Go to Hurley’s Restaurant & Bar across the street. Or go to Celadon or Allegria in Napa. Or Mustard’s when they re-open. I’m sad to say, however, that the new-ish, restaurant Bottega in Yountville couldn’t care less if you were there…and they act like it. Last night, my friends were trying to give Bottega a second chance having had such a mediocre experience previously. It was my first visit. We enjoyed bubbles and appetizers outside by a blazing fire where the restaurant offers “no service”. We ordered at the bar and carried our own drinks, napkins, flatware, plates outside. That was fine as the three of us were steeped in conversation and warmed fireside on a lovely, fresh, Napa spring night. Our mistake was going inside. A table in the bar opened up and we wanted to try a couple of the appetizers…with service. Have I mentioned that Bottega is not cheap…not by a long shot.
I asked for a tawny port. They gave me a ruby port…and told me it was a tawny port. We ordered a salumi platter. When we asked for details about what was on the plate (my friend has an allergy to cow meat…the kind that brings on vertigo and nausea, occasionally followed my temporary hearing loss), the server/bartender (?) said she didn’t know, identified half the plate and went to find out the rest. When she returned, she had mis-identified the pork and cow which my friend had already tasted. Ugh! Is it just me, or does it seem like too many places don’t seem to care at all about Word of Mouth, or customer service, or hospitality.
The restaurant was busy, but not packed. No one else working there, the host, the other bartender or server, ever spoke to us. It is too bad. The ambiance was warm and friendly. The service was so bad that our conversation was hijacked into sifting through the short list of restaurants in Napa that consistently offer good (or better) service. Frankly, for the experience, we could have had similar service, (basically self service) at Taylor’s Refresher, with a smile, great food and at much less cost! Disney has service right. If only Napa hospitality took the Disney Training Program. Extraordinary, personal, friendly, helpful and non-overbearing service is, such a breath of fresh air, and hard to find in Napa… But I can’t resign myself to such mediocre hospitality where I live! For now, I will take my friends’ offers in Sonoma & Calaveras counties to visit their wineries and remember the pleasure of good customer service. And when I’m in Napa, I’ll visit the few places that care to have you there.
Photos courtesy of Google images.