Let me preface by saying, I have written several reviews so far and this is the first one that I've ever given fewer than 4 stars, let alone a single star. There's good reason though.
I attended a friend's birthday dinner here recently with a group of about 15 people or so. We were seated in the "porch" area, which I must say is absolutely beautiful. I'd goes so far as to say it may be the best dining area in Tallahassee with the surrounding gardens and general ambiance... but that's where the rave reviews end.
When I eat at an upscale restaurant and pay upscale prices, I automatically expect two things: good food and good service. Unfortunately, at least in my experience, both were terribly lacking. So our group arrives around 7:30 for a later dinner and right away our server attends to us, getting our drink orders and asking if we'd like any appetizers (which we did not). He comes back shortly with our drinks and then leaves again. So far so good. Being hungry, we all decide fairly quickly what we want to get and continue socializing while we wait. 15 minutes go by, then 30, then 45... and our waiter has still not come back to take our order! By this point we're all starving and a little peeved as you can guess. Personally, I would have left right then had it not been a birthday dinner. Finally our host, the birthday guy himself, has to get up and rope down our server just so we can have our orders placed.
After taking them, our waiter leaves and we're left sitting there quite hungry. I remark to the people around me that I'm surprised that at such a high-end restaurant they do not have any bread for their guests, despite the fact that there are bread plates on the table. Another 15 minutes later (1 hour since our seating), our waiter brings two baskets with five rolls each… for 15+ people. Of course these disappear nearly instantaneously and are subsequently never refilled. The rolls themselves are extremely disappointing for a restaurant of this caliber, and I must admit that as I took one I started laughing to myself. I love to take the train and I’ve ridden Amtrak everywhere that it goes. The food on Amtrak is good, but naturally a substantial amount of it is frozen and reheated, including the rolls. I know Amtrak rolls like night and day, and these were Amtrak rolls! I have no doubt about it. They were reheated, not freshly prepared, rolls through and through. I’ll go a step further to say that whatever company produced them is the same company that supplies Amtrak as well. They were one in the same. Again, something I would not expect at an upscale restaurant.
So finally, an hour and fifteen minutes after our arrival, our orders are brought out. Some of the reviews I had read on TripAdvisor beforehand mentioned that the portion sizes were wanting. I kept that in the back of my mind when ordering and thus settled upon a pasta dish which turned out to be fine in that regards. My friend sitting next to me was not so lucky however. He actually ordered a dish that was more expensive than mine only to receive a far smaller portion. The ironic part was that he was the only one of us to have eaten here before and while we had been waiting for our food, had told me that the portions were good when I asked. Needless to say, he was disappointed and I ended up sharing a little bit of my meal because I felt bad for him.
As for the meal itself, it wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t that good either. Both my girlfriend and I got the same pasta dish, and both were lukewarm upon arrival at our table. When I gave a little to my friend, he made a comment that initially surprised me and then after thinking about it for a second, I had to agree completely with. He said after one bite that my pasta tasted like Chef Boyardee. Now let me say, there’s nothing wrong with Chef Boyardee or Stofers or whatever, I eat plenty of reheated meals like that when I’m at home and don’t have time to cook. They’re not bad… but at the same time I wouldn’t pay $25 for a bowl of either. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe this food was actually from a can. I could tell that it was most likely freshly prepared. However, it was entirely bland and frankly, not worth anything near its price. I made the joke when I finished that I really thought it was a $9 meal with bread and a $7 meal without. When we were all finished, we left and stood outside for a little bit talking about how bad our time there was. Safe to say, there are 15+ people that will not be back anytime soon.
I feel bad writing such a scathing review, but I had to share my experiences given just how truly terrible they were. I’ll conclude by saying that it wasn’t just my party which had a bad time that night. During our dinner, I noted a couple of other tables with frustrated looks as well as they waited long and hard for what should be routine service. One table in particular waited over thirty minutes for the check until they finally had to get up and pull a waiter aside. I don’t know if this is a nightly occurrence or if everyone just had misfortune that night, but regardless, I would not recommend “The Front Porch” to anyone.