Tre Piani, Princeton, NJ

Tre Piani is an italian restaurant in Princeton, though it isn’t quite in Princeton. It’s in Forrestal Village off route 1 near Ruth’s Chris and Salt Creek Grill. I’ve been avoiding going to Tre Piani for a few years since a work holiday party. The food was pretty mediocre and I’m not crazy about the location so it usually doesn’t enter my consideration set when I’m thinking about italian food.

My brother was in town visiting from england and we decided to go out for dinner. I wanted something that even my kids would enjoy (10 and 12), though they are pretty adventurous when it comes to food and have decent palettes. Having not planned ahead, we had trouble getting reservations at my first choices of Eno Terra, Medittera and having been to One 53 quite often lately I wanted to go somewhere different. I went onto Open Table and Tre Piani was one of the few places with a 7.30pm reservation available on saturday night, so we ended up there.

Tre Piani is a pretty large restaurant scattered over 3 floors with an outdoor seating area. The restaurant is across from the Cando gym and some office space making the outdoor seating seem somewhat out of place. We sat by the empty bar on the main floor. The tables are spaced nicely apart making for a easy dinner conversation. When you enter the restaurant you are greeted by a pretty cheerful older guy, maybe the owner who makes you feel pretty welcome. He walked over and chatted with quite a few diners who seemed like regulars.

The food itself was better than I had remembered though overall it was pretty mixed. Some items like the calamari were very good – crispy and tossed with a sweet and sour sauce. The tuna tartar was under-seasoned and just ok. For the main courses the tortellini alla bolognese and fettucini with roman style sausage sauce were very good while the osso buco was a little too heavy on tomato sauce, though it was perfectly tender. The risotto side with the osso buco too was decent though not great. For dessert, my son was the only one to order something and he went for creme brulee which was perfectly made.

The wine list at Tre Piani isn’t great. They also have a wine bar next door (Tre Bar) which I’ve been to a few times. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of their wine lists. Quite disappointing actually.

Service is on the slow side, the time between courses is exceptionally long. While the resturant was busy it wasn’t so busy that it should have slowed down service so much. If you go make sure you plan on spending quite some time there.

Overall the food is decent. I would give it a 3 out of 5. If I’m looking for italian food I would choose Eno Terra but Tre Piani isn’t too bad an alternative if you can’t get a reservation there.

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