Piglet is Spitting Feathers!

A year or so ago we went to a brilliant Italian restaurant in a seaside town near Portimão, in the Algarve. The staff were efficient and friendly, the pasta was perfect, the sauce delicious and the desserts outstanding! Even the decor and ambience were welcoming, so we vowed to return next time we were in the area.

We returned today, as promised, and the restaurant was empty. Strange, because many of the other places we’d passed on the way were busy. I should have gone with my gut instinct and kept on walking. However, as we hovered on the threshold of indecision a friendly waitress spotted us peering in the door, and came to welcome us. We smiled, walked in and chose a table.

We confirmed the dishes were homemade and not mass-produced frozen plastic food, asked several other questions about our choice from the menu and placed our food order along with a request for two glasses of wine. The waitress assured us at €1.25 a glass this was cheaper than buying a half bottle of wine.

We waited.

Mr. Piglet’s lasagna arrived, smothered in a cream sauce and it looked sort of OK. However, when he cut through the pasta his “lasagna” was a solid lump of about 10 sheets of congealed lasagna sheets with no Bolognese meat sauce between. I wanted to complain, but he was hungry so ate it. How I’d wished in hindsight I’d photographed his meal for the complaints book (Livro de Reclamações).

My pasta dish was no better. It was meant to be salmon with penne pasta in a creamy sauce. I confirmed all this with the waitress. When it arrived it was spaghetti not penne, instead of the white creamy sauce I was expecting the sauce was a tasteless clear watery liquid. To my cook’s eye it looked like they’d opened up a tin of chopped tomatoes, added some finely chopped onions added some cubes of salmon tossed in spaghetti and decorated with a sprinkling of parsley. I groaned when I saw the spaghetti and said the menu stated penne. The waitress disagreed, but took the food away to be re served with penne. (We secretly checked the menu again – it stated penne in three languages)

Mr Piglet and I looked at each other in disbelief.

By the time Mr Piglet had finished his offering my meal arrived, with penne pasta. Oh my goodness it tasted as disgusting as it looked. Sorry no photograph. Hungry, I picked out the salmon and some of the chewy undercooked pasta – I know “al dente” is fashionable but this was like chewing on elastic bands. (Not that I’m in the habit of chewing on elastic bands you understand) However, I felt I couldn’t complain again otherwise the waitress would have me wearing the meal, not eating it!

I smiled and tried to see the funny side of the situation as I thanked God I’d not organised the girls’ lunch at this restaurant next month. Can you imagine I would be the focus of fourteen angry ladies like a swarm of angry wasps trapped in a coffee jar.

The work shift changed and a new waitress came over and smiled.

“Is everything OK with your meal?” She asked politely.

“No, actually this is the worst pasta dish I’ve ever had and it’s nothing more than a pile of tasteless slop!” I replied tersely.

I think she was quite taken aback as I then launched into a further tirade about how we’d been there before and we’d had a beautiful meal and this was…blah blah de blah blah blah etc, and my husband’s meal was also dire and the chef should be ashamed of himself!

The chef should be sacked!

Lucky for her I was not accompanied by 13 fellow wasps because Mr. Piglet sat there as shocked as she was by my response.

Well, what was I meant to do, smile sweetly through gritted teeth? Sometimes you have to take a stand on such matters.

The waitress disappeared (ran for cover) but returned a few minutes later with the news I would not be charged for my meal. This sounded good in theory, but when I checked the bill she’d doubled the price of the wine, and the price of the green side salad which consisted of a few lettuce leaves, half of tomato and a couple of slices of red cabbage, was exorbitant! She claimed that was the price and that was that! We were not in a position to argue the point as the previous waitress had left.

I wanted to stand my ground, but sometimes you lose the will to live and just vote with your feet.

“Hope to see you again soon?” She said as we were leaving.

“I don’t think so” Mr Piglet and I replied in unison

On the way home I kicked myself for not filling in the complaints book and checking the pricing of the wine and salad against the menu. I hate being ripped off.

OK, Piglet rant over! As Nancy says “Ah… that’s better!”

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52 responses to “Piglet is Spitting Feathers!

  1. Chubby Chatterbox

    My comment about your post is a thousand times better than the comment you should have left at this restaurant. But you’ll have the last laugh; bad restaurants don’t last long.

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  2. Hi PiP,
    Unfortunately, this happens EVERYWHERE!
    Yes, it’s too bad you didn’t fill out the comment book…can you call or write a letter to the owner? Sometimes owners are unaware of the poor food or service in their restaurants and would be appreciative if you informed them.
    Thank you so much for sharing this story…as I read on, I knew where it was going and felt so badly for you. My husband always tells me we should trust our gut feelings. 🙂

    I am visiting in New Hampshire this week and watching my 3 year old grandson while my daughter and her husband go on a little vacation…what fun for me!!!!

    I voted for you!!!! Good luck. 🙂

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    • Hi Vivian,
      Yes it does happen everywhere but doesn’t it make you feel so MAD. I wish I had have left a comment, but we are wiser after the event 😦

      Have a great time with your little gradson, they grow up so quickly. Make every minute count. I can’t wait to see our little grandchildren in a few wekks. Counting the days!

