Trattoria Romana (Boca Raton)

Posted on April 9th, 2012 · Boca Raton Italian

Trattoria Romana, 499 East Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, Florida 33432, (561) 393-6715.

Trattoria Romana is an upscale “white table cloth” Italian joint in Boca Raton. For the record, the joint has been around since 1993 and has a HUGE following…the bet here is that Trattoria Romana is one of the most successful upscale Italian restaurants in Boca Raton and for that matter South Florida. I think (actually I know)–the most cursory Google search on Trattoria Romana turns up loads of extremely favorable “food” reviews.

If you guys do a bit of checking, you’ll find that Jeff Eats and Mrs. Jeff Eats do quite a bit of-shall we say–eating out. Trust me, we are easy going customers and never make life hard for waiters/waitresses–nobody. We tip well and are always pleasant. We know what it’s like to work for a living and have great empathy for the cooks, waiters, hostesses of this world.

I’m gonna make this “story” short and really sweet.

The food at Trattoria Romana is top-shelf. I and Mrs. Jeff Eats have eaten there TWICE…the first time was in 1995 and the second dinner- last week. Now, you guys may-be asking yourselves (then again you may not be asking): If the food is so delicious, why has Jeff Eats only eaten there twice in 17 years?

Glad you asked…

At the top of this story, I mentioned that a Google search would turn-up a ton of favorable “food” reviews—however, I neglected to mention that a search would also discover a ton of negative “attitude/service” comments… For the record, back in 1995, the front door hostess copped an attitude–like she was Eva Perone or something…throw in the waiter’s histrionics when we requested a 4-year old’s “kid’s” sized pasta portion—the outcome, it took me and Mrs. Eats 17 years to give Trattoria Romana another shot. The 2012 outing– now not 100% sure on this, but the same Eva Perone or a look-a-like is still the gate-keeper and is as charming as ever…the 4 year old is now 21, so I can’t tell you how the “waiter” would have handled a request for a “kid’s” portion…

To sum Trattoria Romana up… great looking joint, very good food (the chicken scarpariello, veal chop parmigiana and yellowtail oregenata are outstanding), not too terrible prices, very bad “personnel” vibe…

Just so you know, Jeff Eats isn’t planning a THIRD Trattoria Romana go-round, then again in 2029 I may have softened up a drop.

It absolutely amazes me, that certain restaurants just don’t know how to treat customers. What gets me even more, is that some customers put up with this crap. I guess they are what my dad use to call “gluttons for punishment.”

If you are a glutton, you can check for menu/prices.

The joint is open Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30pm-11pm.

44 Comments to “Trattoria Romana (Boca Raton)”

  1. LOU says...

    Jeff, I’ve been there 3x. I find the lady at the front very nasty. Here’s a few reviews I copied from YELP. These folks seem to be on the same page as you and me.
    “I ate here last night with my mom and dad (in their 80’s) and my sister. We had given my parents a gift certificate here as a special treat,
    and they wanted us to share the experience. They have never eaten here although they’ve lived in the area for 20 plus years. I’ve eaten here with my friends before, I know it as a special place, and wanted my folks to have the experience.

    The food was good. I am not saying great because I ordered the Dover Sole Oreganatto (a special) and it was mediocre at best. I was really disappointed. This is one of my favorite dishes; I have eaten it all over the world. My parents and my sister all really enjoyed their entrees…the veal chop milanese and the pompano. The bruchetta and assorted breads served at the beginning of the meal are fresh and delicious. The ceasar salad was good but not inspired; the beet salad was delicious.

    Now we come to the attitude. I was actually embarrassed, being in effect the hostess for this dinner, and this being my parents first experience here. Walking in the door, we were first subjected to the snotty, dismissive hostess who greeted us. She actually looked annoyed that we were there! Incredible! Ambiance is important to any restaurant, and attitude is part of ambiance. We were first seated at a table which was in the “end” zone…with crowds of waitstaff and diners squeezing past our table. We requested a second table, and were seated in a somewhat better location. Our table was not level, and a waiter helped with the “matchbook” trick.

    Our waiter was great. He knew the specials and the menu and made suggestions. He was friendly and attentive. He almost made up for the icy reception we got when we walked in the door.

