So Eric and I decided to have brunch by the lake the other day. Now if there is one thing I miss in Geneva is nice restaurants downtown by the water. It is not my style to ask for the sky and not recognize the limitations of where I live, but it would be nice if one could have a good meal, while getting the energy of the water. Now in our city, one can find several canteens on the lake, but very few restaurants. Lacustre is often the obvious choice. It is downtown, it is almost on the water and the food is OK. And this is what happened…
First of all nobody cared welcome us or to sit us, so we chose the table we liked. This is OK. 15 minutes later, when nobody cared to take an order from us and we tried to get their attention, although we were just in front of them, we got a very aggressive “Un momento!”. Quite intimidating for just smiling to the waitress to get her to notice us. She came, never smiled, acting totally annoyed. We eventually ordered and that was OK again. At a table close to us, there was a couple having a drink, while waiting for their food. The food arrives and their order is wrong. The girl informs the waitress that her boyfriend (or significant other) did not order salmon, since he is allergic to it and that they ordered chicken. The waitress insists that they ordered salmon. The girl confirms that he has never eaten salmon in his life, so that would not be possible. Apparently the waitress knew better what they usually eat and what they don’t. Given the unacceptable behavior, rude in my books I have to say, the couple decided to leave. To my immense surprise, the manager had them pay for their drinks and the salad that had just arrived and they never ate (maybe for the rest, but I did catch that they mentioned the drinks and the salad). I was speechless. We had ordered to the same Italian lady, so we were waiting to see what would happen with our order. 15 minutes later, a different waitress brought two of the same pasta dishes instead on a pizza and pasta. This time nobody insisted about what we ordered, but that Italian waitress never showed up to excuse herself.
All this made me think the following:
– the staff at Lacustre is always impolite, or peculiar to say the least. Other friends had remarked in the past that they kind of throw the utensils and the plates on the table, they never smile and they give you the impression that they are doing you a favor to host you.
– Lacustre behaves like a monopoly. They are almost a monopoly. A quite expensive one. Being the only resto on the lake downtown, they know they will always have the tourists and the corporate clients who do not know any better. And the rest of us, longing for that water view.
– Italians are such warm, welcoming, fun, polite, charming people. How is it possible that they allow establishments like that to give such a bad impression of their culture? Having a temperament, being honest and direct, do not mean that you are allowed to be rude. This is not cute. It is just rude.
– How stingy and unprofessional must a manager or a place be to take the money of customers who are not happy with their services and products? I was truly disappointed and hurt. I put myself in the place of that couple who got their mood and appetite ruined by the behavior of the staff, had to look for another place after all this time waiting to eat and finally to have to pay for this mess. I was very proud of them that they volunteered to pay and I was very ashamed that the restaurant manager had them pay for everything. Such a shame!!!
– Living in a smaller city with less alternatives is comfortable, is cosy, is what we are all used to. But to have to tolerate such bad attitudes from commercial establishments or not to be honored for choosing a place and willing to spend our hard worked swiss francs is just unacceptable. From any monopoly.
I know what you will say. “Just do not go back”. I WILL NOT. And I am telling all my friends (you) about this experience. While most sites and blogs are just promoting places to go to, I am promoting manners and the appreciation of the Genevois customer…
Bon appetit! At a canteen by the lake. They are not that bad after all…
PS: Wanting to be fair, I investigated if the couple and we had a unique unfortunate experience. Apparently not. YELP, TripAdvisor and many other sites are full of reviews about Lacustre along the same lines. UNFORTUNATELY!