Taste Cafe is an excellent find. Tucked away off of route 68 as you enter Pacific Grove from Route 1, it is a place you do not just stumble on, and it holds its own with the more well known restaurants that make Pacific Grove a culinary paradise.
The food is well prepared, the menu is Continental with a flair (salmon cooked in parchment, a wonderful appetizer concoction called "Eggplant Napoleon"), the service is smooth and non-disruptive, the portions are large (most folks will take their next night's supper home after being unable to finish), the dessert menu will appeal to almost anyone who is somehow still not sated ... what's not to like?
Well ... I had to ding them a star for inflexibility, and perhaps it should have been two stars. My wife and I showed up with a Groupon from Restaurant.com which we had PREPAID for, and which should have taken $20 off the $80 bill (which included besides the entree, a half bottle of wine, appetizer, dessert. and coffee ... this restaurant's prices are reasonable for the area).
Instead we were informed by the owner that her policy is to refuse Groupons on the weekends, even though the one we had DID NOT INDICATE there was any such restriction. We were basically told we could come back midweek, pay for another dinner, and then we could use the coupon. Period.
No apology, no offered comp ... it just left a sour note on what was otherwise a wonderful evening, and it was surprisingly ungracious. Our choices at that point were basically to pay the full check, repocket the Groupon and slink away, or to grab our coats and make a run for it, or to ask the owner to call a cop and settle the thing then and there.
If the evening hadn't gone so well before this, I'd have voted for option 3 ... option 2 was out because the bread pudding dessert, which was delicious BTW, would have slowed me down enough for her to tackle me in the parking lot.
So yeah ... I'd recommend Taste Cafe for a quiet romantic dinner for any couple that is not looking to find a special place with a "warm and fuzzy" owner who takes care to give every diner the impression that they are special. That's not what this place is about.
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