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THE UNKNOWN CRITIC
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
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LORNA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN
A REVIEW BY THE UNKNOWN CRITIC
It's been a while since I have dined out in the University City area . It seems like this area has been largely ignored by me for far too long now, so when some good friends of ours from out of town decided to choose Lorna's Italian Kitchen for their evening meal, they passed the information on to me, knowing I had never reviewed this restaurant before, having read every review I've ever published.
Both my wife and myself have been lifelong friends with the couple that had asked us to do this review. During that lifelong friendship, this is only the third time they had ever asked me to do a review, yet they knew my rules: They are not allowed say anything about the restaurant, either good or bad. Just let me review it for myself, with no outside influences. That's how I roll and they knew it.
A couple of weeks went by before we had the opportunity to visit Lorna's, but the evening of our visit to to eat and do the restaurant review had finally arrived.
Lorna's Italian Kitchen is located in the University Square shopping center in University City, which is now not much more than an aging strip mall, yet I have never judged a book by it's cover. I must say that I have had some pretty good meals at less than ideal restaurant locations more times than I can count.
I generally visit a restaurant at least twice for a review and therefore chose what I believed would be a good time to visit, in a much less crowded atmosphere for my initial review.
Instead, we arrived to find a restaurant that was much busier than I thought it would be on a mid-weekday evening. Certainly a most promising sign, especially for a well established restaurant.
There were half a dozen people in front of us waiting to be seated. Three groups of two and now after being there only a couple of minutes, several more had quickly filed in behind us.
The the line moved quickly though and it was already our time to be seated. We chose a seat in the front main area of the restaurant against the wall, but away from the front door since it was rather chilly that evening and the blast of cold air that we experienced everytime someone else came in the door while we were waiting to be seated was not something we wanted a repeat of while dining.
It was no more than 30 seconds after we sat down that we were presented with a basket of warm, freshly baked sourdough bread with pats of butter off to the side and a menu. Our server said she would be right back to take our drink orders and then disappeared just as quickly as she had appeared, only to reappear again less than a minute later to take our drink order, which also appeared within only a couple of minutes.
At that point I told my wife that this was probably the fastest service I had ever had in a busy restaurant before, but not to read to much into the initial greeting and seating rituals, because more times than notthey drop the ball in their service or food somewhere along the way, to which she just grinned at me and said: " Do I Know You?" That was my sign to shut up as I realized I had been talking way too much about restaurant food and service which is out of character for me and I should just shutup and save it for the review. Low profile I reminded myself.
Although their menu offerings were pretty extensive, it didn't take long for us to decide what we wanted, all the while enjoying the very tasty, warm sourdough bread.
I had the Manicotti, which is made with ricotta & parmesan cheese and a tomato marinara sauce. It was very good.
My wife opted for the eggplant Parmesan. Good, but not stellar.
The Tagliatelle Bolognese was excellent as well as being a large enough portion to share or take home the leftovers for a snack
The Calzones are very good and also quite large. Definitely not a disappointment.
Most of their pasta entrees are ginormous.
Salad? Try their Italian. Very good.
And the best by far, out of the above mentioned dishes was the Tagliatelle Bolognese, which was indeed " Stellar"
On the other hand what was disappointing was the restroom cleanliness, which was pretty dirty on all of our visits.
They need to work on that issue for sure.
In A Nutshell:
If there ever was a perfect example of the phrase "Don't judge a book by it's cover" Lornas Italian Kitchen would be a prime example.
Lorna’s Italian kitchen is a family owned business, established in 1988 and run by restaurateur Steven Stern.
Atmosphere: Casual Laid back homey feel, with painted scenes on the walls and checkered tablecloths.
The menu is pretty extensive & reasonably priced.
Most of their entrees are served in large portions.
The food was all of good to above average in quality.
Best meal: Tagliatelle Bolognese
The service was above average.
Parking is plentiful most times.
Really the biggest issue we found was with restroom cleanliness.
3/5 ( very good )
That's my opinion what's yours?