    I read the review here in which the reviewer mentions a phone call where he is admonished for multitasking while making a reservation. It amazes me that he tolerated that nasty ‘tude…maybe their hospitality would improve if more diners simply refused to put up with that crap. Its not amusing or colorful, its simply rude and dumb. Pay for abuse? I don’t think so. There are so many alternatives in the area where you can get great authentic Italian food and be treated we

    “Although the food was good once we were seated and it arrived at our table, the attitude of the staff, including the hostess and our waiter was horrible. Not only did we have to wait 40 minutes to be seated on a Saturday night (our reservation was for 8:30PM and we were seated at 9:10PM), but when we periodically respectfully inquired about our wait, we were barked at. This happened more than once. Once seated we chose not to have any additional cocktails. This of course sent the waiter into a tailspin as he was no doubt counting on a large tip from the table. I can go on, but at the end of it all, my party of four won’t go back to this establishment even though the food was good. Are they kidding, they are not the only good restaurant in Boca!!!! PS… It was very loud!!!”


    “Yes, Trattoria Romana is Italian through and through, from the decor, to the food and the attitude. It’s all there to make you forget your still in Florida.

    The restaurant came highly recommended by a few in our large group. A reservation is highly recommended. When making ours, I paused in giving the details of our party to the hostess who told me “you called me for a reason, don’t multi task with me, I don’t have the time.” I love it when a restaurant goes for complete authenticity. You can’t replicate the Italian NY attitude…that just come naturally. The same crotchety women greeted us at the door, and after a few minutes we were seated.

    The front entrance brings you into a wonderfully warm and comfortable bar. Bricked walls and domed ceilings, warm colors and soft lights makes you want to stay awhile. The three sided bar is surrounded by numerous stools. There are several rooms in the restaurant and we were seated in the back, which is much quieter compared to the low roar in the main dinning room.

    Our waiter for the evening had a great start, by taking, literally, three minutes to ramble off all 15 specials. By the time he was finished I thought that was the menu…this guy is good. The specials all sounded wonderful and he let us know almost everything can be made any way you like. I stuck with the menu though, ordering mussels and pasta Bolognese. The mussels were delicious, sitting in a steaming white wine, tomato broth and piled high. A great start to the meal. A Bolognese is a true test of any Italian kitchen and this one did not disappoint. Very traditional and not too rich. Half way through the dinner the server was in the weeds and constantly wiping his forehead at the table. Everyone else at our table really enjoyed dinner as well.

    They have a large patio along with private rooms for large parties. The wine list is quite extensive as well.

    Trattoria Romana serves up delicious homemade Italian cuisine on the daily menu, which is complimented by standout specials. If you can put up with the attitude that they serve up as well, then you’ll enjoy this one.”

    “If you can put up with the crappy attitude, eat here because the food is awesome. The waitstaff is great, knowledgeable and professional. The unkind lady at the front and her minions, not so much! Food is a 5, bad attitude is a 2.
    The fish is fabulous, no matter what it is…always fresh. The pasta delicious. Desserts are incredible. The strawberry shortcake and mousse cake are out of this world. It ‘s very nice when you first sit down and they serve a great bruschetta and pieces of good, real parm.
    Unfortunately, we had reservations for 8 tonite, but walked out because we could not put up with the tiny table for 4 or 6 they tried to cram us at. Too bad, but we went down the street to Casa d’ Angelo, which was good, but not exactlyTrattoria. We’ll try again with fewer people next time!”


    “Actually I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve been to this restaurant a few times. As other reviewers have said the the ambiance is great, food is good, but personally I have found the service a little scary (huge attitude here!). From the hostess to the wait staff people come across as mean and do not seem, to be having fun.

    I kept thinking each time I returned that their attitude would improve. This past March I flew in to take my mom to dinner to celebrate her birthday. I called and requested a table for two in the main dining room. I have never sat in that main room with my mom. We arrived on time and we’re told to wait. We sat at that nice wooden gathering table in the new bar area. After waiting 30 minutes we were taken to a table for two in the back of the main dining room near the bathroom. Waiting, and with a reservation was fine, but a table with more ambiance should have been offered. They then took us to a table near the kitchen in a divided corner. At that point my mom and I just sat down. We ordered wine and then our waiter took our order. He didn’t write it down and got it wrong. I had heard that the marinara sauce was delicious so I ordered the only pasta I could find on the menu with marinara sauce, the cheese ravioli. The waiter brought us the wrong ravioli. When I told him I had ordered the cheese ravioli he said: ” You pointed to the other one I saw you”.

    I said, “No I pointed to the last entree listed on the menu, the cheese ravioli.” He brought us the ravioli we wanted the second time.

    When he handed me the bill he had added a 14 dollar splitting fee (for the ravioli) to a 126 dollar dinner for two. At that point I called over the manager. The manager was quite nice. He looked at our total bill and immediately removed the splitting fee.

