I dined here with a large group from work for lunch in June 2014. We'd made a reservation in advance.
I joined the group late at Alivia's and found we had been seated inside, along one side of the restaurant. This would turn out to be a slightly awkward location as some diners in booths couldn't get in or out easily nor could servers get to them easily either.
A bunch of appetizers were ordered and they came out in good time. I tried the calamari soon after it had been delivered to the table but it didn't taste hot and the coating wasn't crunchy so overall that item was disappointing. I also ate a couple of the chicken wings and at least they were somewhat hot and already came sauced (which is normal I suppose). These were served with celery sticks and ranch dressing. Again, the chicken wings were just OK. There was a large platter of nachos delivered to the table to share. The portion was big. I think this can't have been an appetizer based on the size. The chips were tricolor and loaded with the usual suspects (cheese, beans, possibly freshly made pico de gallo, sour cream). A coworker pointed out the chips were fried in house which might explain why the chips tasted lighter than usual tortilla chips. Of the three appetizers I tried, I liked the nachos the best.
I ordered a chef salad as my entree. Some restaurants fail when handling groups because entrees come out sporadically but I will give Alivia's credit that they served all our entrees together (which really is the way it should be done). The chef salad was nothing special but every ingredient was fresh and presentation was OK. I found the dish to be OK, nothing special.
The most memorable part of the meal was that service was attentive and relatively quick considering the size of the group. With the other lunch options in downtown Durham these days, I'm not in any particular hurry to return to Alivia's for lunch. I wouldn't say I didn't like dining at Alivia's but I think I could get a more memorable lunch for the same price.
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