Layla’s Prisoner

What is your worst restaurant experience? 

I had a bad one this evening. I went out with some girlfriends to Layla’s of San Marco. I have driven by this place only a million times. The patio looks inviting with its unique Middle Eastern theme. I love Middle Eastern cuisine so when my friend said that’s where we were all meeting I was excited. I went on Layla’s website and it looked fabulous and authentic.

When we arrived at 7pm there was a sign out front that stated, “Best kabobs in Jacksonville.” It is important to note that a friend of mine made a reservation for all of us and when we arrived they said they did not have a reservation nor do they apparently take reservations. hmmmmm. Anyway, the menu was intriguing and everything looked delicious. A few people ordered hummus appetizers. The appetizers took about 45 min. to arrive which to be honest it took us a while to realize because we were all so excited to see each other that we were talking away. For dinner we ordered chicken kabobs, lamb dishes, shwarma platter, etc. The dinner dishes came about five minutes after the appetizers. The food was delicious and quite authentic. However, after the waiter brought the food we never saw him again. Well, I did see him smoking a hookah at the bar. Muh! He never asked if we wanted more drinks, dessert, etc.

At about 8:45 we asked for the check. At 9pm we received a few checks. The waiter had no clue who ordered what because he didn’t write it down! The checks were extremely incorrect. He left and came back a second time. The checks are still wrong. He comes back a third time and still is completely clueless. He asked if one of us would come to the register with him to explain everyone’s order. At this point I pulled out a piece of paper and pen and drew a map of the table and wrote down what everyone had (Please don’t judge spelling. I wrote this extremely fast).

He took my map and went back to the register. He came back another 15 minutes later with wrong checks! Next, a young waitress comes over and apologizes. We ask to speak to the manager and she says she is the “acting manager. She states, ” I’m sorry. I have been here for two years and my boss likes to hire these idiots.” Do you know how unprofessional of a human being you are right now?! Oh my. She writes down our orders and goes back to the register. She arrives back with our correct checks. I told her I think the automatic 20% gratuity should be removed. She says sorry and that she can’t do that. Huh?? Me and a friend decide to scratch out the automatic gratuity and write the original total next to “total.” Then, we signed the receipt. Anyone know if this will work?  Not sure about the legal aspect.

Finally, we got to walk out the door! We actually got to leave Layla’s. We felt like such prisoners.

I had looked at the restaurant’s ratings online before going and the ratings were not bad. Do you look at restaurant ratings? I looked on yelp.com and urbanspoon.com. Have you ever posted a rating for a restaurant on this type of site?

Reality: Even though I have always wondered about it I would have never gone to this restaurant if I wasn’t invited.  I am happy I went because I got to spend time with some amazing women. I am also happy I went because now I will no longer ponder about what that restaurant is like with the cool patio.

Lesson Learned: Layla’s of San Marco has a cool patio and authentic food, but the service is more than terrible.

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