    The facts are as follows: We called for a reservation and had to wait 30 minutes, the first table was in the back by the bathroom, the second jammed in the back corner near the kitchen, the waiter brought the wrong entree and then argued with me, a bogus 14 dollar splitting fee was added to the $126 bill.

    Our recommendation, for a fun, fabulous, delicious and uplifting meal go somewhere else”

  2. KLH says...

    You mean she’s not EVA!!!
    And I thought she was.
    Great food.
    Service not the warmest group.
    Go to Matteo’s down the road and you’ll get food and service like you are suppose to.

  3. vf2121 says...

    caught this negative review on urbanspoon.
    seems the front door lady is bad news,Mobile review

    by Frank D (3 reviews)

    Over price basic thrown food bad staff and owner in front . Nice decor. Dont waste your time on this over priced price , not to mention the clowns who go there . Avoid at all cost

  4. RedA456 says...

    My family and I eat at Trattoria Romana on a regular basis. We use to be regulars at Matteo’s but we think that the food isn’t as good. You are right on the lady in the front observation. What we do is just get passed her unfriendly manner knowing a great meal I at hand.

  5. Leslie S. says...

    I have never eaten at Trattoria Romana, but I know exactly where you are coming from on the issue of nasty employees.These folks for sure can destroy a business.
    For example, I once ate in Tramonti’s in Delray. Good food but the waiters acted as if I was a bother to them and that they were doing me a favor. Never went back.
    It’s rare to find employees who are so over the top that they destroy a business but it does happen.
    Just looking at your comments and those of some of your readers and it appears that Romana has a front door problem. It also appears that it’s been there for almost ever.
    Restaurant owners shouldn’t tolerate this.

  6. HerbK says...

    I think Renzo’s is as good as any Italian restaurant in the Boca area, they have great service and the people there couldn’t be more pleasant.

  7. Gary says...

    Honestly never noticed or encountered the attitude at T.R..I have been living east for 2+ years, and have eaten there many times. The food is the best in the neighborhood, and the restaurant is busy every single night of the week.
    When I moved downtown I was told by most people that this was the place to go. I must say, I have to agree.
    I have been there with my wife,wife and kids,wife and friends,and for small intimate parties.
    Love the food,love the wine list,love the service,love the decor.
    BTW, they bought the retail space at the condo to the west of their location,and are planning another restaurant concept.

  8. Fran G says...

    From: Fran
    Subject: Re:Italian restaurants

    Message Body:
    I live in Boynton Beach and I have yet to find an excellent Italian rest. That is excellent and not pricey. Is there such a thing? Coming from NY, I can say that there is a world of difference, not only in quality, but in price too.
    Maybe you can give me some good recommendations, would appreciate it.
    Thank you, Fran G

    • JeffEats says...

      Fran G:

      Just had a chance to read your comments.

      Off the top of my head–

      In your area, Nino’s in Boca Raton is one of my favorite “mom & pop” red sauce joints.

      I also like Matteo’s in Boca Raton and Ernie’s in Lighthouse Point. That said, just watch what you order in these joints. The portions are large, so consider splitting dishes etc.

      Thanks for reading…

      • Fran G says...

        Thank you for answering me in such a timely manner.

  9. Jeff In Boca says...

    don’t like anything about this one.

  10. Rob M says...

    Such a hater. Your review sounds like you just copied and pasted it from some other moron foodie wannabe. The food at Trat is ridiculous and the charming lady you are referring to us just a bit quiet and maybe not as over the top gushing fake hospitality as you would have preferred. Your review cites no specific instances with the service or attitude issues, you just generalize it because that’s what people have been led to believe Trat is like. In actuality, it’s an amazing restaurant with warm, generous owners and an incredibly hospitable and attentive staff. My family and I have been going there for years and if idiots like you can’t appreciate an amazing restaurant and a true fine dining experience then do us all a favor and don’t bother coming back in 2029, or ever for that matter. Idiot.

    • Your a clown. The woman at the front is rude bitch.
      Just check yelp and tripadvisor they are both loaded with negative comments about the owners and what staff.
      You are a plant phony bastard
      I ate there once and would never go back
      Crap service with a bad attitude and mediocre food that’s way overpriced
      Get real you know dick about what good food and service are ll about

    • Of red says...

      The joint stinks.
      You don’t know sheeeeet!

  11. JeffEats says...

    Rob M:

    Just had a chance to read your comments.

    I guess we got a difference of opinion going on here. I just call it like I see it. If you check, a load of folks here also see it as I see it.

