HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

I like/love this restaurant EXCEPT for....

I don't mean the places you would never return to. I mean the place(s) you DO return to, but every time you do, you wish they would change ONE thing.
Mine is Café Crepe on the Santa Monica Promenade. They make great crepes, their service is always friendly, and my husband and I go there every Wednesday before hitting the Farmer's Market.....
....BUT I sure wish they'd change the inside décor!! Between the extremely dark interior, and the posters by Villamot and of the scantily clad females are really annoying. If it's cold and we sit indoors, I try to sit so that I look out the window.
Oh...okay...and I wish they'd make a hot apple crepe; not applesauce, but chunks of apple with cinnamon.
But we love their spinach, egg, and feta crepe. And the people are wonderful.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Paper on the luncheon tables!

    1 Reply
      1. re: globocity

        Oh, loud music will make me cross anything off my list. It's usually something I hate, in addition to loud.

      2. Ok, so the place I went to tonight has some great dishes, but their bar is marble. Marble looks great but is COLD to lean on - fine in the summer, not so pleasant when it is below freezing outside. This is a problem with a lot of places - bars made of materials that suck the heat out of you when you touch them.

        Another favorite place has a padded bumper thing on the edge of the bar, which extends above it slightly as well. Plus, the stools & bar height were clearly sized to a taller person than I, so I find sitting and eating at the bar awkward and slightly uncomfortable.

        1 Reply
        1. re: babette feasts

          Our neighborhood bar also has a bumper thing on the edge. It's not even padded just raised wood which makes eating and sitting there somewhat uncomfortable.

        2. Anywhere that I'm either too cold or too hot in. Oh, and I'll also add bad bathrooms.

          1 Reply
          1. Acuario Restaurant in Port Chester NY has excellent Peruvian food,
            but the music is just way way way too loud.

            1. Any place that doesn't take reservations.

              1. One pho place which I used to frequent, always has a draft in the winter months. Every time the door is opened a huge gush of cold air comes in. This place is also always busy so you are constantly getting cold!

                I grew up with many ethnic restaurants within 5 minutes drive from home. I recently moved to a neighbouring town where there are very few ethnic (anything good is yet to be found) ethic restaurants. The only thing I would change about these places is LOCATION!

                1. At one of our favorite local places, they use saucers for appetizers and bread plates, it drives me crazy.

                  1. In my observation, some of the best Asian restaurants (food-wise) have truly horrifying restrooms.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ricepad

                      Always kinda makes me wonder about the kitchen.

                    2. Excess noise. I know it might make it harder to clean, but wood floors, wood walls and a tin ceiling with nary a soft surface in sight?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: gourmanda

                        This is sort of related and will sound (huh!) strange, but waitress voices that peel paint. Or possibly shatter glass. We go to a local diner-type place sometimes. It's fast, not fancy, but good old neighborhood food. The young waitresses all seem to have this exceedingly high pitched, squeaky up-talky voices that are so disconcerting, you must concentrate not to laugh. Plus theytalkreallyreallyfast. It turns out, most are daughters or nieces of the owners, so there's some sort of family affectation or affliction going on.

                      2. Tall tables!

                        I'm a sexagenarian with arthritis; I use my cane when I'm in a hilly place with San Francisco. There's a restaurant I like there, where I occasionally meet my partner for lunch. The staff is wonderful, and treats an elderly woman by herself with great courtesy. The food is great. They make their own beer. But - the tables are all high and it's a bit of a climb for me. They do have some normal height ones, but they're either upstairs (a problem in itself), or in a section they don't use for lunch. I suppose I could call ahead but I feel I'm not really handicapped and I don't want to take away a space from someone who really needs it.

                        It's a problem with a lot of brewpubs, and since my goal is to visit every one in the US I come across it a lot.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: tardigrade

                          Sorry to get off topic but that is awesome you are going to try and visit every brewpub in America! What do you consider a brewpub? Does it have to have a brewery on premises? You have your work cut out for you.

                          Back on topic, there are so many restaurants here in Portland that I love but can't get a table without waiting at least an hour to sit down. I hate lines, especially when it's raining and cold out.

                          1. re: porky pine

                            Come to Cincinnati. We have several good ones.

