leaving. We drove to I-95 and then took US-301 all the way into Ocala to SW 10th St. (Fl-200) which goes to the Best Western at 3701 SW 38th Ave, We avoided I-75 traffic and congestion. US-301 was a good route, even with the slower speeds and driving through towns. There was more traffic on 301 than I remembered last year. We experienced wonderful weather today with sun all the way. Temperature rose to hi 60's. We arrived about 4:00 and was pleased with the room 435 and service here.
We had dinner about 6 at the Olive Garden. As last year we again ate in the bar area at one of the side booths to avoid waiting for a table in the dining room. But our dinner was not that enjoyable as a group of people (10+) crowded in around a high top table for 4 next to us and was very loud and noisy screaming out to each other and others arriving for their party in the dining room. They also flustered the waiter who lost control of his service to the bar area. We ordered the same items as last year--We started with Calamari and Al ordered Braised Beef and Tortelloni - tender slices of slow-braised beef, portobello mushrooms and asiago-filled tortelloni tossed in basil-marsala sauce. I had Eggplant Parmigiana - lightly fried, topped with homemade marinara and melted mozzarella, served with a side of spaghetti. My dinner was not good, the eggplant was soggy as if it had been cooked and set for awhile. The manager ended up quickly comping the dinners .......we think he realized things were a bit out of control as he began checking on some of the other tables who had been complaining. We ordered glasses of wine but never received them and told the waiter not to bother bringing them. Overall, a bad dining experience. Thumbs Down!