It’s been a long time since I’ve been back to Murrieta’s. It used to be my favourite restaurant way back when Chef Ned Bell was at the helm. I used to go there for lunch at least once a month. As time went by after Chef Bell left, I noticed the decline in quality with both the service and the food. I stopped going there for about 5 years. Over the last few years I’ve tried it once or twice with varying experiences with respect to the service. For the most part, the food has been pretty tasty.
My favourite dish at Murietta’s is the Lamb Meatball Spaghetti with a Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce ($14.39 for a large order). The pasta is always cooked perfectly al dente. The lamb meatballs are always tender, juicy, and flavourful. I love the depth of flavor in the garlic tomato sauce. The only thing that was missing to this dish on this visit was the chunks of roasted garlic in the tomato sauce. In the past, I distinctly remember generous chunks of roasted garlic in the tomato sauce. I hope that it was an accidental omission from the sauce rather than an intentional one as that was one of my favourite parts of this dish along with the lamb meatballs.
My friend ordered the Seared Scallop Fettuccini ($16.61 for a small order). The pasta was tossed in olive oil, red chili, fresh tomato, and garlic. She really enjoyed this dish. I had a taste of it and thought the combination of flavours went well together. I liked that the fettuccini was very light and cooked to perfection.
For dessert we shared the Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cake ($9.81). It was served with green tea gelato, vanilla basil crème anglaise, and black berry compote. I was really impressed at how good this dessert tasted. At first, when I saw it on the menu, I wasn’t really attracted to it because flourless cakes often can be quite dense and chalky. I was pleasantly surprised that this Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cake was moist and had a normal soft, cake-like texture with lots of ground walnuts. The green tea gelato was delicious and paired nicely with the dark chocolate cake. This dessert was a definite success! I can’t wait to go back to have it again.
On this visit, the service was a bit spotty. When we first sat down, our hostess neglected to provide us a wine list along with the lunch menus that she handed us. I had to ask our server to get us a wine list. I felt that overall the quality of the service had somewhat declined compared to previous visits. This may just be a result of the server that we ended up with. I noticed our server was less polished compared to other servers we’ve had there in the past and I had to ask or prompt him for everything. When it came time for dessert, he didn’t even bother explaining to us what the Daily Cheesecake was. I didn’t really notice at first until I overheard another server explaining the daily dessert specials to the table behind us. That’s when it dawned on me that our server had neglected to inform us. I would still go back to Murrieta’s based on the quality of food versus the price point. The prices at Murrieta’s are actually quite reasonable considering the quality and the taste of the food. Their prices aren’t much more than the trendy chain restaurants such as Earl’s or Milestones but I feel that the quality and taste of the food is much better at Murrieta’s. I hope that we will get a more attentive server on our next visit.
Murrieta’s Bar & Grill
808 1 St SW