A rant about restaurant web sites

Scan the list of restaurants reviewed by members, post new reviews, discuss food topics, post your favourite recipe.....

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
Allan
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 1384
Joined: Tue 01 Sep 2009 21:21
Contact:

A rant about restaurant web sites

Post by Allan »

I’ve just got back from a trip to York which I organised for a group of French friends. Planning meals was easy as pretty well every restaurant and every pub had an informative web site with most publishing full versions of their latest menus.

The story was the same in Thailand and practically all places that I have travelled.

Back in Perpignan, I looked for a new restaurant to try this weekend. My wife is a fairly fussy eater so before choosing a restaurant I like to have some idea of what’s on offer.

I looked on Tripadvisor at the supposed top restaurants in the area, clicked on their website link and in the majority of cases ended upon a disjointed Facebook page that showed no useful information but just an array of random thoughts from friends of the owners.

I have heard all the excuses about ‘fresh local produce’ but some of these restaurants are serving the same food as they were 12 years ago.

Is it just laziness or is French restaurant culture so different from everywhere else? These days updating a website is tribally easy.

I have been out to many group meals and I have noted that the locals just eat what they are given. Don’t people care what they eat.

Rant over.
User avatar
Santiago
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 1288
Joined: Tue 27 Dec 2005 12:19
Contact:

Post by Santiago »

A couple of thoughts in response.

Firstly, Trip Advisor is pretty hopeless on restaurants unless you play with the filters a lot because it has far too many entries for cheap eats.

Regarding the dining culture, I would say that French diners are less faddy and more willing to try what is being suggested by the restaurant. When I have dined in groups, people are pretty quick to choose dishes and will often go for classics. Perhaps because French cuisine is so developed and varied, they don't feel the need to have menus filled with the latest fusion dishes and foreign fads that you see in the UK.

I think they really do care about what they eat but they have more faith in the restaurant and the chef to serve them an enjoyable meal. That's very different to the "Anglo-Saxon" way of choosing an elaborate dish and then asking if it can be served without various ingredients, perhaps adding something else and with the dressing on the side.
Domaine Treloar - Vineyard and Winery - www.domainetreloar.com - 04 68 95 02 29
Allan
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 1384
Joined: Tue 01 Sep 2009 21:21
Contact:

Post by Allan »

I agree with you about Trip Advisor but I looked at what were supposedly the most popular restaurants in Perpignan. If I look at the Michelin and Internaute guides then the results are much the same.

You are right that French diners are less faddy but I think blind faith in the chef is often misplaced and as for French cuisine being developed and varied, it seems to me that it is still stuck in the last century whereas the rest of the world has moved on. The only more modern concept widely evident is the use of Tartares which I assume is because it is infinitely easier to chop something up than actually cook it.

I'm not so sure that the "Anglo-Saxon" way is to mess with the way the chef wants to prepare a dish. I think it is more a greater expectation of choice. French diners may well be happy with a choice of 2 dishes but that is not the "Anglo-Saxon" expectation

Either way, my rant wasn't really about small local restaurants, even the larger and more upmarket restaurants here seem indifferent to providing diners with even basic information about what they provide.
martyn94
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 2086
Joined: Sun 14 Apr 2013 14:37

Post by martyn94 »

I’m anything but a fussy eater, so it has never much troubled me. I particularly dislike hot cooked tongue, but I’ve eaten it when that was what there was left at 1330. Similarly with “pieds-et-paquetsâ€￾. Even if you don’t much like it, you can usually tell why other people might do, and it broadens your horizons. The sort of restaurant I normally eat at doesn’t generally have a website (or so I imagine: I wouldn’t generally think to look) and the prix fixe menu (or one of them, in fancier places) is usually a no-brainer.

I knows a Jamaican woman, now an old friend, who couldn’t get her head around the idea of prix fixe when she first came here twenty-odd years ago. She thought that the limited choice was an imposition, almost like slave food. So she paid 50% more for something out of the freezer, while the rest of us had something fresh and possibly seasonal. She’s come round since.

I blench at the thought of organising a “group mealâ€￾ in the UK now. It was a nightmare even when I last did it for work colleagues, almost 15 years ago. Anything more than 3 good friends and you were pretty much doomed to pizza, and nowadays they’d have to do gluten free. Vegetarians and vegans were no problem: there are excellent cuisines which can please them and me. But they were always scuppered by the “I don’t like...â€￾ or “I can’t eat...â€￾ people. At best, if you could bully them into going to a Chinese, say, they’d insist on having their very own dish of sweet-and-sour pork, when the table was groaning with edible stuff.

“The Frenchâ€￾ vary like anyone, but they tend to be quite conservative, but within the confines of that, not very picky. You only have to look at the special reveillon menus, say, to see what the francais moyen sensuel regards as a special meal. That suits me too.
Allan
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 1384
Joined: Tue 01 Sep 2009 21:21
Contact:

Post by Allan »


Post Reply