Steve's Gastronomic Home Page

Sorrento Italian Restaurant

5325 Dyer St.
El Paso, TX
(915) 565-3937

I understand that Sorrento's has been operating over 40 years, and I have been going at least 30 (this was one of the favorite restaurants of my uncle and aunt when I used to visit them when I was young). Not only do I have fond memories of it, but everyone in my family thinks the Italian food here was some of the best anywhere.

Rarely, though, have I seen such a decline in a restaurant for no apparent reason. The owner is the same, and I see her just about every time I eat here. I was informed that the cook has been here for over 25 years (although there is actually more than one person in the kitchen). The menu is the same as it has always been. On the surface it seems that nothing has changed in quite a while, but I have noticed a big change in the food.

As recently as 2004 I thought the food was still pretty good, but not quite as good as in the past. I enjoyed the Eggplant Parmigiana, Chicken Parmigiana, Pizza, and House Salad, and gave all of them a five-star rating. Over the years the Chicken Cacciatore has had a very flavorful blend of the traditional vegetables in a light sauce, served with a generous amount of chicken in pieces large enough to actually taste. The eggplant parmigiana was characterized by a delicious sauce and well-textured cheese. The pizza at one time was the best in El Paso (and even compared to Hello Pizza it was pretty good). The house salad had some of the best Italian dressing anywhere, and everyone who went thought it was one of the highlights of the meal.

Now, however, I think all these assessments have to be reevaluated. I had already noticed some problems with the service. When I went in 2004 on a Friday night, I was told that it would take twenty minutes to cook one of the items we ordered, but in fact it was over half an hour before we got the food, without any warning that it would be that long or explanation as to what happened.

In 2005, though, the food was totally different. The House Salad did not have the delicious dressing I was used to, and the iceburg lettuce in the salad is certainly not the best thing to try to eat in El Paso (it seems that there is no fresh lettuce available in the city).

The Eggplant Parmigiana had a sauce that was very dark and not very flavorful at all (although the eggplant was still OK).

The Chicken Cacciatore has been changed to include only chicken breasts (not the whole chicken as before), but it tasted like the commercially produced chicken you would find at a chain restaurant. The cacciatore sauce was even worse-- it was too spicy and not flavorful (in constrast, I have had some really good sauce recently at Pasta Cafe in Ruidoso).

Based on this, I am afraid to recommend anything else that has been good in the past. I understand the Spumone is still home made, and this used to be the best item here and probably the highlight of any meal. However, with the "disasters" that have been served to me, and because of the fact that the spumone costs $4.25, I doubt that I would order it, and in fact I really have no intention of returning to the restaurant. It is a shame, because it used to be a great place.



Cuisine: Italian
Cost: $$$
Hours: Open daily for dinner; Lunch Mon.-Fri.
Accessible: No Handicapped Parking
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit
May 6, 2005

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Item

Special Ratings
Eggplant Parmigiana:
Chicken Cacciatore: