I have eaten at the Veranda now on three occasions. It was highly recommended and reviewed but my experience was worse with each visit. Why did I go back? I kept hoping my previous visit was just an off night.
Now most of the reviews here are about their brunch. Maybe that's all they know how to do well. My visits have all been for dinner. And honestly I won't ever go back after this last visit.
I have tried several different dinners which were very bland meals trying to be dressed up. The ingredients must bee good to start with. You can dress up a plate of garbage and expect the dressings to make it better. The results aren't good. Two of the three means I tried steak and had the worst cut, worse quality steaks I've ever had. On my second visit I tried another entree thinking it was just a bad night. My third visit showed the supposed professional cook / owner doesn't know a good cut of beef from bad.
Now onto the service. My first two visits were average though I find it off to sit down to a fully dressed table and all the dishes taken away to be replaced when the meal finally comes. It was just weird. This has happened on every visit. The service has been average though if you order wine they pay a little more attention to you. If you don't the service is much slower.
The last visit was extremely uncomfortable and if the last meal wasn't bad enough. One of the waiters was very overtly aggressive to the other staff and particularly the smallest of the waitresses. He even pushed the young girl into the corner to berate her, in view of most of the restaurant. I cannot say if it was deserved, it certainly didn't seem to be nor was it appropriate. I asked our server what was wrong and was told that's just the way the guy is. The management did nothing but ignore what was going on. It was distracting for not only me but visibly for the other guests as well. For such a highly rated restaurant I was troubled and offended. When a guest brought the matter to the hostess's attention (the owner/chef's wife) she huffed and blew it off only to swill another glass of wine. I personally regret I didn't make a stink as well but I was caught off guard and just sat dumbfounded as I saw this go on.
The atmosphere and reviews may fool. And, the reviews show the brunches are the ONLY thing worth coming here for. There aren't too many restaurants that can screw up a breakfast.
I gave this place several chances. I will not return and I cannot in good faith recommend On the Veranda to anyone. I have found so many better run restaurants with better food and more caring ownership and staff to visit in Highlands!
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