Caffé Italia

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Caffé Italia may be moving from its location of 30 years to the former Denny's, then Abe's, location next to the Days Inn on Chiles Road. This was first reported in these Davis Enterprise articles: [WWW]City Council Approves New Home, [WWW]Big Dreams. However, the owners stated in their August newsletter that there is no deal to move and that nothing has been decided. See The Move? below.

Caffe_Italia.jpg

Location
1121 Richards Blvd.
Across the street from In-N-Out
Hours
Mon-Sat 6:00AM-10:00PM
Sun 7:00AM-10:00PM
Phone
(530) 758-7200
Owners
Kevin and Shar Katz
Established
1982
Menu
[WWW]Website for Davis
Direct links to PDF menus:
[WWW]Breakfast
[WWW]Express Lunch
[WWW]Dinner
[WWW]Caffé To Go
[WWW]Caffé Catering

Caffe_Italia_Mural.JPGThe mural on the south side of the kitchen

Caffé Italia is more or less a traditional Italian restaurant with the requisite Italian kitsch hanging on the walls. They offer booth dining and plenty of parking. It's also notable as the first thing you see of Davis when getting off I 80 headed for downtown.

All dinner orders come with four slices of garlic bread (delicious, that is, if you like butter oozing out of every pore). Caffe Italia also has pizza.

They have an extensive breakfast menu.

The draw (haha): tables lined with white paper and a can of crayons. The servers have mastered the fine art of writing their name upside down on the edge of the tables during introduction. Abstract masterpieces can erupt while waiting for your order, so can memories of the best time ever spent in school: kindergarten.

Good place for a relaxed date as the lights are kept comfortably dim.

Reservations can be made for parties of ten or more. Smaller parties can call in within 20 minutes of arrival for advance placement on the waiting list if there is one. JoAnnaRich reports that if you break a reservation, $75 will be charged to your credit card. Catering events, which have the menu all planned out, are reportedly subject to an additional $8/person fee if the party shows up with more or less people than planned.

They have WiFi here for free.

Prior to being Caffé Italia, it was Kim & Ned's, a genuine greasy-spoon café where the waitress called you 'hon' and they served standard highway diner fare. It became Caffé Italia in 1982. It may be moving soon (perhaps downtown?) when the new Embassy Suites is built.

dessert.jpgThe famous Cafe Italia dessert seafood.jpgSeafood Fettuccini bread.jpgGarlic Bread menu.jpgMenu Specials rusticpenne.jpgThe famous Cafe Italia Rustic Penne liz.jpgTwo satisfied customers pastakaboom.jpgPasta Kaboom lasagna.JPGMissAmyQ: Huge Lasagna Portion; Homemade & delicious! Picture 26.jpgHumorous sign in the restroom. Photo by John Brumley.

The Move?

Caffé Italia may be leaving a downtown location right next to a freeway exit/entrance and moving to a new South Davis location about a quarter mile from a freeway exit. The Davis Enterprise reported on July 20th that Caffé Italia would be moving to this location. However, Caffé Italia denied that a deal was currently in existence in their August newsletter to rewards club members. The owners state that they have been trying to move to 4120 Chiles Road for over a year, but there is no deal to date. They have a lease that goes until October 31, 2015 at their current location. It's been a while since there's been a successful restaurant at this location. Denny's was there for a few years. Then Abe's Cafe & Grill was open four years until 2006. Finally Cafe Casablanca was open briefly before the location was renovated and vacant for a few years. It seems that it's moving out due to the building owner's expansion plans and there are risks with the new location. May Caffé Italia somehow find success at this new location!

Click here to read the August Newsletter that addresses the move:newsletter.pdf. In addition to denying that a deal is in place, the newsletter also states that the owners of Caffé Italia had to find out about the conference center plan from the Davis Enterprise, just like the rest of Davis. The owners state that "the way this whole situation has been handled is very unfortunate and should be dealt with professionally."

The Name?

"Caffè" is the Italian word for coffee; according to Wikipedia, it occasionally refers to a coffee house. "Café," on the other hand, is the French word for, well, a café. So, what then is a caffé?? It's a mystery.


Comments:

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For reviews prior to 2010, see Caffé Italia/Reviews/2005-2009.

