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How would you interpret our Vienna restaurant experience?

How would you interpret our Vienna restaurant experience?

Mar 11th, 2015, 07:40 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,951
annhig.. since you asked:
In general I do NOT find waiters in Vienna as grumpy as I described them.
But since I am German, I might not have noticed ;-)
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 08:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Food has been great, but we are not eating traditional Viennese food. Have been going for Asian or restaurants with more modern style cuisine. Had my Best.Dessert.Ever at Kussmaul: a white chocolate mousse cake with salted caramel topping. Had it last night for dinner and went back with DH today to have a mid-afternoon slice with tea.

No real problem getting the bill. They're not fast but we get it at about the same pace as at home in Basel.
WeisserTee is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Cowboy - perhaps you're just used to it. We had the same problem with getting the bill from quite a few places on our trip to Germany last September, and I still remember the appalling service our german friends had to endure when they were entertaining a group of us at a restaurant in Leipzig - if I'd been hosting the event I'd have been outraged but they seemed to think that it was [almost] normal.

perhaps they were just experienced at covering up their embarrassment.
annhig is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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oops - I think that I just conflated my reply to both of you into one reply! oh well, you get what I mean, i hope.
annhig is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 09:23 AM
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I don;t think you need to be "dressed up" most places - the few places that want this (jacket or suit for men and similar for women) will note it clearly. But there is a huge difference between "dressed up" and athletic gear that you have already been wearing all day. We don;t change into suit/tie etc - but do have fresh, presentable (trendy sportswear or similar) clothes to change into. And no sneakers.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 09:36 AM
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I'll chime in here about the service, I think European and British service is different to that in the US, where it would appear the idea in many establishments is feed 'em get 'em to pay and get 'em out. I appreciate this is a generalization but when I'm on holiday in Austria, Switzerland etc the waiter/ess will only bring the bill when you ask. Sometimes finding your waiter/ess means waiting for them. They are not forever asking if everything is OK or what I would call fusing around me. I may be wrong if I am apologies.
tipsygus is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 10:16 AM
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Yes, I agree, we likely pushed the line with what we were trying to accomplish. No harm done, but lesson learned.

I admit I often go back and forth on the rules of fashion. We *always* respect something if it is a vital custom to the area, such as exposed skin, pant or skirt length, covered hair, everything. And we definitely "feel" a difference in how we look when we are even a little dressed up - we just feel more polished, confident, etc.

And then sometimes, I just don't get the fuss. Shoes are shoes. As long as you're not tracking mud in with you, does it matter if the laced shoes are dress shoes or tennis shoes? My definition of presentable is probably different than a fine restaurant owner - as long as there is not an offensive odor, and everything is neatly in place without excessive skin/body parts showing, I don't understand the commotion. It always seemed like a nonessential issue given everything else going on in the world... but I will never try to argue my way in with those who feel differently.

I guess that is a broader discussion.

With regards to waiting for the check, we actually appreciated not being rushed, but I could see how it could be taken to the extreme. We did have to flag the waiter/ess down a couple times, but no apparent problem was noted from it. I'm already missing the food - and that is coming from a primarily vegetarian eater!
itspat is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 10:39 AM
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Oh, and for curiosity's sake, how do you think one would have responded if, in fact, the reason for getting turned down was strictly dress and not related to reservations? "I'm sorry, this restaurant is jacket and tie only?" "I'm sorry, no athletic wear is permitted?"
itspat is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 10:51 AM
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I don't understand the question. Are you asking how I would respond in that situation? If so, the answer is that I would have apologized and left (not that I would be traveling with athletic wear in the first place). How else would you respond?
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 11:00 AM
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No, I meant how would one expect the waiter or host to respond/react if someone walked in wearing athletic gear and the restaurant did not want to offer them a table. Would one expect a blunt and honest reason why they were getting refused, or would one expect the polite response we got in any case, shielded with niceties, that the restaurant was full with reservations or going to be full?
itspat is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I have always said: the better you look, the better the treatment. This isn't rocket science. People judge other people by the way they look. First impressions. It's just human nature. Dress like a slob, expect to be treated like one.
NYCFoodSnob is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 11:43 AM
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Any restaurant that will turn you away for not being what they consider appropriately dressed will be very polite and very likely indirect about it.

