Some places are so absurd that you just have to laugh. Such is the case with Milo and Olive in Santa Monica. And to think, Food Bestie and I had such high hopes….
It all began once we sat down. The menu looked decent enough. It was priced Santa Monica high. But, from a previous visit for breakfast years ago, I vaguely expected it.
We browsed the menu before settling on items to order. Food Bestie had heard amazing things about the GARLIC KNOT (extra virgin olive oil, sea salt). So, that was a must. Another check off for the MARY’S ORGANIC CHICKEN MEATBALLS (tomato sauce, arugula, red onion half) and the PORK BELLY SAUSAGE + KALE (braised garlic, mozzarella, tomato cream) pizza to finish off. For liquid libations, we each ordered the HOUSEMADE STRAWBERRY SODA. Again, at this point, I still had high hopes for the experience.
Until the cast iron dish of meatballs was unceremoniously dropped off at our table.
Now, I’ve had meatballs before. It’s one of my favorite dishes at Met Him at a Bar. These were the smallest balls I’ve ever been served in a restaurant. And at $6.25 each meatball, it was laughable.
They were so small that upon viewing then, Food Bestie said “We are actually getting charged $6 each…… for this?” I had to make a joke that nuns were praying over the meatballs in the back to make light of the absurdity of the situation.
Next up for delivery, the garlic knot.
When this dish was served, I was legit confused as to how to eat it. Due to the presentation, It looked like fried parchment paper with garlic. Confused, I asked the waitress how the dish was commonly eaten. I expected bread – or something. She casually stated the people usually break apart the sides and dip it. That’s when she motioned that there was a slit in the knot, which we then expanded.
Hopeful, I pulled apart a side of the knot and had it with some of the marinated garlic cloves.
I was underwhelmed.
I will admit that the pizza was decent. If you make your way here, just order a pizza.
Oh, and no refills on your house made soda. I guess it took too much time to mix strawberry syrup in seltzer and serve it.
The final layer of mediocrity came when we asked for the check. The waitress actually gave us the check of the table next to us. However, we didn’t know that – as the waitress calculated the payment and then gave us the payment terminal while standing there.
Nothing like the passive aggressive vibe of choosing to tip 18%, 20% or 22% while your server waits, staring at you. Tipping, on top of the highly questionable kitchen health surcharge, was yet another eye roll experience.
She realized her mistake when the table next to us tried to pay their check. Confusion ensured. She returned to our table to state that she was voiding our check and recharging us. With a swiftness, I asked for refills for our strawberry soda as she handed me the payment terminal.
She stammered a yes. Then, said that they usually don’t do that.
I usually don’t experience such a WTF experience, for such a high price and end up paying for another table’s check. It’s not what you usually do or don’t do. It’s the principle of the situation.
Finally, we received our strawberry sodas to go and made our way back to our respective parking spaces. I asked Food Bestie if he would be interested in ever going back. He paused for a moment – and then said:
“If I was in the area, there were no other reservations available, and I was starving – I might consider coming back”.
As for me? Hard pass.
Milo and Olive
2723 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, California 90403