great food, really nice place, really lousy service, great dessert, truly mediocre average food, nice waitstaff, nice hostess
Great place to get yelled at....
I made it in to Cafe Montana with a few friends and some family. The waitress was incredibly nice. She did a great job getting the food quickly to the table and making sure we were all good to go. The food was great and our drinks stayed full and we enjoyed ourselves. The "fishbowl" surrounding was perfect for us observers. We had a great time until the end of our meal...we paid our waitress, which by the way she still took care of us after we paid...usually they forget about the tables who have already paid and push to get you out....not this one, she was great! However on our way out I noticed the "owner" or who was said to be the owner yelling at the hostess up front.. I couldn't not believe it, she was basically calling her an Idiot for not doing something right. I'm pretty sure she was making a latte or something to that effect. It made me and everyone I was with incredibly uncomfortable...I knew working in the food industry was tough, but I thought it was because of the customers not the "owners!" As we walked out she immediately changed her tone and said "goodbye, thank you so much!" Like we hadn't just seen her yelling at that poor hostess. Grow up lady, teach them how to do something you want them to do, don't tell them how stupid they are and yell at them for not doing something right!
Anyway, needless to say I don't think we'll be going back, which is a shame because everything else was so pleasant...
Great place for lunch! AMAZING place for dinner!!.
Having recently moved into the Santa Monica area, I have found myself at Cafe Montana with increasing frequency. I met a friend for lunch there at her suggestion, and was quite pleasently surprised. I'm a big guy and a salad isn't usually enough for me, but when their Grilled Vegetable Salad came out I was sure that I would be ok. I had it with the chicken added, and could not finish it. Unbelievably good, and not something that equals three hours on the treadmill to get rid of. My friend also had a salad, the Chicken Bella if I'm not mistaken. This salad is the reason she lunches there, she informed me. I tasted the pesto dressing and was quite impressed.
I asked the waiter, who was quite a character ;-), if salads were all that they did well. He assured me that the fish speacials at dinner would, and I quote, "Knock my socks off!"
About a week later, I decided to test his recommendation. To preface, I am a salmon lover, and have had amazing peices of it from NYC to Seattle. The grilled salmon that they prepared for me equaled any fish that I have eaten at any five star restaurant, anywhere. The suace that came with my dish was a lovely tomato basil salsa, with a citrus butter (that I requested on the side), but I'm told that the sauces are changed nightly. The sides were completely delicious, and ample to satisfy my appetite, including both potatoes and vegetables. They even have a pretty fun selection of wines to pair dinner with.
For a place that I can walk to, I guess it does knock my socks off. Congrats to the brains behind this little gem in a glass box!
And with the extensive menu, you better believe that I'll be back to try each and every item. Next time, I'm having the risotto with blackened prawns and saffron sauce that the couple next to me was devouring! ;-)
My FAVORITE resturant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I can't think of a place that has won me over time and time again like Cafe Montana. My wife and I had dinner there on Saturday night and I was BLOWN away. They have this prawn and mango salad that I can't stop thinking about and now they have perfected a filet! The owner came to our table and chatted for a few minuets and the service was top notch. I miss places like this in Santa Monica and can't recomend it enough. Save room for the mixed berry crumble!!!!!
A good brunch or lunch stop. This is a pretty popular place, and chances are you'll have to wait for a table if you try to go for a weekend brunch, but there's a reason it's popular. They serve up pretty consistent food, and the staff is super friendly. It's definitely not life-changing, but certainly good enough for a stop through. My favorite are the chicken enchiladas. They are a for sure can't miss.
Over Priced and Not the Good. I have never had a "great" experirnce at Cafe Montana, but since it serves brunch lat on Sundays and it is near my house, I once again gave it another try. I got the Chicken Hash--which was greasy and bland and sparce portion wise. The hollandaise sauce wa barely drizzled on the poached eggs- and of course you have to pay for more- then when the waitress asked me if I wanted an english muffin or wheat toast- I asked for sourdogh--she never told me just to get that kind of bread they were going to charge me an entire dollar for one measly slice. And my "side" of fruit was one bite size piece of hard honeydew and an unripe piece of cantalopue. Don't be fooled- this place robs you blind and then the food hurts your stomache.
Wonderful Place. After a HORRIBLE experience down the street at Locanda Portofino, we tried this place and it was delightful. Easy to get a reservation for 2, even though it was a full Friday night. Hostess was so nice and got us a window table. Nice atmosphere, tasty food and extremely friendly waitstaff.
In this romantic cafe, the California fare looks better than it tastes..
Stylish locals crowd into this romantic corner cafe for weekend brunch and weeknight dinner. Icicle lights trim the ceiling, doubling their glitter in the restaurant's street-facing walls, which are made entirely of glass. An open kitchen reveals chefs fussing over sauces while orange splashes of fire rise from the grill. The California fare takes inspiration from all over the world but with mixed results--dishes look pretty but flavors are hit or miss. You'll find a variety of seafood, pasta, and grilled meat dishes.
worst service ever. Their food wasn't very tasty. The waiter was inexperienced and double charged my credit card which two months later I am still trying to get fixed but the owner never returns my calls. Im not sure if this is because the staff doesn't relay the message or if the owner doesn't care about customer service.
I've been to better donkey shows..
So, it looks nice from the outside.... It's always packed, so it must be good, right?
To start off, the tables are small, the menus are large, and there's no place to put anything. You can't even find a place to put your water. The waitstaff are nice, but obviously inexperienced and overworked. The food looks nice, but tastes like cafeteria food.... We didn't see anyone who even looked something like a chef in the kitchen the whole time we were there. Nobody even peeked in once to check on the cooks to see if the food passed muster. Really, if you take away the fancy icicle lights and the nice Montana location, you're left with a cafeteria.... Except that it doesn't charge cafeteria prices.
We ordered potstickers to share (which were tolerable, probably the best thing we had all night.) Unfortuntately they were bland, and served on a bed of wilted (was it supposed to be? I doubt it) lettuce, with a sauce that tasted surprisingly like plain soy sauce.
My new york steak was ordered medium rare, but came out closer to well, on a plate garnished with slightly over room temperature (just to show you they were ONCE hot) veggies. My steak was undersalted, tough, and had less flavor than pretty much any steak that I've ever had prepared for me. My wife had wild salmon, which not shockingly came out overcooked (who overcooks fish, seriously?!?!) along with the requisite room temperature veggies.
Couldn't bring ourselves to order dessert.... Too much disappointment in one night can be bad for one's soul.
All in all, a VERY disappointing meal. With all the other excellent choices for food, I can't believe Santa Monica's residents still eat here... I won't be back.
In their defense, I have had a weekend lunch there that was good. Dinner, however, is to be avoided at all costs.
Horrible service, below average food. Why this restaurant is still open boggles my mind. The service is so awful: it took forever for our waiter to come to our table, they never once refilled any of our drinks or waters, the french fries tasted like the ones I had 20 years ago in my high school cafeteria (and they came as a side with the healthy sandwich, a bland sandwich made of avocados, bell peppers, zucchini: why would they serve this with a side of greasy fries??!!). Food was below average tasting, and the portions were way small. Montana Ave deserves a better eatery.
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