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Case Study: Bad Restaurants Practices at Tuscany Grill Irvine

Case Study: Bad Restaurants Practices at Tuscany Grill Irvine

Tuscany Grill Irvine

Failure at Multiple Levels: A Case Study

By day, restaurants located in office buildings can fill a niche for quick lunches.  You may be too busy talking about TPS reports to really appreciate the restaurant’s eccentricities. By night, the true seedy nature of office park restaurants becomes obvious. I just experienced this moment when I visited Tuscany Grill Irvine in the Main Business Plaza.

Tuscany Grill Irvine Exterior

Tuscany Grill is located in the Main Business Plaza next door to Mick’s Karma Bar

First Impressions

I was taken aback by the décor. At first, I was charmed by thy light fixture by the entrance, and then I realized that the entire restaurant is adorned with such decorations. From the artwork to the crystal chandeliers, Tuscany Grill Irvine felt like I was visiting and eccentric Grandmother’s house. 

Tuscany Grill  Irvine Lamp

An omen of the the decor

The overuse of crystal chandeliers cast a moody yellow hue over the faux finish walls. Images of Napoleon Dynamite on an awkward first date came to mind. After we were sat, my wife and I gave each other an awkward stare and immediately started giggling. I understand that many people may enjoy this style of decor, but I consider it to be out of date and scares away the younger crowd. I found it to be humorous. Dear restaurants, you do not want your  decor to induce laughter from your customers. Update your interior if it looks dated. Although according to their website, the restaurant was recently updated! Yikes!

Tuscany Grill Interior

Old and stodgy, I felt like I entered a retirement home restaurant for the Sopranos

I attempted to get a hold of myself and give the restaurant a fair chance, but when I looked up on the wall I saw the most interesting oil painting set up.  The oil painting was mounted on an ornate frame and illuminated with a brass picture light. Although when I saw the fake doves on the top of the picture frame, I instinctively I covered my water glass. I burst into laughter and my wife kicked me under the table before she started laughing. Again, if this style of decor is your thing, then Tuscany Grill is your place.  

Tuscany Grill Frame and birds

Perhaps the worst decor idea I have seen in a restaurant to date


Sticky Tacky Menus

Another bit of the restaurant’s charm came through from their menus. When I was handed my menu, it was sticky… ewwwhhh. The plastic covered menus had successive layers of other people’s meals and beverages ingrained into the plastic. This is on the top of my restaurant pet peeves. I went to the bathroom and washed my hands. This time I opened up my menu with a napkin, only to discover the inside was also splotched with another guest’s food. :/ In all fairness, my wife’s menu as not as sticky as mine. 

tuscany grill dirty menu

Case Study: Clean your menus!

Another restaurant taboo was broken that night. They crossed out prices and hand wrote a higher price! Really? Come one, print out a new menu! Even worse is that the menus were not consistent with pricing. My wife had a different menu pricing than mine.  If you  have to raise prices by hand writing them, at least do it for ALL the menus. Please let your tackiness be consistent!

tuscany gril menu price different

Updating your prices higher by hand writing them in is a bad idea, print new ones!


I was willing to put my issues behind, if the food knocked my socks off. Unfortunately, Tuscany Grill failed at the food as well.  When the Caesar salad came out, I could tell the lettuce looked past its prime and  it was swimming in dressing. The fact that the salad was a little above room temperature was the key fail point.  For me, a salad should be served cool for maximum enjoyment. I think they left this on a hot table or heat lamp. This salad was an omen for the rest of the food. 

Tuscany Grill Caesar Salad

Room Temperature to the touch is not a way to serve salad.


Perhaps this was the best dish I had the entire night was the Lentil Soup. This creamy version of lentil soup was perfectly seasoned and had a wonderful texture. It was obvious that the soup was made in-house; I wish they would put the same pride and love into their other dishes.

Tuscany Grill Soup

The best dish of the evening, creamy lentil soup. Love was put into this dish, I wish I could say the same about the other menu items.


The Spinach Fettuccine wasdisappointing. This dish could have been executed so much better, with just a little more work. This dish tasted like it was just thrown together. The shrimp and spinach fettuccine tasted good, by themselves. But the dish just did not come together. The sauce was bland and there was not a unifying flavor. I could easily have made this dish at home with leftovers in my fridge. 

Tuscany Grill Spinach Fettuccine

This Spinach Fettuccine was bland because they failed to tie the flavors together, it tasted very uninspired.


Would you be surprised if I told you that my wife’s gnocchi tasted dense , like  hard packed dough? They tasted like  frozen gnocchi that I would pick up at any grocery store.  The sauce was actually good, made with tomato cream sauce and brandy.  Too bad they messed up on the central ingredient. I could have easily gone to Trader Joes and picked up their frozen gnocchi for $4 and  gotten a better meal. Sorry to be rough, but this was missed opportunity.

Tuscany Grill  Gnocchi

If you are going to use frozen Gnocchi, at least buy the high quality frozen gnocchi

 My Final Thoughts

I encourage my readers to make their own decisions on Tuscany Grill. Perhaps I visited Tuscany Grill on an off night.  Although based on my experience, I do not recommend this restaurant. If you already purchased a GroupOn or AmazonLocal Deal, please report back and let me know how your experience went.  I very rarely write bad reviews, unless the restaurant really takes advantage of their customers, gets me sick or has stopped caring about what they do.  The disengagement at Tuscany Grill is obvious.  Perhaps they are making enough money from distracted business luncheons to get by with subpar food and dirty menus. 

Restaurant Website http://www.tuscanymediterraneegrill.com/
Tuscany Mediterranee Grill on Urbanspoon
See my other Bad Restaurant Reviews

Crystal Jade Garden


Recent Restaurant Reviews

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The Blind Pig


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About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.


  1. Just from that review i would not go in there to eat.. the stick menu gets me every time..

  2. I have 2 friends who live in Irvine. Looks like it’s time to visit with them again!

  3. It doesn’t sound like it was an enjoyable experience. The menus would have put me over the edge!

  4. sometimes this restaurant owners get to overwhelmed with the administration and financial part of their business
    and let their passion fade away… sad

  5. Mehhh this doesn’t sound like a place I’d want to go to. The sticky menu and them changing the prices by hand oh boy hahaha!

  6. There is clearly some chicanery going on here. I have read numerous tales of people who went there with Groupons or the like and being overcharged outrageously for some part of their meal or having automatic 20% tips added. Also there appears to be a lot of shilling of the review sites. So many of their positive reviews are by one time reviewers raving about the place.

  7. Lol this was a great read. I would have been pretty annoyed with a lot of those failures as well. I did like that interesting light fixture, though.

  8. Handwritten prices on menu is pretty bad

  9. Wow it sounds like it must have been pretty bad.

  10. Sticky menus are bad enough, but hand written higher prices? Oh my goodness, doesn’t get much tackier!

  11. Please for the love of God! Get new menus printed…. it’s not that serious. I hate that… I always wash my hands after I handle the menu and I don’t use the salt and pepper on the table either.. Did you know little kids touch their butts then put the shakers in their mouths?? They do, I have seen it. You can never be too careful.

  12. We go there all the time, Lunch dishes are great, I do not find the décor odd at all, I have ben in Italy and many great restaurants looks like this, okay the stain on the paper menu is made by the clients and maybe you, this is very unfair review ,we been there many times and had no problem’s,it must be an odd night ,

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