Durham >Food & Dining > Magnolia Grill
1002 Ninth St, Durham, NC | Directions 2770536.013912 -78.921436
Restaurant Tues-Thurs 6-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-10pm. Bar 5-9:30pm
Neighborhoods: Old West Durham
Not worth the time or money – We just came home from our first visit to this place....how disappointing! They have a rule of no substitutions, which I have no problem with, but when I requested the lamb dish and asked the waitress to hold the couscous, she came back and said the chef refuses to serve that dish without couscous. So I ordered a trout dish and asked for it with no risotto, as I do not care for that either. I was told that the chef will only serve the dishes as stated on the menu. I settled for a trigger fish dinner that came soaked in some liquid with heavy pepper. Huge prices, with small selections! Parking is terrible. We had to park at least 1/4 mile away, as the parking lot is very small. The waitress had an attitude and was not accommodating in anyway and super slow. We spent 3 hours in the place, and only 45 minutes of that was eating. $135 before tip was our final bill for 3 plates, one desert ($9 each), 1 glass of wine and 3 beers. A little pricey for a place that is poorly decorated (the art work is a joke), the chef is a snob and the waitress needs to learn how to earn tips.
Terrible Arrogant Service from the Owner – We mostly loved the food. But, one dish was very salty so we sent it back. We went on to dessert. After we got the bill, the dish we sent back was still on the check. So we mentioned that we were surprised to see the item on the bill and that they must have forgotten to take it off.
They told us the "policy" of the restuarant was to charge for any rejected item if the chef tasted it and still liked it. So we told them our policy was not to pay for something we disliked so much we could not eat it. AND we asked how we would know their policy - was it on the website or the menu? Of course not. So they called the owner who also wanted to charge us but finally agreed since we were not going to pay for it to take it off the bill.
How stupid a man he seems to be. Since he took the item off we did not like anyhow, why not be gracious and create our loyalty instead of being an arrogant foodie whose concern was the cooks sense of taste rather than the happiness of the customer. So now instead of taking all the people we would have brought since most dishes were very creative and delish, we think the place is a joke owned by a man with no sense of customer happiness and will never go back.
So Mr. Owner, does you policy work well for the customer or is your policy designed to frustrate the customer and make you happy?
Not worth all the hype – My girlfriend had heard a lot of buzz about this place, so we decided to give it a try. To begin with, the staff was unfriendly to the point of hostility, especially when learning that we'd just turned up without a reservation. We decided to wait for our table at the bar -- where a surly bartender served us a couple of wretched vodka martini's with overripe olives.
After an hour, we were seated. Our waitress then served us a ceviche appetizer which was delicious, and then steak and pork chops as our main course. The food was fine, especially for the price. However the wine selection was extremely thin, and service again took far too long.
The atmosphere itself was not much to write about either. Parking was scarce, so we had to park in a pretty seedy looking, poorly lit area of Durham. It's always hard for me to eat when I'm worried about whether or not I'll have a ride home after the meal.
Overall, it wasn't worth the drive from Raleigh. This place has a sign over the entrance billing it as one of the "50 Great American restaurants". Uhhhh.....no.
Disappointed – Maybe it was worse because I'd heard the hype ahead of time, but I would definitely not classify this as one of the top restaurants in the area. First, the pros: 1) the bread was delicious 2) the service was fairly good 3) my husband had the thick pork chop and liked it a lot 4) the prices were not outrageous (mid $20's for entrees). Now the cons: 1) it was freezing in the restaurant when we arrived and I had to keep my coat on for the first 20 minutes 2) they had a grand total of TWO red dinner wines available by the glass and neither of them were cab, zin, shiraz, merlot or pinot. They were obscure. I described to the waitress what kind of wines I liked and she said, "I will bring you such&such." She brought it - a TINY glass - and then she never once asked if I liked it. I didn't like it at all. I don't see how a "nice" restaurant can get away with such limitations on red wine. 3) my meal was VERY uninspiring. I had flounder which was mushy and nearly tasteless. Seemed like the kind of fish that has been frozen too long. The sides were nothing special. 4) I picked the restaurant because of the menu posted on their website. Turns out that particular menu had not been available for a whole month, but they'd neglected to update their site.
