deserts were very good. I had the teramisu cheesecake... a large portion but very light. Overall, I felt the experience was slightly overpriced for what we recieved. The food was decent, but unoriginal...everything was very basic. I wouldn't turn down an invitation to go back, but I wouldn't select this restaurant again.
Not so good-issimo....
Alright folks, if you're living in the Mac/Groveland or Highland Park area of Saint Paul, and you are just too lazy to drive out of the neighborhood to find some good Italian food, then this place will suffice. However if you're a money-conscious spender and want to get a good Italian meal with your hard earned cash, I'd highly recommend going elsewhere.
After you buy entrees, an appetizer, drink, tax & tip, you'll probably spend around $60 - $80 here. It's just not worth it. I will say that the atmosphere is satisfactory (aside from the questionably close seating) and that the food is decent, but I think that as far as quality and taste goes, you'd probably be better off stopping at D'Amico's if you are looking for taste. The waitstaff seem to have good intentions but maybe need to pay closer attention to refilling drinks and bringing the check sometime within the 30-min timeframe after everyone has stopped eating. Had to go to the front counter and ask to have our bill after waiting for some time.
Anyway, again if you're in the neighborhood and don't care to stray far, and want to get out of the house for a bit, then you might as well stop in and try out Luci Ancora. Hopefully you'll have better luck than we did. But just as a message to the restaurant staff, you need to make some improvements if you want to compete with other Twin Cities restaurants.
Twin Cities restaurateurs offer classic Italian cuisine near St. Catherine's campus..
Al and Lucille Smith opened the restaurant in early 1996 as a sequel to their first smashing success, Ristorante Luci. But Luci Ancora, with its golden walls, wood-burning fireplace, and sketchpad-quality view of the scenic St. Catherine's campus, has a charm all its own. The menu is one-page simple, but you can make your decision easier by selecting the four-course taster's dinner. Options have included gnocchi with tomato sauce, pan-roasted chicken and grilled pork tenderloin.
Not that impressed. As with so many of the other upscale restaurants we've tried in the Twin Cities, the taste of our food did not keep pace with the price we had to pay for it. Our spinach salad was very tart with lemon juice. My Kobe beef was excellent, but the potato rice cakes that came with it were chewy and pasty. The tiramisu cheese cake was just okay. My husband enjoyed his pork but the saurkraut served with it was overwhelmed by onion. We shared a salad, had two entrees, half a carafe of wine and split dessert. Our dinner came to $73.00. When I'm spending that much money I want to feel great about our experience.
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