Recent Reviews

2010-01-04 00:27:41   Mediocre lunches and dinners, incredible breakfast. Everything's on the salty side, so stick with water. My personal favorites for breakfast are their omelette (any of them) and the Cowboy (very tasty). —BrandonWong


2010-01-04 00:37:52   Thirty to forty years ago, this place was known among many UC Davis students as the "scarf and barf." It was more barn-like back then, and the food was worse. —EdwardNiemand


2010-01-23 15:57:12   Very disappointed by the service I had here last week. I've been coming here for years (decades?)... but probably won't be coming back, if ever. I ordered take-out, and had several important errands to run... was planning to pick up food, do other stuff, and then go home and eat with my significant other. The person on the phone told me 20 minutes... I figured that was exaggeration, so I waited 25. I walked in, they said it wasn't ready... but would be "really soon". I said thats' fine, and I even offered to pay immediately (since I was in a hurry). 5 minutes later, "really soon". 5 minutes later, "they're packing it right now". 10 more minutes, "oh it's coming out right now". 5 more minutes later, I had enough. This wasn't just one person, but multiple servers + the manager (big hulking guy) who continuously tried their best to keep me waiting. Rather than giving me a realistic estimate (I suspect they didn't even *check* in the kitchen ), they just kept piling on the lies. Very, very annoying.

Finally, I walked out. They can keep my money... last penny I spend in there for a while. —ChonT


2010-03-18 18:33:14   Really really good. I have never had a problem with the service, wait times or anything. I have only been here for dinner and I think that is amazing, so by the comments here I cant even imagine what breakfast must be like. I have tried many things on the menu and cant complain about a thing, the pesto is excellent. This place is comparable to Pasta? but better prices probably and friendlier atmosphere if youre looking for something casual and family oriented. —cj2012aggie


2010-03-18 19:15:35   The first time I went to CI was almost 6 years ago, when my wife (then new girlfriend) took me here for my birthday. We've been back at least once a year since, mostly for dinner. The food is always good—not amazing, but good! Prices are quite reasonable, and quality is above average for the price. Service has always been perfectly decent. Occasionally a little slow, but never enough to be a problem. They're always friendly, as well.

This year we went there for brunch on New Year's day with a couple of friends visiting from out of town, and they had some really tasty specials. I had a snow crab omelette topped with a really flavorful beschamel. Yum. And they did free champagne (not that I partook... I was a little hungover from enjoying New Year's Eve). —TomGarberson


2010-04-05 15:01:54   Really blah food, but if you want Italian in Davis, what else is there, really? The dishes are mostly just a lot of noodles, cream sauce, cheese, tomatoes, etc. Nothing special. I've gone three times with groups who wanted to go there, but would never go on my own. Breakfast is better, though. —NotSure


2010-05-11 15:44:50   Don't get me wrong the service is good & they are nice, but WOW! What a huge waste of money!! I can't beleive I ate breakfast here when I was younger.. Then again I was usually hungover from partying when I came here so I guess I never realized how bad the food is. I would always hear people say the food sucks, but I could have sworn it was good. I came in this weekend for a late dinner with friends & spent over $130 on what was basically some undercooked pasta w/ what tasted like sauce out the can, don't get me wrong the kids menu/meal or w/e it is called was decent I mean who screws up corndogs & fries?

The service was really good, but at 18% gratuity added into the cost the least you can do is refill me & bring me some unbroken crayons wtf?! Too cheap to hire a decent cook & too cheap to buy a 25cent box crayons? You know you can get them at Dollar Tree, two aisles over from the aisle you get your sauce from. I was soooo embarassed to have brought our Italian friends to this place & will never come back again, I knew there was a reason I haven't been here since I was in school. Seriously? I can't believe you're chef/cook could have sent that BS out of the kitchen on Friday night. I am going to give the owners of this place the benefit of the doubt, I have met them & they are very nice people, but please train your employees to not answer the phone 45 minutes before closing & say it is ok to come in if nobody wants to deal w/ customers. We didn't complain about the food because the kids were getting restless, it was closing time no one was around to be seen & we are smart enough to pick up on non-verbal cues from employees,as well as the fact that the cook/chef didn't care enough to put some effort into the last dishes of the night. But Kudos on your french fries they were alot better than Mcdonalds. Oh by the way, I paid w/ cash & card, but only received a card receipt I hope your employees are not as shady as your food, I hate to think the waiter & chef spilt a $60+ "tip" that night. I recommend non-Italians eating here at best. —TheTruthHurts