                          2. re: tardigrade

                            Thanksgiving weekend I hosted a dinner for 8 at an area Marriott. I had spent much time on the phone with both the banquet sales manager and the executive chef to make the arrangements, as 6 of the 8 were elderly and 5 had specific food issues. So a limited choice menu was set up for us.

                            When I arrived at the host stand with 3 guests (my wife and the other 3 were following a few minutes behind). I was diorected by a snotty 20 something hostess to an oversized (seats 18) high top trestle table. I said to her: That won't be acceptable. We are supposed to have a table for 8 and the elderly guests can't get in and out of the chairs at the high top. The hostess berated me and told me I was obligated to call in advance and let them know we needed special accomodations. I told her to get the dining manager and stop speaking to me.
                            The dining manager, also a 20 something arrived and fed me the same stupid line. It's all my fault, I had the obligation to tell them of special accomodations. I informed the manager that he shouls just go set a regular table for 8 (the restaurant was less than 1/2 full) and I'd call the banquet sales manager.
                            The manager continued to bitch about us under his breath and begrudgingly set a new table taking almost 20 minutes to do so. I left a voice mail for the banquet sale manager, We had our meal, service and food were fine and after handling the bill we left.

                            I waited three days and never heard back from the sales manager, so I went on Marriott corporate website and sent a scathing email. It didn't take 2 hours and I heard from the Hotel General Manager. He was very apologetic. He told me that he had pulled the sales manager's file on our dinner arrangements and the chef's notes. These papers clearly stated that the party was primarily elderly. The sales manager laid out a choice of two specific tables that would seat 8 with easy acsess in and out and facilitate communication, far away from bar and tv noise. The hostess and manager on duty simply were lazy and ignored instructions.
                            The Hotel manager told me that the dining room policy was not to seat guests at high tops unless: they requested one, everything else was taken and/or reserved and they looked 'young and nimble.' The last thing the Hotel Manager said after apologizing again was, BTW, I've refunded 75% of your bill on your credit card. The remaing 25% was the tax and tip. I didn't conatct Marriott to ask for a refund. I contacted them to complain about the stupid (poorly trained hostess and restaurant manager) and the absurdity of placing an advance reservation elderly party of 8 at a high top for 18.

                            Instead of permanently avoiding the restaurant, because of the Hotel Manager's actions, I'll give them another chance, but I still won't sit at a high top (in a restaurant for a complete meal).

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              Bagelman, "20-somethings" encounters can be problematic (I think it's just their nature). I'm glad things turned out the way they did for you and that you were reimbursed. You deserved that.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                Bagelman,
                                You did the right thing and remained civil, so it was nice they responded in the right way. So many times my patience has been rewarded in the end, so your story makes me feel good.

                            2. Cheap, lightweight flatware. Sometimes I wish I'd brought my own.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ChillyDog

                                Agreed, unless it's Mexican hole in the wall, then cheap flatware is expected.

                              2. I don't go anywhere so regularly that there's an "except for" that really pisses me off. If it really pissed me off, then I'd never be back.

                                I could give you a list of things that piss me off about places, but that's not what this thread is asking - so I won't.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Harters

                                  It's more about a specific restaurant that you continue to go to because you like the food/the staff/the atmosphere/the price....but wish you could change ONE little thing, so that the place would be perfect.

                                2. Increasingly, a clientele that has forgotten (if they were ever taught) about Indoor Voices. We've had meals totally wrecked at three different places over the last few years by whole tables of people screaming at each other, and that was when they were happy! Luckily only one of them had food that was almost worth the pain, but that was made even worse by the fact that we really like and admire the woman who runs it.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    I find myself hissing under my breath "They're sitting *right next* to each other!" to my husband a lot. I guess this is a sub-problem of the bigger, more pervasive "too loud restaurant" problem. Can't they put up some acoustic panels to muffle all of this noise (silverware clatter, wooden chairs scraping on concrete floors, woo-girls, etc). We buy acoustic panels from ATS acoustics and they are so nice, you can even have them custom made with artwork, and they're not expensive!

                                  2. Any place where the table height to chair ratio is off. I can't bear to eat in a place where the table is at chest level; totally ruins the experience for me. Although, I must admit, it kinda works for ramen.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. Uncomfortable seating, temperature issues (usually too hot but too cold sometimes), never getting my water refilled, slow service, the hours/days they are open, the type of toilet paper in the bathrooms, cramped bathrooms, being too fat for the booths (I am not HUGE but not a small gal either), dirty smudgy glasses or flatware, warm plates for cold food, having my plate taken away before my husband finishes, very small water glasses that need constant refilling, too much ice so my water needs to be filled often, super dim lighting, sticky or greasy tables/plastic tablecloths, difficult parking, long waits.

