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Guest Review: Lunch at Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Welcome back Guest Author Katie Roth with a review from Tutto Italia Ristorante in Epcot!

My husband absolutely loves lasagna, so I knew we had to try Tutto Italia. I wasn’t convinced that it would be better than Mama Melrose’s or Via Napoli, but I was willing to give it a shot. On this particular day, we were dining at lunchtime.

Atmosphere

The décor was very fancy; dark woods everywhere, crystal chandeliers, ornate carpets, and colorful murals lining the walls. This atmosphere seemed too fancy for tank tops, shorts, and sweats.

Inside Tutto Italia!

Dining Room.

Our seating area wasn’t in the main dining room, but a smaller room that connected to the outdoor dining area.

View of Outdoor Patio.

Once we were seated, a waiter came to take our drink orders. What was very offsetting about this was the fact that he would not acknowledge my presence no matter what I did. I had to practically yell as he walking away that I wanted a Coke. Working in a male-dominated industry and going through this every day while getting my undergrad degree, I was used to it; however, I do not think behavior such as this is appropriate AT ALL in a public service driven industry. I think steam was coming out of my ears. (I’m off of my soapbox now.)

Finally, our primary waitress came to our table and took our order. She was very helpful and guided us through the menu while making suggestions to me, the non-lasagna-enthusiast. She was very nice.

Before our entrees arrived, we were treated to a complimentary bread service comprised of fresh focaccia, crunchy breadsticks, olive oil, and green olives. The breadsticks, in my opinion, weren’t necessary as they seemed processed, too crunchy, and slightly cheap. The olive oil and bread were extremely fresh and flavorful. The stars of this service for us were the green olives. They were ripe, plump, and the most flavorful olives I have ever had! (Watch out for the pits, though!)

Bread Service.

No more than five minutes after the bread service came out did our entrees arrive!

My husband absolutely loved this lasagna! I tasted a smidgen of it too and agreed that it was quite good (and I don’t even like lasagna)! He described it as creamy and of great quality; you can really savor the flavor without it being over-spiced.

Lasagna.

I decided to go with the (second) recommendation from our waitress and ordered the Tonnarelli. I had no idea that it was going to be green when it came out! It was so pretty to look at.

The sauce was very light and had a great mint pesto flavor with hints of butter/olive oil. The pieces of zucchini were crisp and extremely flavorful with hints of garlic in every bite. The cheese that was sprinkled on top was very mild and added a nice texture to the pasta, even if the flavor addition wasn’t as noticeable.

What I loved about this pasta was that it was extremely light and didn’t sit heavy in my stomach for the rest of the day in the parks. I would definitely order this again!

Tonnarelli.

I had read that desserts are never spectacular in the Italy pavilion, and I was hoping to be proven wrong on this trip…

My husband ordered the tiramisu and thought it was “just right.” I felt like I was listening to Mary Poppins when he was describing it: “Not too much coffee, not too chocolatey, not too heavy” ….I was waiting for him to say “practically perfect in every way.” ;-) To be honest, I thought it was “eh,” but I’m also not a tiramisu person, so don’t take my word for it. It looked pretty, I will give it that.

Tiramisu.

I, again, went with the recommendation from our waitress and ordered (in layman’s terms) the lemon ricotta cheesecake. I did not really care for it. I like my cheesecake to be dreamy, silky smooth, …and this cheesecake was very lumpy from the cheese curds. The lemon flavor was extremely light, almost unnoticeable. I just felt like I was eating dairy lumps.

Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake.

Overall

Overall, we thought our food was good and were glad we tried it; however, we are not sure we will be returning in the near future. The food was very good, but nothing so good as to draw us away from the likes of Boma, Le Cellier, or Mama Melrose’s. The pasta offerings at Tutto were better than your standard Italian chain food, but we think that Mama Melrose’s in Hollywood Studios surpasses Tutto Italia in taste.

Other than the eats, we thought that the waitstaff was slightly awkward (not something you typically see in Disney) and the restaurant atmosphere seemed too fancy for patrons that are coming in sweaty, smelly, and cranky from the parks.

Katie works full-time as an engineer in Ohio and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in mechanical engineering through Purdue University. Katie and her husband absolutely love everything Disney and try to work that special brand of magic into every aspect of their life including visiting Walt Disney World multiple times per year.

