Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana wins the award for being the biggest dining letdown in recent memory. After reading lots of good press from very trusty sources, The Astronomer, my mom, and I headed here for a weeknight dinner. The restaurant was impressively crowded for a Monday night, but we managed to snag a table for four in the main dining area. Things started going downhill rapidly from there.
Dinner started off with complimentary scraps of old pizza dough painted with pesto and sprinkled with prefabbed shredded Parmesan cheese. The cheese was tasteless, while the pesto was crusty. Sad and stale nibbles are a horrible way to greet hungry customers.
For our appetizer, we were hoping to dig into a fresh green bean salad with cherry tomatoes, maichẽ, crispy bacon, orange segments, and whole grain mustard vinaigrette, but our waiter informed us that the salad was not available this evening. Down, but not out, we placed a different order for fire-roasted stuffed mushrooms. Once again, we were apologetically told that the item was not on offer. On our third try, we finally managed to choose an appetizer that was actually in stock. Imagine that!
The arugula salad ($8) that arrived at our table was a shadow of the menu’s description. Instead of receiving “arugula greens with fresh corn, smoked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, teardrop tomatoes, goat cheese, and red wine vinaigrette,” we were served a pile of baby spinach topped with sliced button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, a smattering of goat cheese crumbles, sliced red onions, and a balsamic vinaigrette. I kind of felt like Angelina Jolie’s frustrated-to-the-max character in The Changeling. “That is not my salad!”
Things got a little better once the entrees arrived. My mom was happy with her penne with sausage and peppers ($12). The portion of sweet fennel sausage and fresh herbs was on the skimpy side, but after the appetizer debacle, I was pleased enough that the pasta was available and resembled its menu description.
The Astronomer and I split a large order of the The Sardinia pizza ($15), which came topped with tomato sauce, olive oil, anchovy, capers, onions, olives, tomatoes, mozzarella, and black pepper. The menu’s description also noted calamari, but none were to be found on our pie. Sigh. The pizza tasted better the next morning once the bitter taste of the Bollini’s restaurant experience had faded.
The problem with Bollini’s isn’t the food, it’s the lack of food. Dining out is dramatically less enjoyable when nearly half the dishes on the menu are MIA, and the items that are available are missing key ingredients. We should’ve just gone for some sushi at Taihei.
Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana
2315 South Garfield Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754