Olivea has one of the best locations in Kingston. The view oozes with history. With that, comes a reponsbility for Olivea to match the experience. I have been to Olivea several times with both large and small parties and have always been very happy. So much so, that I consistently recommend this restaurant to my out of town colleagues whenever they are in Kingston. But this time was dissappointing. I'm not sure what is happening with the wait staff, but they seem to be a little too casual. Our waitress did not know the specials and constantly had to refer to the chalk board in describing them. Once we had ordered, there was a mixup. My wifes food came out in a reasonable time but mine was no where to be found. I was told there was a slight issue and that my meal would be out in a few minutes. A few minutes turned into 10, turned into 15. My wife was finished her meal by the time I got mine. I was offered compensation of a free dessert. As we had theatre tickets and the service was quite slow we simply didn't have time to take advantage of the offer. When I explained this, no other concession was made, just a "sorry about the wait". I thought more could have been done here, especailly as the waitress knew we were returning customers. This came across as a take or leave it offer instead of a genuine apology.
As for the food, my wife was pleased with her shrimp based pasta dish. My beef was cooked beautifully. The pasta on the other hand I found to be sticky and lacking in any real flavour. Not sure if they have changed chef's, but I didn't think either meal was up to the standard we had previously experienced.
As for other staff, there was another waitress in the restaurant who I found to be quite loud. She was serving a larger table next to us, which ended up being very distracting. There was a young hostess that seemed more interested in people watching than being of any realy help. This all comes down to management making sure staff are where they should be, trained and motivated.
If I was a first time customer I would have rated Olivea as poor, but I know they have better in them. I will go back at some point I'm sure with hopes of the experience I've had in the past, but that wont be for some time unfortunately.
One more red flag to mention. I made our reservation on the afteroon of a sunny Friday afternoon. I was surprised that I was able to get my preferred time of 6:00pm for that evening. Perhaps most people dine at 7:00pm or later these days and I'm simply not in the know. However, I noticed that they were not as busy as I would have expected for one of the first beautiful sping days we've had this year. Perhaps the word is out that Olivea is on the decline. I hope they can change things around.
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