You might be someone famous or at least rich whom they would like to have as a regular customer, just not right now dressed like that.
Ackislander is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 03:07 PM
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What NYCFoodSnob said.
At 11:16 you said you just didn't get the fuss, well I don't think of it as a fuss, just that there is an appropriate way to dress for different occasions. It isn't really all that hard.

And I agree with Ackislander, no restaurant is going to instruct the staff to tell you there is no table for you because you look like a slob. They are going to use some polite excuse like they are all booked up.

I have had this discussion with a few people I know who think that just because they have lots of money to spend they should be able to go anywhere dressed exactly as they please and be received well even though they look like they were gardening five minutes ago.
raincitygirl is online now  
Mar 11th, 2015, 03:50 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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I think you tend to over-engineer this issue.
Very, very few restaurants in Vienna's first district will actually care about how you dress. Most of them cater to that endless parade of once-in-a-lifetime visitors or biz guests who pay a surcharge just to eat in this relatively small part of the city.
If the average price of the main courses / entrees does not go beyond €30 you will not be in a place that gives a fiddler's fart about your outfit. Sneakers, jeans, 3-piece suit, no one cares.
OTOH, you can appear in a tux with a feather in your butt at Figlmayer's and still won't get a table or a schnitzel because they are always full -- as even the last travel guide or travel website in Malawi has them on their list.

Coming back to annhig's question why it takes so long to get the check.
This is indeed also my pet peeve, and I asked a co-worker of mine who worked for years as a waitress during her Uni years. She told me that they were told to bring the menu quickly, take orders quickly, but not to rush the check even when asked as the customer would then not be in a rush. Really odd or rather daft, but that's the way I was told.

What you can do if you really want to pay to leave is:
Do NOT make that gesture to the waiter as if you were scribbling a note in the air to ask for the check but:
Call the waiter to your table.
Tell him/her in plain words that you need to leave in x minutes and need the check asap.
This usually works.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2015, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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I remember lots of informally dressed people at this place:

So keep that in mind in a similar situation. I can't imagine them being snobs, but who knows.
WillTravel is offline  
Mar 12th, 2015, 12:27 AM
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Call the waiter to your table.
Tell him/her in plain words that you need to leave in x minutes and need the check asap.
This usually works.>>

cowboy - it's reassuring that you have the same experience. I too feel sceptical about what you were told by your friend - if the customer says they want to leave, why not believe them?

as for your advice, I would have thought that by the mere act of asking for the bill, you are impliedly stating that you'd like to leave imminently but I will try that in future. that's not to say that I haven't done it in the past, along with waiving a credit card at them, going over to them and asking for the bill, asking again, asking at the till, standing up and putting my coat on and making for the door.

Towards the end of a trip we tend to revert to that old ruse of asking for the bill when they bring the food and then paying when they come over to ask if everything's all right, or just leaving the money on the table. [not so easy if you want to pay by c/card].
annhig is offline  
Mar 12th, 2015, 01:47 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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I generally find Austrian/Swiss/German service varies all over, best to stay somewhere unfashionable, more moderate in costs where staff have learnt how to behave.

I still remember those places where staff have been rude and nearly all have been in the better places in these three countries. I've only ever left 3 restaurants in my life where the service was so bad I could not even order (with Germans in the group) once in each country. (plus the amazing time when a waiter brought out a piece of bloody beef to give my BIL a lecture on beef cuts which ended in farce as it was pointed out he had brought pork).

Happily I've also had some fine times in all these countries with very friendly people and will keep going back, but there is a certain surliness that seems to creep in.
bilboburgler is offline  
Mar 12th, 2015, 03:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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bilbo - we are certainly not talking about fine dining establishments, where I'm concerned.
annhig is offline  
Mar 16th, 2015, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 665
It is Figlmüller, not Figlmayer.
grrr is offline  
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