2010-05-11 15:57:09   Oh, When we did call first thing in the morning we were told "Welp you should have said something, we can't do anything for you now" I mean sure it was the next day, but it was only a few hours later than when we left. We asked to speak to someone so we could complain since I give managers/owners the benefit of the doubt before I blast them & they told us "Ya no one is here to help you, maybe next week we can have somebody call you back" next week? we just want to let the manager know the quality of the food & lack of employee prescence was not really acceptable for the price we paid & we get a reply "Wednesday or Thursday maybe someone can call you then" Seriously? oh well good thing there is decent Chinese/Mexican food in town. —TheTruthHurts


2010-05-27 12:31:33   Food is blah......lots of starchy noodles with limited taste. We used to call this place Cafe Food Poisoning in college. I recommend Putah Creek Cafe or Bernardo for a much more tasty breakfast. —stodd84


2010-06-04 23:55:54   OMG............... This place is DEVIN!!!!!!!!!! The fettuccine alfredo with chicken is the best!! But if you don't have a big stomach for it then just order the 1/2 order the full order is huge!!!!!! This place is sooooo yummmy!!!!! —LuisianaSalcido.


2010-06-14 00:16:17   I have always loved the food here. Especially breakfast. Unfortunately, on Friday night I ate pasta with chicken and got food poisoning from the chicken. When I was eating the chicken, it tasted a little wrong to me, like undercooked, but I put it off as nothing because it looked ok. Well the next morning I woke up puking up all of my dinner and feeling miserable. You can tell the difference between the flu and food poisoning and this was definitely *not* the flu. Be careful about eating the meat here. If it tastes weird, have them cook it better. —JessH


2010-06-14 00:18:23   oh and the service is slow and the servers are rude. —JessH


2010-06-27 07:51:11   Love love love Caffe Italia!! I am thoroughly addicted to their calzones. They have great sandwiches for lunch and awesome specials throughout the year. A great breakfast destination. I recently took my in-laws here and my sis-in-law proclaimed it was the best omelette she'd ever eaten. My young nieces appreciated the crayons and loved their hot chocolate and french toast and waffles. I recommend Caffe Italia to anyone! —cerise


2010-07-10 12:33:22   This is one of the best places in Davis for breakfast. My favorite servers are Karen and Brian. They're both friendly, efficient, and know the menu. Lorenzo would be my favorite cook. This morning I tipped him because the breakfast was so well prepared.


2010-08-03 03:45:05   Their spicy fettuccine alfredo with chicken is delicious! Also they have roasted garlic you can get on the side, that makes it even better! —Saher


2010-08-07 21:21:11   My friends and I have been here dozens of times. The food is consistently good and the service is always extremely good. We don't have to wait forever for food, refills on drinks, etc. I've never seen a server who looked angry or irritated with us. There was one time when the service sucked but we mentioned it in one of the surveys you fill out after you eat and we got an apology plus a gift card. I love this place. —themichelle


2010-08-27 06:09:21   This place is sooooo good! —NorCalFoodLover


2010-09-19 02:46:50   If you want a good filing meal, this is the place to go. Lots of pasta dishes and good quantity. We had the penne and the fettuccini seafood and a their chocolate crusted house dessert too. Its not a fancy place but good for a family meal. —ChrissyHill


2010-09-24 20:50:32   The restaurant is dark, but cozy. If you're looking for HUGE booths, this is the place. The food is so-so. The breakfast menu is expansive—overall the quality of breakfast far exceeds that of lunch and dinner foods. The service is bipolar. Whereas the servers are all fairly charming (and can all write their names upside down with a crayon on the table!) there have been MANY occasions where it has taken FOREVER to get ANYTHING. One morning I waited thirty minutes for a bowl of oatmeal and when I got it, it was cold—and there was hardly anyone in the place. Most of the time it isn't THAT bad, but for a while, that was happening a lot. Truthfully I don't eat breakfast there regularly anymore. —toriac


