We recently had the opportunity to dine at the Villa Italiana in Palmer Lake. This is a restaurant that we have not been to for about a decade. The new owners, Chris and Kerri Bohler took it over after running the B and E Filling Station for 14 years, so we had hope that it had turned around even though their background was not in Italian cuisine.
The atmosphere was pretty nice and romantic, but outdated. Faux painted walls with a cozy fireplace, but old worn out carpets and furnishings. The staff was friendly, but lacked the professionalism of a fine dining establishment. We were concerned when a diner at the table next to us told the waitress that he couldn’t even eat the food it was so bad and nothing was done to help the situation.
We were excited to try the “Blue Crab and Crawfish Cakes” a house specialty. While the meat was tasty and sweet, the cake lacked much of any kind of binder, which made it a very mushy consistency and not really a crab cake at all. It was served in a plate full of white sauce that really was bland and added nothing to the dish. It really could have used some acidity to brighten the dish.
We tried the “Italian Margarita”, a margarita with a shot of Amoretto added in and loved it. Brilliant. The salads were very fresh and included red bell peppers and sweet tomatoes. Both the house and spicy chili dressings were delicious, the latter leaving a nice heat behind.
The entrees range from $11 to $22 which seems reasonable. We tried the “Veal Pepe Verde”, a veal in a white sauce with some veggies and pasta. Unfortunately, while the pasta was fine, the veal was a very small portion hidden under a very thick bland white sauce.
We had better hope for the Sea Scallops with bacon, capicolla ham, and cream over linguini. Unfortunately, this dish proved to be almost inedible. The dish came out with undrained pasta, the bottom of the dish with a quarter inch layer of warm water. Undeterred we asked for it to be corrected, but it came back still soggy. The waitress explained that it “wasn’t supposed to be that way” and that the dish had been revised and would be remade, so we tried one more time. The dish came back not remade, but kluged together with so much thick white sauce on it that it looked like a dense stroganoff. It was really unappetizing by that point.
The waitress asked if we wanted to take our food home since we had eaten almost none of our entrees and then proceeded to stack the plates with uneaten food on top of each other with the bread plates on top of that food. No, thanks! At that point it was time to go. We asked to speak to Chris, the owner, who was in the back, to help him to know what areas needed improvement, but he was unwilling to come out. Strange behavior with several unhappy customers in the restaurant. All in all we cannot recommend The Villa due to inconsistency of the restaurant and the food. Hopefully, improvements will soon be made. For a truly spectacular dining experience, look at our review of Fratelli Ristorante Italiano and consider dining there.