A couple of months back the Englishman and I purchased a Groupon Deal to enjoy wine and tapas at Onotria. Since we I have a bad habit of letting Groupons expire before they are used, we decided to finally cash it in.
When we arrived we were instructed to sit in the bar area which was packed (apparently everyone else there had the same idea of redeeming their wine and tapas groupon) and after waiting a few minutes found a seat at the bar. And then we waited. And waited. Finally the bartender sauntered over and gave us menus and asked us what wine we would like to taste first.
The first wine we tasted was a Willamette Valley Riesling and it was nice, crisp and delicious. We were eager to taste a couple more wines but once again had a hard time getting the attention of the bartender. Finally the owner came by and saw our empty glasses and promptly gave us two more wine flights to enjoy – a grillo wine from Sicily, Italy and a viognier from Montpellier, France. I enjoyed these wines as well but not as much as the Riesling.
Then it was time for the tapas portion of the evening. We decided to order a few small plates to share – Beef and Lamb Meatballs, Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Grilled Vegetables and a Frite of Calzone with marinated vegetables and mozzarella. Since the groupon was covering two of the tapas, we figured we could order a few more.
My favorite of the night was the Beef and Lamb meatballs served in a tomato sauce with cannellini beans. The meat was juicy and flavorful, and cooked to perfection.
The Frite of Calzone was also good. Instead of being overly cheesy and heavy, it was surprisingly light with grilled vegetables and pesto and just a small amount of mozzarella cheese. It also wasn’t greasy at all which was great.
I’m a sucker for Rosemary Potatoes, so I knew I would love this dish. They were served in a small cast iron skillet and the rosemary and garlic flavor was very prominent. Delicious.
The Grilled Vegetables were a nice light addition to the meal. There wasn’t anything special about them, but I did like the fact that squash and eggplant were included.
Since our meal wasn’t too heavy, we decided to order a dessert. Besides, don’t all wine and tapas dinners go better with dessert? We went with the Threesome of Creole Dark Chocolate, fresh Berries & Rose infused Whipped Cream.
I really enjoyed the dessert because it was nice and light and a good palate cleanser. After dessert we once again had to struggle to get the bartender’s attention (theme of the evening) to get our bill. Prompt service is clearly not Onotria’s strong suit.
While the food is good at Onotria, the prices are steep in my opinion. Our groupon covered our wine and two of the tapas we ordered and we had to pay for the remaining balance. The dessert alone was $14! Given that it was just some pieces of dark chocolate, whipped cream and berries, I could’ve made it at home for under $5. Talk about a ridiculous markup.
My other issue was the service. I have worked in a restaurant before so I get it – the bartender is busy, he’s trying to do a million things at once, etc. However, the bartender here just seemed to be full of attitude, was not interested in providing a good customer experience, and overall just seemed kind of sloppy. Since we only sat at the bar and not in the actual restaurant itself, I can’t speak for the rest of the waiters.
Would I return to Onotria? Honestly, I’m not sure. Yes the food was good, but the prices are high (for what you get) and service is lacking. Let’s just say this place won’t be in my restaurant rotation anytime soon.