Luna Piena Bistro

Former Location
564 Merchants Rd, Rochester NY, 14609
CLOSED (as of January 2013)

See Gone, But Not Forgotten

They closed in January 2013 and reopened as Merchants Pasta House.


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2011-01-02 20:25:39   Just had dinner here and was disappointed. I live in the area and went in after reading a couple great reviews. It was not busy as we were the only table seated (guest of 2). The floors were not swept. The tables were set with paper place mats. Our server presented our food while grabbing the plates by the rims. Our server would ask us how we were doing within a minute of dropping our food. Service was very slow between drink orders and taking app orders. I work in food and beverage as a chef and this is my review of the fare: Apps:
We ordered the featured app of prosciutto wrapped bocconcini as well as the grilled seafood salad. The first was very plain in appearance. I can generally do without garnish, but this plate was in dire need of it. It was topped with what tasted like very stale breadcrumbs and garlic powder. I could appreciate the concept, but the execution and presentation was drab. The grilled seafood app was under-seasoned and the unbalanced in variety of seafood. The dish needed an acidic element to make it pop. Even something as simple as a squeeze of lemon. The only component of the dish that was flavorful was the shrimp of which there were only two, and they were only 16/20 shrimp if that! It's worth noting that the seafood was cooked well. The squid was not rubbery at all and mussels were just right.
We ordered the veal saltimbocca and the veal terre mare. I liked the idea of the white wine/sage/black olive sauce for the saltimbocca, however it was not what what I was hoping for. While the herbs used seemed fresh (rather than out of a jar dried) they were used in excess. Also kalamata olives were used rather than black olives as stated on the menu. All I could taste was sage and the olives (both very strong flavors). They drowned out the prosciutto and veal (which was pounded nice and thin and very tender.) The presentation was also very plain and borderline lazy, again with no garnish. The roasted potatoes were well seasoned and crispy. The other entrée was underwhelming and does not merit critique. After our meal we were offered coffee but not presented with any dessert menu so I can't comment on that aspect of the meal.
I went in really wanting to love this place, but it came up short. I understand that it was a Sunday night and deadly slow, but there was a lack of attention to detail that I expect when enjoying a "upscale" dining experience. We will give Luna Piena another try on a busy night when the kitchen and wait staff are more focused and motivated.

2011-03-18 08:15:21   To say the service of the place was horrible would be unfair to the word horrible (they are much worst). the food was atrocious. the "chef" a real life donkey. I already filed a complaint to the better business bureau and the department of health. hope they get fined out of their derriere and close shop. —aumoncoeur11

2011-06-23 13:14:13   Recommended! We live in the neighborhood and frequent Luna Piena. Not sure what set off previous posters to write such poor reviews. Every time I've been, the place is clean. The wait service is unfortunately not always spectacular, but they are friendly and respond quickly to requests. The owner is very pleasant, and is obviously concerned with customer satisfaction. He doesn't skip a table to ask how things are, and say hello. Note that the establishment does not attempt to cater to 5 star dining clientele. It is an upscale wine bar and bistro. Hence the name. In any case, we love the food. Everything is a slightly different take on traditional fare, often bringing something new to town that I haven't tasted anywhere else. Prices are quite fair. And again, for something a little different, I would highly recommend giving the place a chance over Two Vine or Lento any day. —dsapplegate

2011-07-20 21:40:37   Had a business lunch here a few weeks ago. Great surprise! Fresh ingredients (I had an Italian panini with wonderful mozzarella and tomatoes). All for less money than my company restaurant. Deserve to do well, I will be back. Owner is a Donkey??? Perhaps the comment of an Ass...... —sieats

2011-08-23 17:33:20   I have dined at Luna Piena many times over the past year. The owner is sooooo attentive and the food is excellent. I live in the neighborhood and I am a huge fan. —rachelciesluk

2011-09-05 21:29:34   Went back a couple of weeks ago on a Friday lunch time for another business meeting. Wow, what a disappointment compared to last time. Waiter tried to give us dinner menus, when I asked about lunch he said he made a mistake and gave us an incorrect menu (yep, up-selling to the suits). Brought out oven toasted bread, obviously to cover the staleness. Ordered the Italian panini again, this time came on the same stale bread (not panini) with a tiny side salad. My guest had the pizza which he ate one slice from and declared it almost inedible and didn't finish it. We told the server who shrugged and didn't do anything to compensate. I really want this place to work but I hate when I recommend a place as a good spot and they miss so much because of cheap tactics. Embarrassing. I may try one more time, not sure..... —sieats

2011-11-21 16:00:35   This is a review I originally posted on Yelp:

We ate here on a Saturday, and, yes, the open floor made the place a bit loud, but it wasn't really that bad. This place is trying to be a reasonably authentic Italian trattoria, and does fairly well at it, too. This is not a "checkered tablecloth" type of Italo-American chain restaurant, and contrary to American beliefs, Italian food does not always come with a side of spaghetti.

