My first encounter at this venue was opening day. We decided, as obviously packed, to just pop in and get some antipasti, £1.95 for a bread stick I thought was very expensive but the olives etc. we bought were a good price and lovely, the woman manager who greeted us on this day was lovely, cheerful and chatty, good start I thought.
I am a great fan of Antonio have loads of his books, his aubergine relish is out of this world.
My second visit I decided to book, as I was having a late lunch with a friend who had an hour lunch break, so couldn't afford to wait around. There was no-one at the door (where bookings are taken). I waited there for about 5 mins before asking one of the bar staff for help, who came over and tried to use the tablet and book us in, he didn't really know what to do but at least tried. I was told he would sort it out with the manager when she came back (had been there at least 10 mins by now and there were people behind me). I left feeling sceptical and when I came back with my friend, the manager (a new woman manager), had her back to us and was dealing with someone's booking, she spent at least 10 mins talking and using the tablet, not once did she look at the queue forming behind us where you have to stand in the door way and street. It doesn't take a lot to acknowledge people and I think it's poor practice to stand with your back to customers. When she eventually got to us (no apology for the wait) she had no record of our booking (fancy) but found us a seat anyway, (15 mins gone). It was around 3.45 when we finally sat down but it was still packed and the acoustics are so bad, the noise from everyone else was horrendous, it was that bad I couldn't hear or understand our waitress, my friend had to translate as she had a foreign accent, if it had been quiet i'm sure I wouldn't have had a problem. I had a nicoise salad which was nice (tinned tuna though) and my friend had lasagne which is all you get a piece of lasagne no garnish, nothing, which she said was ok, this took around 30 mins to arrive so we had to rush as she only had 10 mins left. Carluccio's isn't the cheapest of places and you don't get a lot for your money this cost us over £25 with a coffee and water. When we left I looked for a manager or staff member to say goodbye to, not one person looked our way.
Our 3rd experience again involved the manager, not the lovely engaging woman from opening day but the woman who is obviously the permanent manager from my previous visit. My partner and I were stood outside deciding whether to eat in or get some more antipasti, we stood and watched her chewing gum (talking to a girl doing a window display) she then proceeded to do a half sneeze half cough over the meats, olives, cheese, capers, tomatoes whatever was in the open top fridge, we walked away.
As I have been in hospitality for over 20 years I find her attitude and professionalism unacceptable. Readers might find that harsh but I will not be dining with friends or family in the Harrogate venue because of it. We have enjoyed Manchester (Trafford) and Leeds.
One more note for Carluccio's I would never consume cakes, pastries or meringue that are sat in doorways on tables uncovered for all and sundry to cough and sneeze over, why you think this is acceptable is beyond me.
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