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American-Friendly Restaurants

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Birmingham, AL
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American-Friendly Restaurants

I've been reading restaurant reviews in various Italian cities we are visiting soon. I've encountered a lot of comments about rudeness to Americans from wait staff. I'd be really interested in folks sharing positive experiences in restaurants in Florence to help us plan our culinary itinerary. We obviously want to eat well, but don't want to be mistreated in the bargain. Thanks!!!

UK
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1. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

Read comments on your Rome post... and remember that if you go to Florence (have you posted there too ?) there's one restaurant 'Le Mossacce' famous for insulting their customers....Italian ones as well as foreigners, but the food is wonderful, traditional.... and the insults are only a joke, you have to book to go there...

Bedfordshire...
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2. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

I do not think that servers in Florence (or anywhere else) are rude to Americans. If they are rude, they are either rude to everybody or they are responding to rude behaviour in like manner.

I have never seen visitors from the US mistreated in Florence restaurants and I wonder whether people are confusing rudeness with cultural differences. Europeans generally, and particularly French and Italians, are far more reserved and less effusive than most Americans, so the visitors may feel less welcome than they would like.

If you behave in a proper and respectful manner, you will be well treated everywhere, but your server will probably not want to be your new best friend.

Chicago, Il
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3. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

Its not America and service is different. Do not expect to sit down to dinner and be out of their in a hour. Here is a few helpful links on tipping and service. You will have blast in Italy.

slowtrav.com/italy/…introduction.htm

www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/eurotips.htm

New York City, New...
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4. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

Pericoloso: I read your post and felt I should respond. I am an American who speaks Italian, and I must say that half the time I do think the rudeness we encountered in Florence had nothing to do with cultural differences. Sometimes Americans do not make the effort to learn at least how to say "grazie" properly, and they should.

Having said that, I have visited Italy, both north and south, six times and generally in the North service is more reserved and, at times, nothing we would call service by American standards. I do not like the idea of "American friendly restaurant" posts either, but in one restaurant recommended by our 4-star hotel, I ordered an artichoke salad. I had never eaten a raw artichoke in Italy, but here baby artichokes are indeed served raw. I could not eat it.

I apologized profusely, and while the waiter took it back immediately, he mumbled under his breath about ignorant Americans. I confronted him and he apologized, but it was an unpleasant experience at best. I hope no foreigner to my city will ever have this happen to them. I would upbraid any waiter who treated a tourist in NYC in that way. Generally, I found service in Florence in restaurants and hotels rather brusque by American standards, lacking a certain graciousness, as though they did not need or want our business.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

I forgot to reply to the TA member's request. We had an excellent lunch at Ristorante Accademia near the museum of the same name. Some of the waiters speak English. The service is gracious and it's a bargain. They are accustomed to tourists but locals also have business lunches here. Homemade pasta and desserts.

Bedfordshire...
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6. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

"Generally, I found service in Florence in restaurants and hotels rather brusque by American standards, "

You see, Stickler, that's where the cultural difference comes in. I am from England and I have travelled extensively in Italy (although never further south than Rome) and I do not find service 'brusque'. I speak Italian (not very well), but I always try to communicate in the native language. I am certainly not the most charismatic person in the world, but I have always been treated well. Maybe the service is different from what you experience in NYC, but it suits me fine.

I wonder whether it is often a case of self-fulfilling pre-conceptions. People from the States have "heard" that everyone in Europe hates Americans, so if the server doesn't tell them their name or show them photos of their family, the visitors see this as proof positive that they are not welcome.

My girlfriend is American and always tells me not be put off by what I consider to be over-friendly and effusive behaviour from people I don't know!

Although I am certainly not his greatest fan, I like the comment from Saint Rick of Steves 'If things don't meet your expectations, change your expectations'

'Different' doesn't mean 'worse'. It just means 'different'

Edited: 22 May 2012, 18:04
Austin, Texas
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7. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

We never experienced rude service in our trips to Italy, I do believe some people do mistake some of the cultural differences as rudeness though. You very likely will never get service in an Italy restaurant similar to what you would experience in many US restaurants. They will not come by and check to see if everything is ok and you need to tell them when you are ready for your check. Some consider this better, some consider it rude, it's just different. Some waiters will be rude no matter what no matter where you are, people are people everywhere. Learning a little Italian even can help quite a bit, greetings and thank yous are the bare minimum.

Philadelphia, USA
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8. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

We found the waitstaff and chefs to be VERY friendly. We were comped pre- and after dinner drinks, met chefs, and chatted with the waiters. Only one guy was sullen, late service when we got back late from a day trip. He seemed sullen to everyone.

But since I speak French and my husband Spanish, we are accustomed to trying to communicate. Our newbie Italian was constantly mixed up with the other languages, and we had many laughs as a result.

So making a pleasant attempt to order, using please and thank you, etc. will probably get you an equally friendly response. BTW, we were in the late April off season, so I'm sure things change during the crowded summer months.

Castellina in...
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9. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

Unless the waiters are good at English accents, how will they know you are American?

New York City, New...
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10. Re: American-Friendly Restaurants

Pericoloso: I speak three languages very well, and have been on seven continents and 20 countries in the past 12 years. I have also been a corporate trainer for courses on "cultural inclusiveness." Graciousness is a quality that defies culture: It is a smile, a gesture such as getting up to give a foreigner a seat, or explaining that artichokes are served raw in a particular region rather than insulting the customer by assuming ignorance.

I do not show photographs of my family to waiters and certainly would not choose such places to eat in. That's a stereotype you seem to have of Americans. We are completely independent tourists and have never taken a tour, so our encounters with ordinary people in any place we visit is far greater than the average tourist. In Africa, for instance, we had to shop for our own food and camping equipment.

There are regional as well as cultural differences in America as well, and many visitors to the U.S. think that our South is more gracious than the North. To be kind or gracious or nice has nothing at all to do with culture; it has to do with upbringing and the ability to act humanely.