Caffè Negresco. Via Solferino
Via Solferino, Rome, Italy
Caffè Negresco. Via Solferino Rome Reviews
Avoid at all cost Sep 04, 2013
First thing to say is that there are two Caffe Negresco's in close proximity of each other. One is at the corner between Via Volturno and Via Solferino and the other is a minute walk along Via Solferino on the same side of the street. I went to both and regretted both times.
The one on the corner is called U. Giuliani Caffe and is open from early until late and looks enticing from the outside. Through the big windows you can see many fancy pastries and delicious looking ice creams and due to me often passing it late at night on my way back to my hostel I tried it out.
I stood looking at the pastries for a little while and to be fair their was a good selection. However I had to ask one of the waiters to come and serve me because for some reason no one was in any hurry to attend to me even though there was only a few customers sitting down at that time. The waiter wasn't particularly enthusiastic with me but I got the pastries I wanted and at the till the lady was equally uninterested. I know it was late, but the establishment is still open for business and I was more than courteous. I was charged €8 for 2 which seems expensive but I don't know how this compares to other places in Rome. All this aside I was mostly disappointed in the quality of the pastries! One was cherry filled and the other chocolate and both were very dry and borderline stale.
I went to the other of the Caffè Negresco further down Via Solferino for a meal one evening. This place has more of a restaurant feel and I chose it while walking past because it was reasonably busy and I was very hungry. Almost all the seats were taken outside and I went in to have a look at the menu and a blonde lady who appears to be a manager type 'suggested' to me to find a seat outside. I found a seat near an English family and tried to get the waiters attention for some service. I didn't mind waiting a while because of the numbers of people but eventually I noticed that some people were getting attention over and over again before I had been even acknowledge. Eventually a waiter came over with a menu and I ordered 1/4 bottle of red wine at first while I looked at the menu. About 10 minutes later the waiter returned to me and asked if it was red wine I wanted, as he was busy he was forgetting my order. He came back with the bottle and no glass, I couldn't believe it. He was an older gentleman and seemed more interested in attending regularly and being charming to the ladies on another table. So again I had to get the attention of the waiter and ask for a glass and when he came back I was ready to order of veal and potatoes. I was relieved to have a drink at last and relaxed a little as now I only had to wait for my food. In the meantime the family behind me were complaining about the bill as it was a cash only restaurant and there was no mention of this anywhere on the menu or within the restaurant. The blonde lady was called over by a waiter and she was very cold and just said 'sorry, you have to pay in cash'. The father of the family then had to go to find a cash machine while the family stayed there. I was beginning to regret stopping here and waiting about 40 minutes for my meal to arrive was testing my patience but I was very hungry.
I was horrified to see the measly portion of food on my plate (see pic), not only that but it was turkey and not Veal. I looked at the menu and there was a turkey and potato dish, so I guess the lady-charmer waiter had messed up again. Fortunately they were the same price and I like turkey as well so had no desire to do anything about it. As you can imagine I finished quickly as it's just one small potato and a few slices of meat covered in a lot of oil, I am just pleased it was cooked enough! I know in Italy meal times are more of a chilled out affair which should be savoured and enjoyed like an event, but I was in no mood to do it here. Again I had to attract the attention of a waiter for the final time to bring the bill and I only paid the charge for the food and wine even though he seemed to pause, perhaps expecting more money.
This place is truly horrendous and I don't know how it is still going. I presume it picks up enough trade from tourists as it's close to Termini station and many hotels and hostels. But I urge everyone to avoid both Caffe Negresco places in this area and enjoy another place to eat. Everything about my (and others) experience at this restaurant was horrible and definitely the worst of my life. I don't expect all the thrills and spills, especially when dining alone but I do expect some respect as a paying customer and a reasonable standard of food particularly when charging a higher price. Neither of which I got here. Avoid!!!!
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