What this place is good at are dishes like scallopini, and my pork saltimboca was quite nice-not cloying sweet as most are, and not over-salted either (the cook DID use a bit too much rosemary, but not a huge amount). The bar/wine prices were about right for local diners, and the bartender is a local legend, so any mixed drink you've ever wanted to try, he will know how to make it.

I would, however, agree that the place needs something to break the noise up a bit.

2011-12-19 14:06:50   Overall a good experience. More traditional Italian food in that dishes aren't all covered in sauce and heavy. The grill menu has a variety of steaks and chops as well. Fried calamari and Arancini were both well done. Wine list matches with the menu with selections from all over the globe. Had Paco as a server and he did an excellent job. —almorinelli

2011-12-21 11:37:31   I live in the neighborhood and ate here twice over the summer, while sitting outside both times. I really enjoy the outdoor seating, and I had excellent service both times. I enjoyed the wine suggestions made by my server, which paired well with the food. My meal both times was very good, especially the arugula salad, and I particularly enjoyed some of the fish specials they offered. The food is VERY good, but not blow-your-mind excellent. I like this place, and will return, if only to sit outside on a warm summer night and enjoy a very good Italian meal within walking distance of my house. You can do much worse than Luna Piena, and there aren't many places in the city that are better at a offering a total experience. —ErikReinert

2012-02-12 13:07:25   Brought 2 other couples with us on a recent Saturday night. I must say that I am noticing a semi- negative trend. On our first visit we were very impressed with the menu in that there were specials and regular choices that were not common in most Rochester Italian restaurants. Our last 2 visits each time has shown a much more streamlined and to a degree boring menu. They have completely eliminated veal from the menu and offer only chicken and pork. The special of the night was the menu pork chop with a different sauce. Not much of a difference. As for dessert, all that was offered was cheesecake and chocolate cake where as in previous trips we had a choice of at least 5. Our second bottle of wine was a different vintage and was just left on the table without us being told. Bad part is that our waiter was not informed and was blindsided when we questioned why. That just should not happen. Just seems to me that the creative and original menu that we were drawn by just no loner exists. Appears that there is a regular costumer base and if you are not one of them, don't expect good service at the bar. On a positive note all 6 of us were very pleased with our meals , we had excellent service at our table, and the prices are very reasonable. I hope things can return to how they were, or really have no reason to return. —almorinelli

2012-08-06 00:11:54   Went to dinner here with my brother and his fiancee and was tremendously disappointed. I wanted to love it - the restaurant itself is quite pretty, but I just won't go back after tonight.

Was seated immediately - there were two other parties inside, and a few outside. Even at less than half capacity, it was 10m before we saw a waiter. Who started everything off with an apology. We took some time with the menu and another 10m later, the waiter comes back to take our order (again with apologies). We each ordered a glass of wine and an entree. That glass of wine took another 15-20m to show up (which the server offered on the house at least), and was followed 10m later by a basket of bread. I actually stopped mid conversation and stared in shock that when we had been seated in the restaurant for nearly an hour, bread showed up at my table (with another apology).

When the entrees did show up, they were fresh if underwhelming. The vegetables were the best part for me - steamed hot but crisp in a meager portion. I ordered the Pollo Gorgonzola which was supposed to be chicken sauteed in white wine with spinach and tomatoes, topped with a gorgonzola cream sauce. I was expecting a good bite from the gorgonzola, but there was nothing. A mild hint that maybe at some point something resembling bleu cheese had come close to it. There was no presentation - sauce spattered all over the plate. I take more care with plating food when I'm cooking for myself. We did see our apologetic waiter one more time before the bill, and that was to ask how things were. He made a quip about hoping it was worth waiting for - I bit my tongue.

There was one table in a corner in a raised portion of the floor with a party of 8-10? They had one young lady buzzing about them all evening, while our waiter was left to manage the rest of the restaurant by himself. That said, I don't think I've been apologized to that much over the course of any other 2h in my life. It was not a comfortable experience, and I don't recommend it to anyone else unless some serious work is done. —LindsaySimon