Seeing as this restaurant was rated the #2 Restaurant on TripAdviser, yes, we went in with high expectations. Sadly, the experience left us... well.... we were rather disappointed in truth.
My first impression upon walking in was, 'Wow!". The décor was wonderful! The restaurant has really been decorated with class and style. Though upon sitting in one of the chairs I defiantly feel they went for style over comfort. Seated on a table for two, the size of the chairs did not match the table, meaning you were seated back from the table, not able to slide under it. It also made conversation difficult as I felt I needed to yell so my partner could hear me. The chairs were hard and I felt like a needed a pillow behind me. I was uncomfortable from the start and that is not how you want any patron.
We were left with menu's and asked for drinks. I asked if they could make me a mojito and they said no, they only offer the cocktails as listed in the wine list. A full bar set up (IMO) should be able to make this popular drink. I looked over the list and went for the Blue Lagoon. All cocktails were $16 and would want to be good for that price! As it turned out it was a sloppy mess and I sent it away before I had drunk much of it. No questions or enquires as to why I didn't like it (or ask if there was a problem with it) were asked. I then went for the Rose wine, a house wine at $8 a glass. Their drinks list needs some attention... well, the prices listed more to the point. Hubby ordered a Hahn Light and after a mouthful called the girl back and said it was off. It was clear she had no training or knowledge of beers as she stared at him clearly confused as to what he meant. He then asked for another light (I think it was Cascade on the list) only to be told that they had none. He went for a Crown and was disappointed it was also off but not as bad as the Hahn. He finished it but then just stuck with water. It is also worth nothing that the lights were $6.50 and the Crown was $8.5 and upon leaving we were charged for both.
The menu however looked good. Not too many things on the menu signals to me that the chef is focused on a few things and plans on doing them well. We were still sitting there with our food menus after about 1/2 an hour after receiving drinks and it annoyed me that I needed to work hard to catch a waitresses eye to order. They should be watching us and as soon as we put our menus down, ask us if we were ready. It is one thing to not rush patrons, but it is a very different thing for them to feel forgotten.
We ordered entrees and mains. Our mains arrived after a longer than normal wait and I must admit I expected a hell of a lot more than what we got for $19 each. Hubby had the calamari and it looked like fishing bait. I'm not kidding. It is law in the NT that all imported seafood must be listed and as nothing was listed on the menu I assumed it was local. The squid was not - you don't get squid that tiny in Australia to my knowledge. There was no seasoning at all on the squid but the dipping sauce was nice, but certainly not worth $19. I would have been happy paying $9 for it, no more. I ordered the polenta and my eyebrow raised when it came out. Two tiny pieces of polenta and one button mushroom was it with a drizzle of cheese sauce. It tasted like macaroni and cheese. Not at all worth $19. It was gone in just a few bites.
Mains took another 30mins to come and again I was left wanting. I had the rib eye and it was cooked just as I asked (med/rare) but it was a little tough. The sauce had no flavour and the goats cheese atop it was either old or of poor quality. I love my goats cheese and this one was not a winner. Hubby got the pork and for what it cost I couldn't help but shake my head as it was three pieces of meat drizzled in sauce, though I will admit the sauce was very nice. We also got the eggplant chips as a side and I'll admit they were the nicest thing we ate that night.
Now, I am a dessert lover of the highest order and it is the main reason we go out. As it is the last meal of a dinning experience it needs to be a winner as it is what sticks out most in the patrons mind. Well, I left sad and feeling ripped off. Looking over the dessert menu I asked what ones the waitress had tried. She said, 'none'. Hmm, a restaurant charging as much as Tramontana does needs to have great staff not only in service but also in knowledge. These staff members had neither. I went for the most expensive item, the Pavarotti sitting at $18 thinking it must be the chef's best. Well, if it was his best then maybe he needs to try harder. I didn't finish it and that very rarely happens.
It is worth mentioning their toilets. They are unique with privacy glass doors and in my mind are the most memorable thing of the whole experience. That is not saying much for the restaurant experience, now is it?
I know I am making this review low and that is mostly due to the price that the food and drinks are listed at. If they came down 30% or even 25% I think that would be a lot more realistic and I would rate it as an 3-star average experience. They in no way match the flavour or dinning experience of Pee Wee's and can not expect to charge the same rates as a result.
Will I recommend this restaurant? No.
Will I return? No.
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