2010-10-07 12:08:42   My wife and I ate here the other night. I got the Fettuccine Alfredo and my wife got Eggplant Parmesan. My wife and I agreed that the Fettuccine Alfredo was great. She really liked her Eggplant Parmesan, and I thought it was decent. Her Eggplant came with macaroni and red sauce. She liked it but I thought it tasted a lot like... I dunno, Ragu or something. Not impressed. The garlic bread was great. Overall, it was good though the prices seemed a little high. —RobertM525


2010-11-04 22:01:13   Went here for dinner tonight and was pleased. Food came out super quick with friendly service. It's kind of like a hometown version of the Macaroni Grill...they give you crayons to color on the paper tablecloth with and the waiters can all write their names upside down. Will be going back! —AndrewWalker


2010-11-22 18:42:53   Most of the desserts have alcohol in them and are not kid-friendly. We were in a little while ago and my friend slipped off her shoe under the table. The waitress came by, saying something we could barely interpret and kept breezing past. We asked her what she said and she came back and said "shoes on in the restaurant" and left. We were a little shocked- it was rude, we're good customers, we were pretty discreet, it was unnecessary, and it made us feel very unwelcome. Last point- did Caffe Italia hire an ad agency to write the wiki review? Food flies out of the kitchen? Delicious garlic bread? etc. look at the reviews- not all that positive. —JaneBF


2011-02-02 21:45:00   Ate back here in March 2010. Food was pretty decent. Reason I write today is that I found out from AmEx, that this merchant notified AmEx that it detected unauthorized access to its data files. AFAICT, either they took a long time to know that their Point of Sale system was compromised OR they kept my card holder data...in violation of PCI-DSS. —KendallRisselada


2011-02-16 08:51:13   I had the best clam chowder here. Love ittt. —Mogitha


2011-02-18 14:11:24   They used to have a great breakfast but have gone downhill lately. I tried their 2-2-2 with the pancakes and asked them to substitute link sausage for bacon (which I've done at other restaurants like IHOP). They served me Italian sausage, instead, and charged me for a side order. I asked the manager, Kris, why
they don't serve link sausages like most other breakfast places, and she said it's because they're an Italian restaurant. I pointed out that they serve all
kinds of things that aren't Italian, such as pancakes, but she said they wouldn't change their menu. I think they're making a mistake by ignoring customer
feedback. The pancakes were just average. I won't be back for their 2-2-2. —nowhereman


2011-03-07 16:32:14   Love, Love , Love breakfast here. We always get the same thing- the build your own omelette with poatoes. Yum! Service is always friendly and we get seated quickly even when its very busy. —jsbmeb


2011-04-18 12:24:39   Back in September 2010 I sent Kevin email (kevin@dancingtomato.com) asking to be removed from their newsletter. Repeated attempts to delete it from the "my rewards" website have failed. Having just received their latest serving of spam, I wonder if ignoring the customer is part of their recipe for customer retention. —RichardFarrell



2011-05-02 18:53:17   Not the best for the price, but not that bad. Avoid the pasta —Graveflower


2011-05-17 17:43:03   I've been going to this place every once in a while for about 7 years now; and my most recent visit was very disturbing. The pasta I ALWAYS get came out bland and soggy, and my girlfriend's macaroni "special" was especially gross, as if it'd been sitting in the oven for the entire day. We ordered a clam chowder bowl; and our waiter gave us two little cups of clam chowder (what?). Apparently they'd run out of clam chowder and scraped chowder out from the bottom of the pot. I'm assuming this from overhearing the waiter yelling "OH CRAP, DO WE HAVE CLAM CHOWDER LEFT?!" to the kitchen, and then returning with burnt-tasting chowder. It's sad to see great restaurants take a plunge in quality, but being charged full price for service like this definitely has me staying clear of Cafe Italia. —MarkTwain


2011-07-14 11:01:10   sounds to me like everyone here that has had something bad to say is exaggerating, or just a crybaby. I've eaten here almost twice a week for the last up to three months, never a problem. I've been waitlisted a couple of times, but that was while they were busy. a little expensive for dinner, but the breakfast is reasonably priced, and their omelletes are tasty, especially the god father where you can choose 6 things to put in there. hella good. y'all are crybabies. —mynameisGIL


2011-09-25 21:22:31   Paid over twenty bucks for a small pasta dish and a soda. Too pricey for a pasta dish. In comparison, I get a huge pasta dish with shrimp and other stuff (costs five dollars extra here) at most other restaurants for fifteen bucks or so (places like Red Lobster). Quality is not that different either. Place sort of seems to be like one of those restaurants you would bring a family to, but the prices seem to be that of a slightly fancier place.


