Gargiulo’s* (Formerly Portifinos) Tinton Falls NJ

You gotta go…you are spot on with this is what I expected Garaguilo’s to be as well, but in an even finer dining experience. Jimmy’s is table clothed dining but “fine dining” would be a bit of a stretch.

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very few Italian places are really “high end”- none around here; something like Marea which is prob more Mediterranean or something like Del Posto. Prob the “white table cloth” moniker is more apt, but I really miss that around here. However, most of those have gone the way of the sweatpants, hat, and tank top these days as it’s prob too difficult to turn away the $$.
One of my buddies used to wait tables at a mid level Italian spot in Staten Island on the weekends, a place with a great rep- his stories about inappropriate patrons every Mon were awesome.

FYI, Jimmy’s is NOT Marea. Just don’t want you to have that expectation! But I’m with @NotJrvedivici - I bet you’ll love it. Old school and they do what they do extremely well!

The closest we get to a true Mediterranean Italian experience around here is Via45 in Red Bank and Il Nido in Marlboro.

You have undici, buona sera, angelicas, birra vino. The word “high end” is subjective but these places are in the “nicer” end of the spectrum in my eyes. Some place like the pastaria or Patrizias I would consider more “mid range.”

I don’t think a super fancy Italian place would make it here unless the food was worldclass (think something like nicholas.)

Here is my concern with the new spot. The food will be good, I think most can agree on that. Will it be good enough? That is the question! Will the value be there to lure people in? The food has to stand out to make it in that location. The place has to make food better than the other Italian competition or offer a good value if the food isn’t top notch. It is one or the other. People aren’t paying higher dollar for average italian.

My concern is location. There isn’t going to be any foot traffic or people driving by and randomly stopping for dinner there. Let’s face the facts, it isnt rt 35, 36, 9 etc. So I think they need great food to make people go out of their way to get there, or serve good quality food at a fair price and turn it into a “neighborhood” restaurant. (Example would be the sitting duck. No one is turning down that street. Its 90% local people or employees that work in the area. Food is ok and prices are fair.)

Ps, buona sera has 803 Google reviews at 4.4 stars. That is impressive!

While I agree with just about everything you have stated you overlook one thing, Portofino’s survived there for 20+ years prior to their closing, because the owner/chef fell ill. I don’t think Gargiulo’s food is much better or worse than Portofino’s, so who knows. lol

Yeah I do remember them being around for a long time. That brings me to the “neighborhood” topic. Weren’t most of the people in there local and if I recall, the prices were decent?

I’m definitely rooting for them. I’d love to see solid Italian off the beaten path.

I can’t honestly answer that question, albeit I’m a local and I never went there.

4.1 on Google and 3.5 on yelp so far. The reviews are all over and I didn’t read any google or yelp reviews from people with 1-3 ratings. Those people are never reliable (either a rant or a friend/relative hyping the place up.)

Has anyone been lately?

Some discrepancies I noticed among reviews…

Rice balls were dry and tasteless
Rice balls were great

Bread was stale
Bread was fresh

Pasta was undercooked
Pasta was mush

Place is dark and drab
Place was too bright my girlfriend said

Which of the two chicken scarapiello dishes would you choose?

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This is exactly why I don’t bother with Yelp or Google for restaurant reviews.

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