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“Maybe this was their OFF day?”
Review of The Olive Room - CLOSED

The Olive Room
Price range: US$15 - US$45
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed 8 March 2015

The "OFF" is a bit of a pun, a reference to Parkinson disease, as we had a professional PD related event (~35 people) & also reference to the generally great other reviews on this place.

Well, it's because of those other reviews why we picked this restaurant for our event. I was rather surprised for the poor experience and I just want to share so that readers can take it into account besides all the good ones out there as well.

I had been told by my coworkers that there would be valet parking, yet arriving in front of the restaurant I saw nobody. Fortunately there was (metered) street parking very close, so I parked there. When we walked in the receptionist (it's also a hotel), who BTW was very nice, confirmed to us that there was valet parking, asked for my car keys, yet did not have any ticket or receipt to give me, which I felt a bit uneasy about, came across as odd, if not unprofessional. I gave my business card just in case.

The restaurant (we needed a special room for our event) was on the 5th floor and seated us nicely. Overall, the room was appropriate for this size of crowd and the kind of event (few panelists speaking to the entire crowd), speakers could be easily heard by the audience. A small annoyance there: there was background music at first, and this made it difficult to hear the speakers. I desperately and vigorously waved toward the waiting staff, one almost seemed like heading my way, but no. I could not leave my spot as I was an important member of the panel, but fortunately somebody walked to them and asked them to shut off the music, which they did.

Then there was a bit of an oddity re: beer service. I asked for beer & first was told they had something on draft (which is always my preference). Then the waiter returned & told me they only had bottles, in fact he brought 1 bottle of each of the 3 kinds of beers they had. I picked the Pinkus hefeweizen (a great beer, BTW), so he placed a bottle of it in front of me, opened it. He started walking away and then turned back half-way & asked (apparently expecting a 'no') if I wanted to have a glass. Really? Hefe weizen out of the bottle? So I said yes, he took the beer away, then helped served lunch (additionally to 2 other waiting staff) for all 35 people, then came back with my beer ~10' later (did apologize for the delay).

Well, those are really just minor issues. The MAIN issue was the food. Both my wife & I ordered the tomato soup and it was horrible! One of the worst soups (of any kind) that I have ever had. It had some tin-like (per my wife) or spoiled fish like (per me) aftertaste. I was very hungry and ended up eating it, but my wife could not eat hers. I really have no clue how something as simple as tomato soup can be made so bad!

The rest of the menu wasn't much better. I had the salmon, which was luke-warm, dry, and besides the farmed-fish taste, was fairly tasteless. My wife's chicken wasn't good either. Finally, my baklava was not crispy, like when it is fresh/high quality, but wet paper like.

Service was (besides the issues I already described) poor, e.g. when a waitress came around to take orders for coffee and I was actually speaking to someone at that time, she just did not ask me (I actually did not realize this at that time, as I wasn't paying attention, only when I saw others being served coffee did I ask how come they got it). They did ask the person I was talking to about coffee and he asked for decaf, which she announced they did not have (!)...

I don't have problem with Ikea, throughout my life many pieces of my furniture has been from there, but it came across as a bit low-end for a restaurant. The cleanliness of the floors was also iffy.

In the end of the day the event was a success (for why I did not rate "terrible" - 1 star), thanks to the speakers, the awesome audience, and the general setup. However, the food being so poor came close to ruining everything. I most certainly won't organize business events here again and probably won't come privately either, but I appreciate that other reviewers had good experience and, as said in the title, this could just be this restaurant's OFF day.

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3  Thank MariZoli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dimitris S, Public Relations Manager at The Olive Room, responded to this reviewResponded 10 March 2015

While we always appreciate customer reviews, whether positive or negative, certain aspects of this particular review need to be addressed, since the head chef, in particular, reviewed the claims about the cuisine and found them to be lacking in any basis. What our chef found is that each of the menu items criticized in the review were prepared in precisely the manor in which The Olive Room cuisine is typically prepared. That is to say using the finest, freshest, organic ingredients in combination with recipes of the highest caliber, prepared by a kitchen that has years of experience working with these recipes. Taste tests on the EXACT same food that was reviewed here found that there were no exceptions on this day.

One indicator of the high quality of the food served on this day that is worth mentioning: someone in the very same party came to tell the chef that the food was "the best I have ever had." The quality of our cuisine is the reason we are in the top 50 restaurants list in the latest Baltimore Magazine. While a waiter-in-training may have not yet known what the protocol for hefeweizen was, they did follow protocol and apologize, and the food served was the highest quality with no exceptions.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (76)
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10 - 14 of 76 reviews

Reviewed 7 February 2015

Great food. Can't wait to go back. Wine pairing with the pierced plates were tastey. Atmosphere was good. Definitely can be a great place for a romantic dinner.

