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Leonardo's Italian Restaurant

2520 Rocky Ridge, Vestavia
Lunch and dinner, full bar, patio, live music nightly. Homemade Italian dishes "just like what you get at our house," says owner Tony Falleta. Specialties include veal and chicken marsala, baked eggplant stuffed with ricotta. Live music ranges from accordion to piano to blues and jazz, with customer sing-alongs not uncommon. In our opinion, the atmosphere is better than the food (sugary sweet red sauce, overdone veal), with the exception of the rolls, which are fantastic. But a lot of people love the place.

Posted on Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 11:51AM by Registered CommenterDeborah Lockridge in | Comments24 Comments

Reader Comments (24)

The staff was just exceptional, and the food was to die for! Everything, from the atmosphere to fiinshing dessert, was just a perfect evening. (December 2003)

June 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine Puckett

I have to strongly agree with your rating of Leonardo's. I was born and raised in New Jersey and my grandmother was born in Italy. I very much miss good Italian food, which Birmingham greatly lacks. I was excited when Leonardo's opened to rave reviews my local Vestavia residents. After waiting in line, I couldn't imagine what the fuss was all about. Although the service was fine and the owner very hospitable, the food was terrible. There were five of us and no one liked their entree. The bread, however, was acceptable. I swore never to return. However, I did after they were opened for a year hoping that they had improved. I was dining with a friend and we shared the baked oyster appetizer, which was not edible. The vinegar taste was so strong, we thought the oysters had gone bad! When we informed the waiter that the dish was not edible, he simply agreed with us and said that other diners had also expressed this. However, we still had to pay for it!!! The fried Italian donuts for dessert were a pleasant surpise having grown up eating them (we called them Zeppolis) but our entrees were just so-so. The restaurant still remains crowded and I can only wonder if people in Birmingham just have not experienced what good Italian food really tastes like.

June 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy Reid

I was disappointed with your review of Leonardo's. I'm no food critic, but I like good food and I enjoyed my entrees on both my lunch time visits. The rolls are incredible. On my first visit I had cheese ravioli that was very fresh tasting and cheesy. The spinach and mushroom calzone that I had on my second visit was very good. The spinach as fresh and flavorful and the cheeses were excellent. I agree the salad is a huge disappointment. I think Leonardo's could be great with a few improvements.

June 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGail Myers

My husband and I decided to go out to eat for Valentine's Day. It appeared everyone else in the Birmingham area had the same idea. he first restaurant we visited said there would be a two-hour wait so we drove around looking for an alternative. We spotted Leonardo's which we knew nothing about but it looked good. Luckily someone with reservations didn't show up and we got a table. The atmosphere was romantic with valentine balloons and the music was terrific. The food, especially the rolls and lasagna were excellent. The service was superb. We really felt welcomed despite our drop in. We wouldn't hesitate to return! (February 2004)

June 14, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBetty Warren

Leonardo's is wonderful! I can see where people would say that the red sauce is not their favorite, but the Chicken Marsala, rolls, and the house vinegarette are to die for. The chicken in the Marsala can be cut with a fork, and the portions are very large. I've only been at lunch so far, but it is one of my favorite Italian places (that I've tried so far) in town.

September 25, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTracy Mountain

Just don't get the manicotti... I was highly disappointed...

October 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

We have loved Leonardo's since our first visit five years ago. The staff is wonderful and the food is even better! Our favorite dishes are the chicken parmigiana, shrimp musso and the calzones. Whether it's lunch or dinner or their catering, this is the best Italian food in Birmingham!!!

December 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

We had a wonderful dinning experience last week! We' re from Dothan, Al and we would just love to have an italian resturant as good as Leonardo's! The olive garden is the best dothan has to offer and it is "lacking" to say the least! We will be returning this week for our 7 month old's dr appt at childern's hospital and we will we'll also be returning to Leonardo's for dinner!

