Cutting a Dash through the 21st Century


Complaining in Restaurants


I spent last week in Portugal; sun drenched olive groves, stunning castles and palaces (I stood in the spot where Wellington planned his assault on Badajoz) and wonderful food. Well nearly wonderful food. Most of the simple Cervejarias were outstanding, serving delicious grilled fish and meat. Yet the most expensive restaurant we went to was an abject disappointment. It appeared great (cool décor and the menu looked modern and exciting) but it was perhaps too much of a tourist trap in hindsight. The mussels were overcooked and rubbery, the pasta was bland and watery and my pork was practically raw. I very nearly complained and sent the food back… very nearly…

When asked how our meal was I unfortunately slipped into that classic British trait of replying that everything was fine. I really should have complained, but I just didn’t want to cause a fuss I suppose. This seems the polite thing to do, to not make a scene, and it is a curious trap that us Brits have gotten ourselves into. I ended up paying out for a meal that I was really disappointed with, indeed as I have done on several occasions in the past. Americans, Canadians and Australians will all readily complain about sub-standard service at the drop of a wide-brimmed hat. Yet we British tend to feel unease at such a response. It’s curious, as we really shouldn’t. I’ve told myself that next time I get a poor meal then I really should complain to the maître d’. No I should march into the kitchen and insist on speaking to the chef, grab the manager by the collar even and demand a free bottle of champagne. I should do all of this, though I’ll probably just reply with ‘everything’s fine thank you’.

2 thoughts on “Complaining in Restaurants
  • jonathan says:

    You really should be charging the restaurant for the feedback.
    After all, if the food was terrible – all of a sudden, the restaurant will have no customers and not have a clue why… QED

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