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Trattoria Tre Venezie

($$$$) - Closed
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119 W Green St
Pasadena, CA 91105 (Map & Directions)
Phone: (626) 795-4455
Cuisine: Italian
Neighborhood: Old Town Pasadena

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Additional Dining Info


Credit Cards Accepted


Good for Kids

Business casual



Price Point
$$$$ $ - Cheap Eats (Under $10)
$$ - Moderate ($11-$25)
$$$ - Expensive ($25-$50)
$$$$ - Very Pricey (Over $50)


Outdoor Seats


Tue-Fri: 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-10pm, Sat-Sun: 6pm-10pm

Restaurant Description

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Top Reviews of Trattoria Tre Venezie

review_stars 02/07/2011 - Pirsqard
I’ll start by saying I never write reviews; I don’t have time to write reviews. But in this case I must write as a catharsis for the hideous experience I had last night at a restaurant called Tre Venezie, in Old Town Pasadena.

I knew nothing about Tre Venezie. My girlfriend and I were looking for a place to spend my birthday evening and simply walked in off the street to what appeared to be a charming little restaurant. What a misleading facade!

We were seated at a charming table next to a window and that is where all charm ended. Our “server” creature greeted us: anthropomorphic in appearance, appearing of the feminine gender, but possessing no other human qualities. There was no charm, kindness, warmth or even a smile throughout the evening; absolutely no human connection at all; only an understated attitude of contempt.

Although we are well traveled and of some means, it would be immediately apparent to the server-thing that we were completely unfamiliar with the crap they were serving. And we were. But rather than an attitude of kindness and hospitality, of an offer to initiate us to the intricacies of the Italian specialties and regional cuisine they were claiming to serve, the server-thing maintained a condescending and vacuously pretentious posture. And so our misadventure at Tre Venezie began.

Besides petty attitudes that themselves spoke of small mindedness, the server-thing further displayed it’s very limited intellectual capability by spewing out a list of “specials” read from a notepad; how familiar could it be with the offal its selling if it can’t even conceptualize it? I am familiar with fine dining and have never seen a professional server read specials from a notepad. The server-thing wasn’t equipped to take ownership of words.

We got it pretty quickly: this place is a pretentious dump. Nonetheless, we were not in the mood to change restaurants, it was getting late anyway, so we tried as best we could to salvage the evening and continue on. We decided to order an entree each and some wine and make the best of it.

As the specials were just a condescending run of words we had never heard before, we had questions for the server-thing. But it was useless to try to get through; it didn’t really know what it was talking about anyway. I ordered off the menu a sort of beef ragout served with a large, flat pasta, and my girlfriend ordered a special, but never quite knowing what was to come.

In the meantime I looked at the wine list. My girlfriend drinks white wine and I red, so we decided to order separate carafes. The server-thing suggested two wines and brought them for us to taste. The red was not what I had in mind and when I said so, the creature actually became rudely argumentative, inferring that I really didn’t know my mind?! The wine list contains at least thirty wines by the carafe, and as I began to peruse the list and make inquiries, it had no interest in my interests, but instead condescended that it would have to see what’s “available.” This negated entirely any point in having a list of wines that can be ordered by the carafe.

Server-thing brought the “available” wine and a glass for me to take a taste. Not a choice I had made but the one the server-thing was willing to serve me; an “available” wine. It was apparently a Reserve Cabernet. My girlfriend and I both took a taste and I said it was fine. And this is the interesting thing: both my girlfriend and I are certain that I did not receive the wine I tasted. What I got was rot-gut in a carafe, some base wine that didn’t compare to the vilest wine you can imagine. And my girlfriend told the obnoxious creature just that: this is rot-gut. And what was its response? Did it apologize or offer another wine in the spirit of professional hospitality? Of course not, and because by now we knew its true nature, we didn’t expect any offer of hospitality. It again argued, not only condescending that we didn’t know what we were talking about, but contemptuously inferring that what we really got was what we deserved. The wine was left on the tariff without any further comment and I left the wine unfinished. It was truly sickening to even smell, let alone imbibe.

In the meantime our entrees had arrived. The back server-thing, hunched and morose, dropped our plates without even looking at us, let alone a greeting, an acknowledgment or the usual question one expects from a place of hospitality: is there anything else I can get you to go with your meals? Again, we felt palpable contempt in the room.

My entree was fine, but common and unspectacular. Delivered to my girlfriend was a bowl with five small doughy balls in a pool of butter, bland in taste and about the size of gnocchi, that would better serve as a mortar for bonding bricks than as a substance fit for human consumption. Although the restaurant seems to take pride in its fresh indigenous organic ingredients, none of that is evident in what they serve. It must be a joke.

We finished our entrees, and since the portions are minuscule and that is all we ordered, for the most part we ate everything. The server-thing returned to our table, and referring to our empty plates, actually asked, with stupid audacity, if we were finished and if we wanted to “lick the plates?!” The evening had turned absurd; the server-thing was an idiot.

How does this story end? Could there possibly be more than the incredulous feeling of indignation we already had from being taken advantage of and demeaned by a low-life server thing? Well, yes, there is. Insult was added to injury.

Unbeknownst to me, when we arrived, my girlfriend had mentioned to the server-thing that it was my birthday, assuming that like most restaurants, they did something festive at the end in recognition. But by the time we had finished our entrees, we were also finished with being there and so, when the desert menus were offered, declined. We wanted to leave and put the miserable experience that is Tre Venezie behind us. Instead of the tariff what do we get? A candle stuck in the middle of a small plate surrounded by green sprinkles. It was messy and no attempt had been made to make it decorative. Since we hadn’t even ordered a desert, it was an obvious insult. And for what? I couldn’t say. Perhaps we should have begged their pardon for having arrived.

By the end of the meal, and the next day as I write this, we both felt literally, physically poisoned by the food and wine we were served, and psychically poisoned by the experience of Tre Venezie. My girlfriend, who paid for the meal, was heartbroken at the way my birthday dinner turned out. The unsolicited contempt we felt from the staff, which can only come down from management and ownership, was real, and as such dangerous. Contempt is a symptom of disrespect of oneself. Those without self-respect are both unreliable and untrustworthy: self-disrespect allows them to justify any behavior towards another. Tre Venezie has no business in a business predicated on hospitality. Tre Venezie, as Groucho Marx put it succinctly, would never be a member of a club that would allow it to be a member.

Obviously we will never return to Tre Venezie and my advice to anyone considering going there is don’t. This low life establishment crossed a line far beyond rude, leaving both my girlfriend and I with feelings of anger and resentment. In the end, we felt robbed of our time, our dignity and our money.

review_stars 08/28/2010 - Peter Rich
My wife and I have been here 20 times and always have had a delicious, unstereotypical meal with excellent (if formal) service. This restaurant is also a favorite of our three grown daughters; indeed, it was our family's choice for many birthdays and other special events. The owner is quite gracious once you get to know him--he's a bit shy. The reason why some people just don't get this restaurant is that itis at the opposite end of the spectrum from traditional red sauce Italian. Instead, it features the authentic cuisine of the Veneto and Alto Aldige (near the Austrian border), combined with medieval recipes (like the exquisite Cjalsons, which vary each time and must be ordered in advance). The pastas and seafood are a particular strength. We also love the "private home" ambience. Unique and treasured.

review_stars 07/04/2010 - Jeanine armada
One of the worst meals I have ever eaten (or attempted to eat.). My husband agreed.

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