Montevideo: Bar Tabare--The Bad Service Trumps the Good Food
I am a resident of Montevideo, and Bar Tabaré is in my neighborhood. I am also a member of Chowhound, and therefore I feel I should advise visitors to this city. In my second, and last, visit to Bar Tabaré, I must say that I was appalled with the service we received at what is hailed to be one of the best restaurants in town.
We went to Bar Tabaré because they had a promotion of a guest chef from Astrid y Gaston, a famous restaurant from Lima, Peru. The menu was set, and while excellent, was primarily meat based. One of the members of our party was vegetarian. Instead of asking him to stay home, we called to Bar Tabaré earlier in the day to see if an alternate plate could be made. We were told that yes, a pasta dish would be offered and to discuss this with the waiter upon arrival.
When we arrived, we talked with the manager and then the waiter who stated that an pasta dish would be served. After the appetizer, the waiter approached the table and said their was no more pasta. He offered instead a salad. Bear in mind that the vegetarian meal was still $40/person just like all the other customers (who were receiving a four-course meal). We asked to speak with the manager, who stated that she could do nothing and that all of the pasta was pasta filled with lamb. When I spoke to her firmly that she needed to resolve the problem and that we had called earlier to prevent such a problem, she said again that she could do nothing. She simply interrupted us and was argumentative.
Finally after several minutes of discussion, she said, "Well, we have spaghetti," to which several of us said that was acceptable and asked why it had not been offered before. She told us that we had refused this option of spaghetti, which we had not. The waiter had told us simply there was not pasta. Later we talked with the waiter who refused to admit he had made a mistake and who said it was the kitchen who had erred.
In all of this debacle, no one ever apologized. Instead they argued with us, claimed it wasn't their fault, and refused to accept responsibility. Regardless of how good the food is, I will never return to Bar Tabaré as there are many other establishments in Montevideo that take care of their patrons and appreciate their business--something Bar Tabare does not.
I'm sorry to hear about that teresasusan. I've never been to Montevideo, but hope to soon. Can I trouble you for any restaurant recommendations in Colonia? I will be there on a day trip from BA next month, and would love to hear about any good lunch spots you would endorse. Many thanks!
For lunch, a trip to Mercado del Puerto is a must. El Palenque is the best spot in the Mercado, but it is also the most expensive. I normally find any of the grills where there is a open spot, watch the chef, and enjoy the food.
Another excellent spot in Ciudad Vieja (Old City) is the Estrecho Bar. It is a small little, restaurant where everyone sits at a long bar. The food is excellent. It is on Sarandi, which is the pedestrian walkway that goes from Independence Square to Mercado del Puerto. It is only open for lunch M-F.
You can't go wrong with either place for lunch.