Stay away from this Madrid restaurant!

Jan 18th, 2002, 10:18 AM
  #1  
Leigh
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Stay away from this Madrid restaurant!

My husband and I think that Fodor's guidebooks are superior to all others. We call it "The Good Book." We always use their recommendations and have been very pleased with the outcome. Until now...
We recently returned from Madrid. One of the restaurants that we sought out because of the star next to the name in Fodor's was El Cenador del Prado on Calle del Prado. The food was very good but our treatment by the staff was horrible. When we arrived, they seated us in the traffic pattern of everyone who came in the front door. We asked to be moved. They then seated us in the "foreigners" section even though there were many tables available elsewhere. Service was very inattentive, to say the least. What really topped it off was the wine order. We ordered a 1998 wine and they brought a 1997 and poured it without showing us or telling us it was different from what was ordered. And it was terrible; we couldn't drink it. In case you are wondering, my husband and I were well-dressed and my husband speaks Spanish so there was no communication problem. My meal was ruined because I was so angry about the treatment by the staff. I wanted the readers of Fodor's to be aware of this place since it is recommended by them. Do you think I should contact them directly to let them know of my displeasure?
-- Leigh
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 10:27 AM
  #2  
kate
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Yes, I think reporting bad service/behavior is a good thing, perhaps you can save someone else from the same unpleasant experience.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 10:31 AM
  #3  
tommy
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Additionally you can rate this restaurant in the "Rants and Raves" section of this website.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 10:32 AM
  #4  
Helen
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gosh I can't believe it, you sound like such a pleasant person to wait on!
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 10:32 AM
  #5  
Leslie
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Actually, I think you should let it go. What are you going to gain out of complaining? Before you were ever seated, you should have declined the first table you were offered. Since you say your husband is fluent in Spanish, why didn't he immediately speak up and point to a table that you both wanted to be seated at? I especially mention this because you said that the restaurant was not crowded.

What occurred with the bottle of wine was an error on the part of the restaurant. You never mention in your post whether the restaurant offered to replace it with the 1998 you had requested, or if the bottle of wine was removed from your bill. Here you are vague so I can only surmise that you didn't pay for the wine or else it was replaced with the 1998 and you did pay for what you asked for. Now, what would have happened if the 1997 bottle that you had ordered was excellent, would you still have returned and complained about it? Either way, there seems to have been a minor error, and not enough to so strongly suggest that this restaurant should be panned. You said that the food was very good, but that it was ruined because of the mood that you were in. I thought that one of the first rules of being on vacation was to go with the flow.

Sorry you had an unpleasant experience, but your review is not enough to sway me from not visiting this restaurant.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 10:33 AM
  #6  
Leslie
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I forgot to mention that restaurant reviewers traditionally visit a restaurant 2-3 times before writing any type of public review just to see if there is any consistency.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 10:38 AM
  #7  
observer
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Go to Fodor's restaurant rec's / rant & rave section and voice your displeasure for the specific restaurant. Chalk it up to experienc and then - move on. If that was the only mishap on your trip consider yourself fortunate.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 11:39 AM
  #8  
John G
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I have to agree with Leslie about the wine. Having many friends who are oenophiles, I have had countless experiences with sending back wine and having the wrong wine presented. You have to speak up. Did you tell your waiter that he poured the wrong wine?? If so, Leigh, what did he say?? Did he appologize and bring you another?? Your posting is very vague.

If you complained and your complaints went unheeded, then I could see bringing this to the attention of Fodors. But, if you said nothing to the waiter or management, then it is partially your fault. Since you are the ones paying the bill, you should vocalize your displeasure immediatley to the staff so they can correct any problems. Waiters are not clairvoyant.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 11:42 AM
  #9  
xxx
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Forgive my limited knowledge of Spanish wines (I'm assuming it was Spanish you ordered), but I'm trying to figure out what wine you could have ordered that the 1998 would have been wonderful, but the 1997 was "undrinkable". According to my charts there was very little difference in those years. Perhaps at most it could have been only slightly less exciting than the same wine from 1998. Or was it the wrong wine all together? Or was it simply stored wrong and gone bad? In any case, although it was the mistake of the server, you certainly should never have tasted it and approved. As soon as he started pouring it, I'm assuming that you stopped him so you could taste it if he was failing to have you taste it on his own?
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 12:05 PM
  #10  
H
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Leigh -

In answer to one of your questions, no, I wasn't wondering what you were wearing - although I'd guess you were wearing a scowl on your face the whole time. What, exactly, was wrong with the second area that you were seated in, other than that there were too many "foreigners"? (I'm assuming you're using this term to mean other tourists from outside of Spain.)
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 12:30 PM
  #11  
troll
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Either a troll or a spoiled, ugly tourist. 9 out of 10 on the troll buzzer. Kind of subtle in her creativity, though. I particularly like the complaint that she didn't like being in the traffic path (i.e. the front of the restaurant), and also did not like being in the "foreigner" part, i.e. some area that apparently isn't in the front of the restaurant. After acting like an ugly foreigner the poster is then shocked, shocked I say, to be seated with those dern "foreigners". The wine, one year off as "undrinkable" was a nice troll touch, too.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 12:40 PM
  #12  
Cass
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We had a sumptuous meal at El Cenador and were treated very well, despite being obviously middle-aged American tourists without huge $ to spend.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 03:21 PM
  #13  
Leslie
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I don't think Leigh is a troll, however, I do think she got herself overly upset over her table assignment and a bottle of wine, and therefore did not enjoy her meal. Unfortunately, a lot of what Leigh wrote was vague, and we have had to make conclusions on what she wrote -- for example, what type of wine was ordered. There could be other reasons a bottle of wine was bad that have nothing to do with its vintage -- possibly, something as simple as storage could make a bottle of wine bad, or for that matter, possibly, it just was not to their liking. Either way, I would expect that any restaurant would replace the bottle or at the very least not charge for it. Also, we don't know if the waiter was inexperienced in the etiquette of serving wine, which may be why it was served before it was sampled and approved.

Also, I found it interesting that she found the waitstaff inattentive. Depending upon the type of restaurant you go to, depends upon whether or not the waitstaff hovers over you. I was amazed during my last vacation overseas that I had to request the check. In many of the restaurants I ate in, the waitstaff expects you to occupy the table for the whole evening.

We need to be fair to both Leigh and to the restaurant. Bottomline, I think Leigh needs to respond to the posts on this thread and provide more details before we jump to further conclusions. However, Leigh, it was only one dinner, and as I mentioned before all professional restaurant critics visit a restaurant 2-3 times before writing a review either raving or ranting about a restaurant.
 
Jan 18th, 2002, 07:25 PM
  #14  
MC
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Leigh; Yes, I would definitely let Fodors know what you thought of their recommendation. In fact, most guide books ask for feedback, so you might want to look in the back of the guidebook and see where they would like you to send your criticism. I believe everything you said and that you were not treated well. I've spent a lot of time in Spain and never once had a bad wine--in fact was amazed at how good the Spanish wines are and yet we hear so little about them--but I do believe that there was something wrong with the wine you had. What I can't believe is how snitty and admonishing people get on this forum when someone with good intentions gives a complaint/warning about an experience while traveling. You have every right to give a warning and people can take it or not but why the______ do they get so defensive over these things, I will never understand. Also, no doubt I will get hell for this, but I find many guidebooks lacking in good recommendations for restaurants. They are usually kind of touristy and I like to get off the beaten track. So I always take guidebooks with a grain of salt!
 

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