What’s your favorite Italian restaurant and dish at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!

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19 Comments

  1. cherie says:

    Sorry your first waiter was such a dud!

    I would’ve been irritated too . . .

    That said I have to chime in that we have always had a great experience at T.I., and while we have been to Mama Melrose I find that far more chain-restaurantish in it’s food whereas TI is far closer to what I would consider restaurant italian food

    To each his own of course – thanks for sharing your experiences, that new pasta dish DID look good – my daughter will be ordering it methinks on our next visit

  2. Bonnie Merhige says:

    I miss Alfredo’s.

  3. Patty says:

    We absolutely LOVED Tutto!!! We went back this past Oct.
    for our second time!!! The wait staff both times were fabulous.
    So very helpful with their recommendations. Even answering our
    questions about Italy! Our meals were great and the green olives
    are the BEST I ever had! Dresser also was very good. Looking forward
    to our trip back next year!!! Definitely recommend it!

  4. Dana says:

    Oh, that’s a bummer! While we’ve had hit-or-miss service here, we’ve always loved the food. It might seem odd, but the times we’ve been able to sit in the outside patio are the times we’ve had the best service. We’ve only ever sat out there or in the smallish room you sat in, and the times we ate indoors are the times we were less than thrilled with the service.

    Just to note, we actually prefer to eat in the wine bar that’s connected to the restaurant. You can get little plates in there, or order off of the Tutto Italia menu. The atmosphere and service in there has always been perfect.

  5. Susan says:

    I used to love this restaurant but I agree completely last two times were disappointing and will not return

  6. Katharine says:

    I’m laughing because wait staff wise we had the opposite problem. I had Italian men fluttering around me bringing me this and that beyond what I ordered while my husband just sat there barely getting water. He brings it up over and over anytime someone asks about the Italian pavilion. While I was flattered (sorry but when does a girl get the chance to be fawned over by Italian guys – ya know), I did feel bad for the darling and oh so patient hubby. My food was there was fabulous and hubby’s was so-so.

    We don’t eat there often because we can get amazing Italian food at home. We usually eat in Morocco or England to get dishes that aren’t so readily available.

  7. Roxanne says:

    Tutto Italia is a favorite restaurant of my family. We have eaten at this restaurant every year and sometimes twice in one trip and have taken visiting friends there as well. We love many Disney restaurants but for Italian, this is the best hands down in our opinion. We have never felt underdressed in shorts and T shirts and always had friendly an courteous service from the wait staff. Would recommend this restaurant to everyone.

  8. Linda says:

    I am sorry to hear about the bad experience with the waiter. On occasions, we have had that same experience with other Disney restaurants.

    Tutto Italia has been a favorite of ours since 1982. We did try Mama Melrose’s and to be honest, we will never go back. First, we had a bad experience with the front reservation desk. Next it was the wait staff. Our waitress was not liking our questions, nor did she offer suggestions.

    We had to order bread and this was a very expensive charge for such a small serving (and the charge was per person, not explained before). Lastly, the food not only did not taste Italian, but more like a frozen dinner and again, very small portions.

    Our first choice is Via Napoli. Wonderful food and experience. Tutto Ialia is our second.

  9. Mark says:

    Agree that Momma Melrose’s is better, but Boma in the same league as Le Cellier? Not in our book.

  10. Frank Stefanec says:

    We have gone round and round with this restaurant over the decades. Our favorite in the old days when the first opened. Then kinda stagnated. Now it seems to be back. We love lunch there. We get the antipasto for two. With the complementary bread service, it’s over the top good.
    I think too that Italy has nailed it with Tutto Italia, Tutto Gusto, Via Napoli, and the pizza window. They really have you covered. Pizza is a bit “steep,” but it’s Disney and it is good. Thin crust inside and thick at the Window…. Take your pick.
    I love the cannoli at Tutto Gusto and the caprese salad too.
    Frank

  11. Sarah Cameron says:

    We loved it there. I had some of the best Gnocchi I have ever eaten, and our waiter was so polite and eager to talk about his home country. Too bad for your not-so-great experience. We recommend this one. :)

  12. Heath says:

    This was our all time favorite before the remodel. I was so looking forward to it when it reopened. Such a disappointment. Wait staff was unhelpful and the food unmemorable. I would have to agree with previous comments that it’s surprising to have this issue at disney. Amazingly I have had my best and worst disney dining experience here. hopefully the next time we choose to go back it has improved.

