Antico Forno Report
I went with my family on a Saturday night about 2 weeks ago. There were 4 of us and we had a 7:00 reservation. It has been a long time since I have been to a restaurant that completely disregards its reservations, and has no indoor bar or waiting area. We arrived at 7:00 and found a crowd waiting outside of the restaurant (and it was cold that night!). We were told that it would be about a 20 minute wait. After 45 minutes, and catching another patron paying the hostess to move them up on the list, we were finally seated. Is this typical at this restaurant?
That said, we thoroughly enjoyed our meals and our waitress was lovely. But I am not sure we would go back after that treatment, It looks like they are expanding, so maybe the situation will get better. I hope so.
By definition, if you make a reservation, you should be able to go out for dinner on a weekend or any night and expect to be seated at the time you reserved the table for. I've reported before about Antico Forno ignoring its reservations completely. I don't understand why they claim to take them. Luckily, I don't like the food there, and find the seating too cramped, so I wouldn't want to go back anyway.
I think it's reasonable if you show up on time for a reservation to expect to wait about 15 minutes, but if it's much longer than that, somebody up front isn't doing their job well, or the restaurant just doesn't care about honoring reservations. You have to be a little more understanding at very small places; one lingering table can upset the queue for a while.
My own experience of Antico Forno (whose food and prices I like) is that they have a, ahem, fluid attitude about reservations; it's always worse on Fridays and Saturdays, but on weeknights I've never waited more than 15 minutes for a reserved table.
In short, I feel bad for people for whom weekend nights are their only good options for dining out, but as I've said many times, the North End is worth avoiding on weekends (as is, increasingly, the South End). Too many places know they can get away with this kind of customer abuse on those nights.
That's fairly typical for Antico Forno on a Sat. It's a small place, and the only area to wait is either in the door way or outside. They don't like to rush their patrons out the door as soon as the check is laid on the table, which I think is nice. So it is what it is but, the food is very good and reasonable.
Antico Forno has never been good about reservations. I just dine out early 5:00 and don't generally run into a problem. They should be opening their new addition soon, which will have a bar and extra seating. I took a peak in the other day and it looks like it's coming along niceley. Maybe that will ease the crowding.
Just wondering - how do my fellow 'hounds feel about "tipping" the hostess for more rapid seating. I personally have never done so (but generally avoid restaurants where it would be necessary) but have always been curious about how common the practice is here in Boston (see how I made it Boston-centric to try to avoid getting moderated). So, hounds, where, when and how much and what would you do if you oppose it and observed it?
Not to excuse your treatment; but AF used to have a system where they'd take your name and have you wait at the bar on the corner; Bacco..and call for you when your table is ready...so at least your warm and get your thirst quenched.
Don't know if this still works...since Bacco seems to have a greater emphasis on food.