2011-09-26 06:07:30   Agree with Han. The cost is just too much for what we got. 10 people for dinner, many of whom split dishes with a partner, resulted in only 6 or 7 actual orders for $150 and the food just wasn't THAT good. Plus the garlic bread only comes with pasta dishes and salad now...and only 2 pieces WITH the meal. It's sad that students abused the bread system so badly. It used to be plentiful and provided throughout your time at the table before. Also we can't decide if we liked our server or not. She was sassy and fun by the end of the night but also argued with some people in our party when she messed up their order, insisting THEY failed to say calzone when everyone at our table heard them. 5/10 stars. Will go up one if no one has food poisoning though since that seems to be a problem at places I eat lately. —OliviaY


2011-12-15 16:29:30   We ate here for the first time last night and I also looked up "food poisoning" for the first time.

We had a coupon for $15 off so we decided to eat here despite all the bad reviews. We ordered the Veal Saltimbocca and the Pasta Arrabiatta (angry pasta). We took our food to go and after our discount it was about $14 which sounds cheap, but is actually pretty expensive when you take into account the opportunity cost of not eating food from Caffe Italia.

The veal was one of the worst things I've ever had. I'm basically a human garbage disposal and finish whatever is put in front of me, but I just couldn't get more than a 1/4 way through this veal. It had the consistency of ground beef but then it had these tendons or fibrous vein-like things running the length of it. Part of me feels a little bit guilty when I order veal (tortured baby cow), so maybe the veal saltimbocca at Caffe Italia is just natures way of letting those calfs take a little bit of vengeance from beyond the grave.

I'm pretty sure it was the veal that got us ill, but the angry pasta was pretty bad too. Wasn't spicy at all. I'm pretty sure they've just given up. They just don't care at all. It looks like they dump a jar of sauce on a box of noodles.

So my partner vomited 1.5 hours after we ate. I didn't feel great about what I had put in my body but I wasn't sick. That is, I wasn't sick until 4AM this morning when I woke up with terrible stomach cramps and explosive diarrhea that lasted until about 1 PM.

The garlic bread is ok. —MikeyCrews


2012-04-06 11:48:23   I have been coming here for years. I do not, as a rule, eat much pasta unless it is homemade. I usually order other items on the menu like their French dip sandwich, salads, and Friday's clam chowder. If I do rarely eat something Italian there I will eat the Lasagna. They have the best breakfasts! The service is great and I have never gotten sick. I think of this place more as a Diner/cafe. For the best Italian go to Osteria Fasulo. Now that is an amazing Italian restaurant that I will gladly order pasta of all kinds! Delicious!


2012-04-29 12:11:14   They have a nice kids menu here. My son's meal of chicken strips, French fries, and a take-home cup ended with Oreos and orange slices. —NoelBruening


2012-05-29 13:46:16   I went there for dinner with my son last week for dinner. We had a dinner salad and the angry pasta. The salad was just iceberg lettuce and drenched in ranch dressing. The angry pasta was not spicy and the sauce was sickening sweet. I added grilled chicken, which tasted like it was pre-grilled days ago. The clam chowder was good though and piping hot. The garlic bread was served cold and had too much powdered cheese and no garlic flavor. So, dinner has never been a success for me here. I will stick with lunch and breakfasts from now on. —LokiAbbi


2012-07-13 12:04:43   Oh boy its Friday! That means clam chowder. Yum! I tried their turkey burger the other day and it was really great! —ashleyinthemist


2012-09-15 14:30:36   You guys need to clean or change your table cloths outside once in awhile. Stained and gross. Made me a little sick.


2012-09-15 14:31:26   You also need to put your mimosa prices on the menu. $6 for a mimosa? Ridiculous. —DavisLurker

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