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Leonardo Trattoria does not serve ice water!

About 2 weeks ago a group of us went to Leonardo Trattoria at 709 St. Charles Ave after attending a concert for Wednesdays at the Square. When the waitress came by we all ordered alcoholic drinks. After she delivered our drinks, we asked for ice waters for the table. She informed us that their policy is that they do not serve ice water at the restaurant. Now we all at the table found this to be unbelievable. Let's face it, Leonardo Trattoria is far far from fine dining in a city such as New Orleans. Also fine dining establishments such as, Commander's Palace, do serve ice water.

After being told we could not have something so simple as water that is not bottled, we asked to speak to a manager. The manager went on to explain that Leonardo's has high standards and that they will not serve ice water. One person at our table then asked if we could possibly have filtered water to which the manager said, "you all can just leave, no need to pay for these drinks!"

Now I am not sure what the owners of such an establishment created as a business plan, but this move would seem to be stupid to a table of 6 looking to eat and drink. What do you think?

Commander's Palace Restaurant
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

Leonardo Trattoria
709 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. I could understand if you were JUST ordering ice water, but that's just asinine otherwise.

    1. Your server's word wasn't good enough for you?

      3 Replies
      1. re: CharlieH

        You are so right but I guess we were caught completely off guard by this.

        1. re: CharlieH

          may not be a matter of word -- i would have asked for the manager just to ensure they understood fully how anti-customer this policy is. otherwise, how will management know?

          1. re: CharlieH

            I would want to speak with the manager just to find out why such a policy would be in place at all, not to make sure the server was right or wrong.

          2. That's mind boggling! Especially when you consider how many tourists probably come in after walking around in the NO heat, and want some water to help cool off before their meal. No one would have had to tell me to leave.

            1. I drink gallons if ice water..I have a big glass right now...and even inferior ice is better than nothing. I have not darkened that place's door and after hearing this I never will. The bottled water rip-off needs to be shut-dopwn. (In NEw York I have had them say "Oh, you want Hudson River cancer water instead of $22 (whatever is trendy)?" I respond that Manhattan tap water is some of the best and tastiest in the world. If driving through I always fill up several bottles for the road.)

              1. I had a birthday dinner there planned weeks in advance, and when we showed up the owner told us that the chef had taken the night off and that he would cook for us. Needless to say the food was not good.
                nolajulie, what kind of water do they cook with there?

                1. That is bizarre. Can you imagine being a server there and having to tell that to every customer? I'd quit.

                  1. A Chef that once had several well regarded restaurants in New Orleans, and who trained in Europe, once told me that one of the most basic marks of a very good and serious restaurant is that fresh cold water appears immediately and is constantly refilled/refreshed.

                    That may be old school but I don't disagree with it.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: collardman

                      A-men. A waiter once told me that they had been trained to bring the alcohol, some snacks etc but NOT to provide iced water. The waiter was then to bring some extra bread--after you and party sat for five or so minutes--and casually say "Oh! would you like some bottled water with that?" All your parched self hears is "water" and next thing you know he's made a $20 sale. Another routine is to keep bringing new bottles, already opened..few people refused them, I was told.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        But then, you ONLY have Voss around, so how would you know? [Grin]

                        Yes, that was a trend, but in the US, Europe and the UK, it seems to be fading a bit, and about time.


                    2. Interesting.

                      I have lived in some areas of the US, where droughts are more commonplace, than we'd have liked, and during such times, water was not normally offered, or delivered upon seating, but I have never encountered any restaurant, that refused to serve it.

                      Even in California, where every crumb is often analyzed to see how some source might be depleted, there has never been an issue.

                      I have seen restaurants, that wished to sell a bottle of Fiji, or Voss at US $ 20/btl., but never one that refused to serve water, along with a paying customer's food, and/or drink.

                      In several recent experiences, we have had the waitstaff offer water, and then do a good, efficient run-down of the "levels," often ending with filtered (or double-filtered) local tap water. I think that the old scheme of up-selling higher-end waters might be fading, and some restaurants want to fight that.

                      This is quite odd, and would only hope that the management would see and respond to this thread.

                      Are you sure that there is not something that you are not sharing with us here?


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        I certianly hope it is fading. It took a fairly lethal hit when the whole issue of wasting resources via the bottles became trendy. Kinda like when novelsit David F. Wallace threw sand in the gears with his "Consider the Lobster" piece. I predict a similar but temporary implosion of molecular gastronomy when people consider just what waste is involved in the cryogenics of freezing their apricot.

                      2. Paz posted on Tom Fitzmorris' forum that he called the restaurant and asked and they serve filtered water for a $1.00....

                        Perhaps everyone should jump on the locavore bandwagon and pledge to only consume water from the Mississippi River...

                        Never heard of this place until now....

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Suzy Wong

                          Oh, it's the place with the flat screen tvs playing mob movies....

                        2. i'm not even sure that's legal

                          1. It's all been explained by the joint's manager on Fatty's Forum.... sounds like it was more desirable to give them their cocktails and have them hit the road.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: NoNoNanette

                              fatty's forum???? what's that. maybe they should post here so WE understand.

                              1. re: califkatie

                                califkatie the forum I mentioned in an earlier post explains the GM's response, Tom Fitzmorris Forum:

                                1. re: Suzy Wong

                                  thanks,suzy. i went over to tom's forum to read the response. we have the Natura system at a lot of restaurants in Los angeles. most places i go to don't charge for it. and they also offer free tap water to those who chose it. oh well, not that i will go there( Leonardo's), just because i have lot's of other places i prefer to go to in New Orleans.

                              2. re: NoNoNanette

                                I call bullshit on what the GM said. If he thinks that the city puts antifreeze in the water to keep the pipes from freezing he is a complete idiot and/or a liar.

                              3. per the manager's letter on another website, they corrected the staff training problem, accepting both tap and purified water orders.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kibbles

                                  I just put a call into the S&WB about the antifreeze thing, I guess we'll find out the truth on that note.

                                  1. re: randeaux

                                    Maybe you can get a testimonial. I can see the ads now. " New Orleans is a town of discriminating eaters, among the world's best! New Orleans' Sewerage & Water Board uses ONLY X Brand antifreeze for its patrons!" Good enough for New Orleans, downright perfect for Fargo, ND.

                                2. Mixx in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay does not serve non-bottled water as well.We wondered what they boiled pasta in.