Great food!. Anytime I have been there the food was excellent, just a great place.
Horrible service, overpriced, food just okay.
My wife and I have eaten at Stefano's Bethlehem many times over the years. At times it has been very good, and at other times just okay, especially when you consider the somewhat high prices - we kept going back because of its proximity to our home.
On our most recent visit we took four family members with us - two were small children. The waitress was slow in getting to our table and seemed tired and rushing to get home (it was 7 pm and she said she had been there since 10 am). We ordered wine, but were informed that our first two selections were out of stock. We finally got our third choice but the waitress couldn't open the bottle and had to take it to the bar to be opened. We waited quite a while for the one mixed drink we ordered as well. The waitress forgot to bring the water we had asked for and had to be reminded.
We ordered calamari and clams to share as an appetizer. The calamari was just okay, and the clams were tasty but there were very few off them; mostly the bowl contained empty shells and cloves of garlic.
The waitress wasn't able (or willing) to provide much information on the entrees and didn't bother to tell us of the nightly specials. After being informed that they were out of the lasagna (at an Italian restaurant ?!) we ordered our meals which arrived quickly. The portions were all small and our group had mixed reviews on their dishes. Most were just okay with none being better than just good. My young nephew had only a shrimp appetizer as his meal.
During our meal the waitress never came by to see how we were doing and never re-filled our empty water glasses. At one point my brother left to use the restroom and the waitress immediately took his half-eaten bowl of pasta from the table without asking if he had finished. She removed the bread basket as well - which still had bread in it - while some of us were still eating. Again, she seemed rushed to leave as we were apparently her last table for the night.
Here's the kicker, though. Since we had six people in our party an automatic gratuity of 18% was added to our bill, even though we had two small children and one ordered only an appetizer. I understand that this is a common practice for large parties but I am insulted at having to be forced to pay a large tip for inferior service. The worst part (yes, it gets worse) is that we didn't realize that the gratuity was added into our $188 bill and ON TOP OF THAT we gave our waitress $30 cash (VERY generous considering the poor service). Now, an honest person would have made some effort to let us know that the tip had already been included in the bill, but she quickly pocketed the money without a word. Well, okay she did thank us. And why not? She received a $57 total tip for lousy service! Of course, we should have recognized that the gratuity had already been forced upon us but we feel that the waitress should have informed us when she saw that we gave her what amounted to almost a 40% tip!
Obviously we will never visit this establishment again and I just wanted to inform other potential diners of our experience. I will be contacting the owner over this matter, but based on what I have read I don't expect much satisfaction.
We love Stefano's. We love the food, we especially love the people who work there. They are great and always looking around to see if anyone needs anything. After a long week of work we like to go sit at the bar and have a drink and some food, I love the eggplant, tomato and cheese appetizer. I also love the penne vodka, too much to list. We just love it!!
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