It's great to hear about a restaurant with great food and great service. Stephen's mom raved about her experience at La Grotta Ravinia and told us we had to go. I was even more excited when we had a $50 off coupon given to us. We made the reservations for Saturday evening when they have live music and we used it to celebrate our Valentine's Day.
La Grotta Ravinia is located by the Perimeter Mall in the Crowne Plaza hotel. It's quite a drive for us, but with the raving reviews that we'd heard, we made the drive.
Right off the bat we were questioning the good service that we were told so much about. There was a line to check in at the host desk and the hostess looked like the was absolutely lost and terrified by the 6 people standing in front of her. We had an 8:30 reservation and I'm not sure we were sat until close to 8:45. I'm not sure what time the other people's reservations were for, but our table was definitely not ready when we got there. They should work on their hostess, she's the first impression that customers have of a restaurant.
From there, sadly, our night didn't get much better. We were sat at a nice table by the window and we could see the dance floor and the "band". Our waters were filled pretty much immediately, and that's where the good service stops. With our water came a plate of olive oil, no bread for 10 min. Also, for at LEAST 15 min nobody came by to tell us about any specials, to see if we wanted anything else to drink besides water, or to even tell us he'd be right with us. We were probably 3 minutes from getting up and heading across the street to Maggiano's at the mall. When the waiter finally he came by, he said "are you ready to order?" No apology for the wait, no explanation of the menu or the specials, just a question. Olive Garden does it better than that, and the only have ONE person waiting on a table at a time. We ordered our food and we didn't see our waiter again until it was time to get the check.
While the service was horrible, our food was outstanding which makes the bad service hurt even more. I want to love the restaurant and recommend it, but not after the experience we had. I ordered Veal Marsala and it was probably the best I'd ever had. Stephen had Grilled Chicken and enjoyed every bite.
When we were done with our food, I actually spoke to the Saturday night manager. He apologized for the service but tried to explain it by saying that each table has 2 waiters so it was understandable not to see our 1st waiter too often. Well, that front waiter didn't do his job. I would have loved a glass of wine while I waited and I would have loved to hear about the specials. I saw another waiter at another table talk about specials (I couldn't hear) for quite a long time. Disappointing.
The manager did give us two desserts on the house (one was accidentally put in a to go box, so they brought another one for the table.) It made it all a little bit better, but we didn't really want dessert, I would have like a good dining experience.
I'm sure our experience was out of the norm. All the reviews I've seen have been positive, but I couldn't ignore our horrible service and having a blog, I had to share. We'll never go back to La Grotta Ravinia again and we won't recommend it to our friends, those in town or those closer to the restaurant. We have plenty of great restaurants in town when we feel welcome and like they are glad we are there to dine.
Final review - 2 out of 5 stars. So disappointed. The 2 stars are for the food.