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Mar 16, 2007 12:44 PM

what's up with Brava Bistro?

Before I moved to Calgary, a friend of mine was here for work every couple weeks and told us when we moved we had to go to Brava! It was his favorite restaurant after trying most of the usual suspects downtown - he always got good service and the food was consistently good.....

A couple months later we moved to Calgary - Went with a group of people to Brava for dinner....service was slow but that was fine since it was friendly and going out for dinner was our evening so we weren't in any hurry. Everyone enjoyed their food - overall good experience.

A few months later we went back with the previously mentioned friend while he was in town visiting. I enjoyed my meal, but my boyfriend did not and the service was falling...

About a month ago my boyfriend's family were in town (one a chef) so we were trying to choose a good place to go - unfortunately we were trying to get a last minute reservation on a Saturday night - Brava had a table, so we took the reservation - I had no real complaints about it, service is an issue almost everywhere....

Service was terrible, wine was dripped all over the table and never cleaned up - the food wasn't anything to write home about and to continue with the poor service, when the plates were cleared those of us on the ends ended up with food dropped on us....

Brava gets such good reviews consistenly - has anyone else noticed it seems to be slipping....

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  1. I'm batting .800 with Brava. Most nights it's great, then out of the blue there's a night like you described. I think it's probably a symptom of Calgary's job market and how hard it is to retain staff.

    1. I've never had an experience there that was not delightful. But that's just me.

      1. Service is an issue in most Calgary spots...but a business like Brava shouldn't have as many because good servers go where they can make the best cash. Brava is one of the places that has a good crowd every night and their service standards are part of the reason why. Having said that, the service the last time I went was clumsy, and our food was woefully overcooked. Maybe they are slipping a bit afterall.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ureviewcalgary

          Nice to hear someone else thinks that the labour shortage is a flimsy excuse for bad food and service. It is true that the best places have their pick for staff. It mostly comes down to the cash and the prestige associated with the establishment.

        2. Brava has always, in my opinion, had consistency problems. Like bohunk said, one night, out of the blue - it sucks. I don't think that you can just blame the servers though. I agree that I have experienced some really bad service, but also some really good service at Brava. However what ticks me is the inconsistency from the kitchen. I will put up with a lot as long as the food is worth it. When it isn't it makes me crabby! Especially on a signature dish that you have had before! My rule is now that I only go to Brava with close friends or family so that I can explain that it is either going to be great or it will SUCK! Either way you still have to pay the bill though so it is definately a risk. I really wish they would get it together though because it is within walking distance from home for me and with spring just around the corner I would love to be able to stop by for a consistently fabulous experience. Besides, they have an impressive by the glass wine list and I do like to spoil myself.

          1. When Brava first opened I thought it was very good, in all aspects but have been there about 4 times since and it seems to go down hill each time, although to be fair the last time I was there it was not too bad, but at that time we just had a couple of beers, mussels and a flat bread. I find not just Brava, but many other restaurants in this city to lack consistency. I expect to receive the same quality of food whether I go on a Monday night at 10pm or a Saturday night at 7pm. The service part I can understand as many places are short for employees, if I see the server working well and is pleasant to his/her guests I am very patient, if not then I have a problem with that

            6 Replies
            1. re: canucks1619

              Posting on Chowhound is making me wonder if I have any taste at all. I've never had anything but positive experiences at Brava, and if anything, I like it more now than I did in 2000.

              1. re: John Manzo

                I completely agree with John Manzo. I have had nothing but excellent experiences at Brava - and I have been there for intimate dinners for 2, large events (my wedding rehearsal dinner for 25), and celebrations (dinner on New Year's 2006-2007). I have always found the service to be first class and the food to be consistently delicious. It really is one of my favorite places to eat (and drink wine ...) in the city.

                1. re: Jigga

                  I agree, still one of my top picks for any night out. Doesn't preclude the fact that my tenderloin was cooked a dull medium last visit despite asking for rare.

                  1. re: bohunk

                    well, i'm glad you guys are having good experiences - for myself, i think i've given up on it because it seems that other quality restaurants in town are able to keep consistently good servers and's too bad, it has such promise and it's so close to home.

                    1. re: pants

                      I go to Brava much less than I used to, because they took off a terrific thing from their menu - the fig and prosciutto pizza. They replaced it with some grape jelly thing that is practically inedible. Their soups are good and it is an OK restaurant overall.

                2. re: John Manzo

                  Well perhaps some of us have different standards to what is good service and poor service