Having fun dining out is always the objective, here are a few things that contribute to spoiling the fun.
I thought I could maybe find half a dozen irritations for this page, but the list keeps growing – over 30 now The list is in no particular order. 😉
Feel free to add your own gripes as comments.
1. Restaurants with Champagne Trolleys trying to force you into buying expensive (unpriced Champagne). Top marks go to El Celler De Can Roca for providing complimentary Cava and water as a matter of course.
2. Not offering Tap Water, so you feel obligated to order bottled Sparking or Still water, rather than be seen as a cheapskate. Top marks go to The Table for providing easy access to Fresh Jugs of water and glasses, enabling customers to help themselves.
3. Restaurants charging for bottled water, that isn’t actually a brand name, but just some water they have decanted into their designer bottles.
4. Sitting in an expensive restaurant facing an ugly wall.
6. Staff who hover.
7. Waiters who mumble and speak quietly.
8. Waiters with strong accents who speak too fast.
9. When your bar drinks are not brought to your restaurant table, or when the bar insists on doing a separate bill rather than transferring the charges to the restaurant bill.
10. Tables that are too small and menus that are too big.
11. Wine lists without indexes.
12. Expensive restaurants that do not do matching wines – that’s the fun part.
13. Not getting your wine decanted (when appropriate).
14. Waiters that make you look scruffy – actually there’s quite a lot of them!.
15. Tables that are too close together.
16. Top Restaurants that make no effort to provide interesting bread.
17. Waiters who spend more time talking to each other than they do serving the customers.
18. Long delays in getting your bill. Surprisingly, I have had this happen a few times in Restaurants that allocate tables for a set time period only (so they can fit in multiple sittings). You plan around the meal taking two hours and then find that you are stuck waiting for the bill. This is especially irritating when a meal is advertised as pre-theatre.
19. Noisy Neighbours – even big groups should be able to keep within the general noise level of a restaurant. I really have no interest in hearing people shout at each other or at the waiters, although I have to admit being rather amused by the chap at the next table in The Ivy , he had obviously just got back from a holiday in Spain and kept shouting ¡HOLA! to attract the waiters attention, the funny part was his girlfriend going off to the loo and not returning!.
20. Having your drinks removed before you have finished them.
21. Menus with far too small fonts, and especially restaurants like Craft that think it’s smart to supply reading glasses to resolve the problem.
22. Complacent Restaurants that think having a good view is enough.
23. Top end restaurants that do not have a reasonable selection of wines for under £30 (ok £50 – been a bit of inflation since I added this one)
24. Restaurants that do not do wine by the glass (decent wine that is!)
26. The incomplete meal – When a course requires that you need to add side orders.
27. Celebrity chefs who give their names to inferior restaurants.
28. Ridiculous advertising copy that completely misrepresents restaurants. The authors should be forced to eat in the restaurants they write about as punishment!
29. Waiters who do not evenly distribute wine, i.e., they overfill some glasses, as a means of forcing you to order another bottle to make up the short fall.
30. Badly lit Restaurants, where you need to use a torch to read the menu.
31. Drafty Restaurants
32. KGB customers that bring radioactive material to dinner.
33. Restaurants that try and dislocate your arm putting your coat on when you are leaving.
For gripes on specific restaurants see worst of the worse.