Good food, bad ambience
Ok, we've covered good food, bad service but what about bad ambience? How good does the food have to be if the ambience is bad? I am not talking about places that are a sneeze away from the health dept. closing them down, I am talking about places that have close quarters, tacky decor, unusual location or clientele, loud music etc. Basically an atmosphere that makes you edgey.
This is a toughy...Ithink it depends on the balance between good food and bad atmosphere.
Some places I go to for the whole package...usually long relaxed dinners with my boyfriend.
Although, some of my favourite places are just becuase of the awesome food including a Somalian in Toronto. The ambience screams utility! The walls are this strange neon-hospital-green colour, the lighting is a row of high powered neons hovering above, the only decor is a huge pop fridge. ...that is all forgiven though when I get my goat soup and chicken stew!
Most of the restaurants in Boston's Chinatown can be pretty divey - very basic decor, formica-topped tables, brusque wait staff. But the food is great, very fresh, tasty, authentic ingredients, beautifully cooked (mostly, not always), so for the sake of good eating, we put up with the surroundings. If the food weren't fantastic, I wouldn't put up with it.
If the food's good, ambiance doesn't matter.
If the food's not good, ambiance matters even less!
I guess the only time ambiance would affect my decision on where to eat would be when two places have similar food and prices, or for a birthday or anniversary.
If it affects my comfort level, I probably won't return - or would give it a second chance but not more. There was a restaurant we used to like on South Beach - great food, but they played this really hokey elevator music and it really was grating. For me, part of going out to eat is a general enjoyment of the experience, and if something takes away from that, I probably wouldn't go back.