More from Restaurants & Bars

Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area

Iberia ... Menlo Park

doc | | Jun 30, 2007 09:11 AM

I've been meaning to try this restaurant ever since it moved to Menlo Park from Ladera. Tapas options are virtually non-existent on the Peninsula ... and yes, I agree with HHC's review of Cascal below -- not authentic, mediocre food at best. So ... off to Iberia on a Friday night. Upon arriving, I immediately thought "wow". This restaurant has the best ambiance of any place I've been to recently: it's tucked away behind the MP train station, located in a lovely standalone building with at least 2 outdoor patio dining areas. The bar is split by a wall and extends into a back room with fireplace and small tables. The main dining room is well-lit and equally inviting. Good so far. I looked at the posted menu when I entered and thought "wow" again. A very wide range of tapas, reasonably priced, reminiscent of trips to Sitges on the "Spanish Riviera".

The reviews of Iberia on this site have been fairly consistent -- really good food, really bad service. Well ... I can't speak for the food. I took a seat at the front bar ... there was one other patron there. The bartender walked by 3 or 4 times without acknowledging me. Thinking I was committing some sort of faux pas, I waited 5 minutes, moved to the back bar. One other couple there. Bartender ignored me again. I have a rule that if I don't get acknowledged within 10 minutes of entering a restaurant, I leave. So I left, ran some errands, came back an hour later, hoping that the bartender shift had changed. Came in, sat down, waited 5-10 minutes, same results. The entire time, the owner?, Maitre D? was standing 20 feet from me, motionless and smiling. Interesting concept for a restaurant. Great site, great food selection, but just try to order something. Guess I'll never be able to gauge the food properly, as I will NEVER return.