For context, my wife and I predominantly dine out 1-on-1 with each other or very close friends, usually 1-on-1 or go in groups of 4 max when we want to have a nice meal. We've always considered the top end (more on my definition of this below) restaurants in NZ to be excellent value in terms of food and to offer a great deal of variety. By top end, I mean the generally well-reviewed/Metro Top 50s or Cuisine-rated restaurants and/or those that are generally regarded as representing a degree of excellence that is beyond the norm. But there are almost always things that sour the experience somewhat or at least leave us shaking our head and I just wonder if it's "just us" or do these things bother anyone else.
1. Restauranteurs don't seem to give up any chance to hate on non-alcohol drinkers
These days most restaurants have a wine list that's probably 5 to 6 times the length of their food menu, yet many barely make any kind of effort to cater for people who don't wish to drink alcohol. Want a mocktail? Choose from a list of 3 or, if you ask, they will begrudgingly make the "usual stuff" (Virgin Mojitos etc) for you. That makes me feel so.... welcomed. It's not exactly like there is no profit in some decent mocktails.
2. Can we just please update the menu.... more than every few years
I am not always enormously fond of all the in-season eating fads and all the fads around constantly changing menus but it's disappointing to go to places that (however lovely their food may be) literally have not changed their menu since they have opened.
3. Not considering ambiance/space-related issues
Our social group love the food of the Blue Breeze Inn but we practically treat it as a "Eat and run" place because (using it only as an illustrative example of the problem) it is always so deafeningly noisy. And tables are cramped so close that, even as a skinny guy sitting by the window seats facing the street, my elbow inevitably make constant accidental contact with the bums of passing waiters and waitresses. Last night, this exact thing happened and in one case both of us were clearly a bit shy and it just resulted in a whole lot of "Opps!!" and red faces. It's a bit disappointing to spend about $80 each for two people and basically feel like you need to run out of their to get some fresh air and not have to shout to talk.
4. "Walk-ins only"
I am looking at you, Cafe Hanoi. What the heck. I accept that a lot of annoying people book and don't turn up but that's the cost of doing business. At least run a system where half the restaurant can be booked.
5. Stop putting the bloody grubby menu that everyone else has handled on top of my eating plate
Enough said. Almost all the sharing plate places do this (e.g. Saan, Blue Breeze Inn, Azabu, and Artwok just in my experience).
6. Please stop putting washable towels in toilet cubicles with washing basins
Clearly restauranteurs don't account for the fact that most people don't put the cover of the toilet bowl down before they flush and have never watched the Mythbuster episode on how toilets when flushed basically propell aerosol forms of **** and crap into the air. At least if you use hand paper towels only within an enclosed dispenser, I can throw away the one that was left exposed by the last person.
What are your thoughts? Anything about restaurant eating that you want to get off your chest? Or perhaps people can also discuss gems that they have found etc. Fire away.