St. Paul >Food & Dining > Carmelo's Ristorante
238 Snelling Ave S, St Paul, MN | Directions 5510544.934467 -93.166883
Neighborhoods: Macalester - Groveland
Wonderful food, good value – We stopped at Carmelo's last week during the awful heat wave to avoid cooking. They didn't appear to be expecting many people and the service was slow. However, the food was really outstanding. We had 2 appetizers and 3 main courses and all of us loved our choices. I've eaten there before and thought it was just OK. After our last visit, I"m a fan. Nice atmosphere, decent wine.
Little Italian Gem! – I've been coming to Carmelo's for years and it is one of my favorite places to relax with a glass of wine and a truly delicious Italian meal. I was introduced to this place by a friend, who's family live in the neighborhood.
Service has always been good, but I come for the cozy atmosphere. If you're looking for an authentic, sweet, romantic place to dine, you're in for a treat. You can't go wrong with their nightly specials, and we try to save a bit of room for their perfect tiramisu!
Marginal food & Apathetic Service = Never going back – Bad experience all around. The restaurant is dated, the service rude and disinterested, the food at Olive Garden exceeds what we had. For my money, I'd rather go to La Grolla or numerous other St. Paul restaurants.
Rude treatment - never go back! – Our gift card was refused because it had expired and we pointed out that that was against the law. Our embarrassed server had orders from the owner to not honor it because it was a certificate and not a gift card (also against the law). They had our $25 card and it was not returned to us either. So our friend had pretty much given them a free $25. We are (or were) loyal neighborhood customers. No more! We were very disappointed. Apparently they make their own rules!
owner charmed me into coming in and I am so glad she did! – I randomly met the owner, Heather, and we got to talking about food and she mentioned she had a restaurant along with her husband (cute story behind it all but too long to get into). Anyway she was very charming and passionate about the place. She gave me her card and I decided to give it a try. I brought in my wife and her parents. We walked in and were immediately taken in by the aroma of wonderful smells. The hostess was very sweet and seated us within a few minutes. Our waitress was very helpful and seemed to know the menu quite well. I think her name was Lorri. Heather noticed us and immediatley came over and suggested a wine for us. Our calamari appetizer was the best I have had in the Twin Cities. We all had cesear salads and they were exacltly what a cesear should be! The croutons were perfect. We got to noticing the dining room and all decided it could be updated a little. Although my dad in-law thought it was alot like the places in Little Italy in NY. Heather made sure we all ordered her favorites. I ordered the Chicken Carmelo. Wow. Just WOW. My wife and mom in-law order what they are famous for Lorri tells us. The butternut squash raviolis. They loved it and the sauce was "to die for". My dad in-law had one of the steaks with mushrooms. He is pretty particular about his steaks but he loved it. We were told by Heather to get the tiramisu and chocolate torte with a sauce I can't remember. But I will get it again. I loved how smooth it was and the sauce was heavenly. You can tell this place really cares about pleasing people. Even the little water girl was on top of things. We were all very happy when we left and the prices didn't hurt either. My wife and I don't get out much but we can't wait to go back. I was also suprised to find out it had been there for 15 years.
consistently the best italian food in the area. – warm and cozy atmosphere (with great music) and outstanding food combine to make this one of our favoites.
the pesto is superb and it is a great place to carbo load if you are a runner! italian chains pale by comparison.
everyone we know loves this little gem.
Best Tiramisu Anywhere – In my opinion Carmelo's has the best bolognese and tiramisu in the US. I have tried many restaurants in NY's Little Italy and elsewhere, always searching for comparable Italian food and have not found it. While the tables are too close to be considered romantic and the decor is subpar, Carmelo's food is delightful. The balsamic salad dressing is delicious to use as a dip for the warm bread. The calamari is crispy but not too greasy and the tiramisu is to die for.
Bland – My husband and I were both looking forward to trying out Carmelo's. We thought it would be a fun little neighborhood hole in the wall, with homemade Italian food. The atmosphere lived up to our expectations, but the food did not. I had the crab stuffed mushrooms and he had the Chicken Carmelo - pan fried chicken breast topped with crab, alfredo sauce and cheese. Both dishes were under-seasoned, bland, what one would expect from a chain like the Olive Garden. It certainly wasn't the worst food we've ever had; it just wasn't good enough to warrant a return trip.
On the positive side, the waitress was extremely friendly and the bread basket was delicious- warm, slightly garlicky.
Horrible Food – I was quite excited to eat at Carmelo's and was very, very disappointed. The food was horrible and the service was average at best. I would only recommend this place to my worst enemy. We tried the crab mushrooms which was a complete waste of calories and I also had the chicken parm with spaghetti. I cannot stress how disgusting it was.
Good food – The food is excellent, to bad the owner has no customer service skills. Don't make a reservation and expect it to be there, if you don't confirm your reservation you lose it! Why would you make a reservation in the first place. Unfortunately we won't be back there.
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