Italian Colors Restaurant: Reviews

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Italian Colors Restaurant: Reviews | restaurant info + video | full episode video

Douglas Schlafer
Name: Douglas
Occupation: Trust Officer
Location: Oakland
Favorite Restaurant: Italian Colors Restaurant
Reviewed Italian Colors Restaurant: Sunday, December 22, 2013

Italian Colors is among the best of the neighborhood, go-to restaurants in the East Bay. Situated on Mountain Boulevard in Oakland's Montclair District, it has been delivering top notch Italian and surprisingly sophisticated California cuisine for over 20 years, and is much loved by its dedicated clientele.

Salads tend to be oversized, if not gargantuan. A favorite is the Beet Salad with grilled asparagus, hazelnuts and goat cheese. At once a riot of tastes and textures. For entrees I like the Green Scarves Lasagna, a deconstructed version of the classic casserole, with delicate house-made spinach pasta sheets filled with mozzarella, ricotta and béchamel in a very good marinara. All of the pasta dishes at Italian Colors are very, very good, the Gnocchi Bolognese and Carbonara stand out, and all of the pastas can be substituted for gluten free quinoa. If you go and are interested in a steak, don't miss the Charbroiled Rib Eye if it is on the Specials menu. It is tender, delicious and always perfectly prepared to order. Pizzas are excellent, my favorite being the Salsiccia with house made fennel sausage and a crisp, thin crust. The desserts are wonderful, with a special nod their Flourless Gooey Warm Chocolate Cake.

Italian Colors is much more than a family restaurant, although families are welcomed with open arms. Italian Colors is my perfect find and, with its constantly changing menu, a surprise every time I go.

Shannyn Kastner
Name: Shannyn
Occupation: Housewife and Foodie
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: M.Y. China
Reviewed Italian Colors Restaurant: Saturday, December 21, 2013


We started off with the Calamari which was accompanied by two dipping sauces (lemon caper aioli and spicy marinara) which were both full of flavor and the marinara had just the right amount of spice. I tend to like my calamari on the crispier side and they cooked it to perfection.

We shared the Caesar Salad and that was very tasty. I particularly liked the dressing because it wasn’t too heavy and didn’t have a strong anchovy taste, which I dislike. I had the Eggplant Parmesan, which is one of the house specialties, and it was excellent. The eggplant was breaded and fried perfectly, so that it still had a crispy texture underneath the cheese and sauce. My husband tried another house specialty, which was the 72-Hour Braised Short Ribs, and he stated that it was extremely fatty and wasn’t impressed. I had a small bite, but am not a fan of short ribs, so naturally I really didn’t care for the dish.

The best part of the entire meal was dessert. We ordered the Hot Fudge Sundae with chocolate hazelnut crackle. WOW! I would go back specifically for that dessert. The waiter explained to me the crackle was made by drizzling warm Nutella over corn flakes and then baking them in the oven. I absolutely LOVE Nutella, so that was impressive. This is something I will definitely try making at home and a very unique touch!

I wouldn’t travel all the way back to Oakland as we live in San Francisco just for this restaurant, but if we were in the area – I would stop in for that excellent dessert!

Suki van Arsdale
Name: Suki
Occupation: Student/Aspiring Filmmaker
Location: Oakland
Favorite Restaurant: Señor Sisig Food Truck
Reviewed Italian Colors Restaurant: Monday, December 2, 2013

I ordered the Matzo Ball Soup for my appetizer that had a chicken broth base which I was aware of because of the listing on the menu. Being a vegetarian, I usually stay away from that, but it was really cold, and soup sounded good. I was disappointed though when it came to the table and had actual chicken hunks in it because that wasn’t listed on the description. I gave the chicken to my father. The matzo ball was big, very tasty, the broth had rich flavor, overall it was pretty good. The restaurant was very old-timey, with Sinatra playing in the background. I was definitely the youngest person there, besides the staff. The tables had paper on top of the linens, which I thought was kind of cheap. The drinks and apps came out fairly fast. For dinner I ordered their Funghi Mushroom Pizza that had caramelized onions on it (one of my faves), my father had the Pasta del Giorno that was a mix of seafood and veggies in pasta, and my mother had the Eggplant Parmigiana that came with a side of veggies. They all came out at the same time, but my father’s pasta was cold, and he said his fish was overcooked. My pizza came out looking perfect, golden crust, nice caramelized looking cheese, but had no flavor. I’ve never salted a pizza a day in my life until this one. My mother’s entrée was the highlight of the three, and I kept picking at it. Besides the food being underwhelming, we kept getting too much attention from the staff. We had our server checking up with us as well as two busboys, it was at least every 5 minutes, which was getting to be a little much.

For dessert, we had the Crème Brulee, which although had great flavor and texture, was ice cold. Overall I was super underwhelmed, the restaurant was very stuffy and dated, and the food was lacking pretty much all flavor. I will not be returning.