Osteria del cinghiale Bianco Florence (?about bread)
Omg what a meal. Fettuccini with mushrooms, pork and potatoes with a side of spinach, lemon sorbet with grappa for dessert, a jug of house wine all for 56e that I shared with the Mister. Lovely and warm and inviting staff well worth it. Might be the best which includes Sostanza, where I loved the chicken, and Casalinga, where I loved the vibe. But what's with charging for bread when you don't ask for it and you don't eat it. 3e at Sostanza and 2e at the Osteria. Any one else mind?
"Pane e coperto" is a cover or service charge per guest--it's not really just a charge for the bread, uneaten or not. If a restaurant charges it, you can't forgo the bread and decline the charge. (Of course, I have two teenaged boys, so the bread never goes uneaten!)
Is this your first time in Italy, @t14072? If so, you'll just have to get used to it. My rule of thumb is that if I see the restaurant has not charged for a coperto or servizio, then I leave a tip that would cover that; say 5 euro. If the restaurant has charged for either or both, than I leave 1 or 2 euro. Sometimes I feel as an American that they might purposely leave off the servizio and coperto in hope of getting a better tip. It's part of the dance that is being a visitot in Italy! :)
It's pretty common. I was actually talking to a restaurant about it recently and they said that often, mostly with American clients, they end up losing money.
This is because many Americans will go through 2 or 3 baskets of bread before the meal and/or between courses. They also often ask for olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar, to dip their bread in, as if this is some separate course.
The restaurant owner was baffled by this, since the Americans often then could not finish their main dish of pasta, and ask for a doggie bag. "Well, of course they couldn't finish the pasta, they just ate a loaf of bread!"
He said this happens all the time.
In Italy this is not a charge for the bread which is part of the standard table set up - along with the "coperto" - the cloth, the tableware etc. Bread is a normal part of the italian meal While some American restaurants only offer bread on request or charge for it these days (shame!) Italian restaurants continue to offer the bread as a normal accompaniment. Given that service is also usually priced in and that tipping is essentially optional or minimal in Italy, we just see the pane e coperto and included service as part of the standard cost of the meal and not an add on at all. Since you had such a nice meal at a price you liked and did not have to factor in a 15% tip in your all in price, its a good idea just to relax and enjoy your delicious meals.
Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!
Thanks for the explanation. You are right. First time in Italy. Today lunch was at Il Santino on the Via Santo Spirito. Polpette, sliced wild boar sausage and three cheeses, a glass of Classico all were delicious. More later. Did I mention the fish stand in the Central Market? Yes, more later.
I think that the whole service and cover charge confuses people. In American it is just factored into the price. a friend of mine was telling me in their restaurant in San Francisco, their "bread baskets" end up costing them $50,000 a year- trust me, it is factored into the price!
and the "cover" charges change as the style of the restaurant varies, tablecloth, stemware etc.... Also the bottled water price is pumped up in fancy restaurants--- Just how they deal with it.