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“Excellent Italian food”
Review of Plus39 Restaurant

Plus39 Restaurant
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Ranked #13 of 216 Restaurants in Ames
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Reviewed 9 June 2016

Ames, unlike Paris or Capri, is a place one visits mainly for some purpose unrelated to its location, for instance family, school, or business. Add dining at +39 to the purposes that justify a visit to Ames.
We love Italian food, both in Italy and elsewhere, and so do the people at Plus 39. Our salad was a hint that this would be a superb meal; the greens were so fresh one might think they grew on the roof and were picked only after we had ordered. Mme. Rkatsiteli loves spaghetti carbonara, but loves it her way: not swimming in oil or awash in a sauce that belongs on pasta Alfredo. The carbonara at Plus 39 was perfect! Excellent pancetta, house-made pasta coated with blend of cheeses, so that the flavors were in proportion to each other. I opted for the pappardelle Bolognese, wide house-made noodles with a flavorful ragu not overwhelmed by tomatoes and not too sweet, and I was as pleased with mine as with Madame’s (we traded a little).
Our experience in Italian restaurants is that we evidently don’t eat as much as other diners, most of whom are larger circumferentially than we are. We prudently put some of each pasta dish aside to take back for breakfast. We had a side of sautéed kale which was delicious but in what appeared to be a vast quantity, and it too became part of breakfast.
Even more prudently, we chose the carpaccio di pesce for our secondi. This is thin slices of salmon, tuna, and swordfish in a light marinade of capers, lemon, and tomatoes. Raw fish! In the middle of Iowa! How is that prudent? We were amazed at how well the flavor and texture held up. It was delicious, not the same as sashimi but definitely an authentic Mediterranean preparation, and it was just the right amount for the two of us. Presumably the fish are flown in frozen and sliced to order, and we were very pleased at the quality.
We sat in a little sunny room where the regular wine is stored on racks (they sell retail food and wine). The wine selection was broad (all Italian) and the prices reasonable. We chose a Feudo Maccari Nero d’Avola from Sicily which went well with everything, even the carpaccio, because it’s acidic but not particularly tannic. At the next table sat a group of several couples two of whom had recently returned from Italy and had brought their own bottles of really good wine to share (that is, Plus 39 permits bringing you own, presumably charging only corkage).
Our service was attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable.
If we get close to Ames again, we are heading for +39 for supper.

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Thank Rkatsiteli68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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54 - 58 of 142 reviews

Reviewed 7 June 2016

Spent an evening here with a friend, after hearing rave reviews. The atmosphere was posh, however the food was insanely average (actually the pasta I had was not very good at all, it tasted like thick cheese with char on it) and it was insanely expensive. I split the cost of an appetizer, had 2 cups of tea, and a grilled chicken pasta dish - and my tab was $44. I will not be going back.

1  Thank Brooke K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2016 via mobile

I was honestly shocked by our experience, but we were flat-out disappointed. We were anxious to check this place out and decided to do brunch. The service was fairly good, but the food disappointed. Overall, we found the dishes to be unimaginative and poorly executed. The biggest mistake was their eggs Benedict, which featured fully cooked-through egg yolks (the cardinal sin of eggs Benedict). Nobody at our table was fully satisfied with their experience.

I need to admit, my review is based on one brunch experience alone. Perhaps I need to attend a dinner service to fully appreciate this place's popularity. I may just do that. On the other hand, restaurants need to be careful reaching beyond their expertise, as it can hurt their overall brand if executed poorly.

I hate being one of "those" people with my oddly-placed crappy review amongst a sea of positive recommendations, so hopefully I simply had a fluke bad experience. I will re-review after I check out a dinner service. I would love to give this place a better rating.

Thank fiveyard81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2016

A group of us decided to try Plus39 for a work lunch. The atmosphere is great, there really wasn't very many people there for lunch so it was quiet and nice. Our waitress was very friendly. I had a panini, it came with homemade potato chips that were AMAZING and a nice sized salad. I could have eaten half of what I received and been full but it was so full of taste I devoured every last bite. The beer I ordered was a local beer from Knoxville, IA called the Blonde Fatale, it was heaven in a glass. They have a great assortment of food and drinks, I will definitely be back for a dinner date with the husband!!

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Thank Jennifer R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2016

I get that it's graduation, but the staff was 2nd string at best. Our 6:30 reservation was not seated until nearly 25 minutes later. Half our party was asked for their drink order, the other half not. A staff member brought food to our table that ended up being for another party but then took the plate off the table to serve to the correct table - yikes! Our food finally arrived 1 hrs and 15 minutes after our appointed reservation. Food was good and plentiful, but the front of house needed to do a better job utilizing the staff.

Thank Redmeg93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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