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“Great food, iffy service”
Review of Sontes - CLOSED

Sontes
Price range: $15 - $30
Cuisines: International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Romantic, Business meetings, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Private Dining, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Broadway and 3rd St SW
Description: Relax and take your time sampling our seasonally spontaneous food and extensive selection of wines and beers. We support local farmers and artisans, ensuring that we serve the freshest produce, meats and cheeses possible. Our stunning bar boasts 40 wines by the glass, served from a temperature-controlled cuvee system, and more than 100 wines by the bottle. We are here to make you feel at home, so sit back and lounge near our fireplace, belly up to the bar, or enjoy a leisurely evening in our dining room. Make a reservation by 4:00 on the day you plan to join us and receive a special treat from the chef!
Reviewed December 15, 2012

We loved the tapas-like dishes and the wine list. The servers had a way of disappearing from time to time. Location is very close to our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn.

Thank LauraBloomington_IN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (134)
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55 - 59 of 134 reviews

Reviewed December 11, 2012

I happened by Sonte's while walking to another dinner destination. I was drawn in by their happy hour 2-5pm. I enjoyed a couple of glasses of red wine from their great selection. Their menu changes weekly since it is truly from local farms to their table. Their food was amazing and the atmosphere is just as great!

Thank Jason K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2012

My title is a little sarcastic but it's not a bad restaurant. There is a warm and inviting ambiance and everyone we spoke to that worked there was quite friendly. The food was above average but very limited in quantity. I would return but not if I was very hungry. Here is my overall assessment:

Atmosphere: Clean, comfortable, and upscale feel. I like the fireplaces, wood floors, and expansive windows (even if the view of Broadway is not particularly impressive).

Service: Maybe we got lucky but the waiter was fantastic. He answered all questions without hesitation, was knowledgeable about the menu, brought fresh dishes and silverware between each course, kept water glasses full, and seemed to be truly interested in knowing if we were enjoying the meal. I was impressed with his professional yet friendly demeanor.

Menu: Somewhat unusual but not totally out there. The menu is not particularly large so don't expect many choices. They offer a few veggie/salad options, a few seafood options, a few meat options, a few flatbread-like-pizza options, and a robust cheese menu. Prices are higher than they should be in my opinion.

Food presentation and taste: There were two of us and we ordered 5 small dishes and 2 types of cheese. The blue cheese was a little too strong for my taste but that is not the fault of the restaurant - just my personal opinion. The goat cheese was sensational. Both cheeses were served on small wooden cutting boards with a few pieces of bread and some small but tasty and nicely presented garnishes. Currently $7.50 for about an ounce of cheese or three cheeses for $21. I would like to see the trio price about $3 less to say it was a good value.

The duck foie gras was OK but not the best I have ever had. What was more shocking was the amount they serve. It was literally enough for one person to pop in their mouth, chew a couple times, and swallow. $18. Definitely overpriced and underwhelming.

The duck was served with small slices of a thin flatbread or pita, a delicious chickpea/hummus side, sliced cherry tomatoes, and a small cucumber salad. I enjoyed the flavor of this dish overall but we both agreed that the meat was tough.

The beet salad was unusual but quite good and the salmon spread was nothing daring but had a very nice flavor and the sliced bread it was served with was tasty as well.

Value: Although there were a few misses, I thought the food was generally quite good. However, the portions are shockingly small, even for a tapas restaurant. I have eaten tapas in many places in the US and around the world and have never, ever encountered portions that were so small. And those small portions are not cheap either. I'm not one to shy away from high restaurant prices but I do expect to leave feeling like I've had a full meal and gotten what I paid for. The prices are not SO high that I would never return but they were high enough that I felt we were being somewhat fleeced. My guess is that a single person with an *average* appetite who came here hungry would probably not leave full for under $40.

Summary: I appreciate the effort and the variety that this restaurant brings to a small midwestern city. Although I wouldn't call Rochester a "sophisticated" city necessarily, it definitely has a more educated and worldly population than other cities this size in middle America - mostly due to the presence of the Mayo Clinic (2 blocks away). Thus, I like that there is a restaurant such as this to cater to people with more varied tastes. However, I think the owners might want to consider the value for the money and whether this type of restaurant will be sustainable here. If they have been doing great business and are making a wild profit then kudos to them and maybe I'm wrong! But, as a repeat visitor to Rochester and a first time patron at Sontes, I can't help but wonder how many diners will leave here thinking "It was pretty good but for those prices I shouldn't have to then go and hit Newt's for a burger."

I will probably return but I will not be ravenous when I do.

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Thank Texan1010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2012

This place is very well designed, great food, with a great wine list. The staff are generally helpful and friendly. I would highly recommend this restaurant, but before coming here, keep in mind the place seems to cater to the more "refined" foodies and winos, so bring an equally "refined" wallet, which is the only reason I don't go here more often.

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Thank Esteban1216
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2012

We were drawn to Sontes because we enjoy tapas and we were drawn back because the food, the wine and the beer were all wonderful. The tostadas (chicken the night we had them) were fantastic - ended up ordering additional even though we were full. Everything, including the nuts and olives, was delicious and the wine list is exceptional. The chef was willing and able to make adjustments for food allergies and even "without," the tapas were tasty. Service was excellent and servers are very knowledgeable about both food and wine.

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1  Thank somanyplaces
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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