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Review collected in partnership with this restaurant
Thank Nadine314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2015

Delightful food, great atmoshoere, and excellent service. On A ROOFTOP! Nothing else to be said. Loved it.

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Thank Cwalker3388
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2014

My wife and I give this place six stars. The extra star comes from the selfless hospitality that the Olive Room staff, Dimitris in particular, showed us when we came to them a month before our wedding (having just concluded a terrible experience with The Waterfront Kitchen).

I will break the experience down into three parts: 1) the Venue 2) the Food 3) the Hospitality.

VENUE: We had our wedding ceremony at the Fredrick Douglass Museum, a block and a half from the restaurant. The museum had a nice pier where we took our wedding photos and we held the reception at The Olive Room. The restaurant is located in an up-and-coming part of Baltimore that offers a fantastic view of the entire harbor from their rooftop. You can see some construction occurring from the restaurant, but we did not feel that it took away from the near-waterfront view offered by the restaurant. The table that the set for us was magnificent - all of our family was raving about how nice everything was. Fresh white linens accompanied by locally grown seasonal flowers. A long banquet table fitting 62 to 65 people maximum that was wide enough to add a dash of elegance but narrow enough to have a conversation across the table (this was exactly what we had been wanting - a set up that would feel intimate, like a big family dinner). The dining room is long and narrow, with balcony along two sides of the room. We had space enough to have our first dance and Dimitris provided a sound system for us to play music then and during the whole reception (from one of our iPhones). We also stayed in this hotel for the night before (my wife only) and after the wedding. Everything in the room was perfect - beautiful and cozy at the same time. Dimitris provided some great complimentary soaps from a Vermont soap company (so great, that we actually ordered more for our home). They were so generous with every aspect of our stay.

FOOD: I could talk forever about this, but lets keep it to the main dishes and the dessert. For a great price, we got a three course meal for all 65 of our guests and a wedding cake: take your pick between Wester Ross Scottish Salmon from a selected source simply grilled, Grilled Chicken Breast marinated with Olive Oil Lemon and Greek herbs, Marinated Beef Tenderloin Kebab locally raised and butchered tenderloin or Artisan Greek Greens Pie with spinach, chard, leeks, Greek cheeses in handmade filo for the vegetarians. And yes - they tasted even better than they sounded. The presentation of the food was picture-perfect. For dessert, in addition to a choice between Baklava ice cream or House Made sorbet, the Olive Room made a custom cake for our big day: a three-layer flourless chocolate cake with hazelnut flavors to die for. They just asked as what are favorite flavors were and gave us exactly what we wanted (my wife was pleasantly surprised that they were happy to bake a flourless chocolate cake as she requested). We will be savoring every bite of the top layer, which we froze, for our one year anniversary.

HOSPITALITY: The Sixth Star. What sets great companies apart from all the rest is not their good, even great, service. It is that a culture of customer-first service is pervasive throughout the entire management & staff. The Olive Room seeks to make lifelong customers. That was evident from our first email with The Olive Room. And they surely made lifelong customers of me and my wife. In addition to being prompt with all correspondences and transactions, when my parents and I visited The Olive Room in advance of the wedding, it felt as if the red carpet had been rolled out for us. They answered all questions we had, made accommodations that we did not think were possible, and put us at complete ease about how things would run on the day of.

If you are looking for a location to have an intimate, elegant, exceptional wedding reception, we recommend the Olive Room with our whole hearts. Thank you many times over, Dimitris and everyone at the Olive Room.

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Thank Jonathan & Kaja M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2014

We stayed at the Inn and went upstairs to the 5th floor for dinner which was great because it is December and we never had to leave the building. however, we thought we were going to the Olive Restaurant but this was called the Olive Room. Once there it looked good, very small with great views of the harbor from giant windows so we stayed. They seemed to be used to people making this mistake. Once we settled in to the only table not reserved we got great service with great recommendations. The best was the octopus salad and the lamb chops. With a cocktail each , a glass of wine, and an after dinner drink(hey we're only walking downstairs to our room) it was $190 with a 20% tip. for prompt service, enjoyable waitress conversation and good recommendations. The food is greek and the wine and spirits are not your usual name brands which made it fun. I had a single malt scotch that I never heard of. Now we just need to try the other place.

Thank vagabond3025
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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