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“Worst Dining Experience of Our Lives!!”
Review of La Botte Ristorante - CLOSED

La Botte Ristorante
Price range: US$41 - US$80
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighbourhood: Santa Monica
Cross street: 7th Street
Reviewed 25 October 2013

La Botte

I don’t write online reviews and hardly ever read online reviews before eating out. Way too many people give single stars and leave negative comments just because one little thing was wrong- like a “rude” hostess or something. And when it comes to tasting menus, many a dilettante just doesn’t understand smaller portions nor are they used to higher prices.

I have ordered tasting menus all over the world, and this was by far the worst dining experience (of any variety) that I have ever had.

All the negative reviews on here are true- from the service to the food. I felt so shocked at what transpired I was compelled to create this account.

My wife and I went for the “two-night only culinary performance … a very special culinary event, “Chef2”, featuring legendary Michelin starred chefs Stefano De Lorenzo and Morihiro Onodera as they artfully fuse Italian and Japanese cuisine. “

Sounded a bit pretentious, but intriguing. Although I thought it a bit of a red flag when I saw that 3 courses of 10 (plus a fourth with white truffle) of the $125 per person prix-fixe menu had mushrooms in them. I love mushrooms, but thought it a bit unimaginative for the lack of variety.

But throughout the meal, it was obvious that these guys have absolutely no concept of how blend flavors or balance ingredients. The cooks at any given Macaroni Grill have a better idea of what food should taste like. And the portions were so ridiculously small- even by LA tasting menu standards.

We began by ordering a $198 bottle of Amarone- worth every penny.

After that the service went right down the tubes.

A quick list: I had to ask for bread when others got it upon seating. Waiter said unsolicited that he would bring oil and vinegar- I had to ask several minutes later for it since he forgot.

Had to give him the menu- he did not take it when he refreshed our wine glasses- yes, we finished a glass before the first course came. And I mean really, there was no choice of dinner. Just take our menu so I could use my bread plate on the small table.

Our meal came so slowly that our first bottle of wine was gone by the 3rd course, at which time we ordered a different bottle at $98.

Here’s the gory details of the food:

Abalone: Tasteless 1-inch piece. It came a small morsel of cucumber-wrapped crab that was saturated in the marinate of the cucumber, rendering the crab flavor a complete mystery.

Matsutake mushrooms, Parmesan broth: Again, tasteless. But I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt, hoping the chefs were taking a Japanese minimalist approach.

Trout, morel and shiitake: Best thing we had, although the morels were somehow not very flavorful.

White truffle risotto, seaweed broth (first crop rice from Mori’s farm, Uruguay): The risotto itself had absolutely no flavor- and the risotto was way undercooked. Many grains of rice had a crunch as if not cooked at all-completely dry!

Duck ravioli, Tokyo negi, espresso sauce, grapes: The single, one-square inch piece of pasta was a ham-fisted effort at best. Instead of an elegant duck meat and fat mélange, it was filled with a bludgeoningly over the top duck pate.

It was at this point I realized that the Lasagna course was supposed be served before the Ravioli- they simply forgot to bring it out!!

Furthermore, I noticed that at least 4 couples that were seated at a minimum of 30 minutes after us were 3 courses ahead of us!

Luckily, the one thing that was generously proportioned was the breadbasket. We had to actually ask for a second and we were still starving.

When they brought out the sorbet I asked about the Lasagna- I just got looks of bewilderment.

So after 2 ½ hours and what amounted to about 8 bites of food plus bread we cut our losses at the half way mark (declining the sorbet) –eating only five out 10 courses- and asked for the check.

We paid $488, drove the hour it takes to get to back to our house and fixed ourselves dinner when we made it home at 10pm.

They did comp the $98 bottle of wine since we only drank about a glass-worth of it.

Gee, thanks.

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1  Thank Evil L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (51)
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2 - 6 of 51 reviews

Reviewed 5 October 2013

This wonderful restaurant is vastly under appreciated. It is quiet and pretty with terrific service and simply outstanding, interesting food. I had warm smoked rainbow trout on a bed of wild mushrooms, which was one of the best fish dishes I have ever eaten.

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Thank Nancy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2013

When I say big prices, they weren't outrageous, but I thought I was in a tapas restaurant when the dishes came out. The bread basket offered a tiny selection and the wine list had only a handful of bottles under $50. Food and service were otherwise good, but I don't recommend dining there if you're really hungry unless you want to rack up a big bill.

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Thank Salde49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2013

The first four, repeat FOUR choices of wine - were out of stock, but still on the wine list. My portion of ravioli for <USD20.- was so small, that we had to go and eat somewhere else for not to be hungry. Then the waitress came and offered complimentary desserts because of the stressful situation when ordering the wine - from the 3 choices she verbally offered - only two were available in fact and once again our choice was not available. At this stage the meal had become a joke and we were glad to leave. The attention of the chef seems to concentrate on patrons he knows. He came to the restaurant often but only talked to one couple, ignoring everyone else. Worst managed restaurant we experienced in a long time. The chef can probably cook for our food was quite good, but sadly we cannot recommend a visit.

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1  Thank kuede
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2013

This was our third visit to La Botte; each time has been better than the last.

Our salads were exceptionally fresh and flavorful and the salmon was cooked to perfection. The wine list leans toward expensive but we managed to find a great selection we could afford.

Thank YayoNorCal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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