All in all it was not a terrible meal, just a terrible disappointment, considering my expectations for a special night out. A few months ago we ate at Elaine's in Chapel Hill and that was MUCH MUCH better.
FANTASTIC FOOD... the rest was just eh. – We arrived early for our reservation and they were kind enough to seat us. Although the table was near the door, we were still happy. -We were a 1/2 hour early, what can you expect? But it took 10 minutes before a server greeted our table. I saw our server at the host stand and the hostess said, "they've been here a while now" and then the server realized our existence and scrambled over. She greeted us with no apology.
We started with a Salmon appetizer that was out of control good. -Just a fantastic combination of textures and flavors.
I had the hanger steak and it was big and bold with hearty flavors. With the steak I had a glass of the Montelpuciano Di Abruzzo and it's tannins worked perfectly with my meal.
My wife had the trout and it too was amazing.
For dessert we had a cheesecake that had a meringue top to it that was one of the most unique textures I have ever had when dining. It was so delicious that I could have eaten 3 more.
Long story short, the food was WELL-WELL worth the visit and I highly suggest experiencing it. The service was so-so and seemed to take itself far too seriously. The ambiance is a little tired. But... all-in-all a great experience. We went in with big culinary expectations and they were exceeded.
disappointed for server – Excellent food but really uncomfortable service.
The waitstaff we had was not friendly, rather cold. We had to split entree & appetizer since my partner was not hungry. After the order, we saw the waitress was talking behind with waitstaffs about sharing. It ruins whole dining experience. I'll be back for food but not for the service.
Honestly disappointed – So many people brag about this restaurant so I finally went for a try. Forgive my ignorance: reservation on the day is too late. Later I was told I should reserve 3 weeks in advance. Okay, my bad, but I was looking forward to the food even more!
We waited 45 minutes for our appetizer. Lots of dishes ran out by the time we ordered but magically became available when we left. Appetizers and entrees were decent; I've had much better ones with much lower cost. The only plus I'd give for Magnolia Grill is its desserts: the chocolate tart was absolutely superb.
Waiting staff were friendly and professional, but An's is better. VERY slow service and honestly the food was not worth the wait.
Disappointing – We went to the Magnolia grill for our wedding anniversary, I have been there in the past and found the food to be delicious, and therefore we picked the place. We ordered the fresh tomato salad which was wonderful, but it all went downhill from there. The crusted grouper I ordered was overcooked, the crust a bit burnt and the fish dry, I complained to the waitress that it tasted bad, she talked to the manager and came back with, and I quote: “we can get you something else, but you will have to pay for both dishes. . .”
We also ordered the “French toast brulle” apparently they must have been short staffed in the kitchen that day, as this was a bit singed as well. The peach ice cream that went with it was delicious though.
I would recommend Nana’s in Durham instead, if you are celebrating a special occasion and do not want to ruin it with “overcooked arrogance”.
Big fish in a little snobby pond – In town for business? Save yourself the hassle if you're visiting Raleigh and spend your money where it is appreciated. This is just a big fish in a tiny pond. Servers are rude and unaccommodating.
When our 9 month pregnant guest asked for a menu modification, for obvious health purposes, the server simply answered, "no." I understand that menu changes from customers are annoying, however, so are unmannerly restaurants and servers (it comes from above).
We will not go back because of the service. Food was incredible.
If you can tolerate the pretentious service then bon appetit, however, I think your money is better spent elsewhere.
Excellent--even for Celiacs – My bf made the reservation to surprise me and conversed w/ the chef prior to our arrival to confirm their knowledge of my intolerance/disease to be sure that this was not a problem. So, first, and most important to me, that worked out wonderfully--NOT sick at all (THANK YOU!). Now let me give you a quick background, I have lived and worked all over the country and travelled the world. I have eaten in some wonderful restaurants around the world. I have also worked in some wonderful restaurant ('four star') kitchens, as well. I LOVE food. MG, hands down, was one of the best meals I've ever had. In my life. Seriously. The chef will not substitute anything in his meals, but as I said earlier, we let him know that I was coming, and he was very helpful. It is unfortunate to see negative reviews and I can only base my review on my experience. I highly recommend.
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