While looking for a place to have brunch on a Sunday Afternoon, I came across La Pentola's. The atmosphere looked elegant and nice. The food was great. BUT: I noticed that no employees were smiling and stress was written all over everyone's face. I asked my server if the plain cloths lady behind the counter was the owner, she said yes. I noticed and heard throughout the whole dining experience the owner complaining about her customers. Over and Over!!! the customer was wanted a broken down receipt on all that was spent. The owner was questioning guests as they were leaving in a very rudelike manner about the party's lead person. She continued to complain to her servers about the party causing them stress. One customer went to the owner and was trying to give them a compliment and to say thanks, she did not look customner in eyes, customner said thank you and she said nothing. My server was great, but no smiles because owner was giving her a hard time too. I will never go back to a place where the owner mistreats her customers and employees..i will NEVER go back to this place.
Let me begin by saying we've lived in Saint Augustine for 5 years and have always loved this restaurant. It has always been in our top choices for fine dining and a location we recommend to tourists and locals alike. However, we have not been there ourselves in awhile. Never again. I have no idea if it's changed hands or simply decided to not just rest on its laurels but destroy them. Our unpleasant experience started at the courtyard entry. It was a chilly night. However, this is not the type of restaurant where one expects to be greeted by a hostess dressed for a snowball fight, complete with wrinkled clothes, casual snow jacket and red stocking cap. It was our 29th wedding anniversary and my husband made the reservations 2 weeks ago and requested a table befitting the occasion. The courtyard hostess never took our name for the reservation, merely took us to the inside hostess area where again our name wasn't taken. There used to be an extremely gracious women manning that and in general overseeing Front of House. What we got was a very sour, unfriendly woman whom we later discovered is the owner. Again our reservation was not checked and we were marched to what has to be the worst table in the house without the least bit of polite conversation. We were seated in a small back room three feet from a back door that truly should only be set up for an emergency exit during business hours. Every time that back door would open we were blasted with cold air and had to keep our coats on. There was also an unpleasant odor that lingered. I smelled bad seafood, my husband smelled sewage. Our server was adequate and nothing more. We were rather surprised with the much less creative menu and higher prices. However, based on past experience, happy to pay the higher price. The wine list continues to be a great value and the wine presentation was lovely. That was the end of lovely. The loaf of bread was undercooked and doughy. We sent it away but were not offered a replacement. For an appetizer we shared baked brie en croute. The cheese was poorly ripened and cold. The fruit was oxidized. We each had one bite and sent it back. Again, it was not replaced but it sure was on the check. While waiting for our salads I decided to see what was on the other side of the exterior door we were seated near. As I suspected it was an alley area complete with all the trash storage in close proximity. It also smelled like there was a problematic sewer line. I returned to our table where our wilted salads had now arrived. We looked at each other and decided it just was not worth $200 to sit there cold with a noxious odor. We asked our server to cancel our entrees and bring our check. Considering we had barely drank any of our wine, we should have had the offer to rebottle and bag it. But we had to ask twice for that while suggesting the management should be aware of our dismay. It took over 15 minutes to get our wine and bill so I'd left my husband and walked out to the front to get fresh air. I was standing outside the courtyard entree on a public sidewalk. Some tourists approached to look at the menu and specials board. They asked me if I had ate there and I replied yes and it had not been a satisfactory experience. Ski jacket hostess must have heard me because NOW I had the attention of the proprietress I should have had before. She came out of the courtyard yelling what was my problem, to leave the vicinity and told me she was going to call the police on me. I informed her in very polite language that I would not be leaving the public sidewalk until my husband joined me from paying the check and getting the wine. But to please feel free to call the police as I was not doing anything illegal and in the unlikely event they did respond, it wouldn't be me whom looked foolish. I was in utter shock as was my husband when he exited and we walked down the street. It was so absurd that it would be funny if this little experience hadn't cost us $75 without even having a full meal! La Pentola not only lost a loyal diner, they gained two people who will go out of their way to steer others away from that establishment. A pity.
I splurged at this place for my Christmas Day dinner. Food excellent. Florida is one of those places that in order to get good food you have to pay more $$$ otherwise the food is mediocre.
Favorite Dish: Spicy pasta dish with baked brie and glass of merlot wine.
On our trip north, when we were staying at Oyster Creek, we decided to walk south and cross the bridge and see whether there were any restaurants that we could go to - we walked about 1/4th fo 1/2 mile and found this little jewel of a place. Food was very good.
This restaurant has now (2003) moved from where it was definitely off the beaten tourist path to a downtown location.
Monday - Thursday
11:00 to 3:00 for lunch
5:00 to 9:00 for dinner
Friday & Saturday
(Reservations strongly encouraged)
11:00 to 3:00 for lunch
5:00 to 10:00 for dinner
11:00 to 3:00 for lunch
5:00 to 8:00 for dinner
Favorite Dish: Menu items include
crab cakes ($17.95),
Duck A L'Orange ($26.95)
Grilled Lamb Chops ($28.95),
Salmon filet ($18.95),
Lobster Ravioli ($21.95) and
Vegetarian Pasta ($12.95).
First of all, I found this place to be incredibly charming, but the food was to die for...I cannot wait to eat here again untill I've tried everything on the menu.
Favorite Dish: I've eaten here twice, and both times I ordered the same thing because it is soooooooo good.
The Duck and goat cheese salad.....warm goat cheese, shredded duck, small pieces of apples and walnuts, a few blackberries, strawberry and blueberries on top of fresh greens with a viniagrette dressing...
Then they bring you this bread that is warm from the oven, with a dish of olives that have been marinating in lime......the bread and olives would be enough to fill anyone up so you really have to be careful not to eat more than a bite or two.