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“Good food, but really hit or miss service” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of AGAVA Restaurant

AGAVA Restaurant
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Ranked #15 of 260 Restaurants in Ithaca
Price range: $5 - $25
Cuisines: American, Southwestern, Bar, Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Bar scene, Kids, Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Brunch, Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: AGAVA is a Southwest-Inspired restaurant featuring a wood-fired oven, farm-to-table cuisine and a seasonal menu. The restaurant also has one of the most unique bars in the region, both in design and drink selection. Agava is located in the old East Ithaca Train Depot in Ithaca, NY.
united states
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Good food, but really hit or miss service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 25, 2013

I go to Agava at least once a week, since I live nearby. I love the food, really enjoy the atmosphere (except on trivia nights- it is so LOUD!), and often enjoy the service. However, I have had several experiences which make me think they don't do a great job of vetting and hiring their waitstaff. For example, the other night I was with a friend who was not feeling well and just wanted something to calm her stomach, so she asked if they could just make a plain flatbread with olive oil only on it, and the server replied "No, the cooks don't like to modify menu items." That was really disappointing, as I've spoken to the people who make the flatbreads and they are always happy to help in whatever way they can. Also, the staff is obviously very jaded by living in a college town. I have had them tell my (mid-twenties) group of 3 that we could not get separate checks and then walk up to the group of 4 (in their forties) next to us and offer to split up the bill.

The thing is, I will keep going back, because I really do think the food is worth it. I just really wish they would put more thought into who they're hiring and try to find people who are polite to all their clientele all the time.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank lovetoeatandsleep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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341 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    147
    122
    37
    23
    12
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
46 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Very creative, not run of the mill”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 22, 2013 via mobile

2nd time going and 2nd review. This time we had a table of ten. We had a reservation for 2 pm and were seared right away. Our server was always smiling, very friendly, and was there when we needed her. This was a brunch menu and we ordered three different flat breads which I thought were done nicely, the flavor was right on. Everyone loved the burgers. All in all a really good meal, with great service.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank travelCity60763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“The food is worth it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 9, 2013 via mobile

Agava is one of my favorite places in Ithaca. The food is phenomenal, especially the brunch. Outdoor seating is great. The bar is he low point. Limited selection, and the best beer is foreign which is strange considering the commitment to local foods. The staff knowledge is also limited especially about beer and wine. Otherwise the staff is friendly. The bar is crowded with limited seating, and hard to get to the bar when busy. The music is a good idea most of the time, but is very loud. All in all I go there whenever I can.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Brian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ithaca, New York, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“loud, but good”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 6, 2013

The acoustics are alive, so don't go there if you want to have a conversation, but the food is fantastic. They use a lot of local ingredients, and there's a list on the wall of which farms they come from, so if you're a local and you shop at the farmer's market it's possible to associate a face with many of the farmers you're supporting when you eat there. The place is an interesting mixture of urban sophistication and local color; it reminded me of a big city restaurant with the noise & the bustle, but then there's the very local very fresh ingredients.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Marty H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ithaca, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Get it together... please”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2013

Agava has a lot going for it, which make the flaws so annoying. I have tried to, and want to, like this place! Many of the food options are creative and delicious, others... not so much. For example, the Mary Jane appetizer is fantastic. As for the wood-oven-roasted brussels sprouts, the emphasis was on wood, i.e., they were too hard to gnaw on. The service is usually very good, but not always. Last Sunday the appetizer course had not come out by the time we received our entrees, so we cancelled it. The second drink I ordered took forever to arrive... I slowly nursed my (very good, and large) mushroom quesadilla and still finished it before the drink arrived. I blame these service flaws on the kitchen and bar management, not the waiter (who sincerely apologized). The average ratings for food, service, and value reflect the inconsistency in each. Sorry, Agava... you deserve better.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Art-2347
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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