Growl Review: La Zingara Trattoria

Category: Growl Review

Kelly W.

La Zingara Trattoria

By Kelly W.


Image courtesy of Kelly W.

This tied as my most expensive Growl but taste wise, was the one I enjoyed the least! GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-HalfGpawRating-WholeFadeGpawRating-WholeFadeGpawRating-WholeFade
I loved the décor and ambience; this initially raised my expectations for the evening. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-Whole
The service was timely and prompt although a little haughty, curt, and lacking in professionalism for my liking. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeFadeGpawRating-WholeFade
“Pass the salt” pretty much sums up my response to this question. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeFadeGpawRating-WholeFadeGpawRating-WholeFade
The restaurant, cutlery, glassware, and dishes were impeccably clean and polished. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-Whole

I should be honest, I had something of a preconceived opinion about La Zingara Trattoria before leaving home on July 17, 2013 to meet up with my fellow Growlers. Having heard nothing about this restaurant and embarking on a new dietary approach I thought it prudent to research the restaurant and menu in an effort to make some potential selections. My first visit to their website was quite a letdown as their web page is still in development. Despite their request to “check back soon” multiple visits over the course of the past couple of months have shown no progress in the development of their cyber presence. Growlita Lisa L. had provided a third party link to their menu pages so all was not lost; however, upon reviewing the actual menu in the restaurant, I discovered it had changed from the online third party version.

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La Zingara is located in the heart of Windsor’s Little Italy. Parking was close by, convenient, and plentiful although Erie Street was not the throng of activity on a Wednesday night that I envision it to be over the weekend.

Erie Street was quiet and clean and the restaurant was a quick stroll from the parking lot. As we turned the corner and saw the façade of the restaurant for the first time my preconceived notion started to wan. I was wowed by the curb appeal of the restaurant. The walk to the main entrance along their patio area was beautifully framed by iron fencing with planters bursting with vibrant flowers and an assortment of colourful foliage. The ironwork, awnings, and lanterns added an element of architectural grandeur.


Image courtesy of Micky G.

Inside the space is open and somewhat urban in an almost lofty kind of way. Masses of natural light flood the dining room which only added to the ambiance as twilight descended and the setting sun complimented the natural and earthy colours chosen for the walls, décor, and the woods of the dining tables and chairs. Unfortunately, the round table we were seated at to accommodate our group of 6 was of the temporary banquet variety which I found to be a contradiction to the space and particularly uncomfortable to sit at having being placed by one set of steel legs.


Image courtesy of Micky G.

Overall, the restaurant did meet my expectations – unfortunately only because they were quite low. The redeeming qualities of my first impression of the restaurant exterior and interior were quite short lived. Although attentive, the wait staff did not seem to be emotionally present. Water and wine glasses were promptly refilled; however, I didn’t feel like a welcome guest at their establishment, rather there was an aura of indifference and a lack of hospitality. Which leads to my biggest disappointment of the night… my food!


Image courtesy of Kelly W.

I chose Bruschetta for my appetizer and their Penne con Verdura for my entrée. Both were very, very well presented. While the Bruschetta was bursting with flavour and the grape tomatoes were plentiful, the Penne con Verdura was the exact opposite. I found my portion to be a little on the small side and tasteless. It tasted like pasta and olive oil regardless of the tomato/oil based sauce and sautéed vegetables. The dried herbs must have been used as a garnish only as they provided no additional flavour, but the biggest shock seemed to be that no garlic had been used in the preparation of the dish!


Image courtesy of Lisa L.

Unfortunately the overall comments heard around the table seemed to mirror my own and more than one of us reached for the salt shaker at the same time.

Based on this, we opted to enjoy dessert and after dinner drinks at another Erie Street establishment.

Kelly W.‘s Overall Rating
Overall I was disappointed with the whole dining experience, my first impression of the restaurant and the flavourful Bruschetta upped my original rating of a 1, but even these redeeming qualities would not encourage me to recommend La Zingara. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeFadeGpawRating-WholeFadeGpawRating-WholeFade


Comments from fellow Growlers
Micky G. said: “This was the most expensive Growl I’ve attended so far and the least satisfying. The service was good, the ambiance was lovely, but the food really disappointed me. I would not recommend this restaurant for that reason.”

Lisa M. said: “I have to agree with the comments and opinions of fellow Growlita Kelly W. I ordered the same pasta dish and found it tasted mostly of oil. The zucchini slices did have some flavour, but overall, the vegetables were so few and far between in this dish it was really quite disappointing. I also had to ask for a water refill at one point, despite the fact that the young woman busing tables seemed very attentive to the other diners, so much so I expected my own water glass to be kept filled without asking. It could have been that I was tucked up against the wall at a table of six and so my glass wasn’t readily viewable, but still… The starter salad I ordered, the Insalata della Zingara, was tasty, and had me anticipating a yummy follow-up in the main course but sadly I was very disappointed in my Pasta con Verdura. Overall I was very disappointed in my meal, more so I think because I was looking forward to eating at an Erie Street establishment, the restaurants of which are raved about by fellow Windsorites. Unfortunately, rather than going the extra mile and ensuring their food and service excelled, I felt La Zingara was resting too much on the laurels of being an Erie Street restaurant and not working hard enough to attract diners and keep them satisfied and coming back for more. Considering the amount of dining choice on Erie Street, I would much rather try somewhere new than return to La Zingara.”


