When I recently posted a query about Oliveto, one response indicated a so-so experience. I'm sad to say that I too had a blah experience at one of the most heralded restaurants in the Bay Area.
The service was abysmal. Though we were all seated right away, and the hostess very nice, we were left sitting for more than 15 minutes with our menus and wine list. No one, and I mean, no one came by or even made eye contact. Then, at last, our waiter appeared and seemed put off by the questions our vegetarian friends had about the menu. Orders were taken, uh, I mean 'memorized'--no mean feat since there were 9 of us--then duly forgotten when a few shared appetizers we ordered never appeared and two of our appetizers and one entree were wrong. No big deal, but there were no apologies at all. And still, no wine on the table. When it finally arrived, we were all dying for a glass and drank up the two bottles quickly. Unfortunately, our empty glasses and empty bottles weren't a cue for our waitstaff to return to enquire if we'd like more, or perhaps, some more water. (And it really bugged me that it seemed as if the olives that were placed on the table seemed portioned out to one-per-person. Maybe it's a coincidence, but come on, there were NINE of us. One olive each seemed to be a bit stingy to me.)
Anyway, I digress. The meat-eaters were pleased with their entrees. Very tasty pork belly. Good salame, even if they forgot an order of it. And the fig salad was very nice. The pasta with scallops was a huge disappointment. The sauce was only mediocre--honestly the Emeril vodka sauce I got from Trader Joe's was just as good and far cheaper--and the scallops were on the small and rubbery side. Other pasta-eaters thought their dishes were okay, certainly not the blow-me-away pasta we'd all expected. Maybe we expected too much?
I don't know, but after our experience, we won't be back. And it's a shame because I'm sure there's a reason Oliveto has such a legendary reputation in the Bay Area. I just don't have the patience--or wallet--to find out why it's on so many critics' lists.