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Buona Sera Restaurant - 20 Reviews - 94 University Pl, New York, NY - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (212) 627-9200

Buona Sera Restaurant

94 University Pl (at at 12th St.)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 627-9200
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Main categories:

Restaurants , Italian Restaurants

Related categories:

Food & Dining , European Restaurants


Buona Sera Restaurant - New York, NY
Buona Sera Restaurant - New York, NY
Buona Sera Restaurant - New York, NY
Buona Sera Restaurant - New York, NY


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Amazing atmosphere, delicious food and great service. Highly recommended


Decided to give this place a try after walking past it about a thousand times. Heard the lasagne was good, so ordered that. It was COLD (not lukewarm even) in the middle. Sent it ...


Amazing atmosphere, delicious food and great service. Highly recommended more

Worst experience at a restaurant ever 2/27/2009

My fiancee and I were read the specials very quickly. All we really heard was clams, mussels, bla bla bla, lobster sauce. Sounded good...until we got it. Our waiter spoke very quickly when giving the specials, but fiancee and I was absolutely sure he never mentioned squid ink pasta.\r \r It was absolutely disgusting. We asked if we could have it switched with a pasta made from flower, water and egg but were told by the manager, who did not seem to care that his waiter never mentioned the squid ink, that we would be charged for the additional meals. We eventually got them to simply make a little more pasta and simply dump the clams, mussels, etc. on the pasta. What we finally received was very good.\r \r Unfortunately, the service continued to be rude. At one point another waiter, not ours at all, decided it was his place to come over, asked if we liked what we ate, then went on to say that people come to their restaurant and ask for the squid ink specifically, essentially saying that we were out of place to dislike the squid ink and should have eaten the food.\r \r This waiter's comment was completely uncalled for. Furthermore, I don't care what other people request. Some people request some pretty sick things in this city. Does that mean I should be into it too?\r \r Finally we got our check and discovered another thing people should be warned about. You don't get the prices with the specials. While a normal pasta and clam sauce will cost you $15 a dish, the specials go for about $32.\r \r Overall, the food was okay, but not worth the money at all! Rocco's off W. Houston is far FAR better. And the overall customer service was the worst I've experienced. Cons: Draft, rude, cramped, slow, argumentative, bland, OVERPRICED more

Worse service and food!!! 12/21/2008

I went to this over expansive restaurant few days ago with my girlfriend, and what I got???? 120 dollars check for 2 SPECIALS that waitress never warned us about that they are 34,75. Waitress was very bad and how about owner? Screaming at staff in front of guests. This was worse dinning experience I had in my life. Poor very poor restaurant. It doesn't even deserve to be on citysearch list. Please avoid this place. Cons: service,food,owner more

Horrible Food for the Price... 4/29/2008

The food was bland and the seafood was overcooked! For the price of food at this restaurant, one would expect a decent meal...but it's not what you will get! I did get an attentive waitress. Pros: live music more

Good food, poor service 4/24/2008

Well I enjoyed the food there, specially Linguine alle Vongale very tasty. But I agree with other people the service needs some work. Pros: Food is tasty Cons: poor service more

good food though a little overpriced 4/15/2008

It strikes me that this is a little touristy given the off-Union Square location, but it is definitely convenient, which is why a friend and I met there last night. It was not crowded because it was a Monday night, so we chose a quiet table on the opposite side of the restaurant from the live music--we could still hear it and it was a nice touch, not too loud at all. The service was attentive but a little too much so: coming over and turning up a really bright light when we were trying to read something (it is dark in there); but that was just to be nice really. I had the insalata del bosco, which is portabella and grilled mozzarella served over arugula with a sweet and rich balsalmic reduction. The mussels and clams appetizer was garlicky but good, with just enough broth for sopping up with the focaccia (and yes the tomato essence that comes w/ the bread basket is good--just serve a bigger portion of it please!) I tried my friend's penne ala vodka and it was what a good version of this dish should be. I thought the prices were high for pretty simple trattoria-style food but I would go there again for Italian on Union Square. more

Bad food, terrible service 1/27/2008

I wish I had read reviews here before eating (and wasting) my Sun brunch. Their ""live jazz"" enticed us and we went in, only to have the worst possible customer service experience. The food is pretty bad and the service even worse. The manager is a complete waste who should be featured in one of those celebrity Chef Gorden's Kitchen Nightmare shows. \r \r DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY TO GO HERE. more

