Cinzetti is an Italian all you can eat restaurant here in the United States. Sweet Tomatoes is a salad bar/italian buffet restaurant. It is not fair to compare both of them as they belong to different classes of restaurants, but this comparison is from a view of an Asian Indian who seeks Vegetarian food in the land of steaks and bacons. It is not easy for us Vegetarian Indians here in the United States to get some great quality Vegetarian food at restaurants other than Indian (or probably Thai). Cinzetti and Sweet Tomatoes both do a fairly good job at providing such food. Without wasting much time let’s get down to the details of the comparison in the order we eat.
1. Soups and Starters:
Cinzetti didn’t have much of soup varieties, they only had 2 Vegetarian (and no Non-Veg) soups. We had Minestrone Soup and it was pretty good. It tasted great with the Crouton breads and breadsticks on the side. The breadsticks and Crouton were the best part as it was crispy on the outside and soft and melty in the inside. We had never had any breadstick as tasty as this one. I have to say even though Sweet Tomatoes offers a lot more variety in the Soup department, the lonely but tasty Minestrone soup with breadsticks simply trumped the Vegetarian variety of soups at Sweet Tomatoes. The mixed Veg soup at Sweet Tomatoes might come close but the Croutons and Breadsticks at Cinzetti had the last say.
Verdict: Cinzetti wins hands down in the Soup department
2. Main Course:
It is Fresh Salad, Pizzas and Pastas at Sweet Tomatoes. I already commented on how the Pizza at Sweet Tomatoes tastes great and probably one of the best I’ve had. Well, that stays because Cinzetti’s Pizza couldn’t match even a little bit to Sweet Tomatoes. Pastas were cooked better in Sweet Tomatoes when compared to Cinzetti’s. Cinzetti’s pasta felt like it was cooked in a hurry. There was no salad for us Vegetarians in Cinzetti, Period.
But when it came to variety of dishes Cinzetti simply trumps Sweet Tomatoes handily. You will be left to loosen the belts of your pants or spend some extra time to make room for more food. Yes you will very easily consume more calories than needed at Cinzetti’s, although Sweet Tomatoes will also be sumptuous with lesser variety. The dish that we liked the most at Cinzetti was fresh made Crepe (Which is like Dosa for us South Indians). With Apple Cinnamon filling and Strawberry topping, the Crepe tasted awesome and easily the best part of our Main course experience. The fried veggie aisle was nothing great to talk about and they simply added to the variety rather than a great tasting experience.
Verdict: Cinzetti wins in Variety, Sweet Tomatoes wins in Taste.
With not anymore room left in our belly, we braved ourselves to a multi-variety dessert treat at Cinzetti. Compared to Sweet Tomatoes, which only serves a few muffins, brownies, Frozen yogurt and Fruits, Cinzetti was much more beyond that. Perhaps, this is where we saw the true Italian experience. With Several flavours of Ice cream to choose from, and multiple varieties of Pastries, Tiramisu, fruits Dessert made our experience at Cinzetti complete. Sweet Tomatoes even though offers lesser variety, you will feel you had a good desert experience but not fully exotic like Cinzetti.(I warned you they are restaurants of different class)
Verdict: Cinzetti makes it complete, Sweet Tomatoes makes you feel good.
4. Price: Ah! The economics of the game. It is evident from my description above that Cinzetti will cost you a little more than Sweet Tomatoes. How much more? as much as 50%. The weekend price at Cinzetti is $14.99 and Sweet Tomatoes is close to $8. So obviously, Sweet Tomatoes is more economical and wins in the pricing department. Because, I feel that even though you get a lot more variety at Cinzetti, your stomach can only hold so much and Sweet Tomatoes gives you enough great tasting food for a lesser price.
Verdict: Sweet Tomatoes is your wallet’s Friend
Overall: My Dear Vegetarian Friend, if you go to either of these above restaurants you will be in for a great vegetarian treat feast. Sweet Tomatoes gives you everyday value meal, reasonably good variety and great tasting food. Cinzetti offers that occasional quench for the exotic weekend dinner or a Rendez vous, Family Treat and parties with a good variety and great tasting experience.
P.S: Sorry about an America centric post, But I thought that this might be helpful for all the Indians in America who look around for decent Non-Indian Vegetarian food.