I got the chance to dine at Florentina's on a Thursday evening with Jeff and 6 other people, including 3 children ages 11 and under. The first part of our group (including myself) arrived right at 5pm and the parking lot was filling quickly. Although there were no other people waiting to be seated, the dining room was pretty obviously getting to be on the full side. (Insert your own old-folks joke about Branson here) We were seated almost immediately at a large (10-top) table in the back of a smaller, more private room that held three or four other large tables. We were the first ones in that evening and were encouraged by the hostess to simply spread out however we would like and make ourselves comfortable, which was nice. It was also much more quiet in our little back corner, which made conversation an actual possibility. The general ambiance was casual, but not exceptionally cliche. Although one of the big advertising points was the brick-oven pizzas, it definitely did not feel like a pizza place.
Our server, Tanya, was excellent. Very friendly and prompt. We were able to sit down and get comfortable, and she immediately came over with two pizza paddles with several loaves of fresh, hot bread and plates of parmesan cheese and herbs to be mixed with olive oil for the bread. She took our drink orders, and after the brought our drinks didn't bother us again until everyone else arrived. Although the menu was pretty extensive, it didn't take long for everyone to find a familiar favorite. Throughout the meal there was plenty of bread, drinks stayed full, and we stayed very happy.
The food was really great. The menu was quite extensive, combining a lot of classic favorites and some not-so classic but very tasty-sounding dishes. One thing I noticed that was really nice was the option for family-style (and family-sized) options. Not just entrees either, but appetizers, salads, and sides as well. We had too many differing tastes to be able to do something like that, but it was definitely a nice option to have. I had the chicken saltimbocca (which had a much fancier name) served with green beans and roasted red potatoes. My only complaint was that I wished there was a little more of the lemon cream sauce because I really couldn't taste it at all, but the chicken was tasty, the sage was fresh, and the potatoes were perfect. I can't comment on the green beans because, well, I don't eat green vegetables. I offered them to others but they didn't want them either because green beans just aren't something I associate with italian food! I simply wanted the potatoes instead of pasta!
Jeff had the "Paolo's Favorites" which consisted of lasagna, fettuccine alfredo, and spaghetti with marinara and italian sausage. Other dishes on our table included a spaghetti that seemed to be a souped-up version of Jeff's spaghetti, and a carni pizza. The kids kept it simple with pizza and fettuccine alfredo. Everything was absolutely wonderful. I got to try bites of the fettuccine, lasagna, and pizza in addition to my dinner and it was all wonderful. I wasn't overly impressed with the fettuccine, but it was still very good. No complaints here. Even our pickiest little guy finished off his entire pizza (which I don't know if I could have done!) We never made it to dessert because the portion sizes were generous, but not insanely huge. Most of us finished off our meals, but we definitely did not leave hungry!
My biggest gripe was the fact that they didn't have sweet tea! I know that we are kind of on the line between being in the south and not being in the south, but it seems that most places around here have sweet tea. I was a little surprised this place didn't. However, I also discovered this place has been open less than three months, so that may change soon!
The prices were very reasonable. It definitely would not qualify as a "cheap" meal, but it was absolutely a great value! Although food around here is plentiful, I definitely have not encountered this quality of food or of service, especially for this price! It certainly would have been easy for us to get sub-par service (in fact, I was almost expecting it) considering that not only were there several children, but the gratuity would automatically be included since we were a larger party. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case!
I really have no complaints about the whole evening! It was great food, a great setting, great service, and great company!
I really wanted to try the fried ravioli but didn't get a chance (and frankly, I'm kind of glad we didn't get any because I probably wouldn't have been able to finish my dinner if I had!) so if you ever go and try them, let me know what you think!