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Sep 4, 2009 04:05 PM

Drogerheria della Rosa in Bologna - bad experience

First we were not presented with a menu - big mistake not to insist on one. Meal started well with meat antipasto but it was followed all too quickly by the pasta dishes. However, they were good. Next after a long interlude came a veal chop and sliced steak. Alas they arrived cold! When we complained they took the plates back and returned them - same plates - this time tepid. Also the the beef and veal chop were by now were quite dry. After sending back my veal chop yet again the waiter substituted grilled guinea hen at my request. My wife and I ate dinner in series finishing 40 minutes apart. There was no apology or attempt to compensate us. The unsubstantiated hand scrawled non-itemized paper bill came to 75 euro and I did not know enough to complain. We were ripped off. NEVER AGAIN will I eat here, nor accept a verbal description of the foods w/o menu or accept a hand scrawled non-itemized bill. This is our fourth extrended trip trip to Italy and our worst restaurant experience.

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  1. 75 Euros sounds like a very reasonable price for a 3 course meal for two in northern italy these days, very reasonable. Did you have wine? It does sound like the waiters messed up and lost track on your main course service but it doesnt seem like you were cheated pricewise in this situation, given what you consumed.

    Hope that the the rest of your trip is much more enjoyable.

    1. I think there are several issues here.

      By all accounts, Drogheria della Rosa is the kind of place where you do not order from the menu. However, the menu (with prices) is online. If you look at it, you will probably find that you were not ripped off with respect to price.

      Whatever you may have perceived as failings in food or service, Italian restaurants do not "comp" dishes or meals. To expect them to do so is unrealistic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: zerlina

        I understand how restuarants w/o menus work and am generally comfortable with them. I also did not expect to be "comp"ed or given free items. I do expect quality food and service. We did not get that. Further reconstructing our dinner using their website and estimating the cost I generously come to roughly 60- 65 euro not the 75 we were charged. Note we had the house red wine, no dessert and no dessert..

      2. I have eaten at Drogheria Della Rosa many times. Since you chose to excoriate this establishment on this forum I can surmise you also found reference to dine there from here as well. Drogheria is an excellent and eccentric restaurant with a warm staff and owner and food that runs from excellent to good from night to night. It is always a fun and lively place to dine and it is too bad you did not have a good experience there as it is really a special place, filled with patrons and actors from the theater on the block singing and enacting parts of plays often.

        Drogheria is well documented for their non-typical somewhat bohemian dining experience, punctuated by the always present affable owner, Emanuele Addone, who is ALWAYS there and they would not even open without him there. They do not offer menus, nor do many other beloved institutions in Bologna, such as Meloncello, and by doing this they are not meaning to rip you off, but to offer a recitation of the dishes they offer fresh every day, which do not necessarily conform to a set written menu.

        I must also note that the unrequested antipasto is good and plentiful, but is not free, this is somewhat typical of many Bologna establishments, especially Osteria Alla Romangola, and this may also have added to the cost of your tab. If price was an issue, which seems to be at least 50% of the problem with your dining experience, you should have asked the price of each dish before ordering. The owner Emanuele speaks perfect English and would have obliged, or been called to respond if you needed translation. Since you speak English, actually it is Emanuele that most likely was the one to tell you what is on offer for the evening menu in English and take your order.

        That said, they can sometimes bring the secondi at a less than piping hot temperature, and you had every right to return the dish. Italians do not seem to always put a premium on food served as hot as we like in the US, often having sliced meats that can be room temperature with the hot sauce over them. Since you had such a poor dinner, you should have not left without speaking to the owner, and allowing him to make an effort to salvage your experience there. He is very dedicated to his customers happiness and I am sure that if you had opted to make your case regarding all the matters that bothered you he would have made sure that you would not have left so unhappy and wanting to vent on this forum.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CiaoCane

          We ate at this restaurant in July and had a wonderful evening. The owner sat with us to discuss which foods we would like and all was excellent. We thought the price (80 Euros with a bottle of wine) was very reasonable for the quality/quantily of food received. Wish we could return tonight!

        2. Sorry to hear you had such a negative experience. We had a delightful lunch here several years ago, and my trip notes indicate that we paid 70 Euros for the antipasti plate, 2 primi, 2 secondi (including a sformatina), 1 espresso, and several glasses (3-4 between the 2 of us) of a San Giorgio Ciampoleto, a Rosso di Montalcino 2005 - those prices correspond very well with yours.

          The cool dishes, I can't speak to, but we enjoyed having our meal choices recited to us by Emanuale, instead of a menu. I think for Americans, not having a written menu can be a little scarey (it is to my husband, I know), but we've had some of our best meals at places that just recited us the menus.

          1. Sorry you had an unfortunate experience ...but I do join the chorus on chowhound who have had really wonderful times there. We ate there as the last meal on our honeymoon and couldn't have asked for a better experience. We also met the owner, Emanuele Addone, who was charming and lovely and wanted to ensure we were happy at every turn. Further, the food was excellent and quite reasonable.