Image courtesy of Lisa L.

Laurel R. said: “The ambiance at La Zingara was lovely! But my meal was terribly disappointing. I ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara, and while the serving was plentiful both the presentation and taste were incredibly bland. Even a sprig of parsley would have dressed up the expansive white plate of cream-coloured pasta and sauce, and made the visual presentation that much more appealing; however, presented as it was it felt as though the chef wasn’t particularly interested in making this dish look appetizing. And the fact that I had to add salt immediately after my first bite of food said a lot about the lack of flavour. I must confess, too, that when it came time to pay I was rather taken aback to see that the debit/credit machine defaulted to an 18% tip. Perhaps this is a new trend, though I can’t say that I’ve experienced it at any other restaurant in which I’ve dined. While I consistently tip 20% on my total bill, and am happy to do so, quite honestly I felt put out to be provided with a specific default tip amount and this, combined with my poor experience, actually led to me tipping considerably less that I would have normally. I love to support local businesses, and hate to be negative, but based on my experience I am sad to say that I wouldn’t return to La Zingara nor would I recommend it to my friends.”

Have YOU visited La Zingara?
Tell us about your experience!

Image (Kelly W.‘s user pic) courtesy of -Marcus- /

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Lisa L August 6, 2013, 9:06 pm

    I am in full agreement with the other comments listed, and the review of Kelly W. I have dined at La Zingara in the past for a private party and found the food for that function to be outstanding, this visit was very dissappointing. I felt that value was lacking as was flavour in the food. I have no complaints about the location, parking, ambiance, cleanliness or service-I feel that those areas were spot on. Perhaps another day another time might bring a different experience, it was close but yet so far from the mark for me.

  • Julie B. August 11, 2013, 11:05 pm

    Besides the beauty of the restaurant inside and out, I was not impressed with my food. I had a shrimp pasta dish that lacked colour and taste. For the price I paid for my meal I expected a flavourful dish of pasta and extra touches to add to my dining experience. I am in no rush to return to La Zingara soon and would not recommend this restaurant.

  • Christina s October 14, 2013, 7:54 pm

    I was just reading the comments about the reviews of La Zingara.. I can just say one thing that I have enjoyed the food immensely for 17 years at La Zingara.. There has not been a bad meal ever. People have different taste in eating and personally there is not a better restaurant that I can think of that would compare to LA Zingara.. The dishes are all made home made, so everything is fresh.. The taste of every dish I ever had was melting in your mouth.. personally I don’t believe in over salting food and over garlic.. I traveled in Europe every year and they always cooked authentic!!!! I understand you will never be pleased on every dish you eat in any restaurant, but I don’t believe that people should bash any restaurant that worked hard for a great reputation for good food and great atmosphere. La Zingara is known for their reputation with famous stars who visit immensely and well known with a great reputation with their exquisite Cuisine should never be trashed to an unhappy customer that didn’t like their dish.. Ps. Andrea Boccelli, Luciano Pavarotti who are legends know what really good food is.. George Clooney,John Travolta and many other famous people only will eat at la Zingara.. oh Ps.. I forgot David Beckham..

    • Lynne October 15, 2013, 8:18 am

      It was more than one person who was unhappy with their food. The reviewers intent does not seem to be “trashing” the restaurant. Seems like genuine disappointment! My dear, I think you doth protest too much!

    • Kelly W October 15, 2013, 11:05 am

      Andrea Boccelli, Luciano Pavarotti, George Clooney, John Travolta and David Beckham are not frequent visitors to the city of Windsor in the province of Ontario within the country of Canada!!! A quick internet search shows reviews for this establishment posted on and Urban Spoon within the last 4 months as disrespectful, rude and unprofessional. Due to this, I feel that you MUST be mistaking the “La Zingara” restaurant reviewed here – which is not immensely visited by famous stars – for another. Regardless, it is extremely unfortunate that the current reputation of this establishment is one of disrespect for its patrons, unprofessionalism and rudeness which was experienced by our group first hand, is qualified by other reviews on line, and generally acknowleged in opinions expressed by the general public with whom I have spoken with since writing this review. Perhaps the management team could focus on improving their reputation with new and local clientelle which would most likely result in return customers rather than one off visits from “famous stars”. Afterall, you never get a second chance at a first impression.

  • Christina S October 15, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I am entitled to make my opinion as much you are!!!! Once again this is not a competion of who know best . Personally, we all have our own opinions of what we like.. and dislike.. you will never please everyone in this world but I can tell you one thing, never had a bad experience at “La Zingara.. !!!”
    There has been many great reviews as much as bad reviews and believe you me La Zingara would not in business for so many years if they where that bad. The envious and the atmosphere and beautiful dishes is self explanatory..
    These girls have worked hard in their business where they put their heart and soul in it and yes I understand their might be some flaws but we are all human and I know they accommodate to all customers who were not satisfy in person rather then writing a view!!!

  • John April 4, 2014, 4:22 pm

    Used to work there. Trovolta, Beckham, Pavarotti, have never been. Boccelli has (old location). Let’s get facts straight.


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