Restaurant Review (Sorta): Villa-O in Dallas

The menu reads: Original!  Organic! Oceanic!

I am adding: Oh, my head!

A couple of nights ago, I set out to revisit Villa-O in Travis Walk. It was a lovely evening and we decided to join the throngs and thongs on the patio. I admit I wasn’t feeling well. The high pollen counts in Dallas have me feeling like my veins are filled with slowly solidifying cement. Which leads me to a little (cue the violins) problem food critics encounter when they have sinusitis–dead palates. Your olfactory senses shut down and everything tastes like pulp.

So, I am sitting at Villa-O with a dead palate and a headache and thinking it just wouldn’t be right for me to critique the food or wine. We order anyway because the people watching is delicious. I might even break my code and say, “The people watching was succulent.” (I hate that word.)

Jump off a bridge with me.

As a supposedly spicy sausage and peppers mixed into as supposedly spicy penne puttanesca fell tasteless on my tongue, I admired the crazy mix of clientele. Lots of SMU sorority types, more SMU geek-y types, and even more young chicks  in cheap sparkly  summer tops and tight pants. Oh, it was free food night! Silly me. Villa-O has a free entrée deal on Monday nights. No wonder the poor college kids were out.

However, there was oh so much more: Gaily dressed gays  (dude, LOVE the yellow linen jacket and lavender shirt combo!), geezers from the Park Cities (how did they get that wheel chair through that revolving door!), and sockless slick Willy’s from the Dallas equivalent of Wall Street (cigars on the patio are legal!). Mixed in were Indians, Middle-Easterners, and Germans. I even spotted a very thin Mico Rodriquez, former M Crowd CEO, wandering around the room. Last I heard, Mr. Rodriquez was working with the Villa-O team so perhaps that is why he was shouting with someone on his cell phone.

So, if you are looking for someplace to people watch, I highly recommend Villa-O. The food? I can’t honestly tell you. Were you there Monday? Did you watch me? I was the one with her head on the table and the Sangiovese drip stuck in my arm.


  • Kristin Hull

    I love the food at Villa-O, especially the turkey meatballs. But everything I’ve ever had there has been delicious. Their tomato sauce is the closest to my Sicilian grandmother’s that I’ve found.

  • acrow

    I second that. Food at Villa-O (especially the pasta items), is good and reasonably priced.

  • Darren

    Nancy, you hit on something I have found more and more abundant in the Dallas restaurant scene: owners/managers/people who think they own the place talking on their cellphones while walking (and stopping) around the restaurant. I’m not talking about the manager sitting at the bar on their phone; no, I mean roaming the dining room, in between tables, talking on their phones.

    I mean, isn’t a written (or generally understood unwritten) rule that employees are not allowed to use cellphones in the front of the house? It’s annoying and distracting to this diner!

  • DallasGirl7

    Love Villa-O. They have a fantastic brunch on the weekends.

  • Hiccup

    Never been impressed by the food at Villa-O, but the scene is always fun. Food is bland and boring. Shrimp is fishy. Red sauce is pedestrian. But I love their cocktails!

  • bluebird

    You said succulent.

  • PF

    Last visit to Villa O (several months ago) the food was mediocre, disappointing as previous visits were good. The Manager (one of the partners perhaps) was at the door and when we were leaving asked how we enjoyed it. We told him the experience wasn’t up to par. He pulled out a business card and said “e-mail me about it”. . . guess he was too busy talking to his buddy. I tossed the card in the bin and haven’t been back.

  • FortWorthGuy

    PF: maybe he wanted you to put in words what the problem was so he could not be accused of “making things up” or not remembering the complaint in its entirety. This way he could more accurately bring the problem to the attention of the correct person.

  • Jack

    Villa O is not for the food gig…see and be seen at best….

  • Josh

    For having such a good location along the Knox-Henderson, this has to be the most bland food of any restaurant in this area. Samba Room was so much better.

  • Robin P

    I totally miss Samba Room. I miss their paella, mojitas, and funky bands on Wednesdays.