Dress: totally casual
Food: American fare- soups, salads, sandwiches, seafood
Hours: Mon-Sat. 11 am- 10 pm
Outdoor dining: no
Good for: evening out with girlfriends, date night, family meal
Overall Rating: ***
My most recent visit here, about a week ago, was with my sister for dinner on a Friday night. Unfortunately since it was kind of busy and the place is kind of small, we were seated in one of the tables in the middle of the main entrance area right next to the bar. There is other seating off to the right of the entrance and in the back of the restaurant, both areas are far preferable to the front area. Hollywood’s is a casual restaurant filled with warm woods and too much VT love. It’s acoustics, unfortunately, are not great and it can get a little loud just from conversations at all of the tables. But the food is decent and the service can be good. It had honestly been a while since my last visit, as I don’t go very often thanks to an incredibly bad meal the hubs and I along with some friends had a couple of years ago. But I digress…
For meals tonight, my sister and I both had a glass of wine – she, that evening’s Chardonnay special; me, shiraz. We decided to split an appetizer of the White Bean Chicken Chili Nachos— one of my fave appetizers anywhere in Roanoke. Seriously. My sister then had the crabcakes with a baked potato and squash/zucchini. I had grilled salmon with rice pilaf and the zucchini/squash mixture. Both of us enjoyed our meals. My salmon was actually quite excellent. We both also had salads— I had the homemade honey mustard dressing, can’t remember what she had! For dessert, we decided to get something to take home. The sister had a raspberry brownie and I went with a slice of coconut cake. The desserts are one of the best things about Hollywood’s. They are always phenomenal, no matter what you decide on.
All in all, our evening went pretty well. Service quality tapered off towards the end of the meal, but that’s on par for here. The food is usually great, the service can be hit or miss.
Hours: 11 am – 10pm M-Th, 11 am – 11 pm F-Sat, noon- 9 pm Sun
Outdoor dining: yes
Good for: friends evening out, happy hour, couples looking for a casual meal, families
Overall Rating: ****
Alejandro’s is a smaller Mexican restaurant that opened downtown back in 2007. They opened a second location in North Roanoke a year later, and I believe have now opened one in the New River Valley.
This experience is from the Hollins location in North Roanoke. I prefer this location because of the size of the restaurant and it is closer to where I live. The downtown one is easily overcrowded some nights and this makes it difficult to get to the salsa bar. Salsa bar, you say? Yup. This is one of the distinguishing features of Alejandro’s making it a little different from some of the area’s other Mexican eateries. There are 12 different salsas on the salsa bar that you can choose from to accompany your chips– which are of course obligatory for any Mexican restaurant. This visit I went with a combo mixture of the Hot and Mild regular tomato-based salsa and tried the cold cucumber salsa, which was yummy! I’m a fan of most of the salsas that I’ve tried but I do find that other than the one Hot sauce, many lack heat, so I always try to mix a little of that in to what whichever type I’m getting.
Often when I eat here with friends, I’ve seen them get several different entrees, some of which look great, some not so much. But I pretty much always go with the grilled chicken quesadilla. Sometimes I do feel like this is a copout- but you have to understand, this place makes the BEST quesadillas! Seriously, they are just so yummy I can almost never bring myself to get anything else! I did decide to accompany tonight’s quesadilla with a strawberry margarita (which was huge btw) and quite good as well. My dining companion also had a quesadilla (cheese) and I don’t believe that I heard any complaints!
The overall atmosphere at the restaurant is pretty laid back and festive. The decor isn’t too cheesy or anything, there are always TVs showing the latest soccer games, and service is almost always on the ball. I’d definitely recommend Alejandro’s for a casual night out with family or friends!