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  3. Sounds like they need a new chef – and waitresses; I guess you wont be visiting that restaurant again!
    It’s very disappointing when this happens, especially when you experienced good food there previously. I’m glad you spoke up.

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    • Hi Barb,
      I think the first waitress was genuine and had we had not have had a shift change she would have, I’m sure, kept to her word on the pricing.I was just mad because we don’t eat out that often….grrr

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  4. This is why, when I want a great meal ,I go to the market and buy some tasty fresh food and cook it myself! I’m no chef, but I know what I like… Good for you for speaking up Pip!

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  5. What a horrible experience and so disappointing at a place you had such good memories of. And well done for complaining, even if they still managed to rip you off.

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  6. Oh, I was so hoping you’d name and shame. The town and preferably the restaurant 😦
    I don’t want soggy pasta lol
    We ate in a rather pricey place during our Carnival stay in Vilamoura this year. The boys’ dinners (one had pork tenderloin which was beautiful, the other had swordfish, equally delightful) were fine but mine and Nik’s were dismal. I had overlooked salmon fillet and Nik had ‘homemade’ lasagna with next to no bolognaise and just a shaving of tell-tale tin foil!
    Homemade, my arse!
    “Some assembly required by chef” might have been more appropriate!

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  7. What a pity, they must have changed owners or chef , if you had enjoyed their food before. Pity you didn´t check the menu to confirm the prices of the wine and salad. Bad service or bad food doesn´t pay in the end, as you will not return and will certainly not recommend it to anyone, so they will lose!

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    • Hi Sami,
      Unfortuantely, we just took the waitress word for the price of the wine. Shame her shift finished by the time we came to pay. Never mind at least Mr Piglet says I’ve got the bee out of my bonnet about the restaurant

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  8. What a shame. It is so dissapointing when you are looking forward to re-visiting a place and it lets you down. You must post a review on one of the local restaurant review sites. You don’t want anyone else to suffer and it may encourage the restuarant to improve. The owners will want to know why they are losing custom.

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  9. I’m sorry this happened, PiP. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We’ve probably all had similar experiences and reacted in the same way that you did.

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  10. mara4africatoalgarve

    How awful!

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  11. How horrid. And are all men the same in that they hate it when we complain? If we have a bad meal my husband asks me if I am going to complain and if I say yes he runs off to the toilet!

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  12. Always found that if one feels the need to complain go right to the top immediately. Not really the fault/responsibility of the waitress.
    Otherwise, the best way to show one’s disgust is not to return again. Plain and simple. Bad news travels fast! And all it would take is a letter to the local paper.
    If the manager/owner/chef could not be bothered to make an appearence at your table they deserve what’s coming.
    I worked as an assitant manager in a large restaurant for a few months.
    It was an eye opener of note.

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    • the place was absolutely deserted. I think the cleaner did the cooking.

      I bet you could post some interesting stories to your blog about that!
      BTW you were in SPAM. Strange. I wonder if you have been zapped somewhere. If this happens on other WP blogs you will need to contact AKISMET.

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  13. Bless your heart. I totally agree with you and think you had every right to tell them how awful their food is. I think they made you pay for your meal anyway. I agree I think you should have filed a conplaint or something.

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  14. Good grief. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, so word will get out.

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  15. Aww . . . PiP! That’s sad. Food is one of the great pleasures of life, except when it isn’t a pleasure. The meal sounds horrid.

    I’m glad you ended with “aah . . . that’s better” ~ it causes the blood that’s boiling to return to a simmer. 😉

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  16. Hello Pip, I only know of the Trip Advisor site for restaurant reviews. It seems popular.

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  17. *poking nose around door* Is it safe to enter now? 😆 Sounds like an absolute disaster! I would have read the riot act too, so I’m with you all the way!

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  18. I have never understood why any establishment would think that bad product and bad service is acceptable. I was right there with you, tasting the elastic bands – not that I chew on them, either. 🙂

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  19. Such a shame and it so often seems that the rubbish restaurants keep going and the brilliant family run ones fall bu the way side. Good for you for complaining!

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  20. PIP, how terribly disappointing….I am happy to hear you did indeed speak your mind…vowing never to return. I wonder what happened to the original chef?

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  21. What a horror! Hope they get enough complaints to change.

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  22. We have some pretty crazy bugs here too, and plntey of snakes I’ve done a rollcall in my blog too! Spiders doin’t generally bother me, but that hairy fella looks well scary. Love the poem.

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  23. Well, if the restaurant is empty, there is a reason for it. Never go out eating in a empty restaurant.
    If it’s loaded with trucks or motorcycles outside, then it’s good for sure.
    Rui from Lisbon.

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  24. At last! – Someone else who’s not afraid to complain about bad service. I don’t know if it’s a British, stiff-upper-lip thing but so many people I know will allow a hairdresser to leave them with a pudding-bowl haircut and even tip them – same thing in restaurants. If you do want to say something, people say ‘no, leave it, it’s probably because they’re so busy. I should add that as well as complaining about poor service, food etc. I’m just as ready to praise the good.

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    • I used to grin and bear it but no longer. Living in tourist town bars and restaurants think they can get away with murder at times. The last bad service and meal I had I was so incensed I wrote a review on trip advisor and I DID take a photograph…strangely enough it was about the quality of burgers…I cringe now because they were probably made with…I dare not think.

      Like

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