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UPDATE:  Here is the second installment from The Times with more hints for a restaurant.  Note that the blogger is opening a restaurant.  Buzz believes there are numerous positive tips for all involved in the restaurant arena–servers, management, and even customers.

So San Diego’s diners, how well do our restaurants hold up to the blogger’s thoughts?  And perhaps San Diego’s restaurateurs might create their own list for customers!   Consider also, that the first installment topped the most e-mailed list for days at the paper which would make one wonder if they care more about food on the east coast than we do in “Sand” City as a commenter noted below.  Chime in here, you all can’t be out surfing!

Just read a terrific little piece in The New York Times about what restaurants should and shouldn’t do. It’s a list that ought to resonate with diners as well as management and servers in San Diego–a town that wants the food savvy world to take note of their up and coming chefs.  But even good chefs can’t help a restaurant if the management doesn’t understand why most diners want to experience a meal with well-trained servers in a pleasant, congenial atmosphere be it a hole- in- the- wall or fine dining establishment.

As Buzz noted many times, good service isn’t about a server telling me his or her name (you aren’t going to be my new BFF).  Nor is it proper for servers to clear a table, when, as happened to me while eating with three friends, all that was left on the table was my unfinished plate (even the glasses disappeared).  After that who would want to finish a perfectly good pasta dish? And, yes, I mentioned it to the owner who knows better.

When it comes to service, San Diego’s pervasive “mañana”- “let’s go surfing” attitude could be one reason Frank Bruni (former restaurant critic of The Times) commented, during a recent appearance here, that San Diego isn’t known as a food town.

So what do you think?  Let’s hear from you.

7 thoughts on “UPDATE:Handy Hints for Restaurants and Diners, Parts 1 & 2

  1. Well, #3 makes me think of a morning at Urban Solace’s bluegrass brunch, when we were the second party to arrive, but missed being seated at the patio entirely b/c our party of four had an inconsiderately late fourth. I respect their policy, but I sure wish they’d seated us, because we were willing to start our meal without our friend if it meant we had the opportunity to enjoy the bluegrass.

  2. Here’s one that was missed by the NYT and is a pet peeve of mine. I think it is pretentious for a server to ask, “Would you like change back?” Yes, I would like my change back…without question! To rectify this annoying query, I only pay with a credit card whenever possible now.

  3. It was a great list. I especially liked the comments about people who eat alone. I have made a reservations at a couple restaurants here, including the Kensington Grill, and when I got there they didn’t have a table in the main dining room, they wanted to put it in the bar area. I said that was unacceptable and I left. Also been seated near the restrooms, and right next to the station where the busboys are getting plates and silverware for other tables.

  4. Totally agree regarding new best friend with waiter – name will suffice, service prompts appropriate tip. And do no interrupt conversation to remove plates, glasses, silver from table until we have all finished.

  5. Service in SD is getting a tad better, but it’s nothing compared to say a Fleur De Lys in San Francisco.

    Yes we’re a “Sand City” and it reflects in some places but I’ve had some good experiences lately. Best service we’ve had has been at the Farmhouse Cafe, Bertrand at Mr A’s (duh), and El Biz in RB.

    Slowly but surely.

    P.S. Foodbuzz when are you going to compile a list of newly closed places?

    • You’re on the mark with the service at Farmhouse, and Mr. A’s (though have encountered “my name is” there too). I’d add 1500 Ocean to the list of good service (and food). But don’t you think that we deserve to have more than just casual service in restaurants? Some of the best service comes from our more casual eateries, I believe.

  6. Service means different things to diners.

    EG: Last Saturday we ate at Urbana Cucina. Booked our early time table thru opentable.com. We were just into our before dinner menu choices when our waitperson came over and said “not sure if they told you when you made the reservation or when you arrived but you have 1 and 1/2 hours to eat and finish.” (paraphrased). Needless to say, that certainly put us off so we took our time.
    What’s with that?


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