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Oct 4, 2008 09:21 PM

Bad experience - Il Centro

Sad to say, because I love their pizza, I will not be returning to Il Centro after my experience there on Friday. I went in at 12.10 alone and asked for a table for one, only for the manager (at least that's who I assume it was, he seems to have been in charge the times I've been there) to tell me that he only had tables for two and four available (which I could see - there were 2 table for two and 1 for four free). He didn't even bother to pretend that they were reserved. I realise that they typically only open for lunch and need to make as much money as possible during that time, but I don't still don't think this is acceptable, maybe others would disagree? Part of the the charm of Il Centro for me was that it is so different from the Stephen's Ave/corporate Calgary places where you know your bank balance is being assessed when you walk in the door...Apart from being generally rude, it struck me as pretty silly as I am very obviously pregnant and eating more than enough for two people!

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  1. certainly you should not have been refused a place because there were only "tables for two." I would have been very tempted to say, "Oh I'm not self-conscious: go ahead and take away the extra chair." In a real seating emergency, perhaps they could have asked if another single diner could join you. Out of curiosity, I wonder if a group of three would have been seated at one of the tables "for four." It does make one wonder about exactly the banking assessment you mention, as it sounds an awful lot like a lie to me. Do you suppose if you had been a very successful business *man* who looked like he could bring them business in the future, the response would have been the same? How terribly crass--I can definitely see why you wouldn't return.

    1. I have read this post twice now and just had to mention how disappointed I am for you. I find it astonishing that you were turned away because you are eating solo and agree with ahemjay "I can definitely see why you wouldn't return".

      1. I have been to Il Centro two times in my life. The first time, I experienced the "manager" (presumably the same guy you had the interaction with -- in his 50s or 60s with an Italian accent) to be rude, but I was hungry and didn't care that much. But, the second time, about a month ago, my partner and I came to the restaurant and stood there waiting for someone to notice us. The "manager" clearly saw us, but let us wait a good while. When he finally approached us he said, "Can I help you?" to which my partner responded, we'd like a table for 2. He mumbled, "we have nothing now" and walked away, although we saw a table for two right by the door. We left. My partner was outraged by this guy's rudeness. We won't be going back there again. We wondered if he's always a prick or if he just didn't like "our kind." But, ultimately, it didn't matter. Yes, their pizza is better than most (in Calgary) but hey, we won't pay somenone to treat us so poorly.

        1. irishgirl, thank you for sharing your terrible experience with us fellow foodies on this site. Everyone in the foodie community deserves to know what lack of respect this restaurant has for its patrons. If you had't posted your experience, I might have ventured there based on a good review from someone else. And I might even have shown up for lunch there alone on my day off. But knowing this now, I won't ever bother.. in case I might get treated in a similar fashion. Hopefully, in time, this restaurant's poor form will eventually catch up with it. And when their poor form starts affecting their bottom-line, perhaps, then they'll figure out that they need to treat their patrons with more respect.

          In the meantime, if you're looking for great authentic italian thin crust, you might want to give Pulcinella in Kensington a try. They serve authentic Neopolitan pizza. I agree it's a little pricey and the place is quite contemporary. But it's the best italian pizza I've had so far in Calgary.. and they have an authentic pizza oven too.

          1. I heard about Il Centro from an acquaintance who raved about their pizza. Went online and read the negative comments mainly about the service. Decided to give it a try as I've got a thick skin and love good pizza. Showed up on Saturday night 5:30pm without a reservation and 4 kids in tow. The manager hummed and hawed for 30 seconds and then sat us. Throughout dinner service was pleasant and we had no problems-the kids quite enjoyed it and loved the pizza. Maybe they were trying to get rid of us as soon as possible but I had no complaints.