June 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

I have eaten "real" Italian food. I have eaten it in New York at very pricey Italian Restaurants, and I have eaten "real" Italian food of in-laws. I love Italian food ... and if anyone knows of a BETTER Italian Restaurant ... a BETTER quaint style atomosphere ... and BETTER price restaurant than Leonardo's ... PLEASE ... let me know!

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTripp

Having lived in Naples, Italy for 15 years, I can assure the Birmingham gourmets that Leonardo's has very little to do with Italian food. Real Italian food tastes great. Leonardo's does not. They serve very mediocre Italian-American dishes. Not recommended.

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJune

I saw pish posh to all these negative reviews. Leonardo's is first on my list on Italian restaurants in Birmingham, with Giuseppes running a close second.

The rolls are amazing and the baked rigatoni with sausage? It's quite possibly the meal I want before I die. It is bathed in glorious cheese and seasoned to perfection.

My only complaint is that the salad dressings are underwhelming and a little too thin. If only they could be touched up a bit, I think you're looking at as close to Italian perfection as you can get in town.

February 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterT. S. Smith

Really there is only one entree that Leonardo's does well, which is is the baked rigatoni with sausage. It is quite good. Other than that, the pizza at lunch is good but the rest of the menu is lacking. Recently, they have started skimping on everything, especially the salad. No olives anymore, and only 1 cherry tomato last time I ate there. The rolls were cold too.

And the atmosphere, loud on the inside if you are forced to sit by the piano. And don't get me started on that accordian guy. He needs to be quarantined outside.

I am Italian, more specifically Sicilian, and Leonardo's is mediocre at best. Try Joe's Italian out in Alabaster instead.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Lunch at Leonardo's was excellent. Pasta dishes and salads were very good and portions were large enough that several go boxes were needed. Server was very helpful without being intrusive. Owner brought out a dvd player for our little one and even offered to walk her around so that her mom could concentrate on her meal! We recommend it.

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjen, birmingham

They catered a Thanksgiving Luncheon for my work group of 50 people. We had Baked Ziti, Chicken Alfredo, Rolls, Cobbler, Tea and Feta Salad. Everyone raved over the meal; it was delicious! And they delivered it, and it was on time.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterP A Holleran

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July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterExclusive Essays

I had dinner at Leonardos for the first time on yesterday. The food was very fresh! The tea, and the rolls were great! I had baked lasagna and it could have been seasoned a little more. We also had calamari which could have been seasoned a bit more and it was a little rubberish. The salad was great, very fresh! I heard so much about this restaurant. I give it a 7 the best italian food that I've had in Birmingham. It was very authentic! I will be visiting.

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan

It has been awhile since we have been to Leonardo's but something must have changed. It used to be number 1 on our list. Last night our observations were as follows:

Service: D, It took 1 hour to get our main course
Taste: B minus, Chicken Florentine for me, Steak and Lobster tail for my wife
Atmosphere: C, much of the crowd had shorts, tshirts and flip flops. you never would have seen that in the past.

The only thing we really enjoyed was the little person on the piano although it was a little hard to here him due to the loud, "redneck" crowd.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSROBAL

If you want authentic Italian food, Leonardo's is the place to go. I guess growing up in an Italian family made me very picky. I've tried other Italian restaurants but I've never been to one that compares to Leonardo's. I'm not a fan of the chain restaurants and some of the restaurants, operated by actual Italians, use so much vinegar that the sauce is sour tasting, Ugh. I actually drive 30 minutes and pass several other Italian restaurants to go to Leonardo’s - Why? Because it taste just like my Nana used to make.

September 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebra

duray-I kind of feel like the same person except more time has gone by.I hate to say that I feel like an adult now. I have to admit I wish I was still 18 , After all , even through the time while I was representing taht wild kid ,I really wasn't.I was just living my life . I was just not making movies at the time.-Leonardo --Parmigiani Fleurier watches uk sale

September 18, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterzoro1

Hey,italian foods are very spicy and tasty.

September 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertrivia companies Melbourne

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