                                      Being in a limited area if the food is good we pretty much go back.

                                      1. There's a falafel place not far from work. The food is good, and there aren't many places like this in town.

                                        They are mainly organized for takeout - there are a few small tables, with stools. But they are so, so, slow! It generally takes longer to get takeout of a standard menu item, for one person, than it would to go to a neighbouring restaurant, sit down, order food, and eat it there. If you eat in, it's not very comfortable, and you've got the people waiting for take-out looming over you as you sit there.

                                        1. There are SO many loud places where I like the food, but the loud drives me away. If I can get in an early lunch/dinner before they crank the music up to 11 and the hoardes of screaming idiots looking for lots of "buzz" show up, I can deal with it.

                                          Also rock-hard furniture does a number on my back. No cushions, no money from me.

                                          1. The trifecta of no reservations/very popular/popular bar to eat at. The days of sitting at the bar with a drink while waiting for a table are long gone in my neck of the woods--the bar duing peak dining hours is just an extension of the dining room.

                                            1. Usually the restroom. The number of places I truly enjoy but avoid their restrooms is pretty high and it doesn't matter whether they are neighborhood joints or high end places. And when I do find a restroom that sparkles I always thank the house Mgr. And to any Mgrs out there reading along, a burning cinnamon CANDLE does not cover up the lack of ventilation!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                I start out from the premise that if the toilet areas are manky, then I'm shuddering to think what is going on in the areas out of sight of the customer. I don't usually go looking for the public health authority ratings for a place but we recently had a meal in Chinatown. Food was very good but the toilets were very unhygienic - prompted me to look at the ratings and it was no real surprise to find them very low. I'll not be back.

                                              2. uncomfortable seating, unappealing restrooms, slow service, and acoustics or music that force me to shout to have a conversation

                                                1. Slow service, dirty restrooms and flirty servers---especially during a "family" dinner--but I still love the food.

                                                  1. As others have said, noise. I hate it myself, especially if I am in a group. And my Dad is a bit hard of hearing, but loves good food and I am afraid the number of restaurants we can go to is dwindling.

                                                    1. Woku Blangan was a frequent lunch spot while I lived in Jakarta. My two main issues were the lack of volume control among both patrons and employees (though sadly that's par for Jakarta's course), and getting served piping hot rice to go along with my pleasantly spicy (once the rice becomes "warm") meal.

                                                      I could comment about the hygiene too, but then that could be about everything, everywhere.

                                                      Jonathan
                                                      http://buildingmybento.com
                                                      http://collaterallettuce.com

                                                      1. There is a restaurant in Orlando which is great and is a can't miss restaurant. James Beard nominated husband and wife couple.

                                                        I love this restaurant except for the bathroom situation. They have the very minimum amount of bathrooms. One Handicapped Bathroom for either sex. One Female bathroom with one toilet, no stall, and one male bathroom.

                                                        On a busy Friday, Saturday night the restaurant is packed to compacity and while this place considers itself a gastropub there aren't enough bathrooms to comfortable accommodate.

                                                        The problem seems to be that the restaurant does't have the room to update the bathrooms plus doing so may result in them having to go through another inspection.

                                                        So here you are paying decent money for the experience when half of it is spent in line waiting for the bathroom.

                                                        1. Small restaurants that don't take reservations and fill up fast should NOT have curtainless picture windows when their dining area faces the sidewalk. I'm not sure which is worse: getting there early, eating at the window while the waiting masses in the line out the door press their noses against the glass, or being the hungry latecomer with the cold nose.....

                                                          Another thing that makes it impossible for me to have a relaxing meal is fast-tempo music. Although my capsicum tolerance is low, there ARE dishes at Tex-Mex and other Latin cuisines restaurants that I would enjoy. But, with apologies to other Hounds' heritages, I can't stand the music. Whatever they played to blast Noriega out of his safe house, I'd trade. In my defense, I wouldn't want my meal accompanied by The Flight of the Bumble Bee, either.