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“Upscale”

Sweet Melissa's Cafe
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Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American, Soups
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Romantic, Special occasions, Families with children, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Casa Ybel
Augusta, Georgia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Upscale”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2014

All in all Melissa's has everything going for it. It has wonderful service and great food. We were welcomed by the hostess and immediately seated. Our salads arrived in a timely manner along with dinner.

Hint: Others have commented on the prices but you get what you pay for. They use the best ingredients and the chef has a special touch.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Jocelyn K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,159 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    214
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    38
    26
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
New Paltz, New York
Level Contributor
47 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“A tough call”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 29, 2014

I really wanted to love this restaurant. My girlfriend and her (food sophisticated) teens ate here in March 2013 and were very impressed, this year was to be my turn.

The physical atmosphere is a bit sterile, sort of like a mid-range hotel lobby, but the live, solo guitar player helps lift some of that, and the open kitchen, visible from the entrance, is sparkling clean and efficiently designed.

The hostess was courteous, efficient and well informed; service, overall, was good, but I have to mention the comic relief provided by our waiter. Clearly a veteran server, he was efficient and affable, but had only recently come to Sweet Melissa's and it was an obvious step up from his prior venues. He couldn't describe the ingredients in either cocktail we inquired about, was completely out of his realm as far as the wine list was concerned, and didn't seem comfortable discussing the menu items. His self deprecating style made it all bearable, and I felt sympathy for his lack of proper training, but we were still left on our own in making decisions.

The cocktails we did order were well conceived and well mixed and when my girlfriend didn't care for her first cocktail choice (it was good and interesting, just not to her taste), the hostess quickly switched it out for another, without charge.

The food is the main draw here, and it started out well. The Grilled Romaine was pleasantly tender, crisp, and slightly smoky from a pass across the grill; truffle oil, which I typically avoid, was used with a very light hand, making it a nuance rather than an intrusion. I've read some reviews questioning the service of a whole, unchopped head of romaine, and I agree; we solved that problem by asking for it to be split in the kitchen - 1/2 head is perfect as a starter for 1 person.

2nd courses sounded great, but fell short on delivery, the Scallops with Farro were too smoky to taste of "scallop" and the Pork Belly and Clams was an unremarkable pan-jus type preparation which left the clams tough and the pork belly stringy. The most noticeable - and questionable - part of the pork/clam dish was the cumbersome 1/2 head of barely cooked Shanghai bok choy in the bowl. The bok choy was too big to eat in one piece and the bowl was too small to easily wield a knife in, not an easy dining situation to put your customers in.

For our main course we each had the "Fish Stew" - I a full portion, my girl friend a half (which is a VERY nice option to offer). It was "good", but nothing special - essentially, a decent version of San Francisco style cioppino in red sauce. The scallops were much better poached in the sauce than smoky/seared for the appetizer. Other than it's mediocrity, my other comments on this would be to serve hot food in warmed bowls (it became cool very quickly from being served in room temp china) and to provide "shell bowls" for the mussel shells.

Our server was on the spot again when it came to asking for tea. When asked for "Black Tea" he brought out a variety and informed us that the Ceylon, Earl Grey, and Irish Breakfast were "the closest to regular we've got".

For dessert, the Key Lime panna cotta Parfait had great flavors - rich and tart - but could have stood up by itself because of the density of the gelatine content. A small piece dropped from my spoon and actually bounced on the table.

From what I'd read and been told, I was expecting a very special dinner. From the way the cocktail offerings, wine list, and menu read, I get the feeling that the owner wants to create that, and may have in the past. Maybe it was just an "off night", or maybe a seasonal change in staff is underway, but my experience was not special.

l'll most likely keep reading reviews to see if there's an upswing and, maybe, be back again.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank mpardus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newark DE
Level Contributor
229 reviews
125 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Great adult place”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 29, 2014

Very nice upscale restaurant. Limited menu with a few daily specials. Terrific mixed drinks and decent wine list. Good service. Have the fish stew. Wonderful.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
Thank SteveDELIWEAR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Very Nice Decor and eclectic menu”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2014

The food was great, but a little pricey. Service was adequate but apparently a lot more attentive when you order from the bar.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank 41378Rob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
27 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Hands down the best restaurant on the island”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2014

I absolutely LOVED my experience at this restaurant, and would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a very tasty meal and some expertly-mixed drinks. Reserve ahead of time, as it is very popular - not in the slightest bit surprised! What I loved most about this place is that the have regular and petite sized entrees - which is perfect - choose a few dishes, and share them around the table! I had a delicious Coconut Mojito to drink, and had the BBQ New Orleans style shrimp to start - if it were acceptable to lick the plate, I sure would have! For the main I had a petite order of the braised short ribs - they just fell apart in your mouth - so tender, and I had to be on constant watch and fend people off my plate! The dessert isn't the best at this restaurant, but I'm pretty picky - frankly I'd just recommend piling up on the awesome apps/mains and the freshly baked bread! This place doesn't have an amazing view - it's on the main drag (Periwinkle), but the service is excellent and the food is beyond comprehension - GO HERE!!! And ship me some shrimp...please...;)

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank BahamaMama13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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