    What is is…

    Since I control this site, I can pick and choose what gets published. Notice your Insulting comments about Jeff Eats are here for all to read. Some here may ‘think’ that you are the owner or in some manner tied to the owner. Doesn’t really matter who or what you are, because I know for SURE that I have no vested interest in this restaurant one way or the other. What I do know for sure is that Jeff Eats has 1,000s of daily readers…and you wrote to me, not vice versa.

    I’ll stand by my comments.

    Thanks for reading…

    • Mr Ginsberg says...

      Amazes me how even handed you are.
      This jackass calls you an idiot etc and you still give hima platform.
      I’ve eaten at this restaurant and the food sucks sucks sucks
      As for service it also sucks sucks sucks

      • JeffEats says...

        Mr. Ginsberg:

        Just had a chance to read your comments.

        I’m a big proponent of the 1st Amendment.

        I know what I know…that being the customer service at this joint wasn’t good.

        I also know that a simple Googling finds numerous comments on how bad the front of the house is. If I was the only one making the claim then maybe our boy Rob M has something to talk about…but with so many negative comments, I know that my outings weren’t isolated just to me.

        Thanks for reading…

        • CDS54 says...

          Hey Jeff:

          My wife and I have eaten there for years and as you correctly point out the food is very good. Maybe it’s because we are what some may call regulars, but we never have a problem with reservations or service.
          Your comments and other comments got me thinking and I did go to Trip Advisor, Yelp and OpenTable and I discovered a fair number of customer complaints about the wait staff and the front hostess. That tells me that you and others here aren’t some crazies making up stories. For so many comments over such a wide spectrum of sites to mention the same thing can’t be a conspiracy.
          We really enjoy this restaurant but appreciate your perspective.

  12. Lisa Damashek says...

    My grown children from NY love this place. I live here full time and don’t think that the food is anything special. Like Matteo’s better.

  13. Linda Weiss says...

    We like it.
    Food is always good.

  14. TH says...

    Food is delicious.

  15. LOU G. says...

    Jeff, the food is terrific.
    you got this one all wrong.

  16. GR311 says...

    This restaurant stinks.
    Told the waiter about dietary problems I have. He assured me that a certain entree had no butter in it. Well it did and I got violently ill.
    Stay away from this place.

  17. GTO says...

    Terrific food and service.
    That front desk could definitely use some Dale Carneige “How To Make Frienda and Influence People” training.
    You got this joint pegged perfectly.

  18. West or says...

    Love their food.

  19. mike the Greek says...

    I went there a few yrs ago on a saturday night the food was pretty good but the owner was a P.O.S.” We orderd entress appetitzers and 4 sodas. We then had refills of the sodas and these clowns charged us 2.50 a soda served in a small bar glass. They continued to bring us refills all night and then hit us with a forty dollar soda bill. I told them no one charges for refills unless they give you a can or bottle. She said thats the way it is. Well i gave her the cash in her hand for the dinner and she went tipless on Palmetto that night.

  20. Pb says...

    They dont honor reservations and the front of the house is as nasty as can be.

  21. GtA says...

    The woman owner up front is a nasty bastard. Won’t see me again.

    • DonutJoe says...

      I believe the term for a female is bitch and that she is.

  22. Gary S says...

    Can’t figure this one out.
    Just ok food and buffoonish service yet many people swear by this joint.

  23. BocaWest230 says...

    Jeff, nice meeting you and Mrs. Jeff Eats last night. Sure have been to a bunch of restaurants. As I mentioned my husband and I enjoy Trattoria but have to agree with you that the hostess up front needs to ease up a bit. Not very pleasant.

  24. Gail T says...

    We love this restaurant. The old lady is still nasty.

  25. JKlein says...

    Ate there last night. Food and service very good.
    Jeff, give it another go.

  26. Tony Valentino says...

    Food is very good as is the service.

  27. Neddy says...

    Best Italian food in Boca.

  28. SidRidesABike says...

    Food is tremendous.
    The lady is a nasty bitch.

  29. raymond says...

    I agree a real nasty bitch.

  30. EKI says...

    Best Italian restaurant in s Florida. Food is terrific.

  31. George W says...

    Front desk are nasty people. Failed to honor my reservation so I and my friends left. Won’t ever be back.

  32. Carson Lane says...

    Very good food. Good service. Nasty people at the front. I stopped going there 5 years ago.

  33. Harold K says...

    Try the joint again, the food is exceptionally good.

  34. Joe G says...

    Love the food. The lady at the front is a schmuck.

  35. John Y says...

    Delicious food. Rude nasty front desk.

  36. Ellen G says...

    Nasty woman owner.

Leave a Comment