Worst Service in NYC 1/27/2008

DO NOT GO TO THIS RESTAURANT! My wife and I, and two other friends went to this restaurant for brunch because they advertized a live jazz band and the food looked pretty good. The waiter we had was really nice and I kind of feel sorry for him that he has to work in a place run by a manager who is so degrading, mean and plain and simply rude. The food wasnt the best, but the service was horrible. The tomato sauce that accompanies the bread basket is pretty good so we ordered some additional sauce with our meal, but the owner came by and said that he would charge us for an additional bread basket, when we didnt even ask for more bread. In addition one of our friends thought the cobb salad nicoise was just full of string beans and nothing else, so asked the owner if we can replace the salad with something else, and he gave us this indifferent look and flatly said no. There are tons of other places in NYC to go to for brunch. Do not go here.! Pros: Location, Ambience Cons: VERY POOR SERVICE, MANAGER HAS AN ATTITUDE PROBLEM more

Big disappointment 8/9/2007

I had eaten here once or twice before and the food was decent. But I recently went back there and was horrified by the service. It was pretty crowded when my friend and I walked in, but there were still about four or five 4-tops available. We were told they couldn't seat us and they put us at the bar. We sat there while the bartender frantically poured drinks in front of us, and NO ONE even acknowledged our presence. The bartender, in her frantic state, tipped a bottle of red wine onto me and my friend and didn't even stop working. She just looked at us and kept working. The two of us are standing there with red wine spotting our clothes and my pretty expensive handbag, and it took a good minute for a waiter to come over offering club soda. They didn't apologize or offer one of the tables still sitting empty. As we left we tried to get the name of the manager, and no one would tell us. We called back and the bartender yelled at my friend and said she saw what happened and there was nothing on ""the girl's skirt."" Funny...I was wearing pants. I will never go there again. Pros: Standard Italian Cons: Terrible service, no accountability more

Mediocre food, bad service 7/14/2007

We actually live in the neighborhood and about once a year I try this restaurant HOPING that they improve. We had some family in from out of town and they saw the open windows while we were walking by and said, 'ooh...that looks nice. Let's go there.""\r \r Disappointed again. It's a damn shame that the place has to be so bad. The house Cabernet that they charged $9 a glass for was virtually undrinkable. The pasta was overcooked and the sauces bland. And the staff was rushed and made you feel uncomfortable. When asking for parmasean cheese, you'd think I'd asked for the waitress' first born! \r \r Go a block in any direction to find a more appealing and more satifying meal. Pros: Location good Cons: Primarily service. Food a close second. more

Horrible and unbelievably enfuriating!!! 1/22/2007

After wandering around Union Square with a couple of friends one evening, we were starving and ducked into Buona Sera, thinking it looked like a decent find. Boy, were we wrong! We should have seen the red flags immediately, since we walked into an empty restaurant at dinnertime and were seated in presumably the smallest table ever to be considered a 4-seater. When we casually requested a larger table near the window, we were told flat out, ""No."" And again I stress, there was one other table of people in the whole place, so why they couldn't accommodate us, I still don't understand. Then, after taking the waiter's advice and ordering the special, my friend was served a grossly undercooked meal (I think it was supposed to be chicken...?). She took one bite, nearly gagged and asked the waiter to take it back. Not wanting to make a big deal out of it, she was quiet and polite. When the bill came, we noticed the special was still on the check and asked the waiter to have it removed. He informed us that he could not do that, per his manager's instructions, and so we asked to see the manager. After attempting to convince us we were responsible for paying the bill because we ""chose"" not to eat the dish in question, we argued that it was disgustingly undercooked and un-edible. The manager could clearly not handle speaking calming and rationally with customers and refused to accommodate us in any way. As he grew more and more upset and flustered, he frustratingly said to the waiter, ""You deal with this!"" as he stormed away. We all sat there in complete shock. In the end, we just paid the bill, but as we were leaving, the horrible manger sarcastically taunted us with ""Hey! Have a GREAT evening!"" This was, by far, the WORST experience I have ever had at a restaurant. No person who is acquainted with any of the four of there that night will step foot in Buona Sera, that is for sure. Pros: Can't think of anything positive about my visit Cons: Horrible food, horrible manager more

Stay away! Horrific service, overpriced, bait-and-switch wine list, incompetent management! 1/14/2007

