We booked in to Ola after reading the reviews on Tripadvisor. We are on our third visit to Miami, but have been disappointed at the way prices seem to have shot up dramatically, and the culture now seems to be to grab as much money as you can from tourists - eg no prices on cocktail menus, 18% service charges added automatically. We had high hopes for Ola - brilliant reviews, of the tourist beaten track, situated in an un-pretentious motel, an interesting menu. Unfortunately our hopes were let down, and our poor current view of Miami Beach was further re-informed. I'll start with the positives:
- my watermelon mojito was delicious
- the main course of slow cooked pork we both ordered was very tasty (if rather expensive!)
- we sat next to a very nice and interesting Swiss couple who were very nice company (their table was so close they may as well have been on the same table).
The negatives in chronological order were:
- the black pastry on my much lauded lobster empanadas was heavy, tasteless and very hard - I thought that it should have been light and 'feathery' to taste.
- the restaurant became very packed very quickly. This normally feels fine for me as I like a buzz, but it felt frantic, crowded and very noisy. Not what I would normally expect from a good restaurant experience.
- my husband's sparkling water was topped up with still water without him being asked.
- our starter plates were cleared away very quickly, which is good, but then within a minute or two our main courses appeared. I was shocked, as my very heavy starter hadn't even started to go down. I said to the waitress that we had only arrived at the restaurant twenty minutes earlier, and were in danger of finishing within half an hour (politely, by the way), and she then appeared to become surly and said it was our choice, we could have it now or wait as long as we wanted. We opted to wait. When she went away, our Swiss fiends pointed out that there are more dollars to be made with quick turn-rounds. We felt like we were in Macdonalds!
- My glass of wine (the prices for bottles were extortionate) still hadn't arrived, even though I had now asked 3 different waiters. It eventually did arrive about 20 minutes after ordering.
- The bill for 2 cocktails, 1 glass of wine, 2 starters, 2 main courses and 2 coffees was $188, or £130. Not particularly high by extortionate Miami standards, but for that amount in my lovely home city of Birmingham (OK, no ocean but the. Canals are great) would buy you a fantastic all evening dining experience in a fabulous restaurant like Purnells or Simpsons, just no comparison in my view.
- At the end of the evening we went to the loo. We walked through the hotel which another guest commented looked more like a hostel than a hotel (although I thought the hotel looked OK), and when we arrived at the toilets, there was a queue for both the men's and women's as there was only one cubicle for each. Then to add insult to injury when I eventually got into the loo, there was no toilet paper, just an empty cardboard roll, and there was no hand dryer, although to be fair there were still a few paper hand towels left. When we got back to our hotel (The Tides, which is lovely, by the way) I visited the loo there while we had a drink from the bar, and the difference was stark.
That's it, but suffice to say we won't be eating at Ola again anytime soon!
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