Monday, February 25, 2013

Santa Maria Inn Restaurant - A real screw job!

Santa Maria Inn Garden Room Restaurant

The Garden Room Restaurant has a new lunch menu but the restaurant is still empty. The new menu is not inspired by any means and appears to be a ruse to roll out the new prices. Don't get me wrong, there are a number of nice selections, which if consistently prepared will provide a nice lunch for nearly any taste preference. But the prices are on par with those of an upscale city establishment and so should somehow reflect that in food, service and ambiance.

Consider a Caesar Salad at the swank downtown Biltmore in Los Angeles will cost you 8.00 but at the Garden Room, this same salad "Local romaine hearts, housemade dressing and croutons with Parmesan Reggiano" [sic] will set you back 13.00. WOW! Not to mention the fact that this is for a dollars worth of lettuce and dressing.

So, considering the price I should expect exceptional service. FAIL! Just did not happen. There were two tables down at lunch hour and the waitress could not manage to even get us our beverage for 10 minutes.

It feels as though the only real patrons this place has are hotel guests. In place of enticing the local community to dine at the in by producing a good menu with good service they are raising prices to offset the empty dining room.


Exorbitant prices
Long wait.

Poorly trained food server
Unfriendly food server (maintained my minimum 15% tip and felt like I overpaid by 12%)
Food took so long time to arrive the bread basket was emptied.


Lovely bread basket of assorted breads
Okay wine selection.
Nice ambiance.

Bottom Line

Very, very overpriced, poor service and nice ambiance. It is one of the few restaurants in Santa Maria that are conducive to a working lunch.  I will return as business associates suggest it for lunch but not of my choosing. I would not ever recommend someone visit this restaurant as there are very fine choices, more realistically prices within an hours drive south or thirty minutes north.

Santa Maria Inn Garden Room Restaurant
801 S Broadway
Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 346-7908

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Central City Market, Santa Maria, CA

Central City Market a Miserable Dining Experience

I was in downtown Santa Maria today on business and decided to give this place a try because it had some positive Yelp reviews. I had been here before and did not like my previous experience and thought it was just a fluke. What a mistake!

Bad, bad experience here!  I was trying to give them another chance but they FAILED to even provide the basics.  I tried them because of other yelp reviews but honestly this place sucks, but then it is in Santa Maria, and I guess it might be better than McDonald's.


VERY limited menu.
No Vegetarian Selections
Lots of flies (probably because, see next item)
3 tables that weren't cleaned off for my entire visit.
40 minutes to get a side salad, the only thing available for someone not wanting meat.
Had to ask for my glass of water three times.
Wine arrived in a lipstick printed glass.
Salads sat under the pickup window lights.
Didn't get the basket of bread.
Person walking around with someone's food and a dirty bar towel.
Dead flowers on the table. Unbelievably DEAD flowers on the table.


Our server was friendly.
Okay wine selection.
Okay ambiance.

Bottom Line

No, overall it is NOT better than McDonald's, I won't return here willingly.

Central City Market
345 Town Ctr E
Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 925-7766

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Love the New Luna Red

Luna Red is one of those places where I really which I could rate various components of the business individually. As Yelp does not allow this I will include it here.

  • 5 Stars our Friendly Server
  • 4 Stars Ambiance
  • 5 Stars Food Presentation
  • 2 Stars Chef/Kitchen
  • 4 Stars Menu
  • 3 Stars Taste
Our last visit to Luna was a mixed bag experience. Excellent, friendly, prompt service. I ordered a selection of cheeses and an appetizer. The server returned after a few minutes to announce the appetizer was not available. No problem we chose another.

A few minutes later the server came back to announce that one of the cheeses was not available an that the chef was recommending another, which I declined. The server appeared embarrassed but I was gracious and said it was not a problem.

The cheese plate arrived with my cheese and the declined "recommended" cheese, which was one I do not care for. Having served before I really preferred to be kind to the server who was by now a bit jittery.

We begin to enjoy our meal and now the appetizer shows up. WOW!

A bit confused by the whole experience but really enjoying our server we chose to simply enjoy. When the bill arrived I could see why "Chef" had insisted on the cheese I rejected as it was on my bill.

Bottom Line

Like the new digs and I'll be back but next time the "chef" can bite me.

1023 Chorro St
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 540-5243

Hula Hut

After a nice meal at the Customs House I needed something sweet as I walked along the boardwalk so I dropped into this Ice Cream Parlor/Candy Store. Cute when you enter, homey, old-fashioned feel. BUT, that is where the old fashioned came to an end. The four girls behind the counter glanced my way but were too busy with the more important things in life than Customer Service to ever even greet me. The candy looked good, but needed to be re-stocked; again, the girls being paid to do such things were talking and not doing the job. I left, without candy and as I was dissed first class, FOUR TIMES in one visit I will probably call it good and not bother again.,

Bottom Line

Not returning

380 Front St
Avila Beach, CA 93433
(805) 627-0488

Monday, April 30, 2012

Splash Cafe SLO

I've only been to Splash Cafe once, it was fun and busy and we were fortunate to be early and get a table. Obviously this place is well liked. My experience however was that I ordered a Veggie - Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Onion Sun Pizza and a salad. When I arrived to pickup my order the person at the window said they were out of the pizza dough so they made the pizza on bread. Ugh!!! Really, my experience just wasn't good, but the place is busy and must be doing something right so I won't give them too low a rating yet. I am planning a return visit soon and then I'll have some more solid information and update my review. I understand that businesses run out of things when busy but I should have been informed prior to placing my order so that I might make an alternate selection. To prepare the pizza and slide it toward me conveyed an expectation that I was okay with the substitutions, which I was not.

Splash Cafe Pros

Here are some of the things I liked about the restaurant in no particular order.
  • Busy, upbeat, trendy cafe
  • Clean
  • Inviting interior

Splash Cafe Cons

Here is where they blew it for me.
  • Ran out of product and did not inform me
  • Substituted my meal for another with expectation I would like it.

Bottom Line

Bottom line, I will return again. The restaurant is busy and obviously lots of people like the place. I will overlook the error this time and try again.
Splash Cafe
1491 Monterey
San Luis Obispos, CA 93401

(805) 544-7567

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Le Petit Cafe, Arroyo Grande, CA

I recently visited Le Petit Cafe for the first time. A friend had informed me of this place and suggested that her visit was less than acceptable. I just had to visit.

Le Petit Cafe Pros

Here are some of the things I liked about the restaurant in no particular order.
  • Appealing storefront from the street
  • Clean
  • Inviting interior

Le Petit Cafe Cons

Here is where they blew it for me.
  • Shoddy Menu prepared with stock photos
  • Cheap, thin flatware
  • Too much salt in each dish
  • Wet, dense baguette which should be light and crispy on the outside.
  • Rotten chunks of lettuce in my salad
  • Un-attentive Server
  • Plastic plates

Bottom Line

Bottom line, I will return again. The restaurant is small, new and un-proven, but there is potential for making this a wonderful little cafe; in my opinion it will come by setting a fire under the servers, perhaps a smile or two, cutting way back on the salt, and stepping it up in the bread preparation. While it is cute inside, the serving ware ie. plates and flatware are crap and need to be replaced with real dishes soon. This is a restaurant with REAL prices so you need to have real dishes.

Le Petit Cafe
1351 East Grand Avenue
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

(805) 474-1294