Perhaps the wost dining experience I have had in NYC. We ordered a $30 bottle of wine; the waiter mistakenly brought a much more expensive bottle that we drank without realizing until the check showed up - when we asked for a correction to what we had ordered the manager started shouting at us as if it was our fault. Train your servers properly and you won't have that problem - don't blame your customers!\r \r Food on the menu is reasonably priced ($12 - $15 for pasta entrees) and actually was pretty good, but the off-menu special (fish) that I ordered wound up being $30, which is totally out of whack with (a) the price point of the rest of the menu, and (b) the fish that was ordered (whitefish, not super-exotic Ahi or something like that). I should have asked about the price of my entree, but really, looking at other reviews I note a theme here - poor service that tries to drive the check up by presenting expensive off-menu items. \r \r Ironically the food wasn't all that bad, but in NYC there is no reason to tolerate bad food OR bad service, both of which are important when you eat out - and despite a decent kitchen, Buona Sera has bad service in abundance. Stay away! Cons: VERY poor service, dishonest management more

Slow service... pretty good food 6/15/2006

I came here with a group of 8 for my birthday. We were in a side room and the waiters kept coming around and turning the lights on and off, dimming it up and down and it was really annoying. Although our food took forever and our waiter was really aloof, the food was pretty good, though overpriced. I got the pollo alla genovese which was just chicken and artichokes in a cream sauce. it was good, and the veggies were ok. All the food was just average. I don't think I'll be going back, but it was acceptable. more

OMG! worst resaurant in the city! no kidding. 6/25/2005

I just ate there and the service and food was horrible! We waited for the food forever, when it came the food was soggy and NOT worth what you pay for. you can make better pasta at home. Just boil some pasta and open up a ragu, that's better than paying $16! I don't know how they stay in business, all the waiters should be fired! They just don't seem to care about anything. In fact, just to let them know, I left them a penny for their lovely service. They really need to shape up or close down! I hope the owner is reading this and the rest of the reviews.. Pros: location Cons: service, food, service more

The absolute worst service 5/27/2005

I waited two hours for a delivery and every time I called to check on it, the manager told me another story. Manager also proposed that I come down to see him ""face to face"" to handle the problem. If you're hungry, don't order here because the food will never come or you'll get in a fight. more

User review by katka512 2/18/2005

Staff was not courteous at all, no greeting when we walked in the door, waiter didn't tell us any special - basically said 3 words the whole night. The cold chicken parm had a leg bone hanging out of it and the first bite was only a bone. rigatoni was very salty. too expensive for the quality Pros: live piano, nice atmosphere Cons: food, service more

Be Careful 7/7/2004

We ate here once and the waiter was very aggressive about pushing the specials instead of what was on the menu. We ordered entrees from the menu instead. Then, he tried to get us to order some appetizers, he described several of them (again, not on the menu). We liked one of the salads he mentioned, so we ordered it. When we got our bill the salad appetizer we ordered cost $16 whereas our entrees cost $12 to $14. I really felt tricked, but of course I didn't ask him the price upfront, so I couldn't complain. I felt very bad about the experience though; they obviously intend to manipulate the customer to increase the price of the bill. more

Not worth the price... 3/5/2004

I ordered a three cheese lasagna in pesto sauce the first time I tried this place. When my entree arrived, there was so much pesto sauce, it was spilling over the side of the plate. My lasagna was only distinguishable by the tiny lump it made in the middle of the plate. The actual lasagna itself (when I was able excavate it from underneath it all) wasn't even warm and tasted as though it had been pulled out of the fridge and zapped in the microwave. I could have handled this place a lot better if only the prices had better, but fifteen dollars for a piece of lasagna I couldn't even eat because it was nothing but lukewarm pesto sauce was ridiculous. Pros: Atmosphere, Location Cons: , Price more

Cold Lasagne 3/19/2003

Decided to give this place a try after walking past it about a thousand times. Heard the lasagne was good, so ordered that. It was COLD (not lukewarm even) in the middle. Sent it back, and I got the same piece of lasagne...just cut into fours and microwaved. C' least give me a fresh entree! That was embarrassing (for them). Also...a bit overpriced...but I have to say it was tasty and they have big portions. Still won't be back though b/c of the microwave incident. Pros: Location, Setting, Food Cons: Bad etiquette, Overpriced more

Comfortable and Tasty 7/8/2002

consistently good food: excellent varieties of polenta and the lasagna is awesome. nice wines, cozy space - a window seat affords great people watching. service is mixed. more
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Menu for Buona Sera Restaurant

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  • Upper East Side Italian restaurant accompanies traditional dishes with live piano music. Delivery and weekend brunch also offered.

  • 5/2/2005 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Sun-Mon, 11:30am-11pm; Tue-Thu, 11:30am-11:30pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-12:30am
  • Payments:

    Master Card, American Express, Visa
  • Neighborhoods:

    Greenwich Village, Downtown