I understand the need to create a nice atmosphere in a restaurant, playing with the lights. I do, I swear. I wouldn't want to eat in a restaurant with the same lights of a Walmart. But - as the ancient Romans used to say - in media stat virtus, virtus is in the middle.
Inspired by this last experience, here is my top five things that really piss me off in a restaurant:
- Total absence of light, because it is very cool and hip. As mentioned above, obliging your paying guests to guess what the hell they are eating (will it be a potato? Will it be a piece of fish? Will it be a hot chile? Oh, the thrill of guessing...) is stupid. Many restaurants are guilty of this.
- Ear drum breaking music. I understand that if the theme of your restaurant is heavy metal music, you will be playing loud heavy metal music, so if I come and dine at your place I will gladly put up with this (even if I am a not a fan of heavy metal). But if the theme of your restaurant is NOT heavy metal music, then I would like to be able to have a nice conversation with the people I am having dinner with. Well, guess what? In many restaurants, even very good and/or expensive, Michelin-rated restaurants, not only is this impossible, but they look at you as if you were an idiot for even thinking that. Some even write it on their menu "don't ask us to reduce the volume of our music". Well, then don't ask me to give you money for a headache inducing experience in which the pleasure of food will be ruined by stupidly loud music.
- Not respecting reservations. Honestly people: if I make a reservation for 7pm, and I show up at 6.55, I want to be seated at 7pm. I don't want you to sit me down at 7,30 every freaking time. It doesn't matter how good your food is: I, the customer, want to be able to decide how to spend my evening. If I want to stand up and talk to friends before eating dinner, I will go to a restaurant with no reservations, and gladly wait my turn. If I make a reservation is because I want to sit and eat at that time. I understand that it is difficult for a restaurant to asses times and all: but it is not my problem.
- Pretentious waiters. Hey, guess what? No, I don't know what "alajar infused sbiruli" is. Thus, if I ask you nicely what it is, there is no reason to go all French on me and treating me like if I had just taken a huge dump on your shoes. Be nice, answer back, and put a smile on that hippy face. Because, guess what again, it is your freaking job to explain what the food is.
- Overcrowded dining rooms in fancy restaurants. Either I am getting old, and my infamously low level of BS tolerance are getting even lower, or this is something that is happening increasingly often: you go to a "fancy" restaurant (those where the cheapest main course is priced at $35) and you are basically sitting on top of the next guest. The distance between the tables is maximum 5 inches, so that to get in and out you actually need to move the entire table. I don't often go to this type of fancy places, but when I do, I would like to be able to listen to the person I am having dinner with, and not to the (closer) lady who is sitting next to me.
What about you: what are your pet peeves?