  13. Jerry Mountain says:

    I mostly disagree with this review. While I do agree that the wait staff can seem kind of ‘awkward’, remember you are ‘in another country’ and Italy tries to bring their culture to Disney, instead of Disney trying to bring the USA to Italy. This seems to be a little bit different than other ‘worlds’ at Disney, but there is a reason why. The last time we went (Nov 2013), my wife and I went to the Wine bar, and I spoke to the Manager on Duty (I have done this on several occasions there). He told me that their wait staff goes through a rigorous process to bring the best of Italy to Disney. They don’t just use it as a College program, or a trade program. My wife and I have been to Mama Melrose’s many times over as well, and the food is phenomenal. That being said, I can’t get enough of Tutto Italia (and I’m not even crazy about Italian food)!
    Also, the food at Tutto Italia just melts in your mouth! Even the writer said about the lasagna “it was quite good (and I don’t even like lasagna)”. I agree, I don’t go out of my way to eat lasagna or spaghetti, or anything Italian, but I do in Disney at Tutto! And as far as the price, you get what you pay for. Even the writer of this review didn’t have anything ‘bad’ to say about the food. She loved her food, and the food that she had of her husband’s she openly admitted wasn’t her ‘cup of tea’, but it was still good.

    Take this as my advice… We have read many reviews about food at Disney, and have learned that you can’t base your plans on others’ experiences. It’s all personal preference. We ready some crappy (and good) reviews about Chef Mickey’s before we tried it. We were a bit timid about trying it, but we did and LOVED it. The same applies for Tutto. My wife REALLY wanted to go, but I had other places that I would have rather have tried. I reluctantly agreed, and am glad I did so many years ago. Now, we HAVE to go to Tutto every time (usually annually) that we go to Disney. This isn’t just food, this is THE BEST food I have had in Disney!

  14. Dania says:

    I’ve never been impressed by this restaurant, and miss Alfredo’s to this very day. Italy was our “go-to” pavilion for meals at EPCOT, and now we avoid it like the plague. I ADORE Italian food. It is my absolute favorite, and, unfortunately, this restaurant has disappointed us the three times we ate there. Anyone would do better visiting Mama Melrose.

  15. Kelly M says:

    Wow…having been to Italy (Rome and Pisa), I was never ever ignored by an Italian waiter. In fact I had similar experiences as Katharine above, they couldnt do enough for the 3 ladies in our party at any place we went, even the gelataria. If they think that behaviour is Italian then maybe they need a rethink!
    The Tonnarelli looks good though! (and its obviously good for you – its green!)

  16. Alan says:

    I’m surprised about the waiter thing. I’ve eaten there dozens of times and always found their waiters to be the nicest and friendliest in almost all of WDW. It must have been the exception that proves the rule. I think Jerry’s comments above echo my feelings about how food and restaurant tastes are so subjective.

  17. Katie Roth says:

    Hmm,….after all of the feedback, perhaps we’ll have to give this restaurant another shot. It was a hot day, perhaps I had a particularly bad case of BO that was off-putting to the waiter :D
    hehehehe

  18. Erin says:

    Unlike Kim I think that Mama Melrose is absolutely horrible! I have been there twice, many years apart, and have not enjoyed experience. I am also not a huge fan of rich, heavy, Italian food which is why I tend to stay away from Italian restaurants. Via Napoli however is one of my favorite Disney restaurants. I love the Carciofi pizza (white pizza with artichokes and truffle oil) and the Lasagna Verde is really good as well. Also the Coppa dii Brutti Ma Buon (“Ugly But Good”) dessert is one of the best at any EPCOT restaurant.

  19. Kelly says:

    I am always amused by how differently Americans view their Italian food. I mean Chicago-style vs NY pizza could spark a civil war. (Don’t get me started on that Scranton-style pizza with AMERICAN cheese…) I was never much impressed by Alfredo’s food, but always loved the atmosphere. This review and the comments are prompting me to add Tutto to my list of ADRs for my October trip. Just curious – has anyone eaten at Il Mulino in the Swan? I have been to the ones in NYC and in Vegas and have never had less than an outstanding meal.

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