Hot!How Important is Ambiance to You?

Page: 12 > Showing page 1 of 2
Author
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
  • Total Posts : 4120
  • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
  • Location: McKinney, TX
  • Status: offline
2014/07/18 10:17:49 (permalink)

How Important is Ambiance to You?

 
Ambiance.
 
Personal example:  Dallas now has some really great pizza - Cane Rosso, Olivella's, Campisi's, Coal Vines, etc. 
But, if my last meal was a pizza, I'd eat it at Campisi's Egyptian Lounge.  There, the ambiance is so very enjoyable that it makes pizza 'the total experience'.

 
In fact, when I do a mental review of all the great dining experiences in my life, ambiance is at least as important as the food itself.
 
----------------------------------------------
 
My all-time favorite food critic was the late Donald Dresden of the Washington Post. 
 
Atop each of his reviews was a summary; restaurants were rated 0 - 5 on:
 
Food - quality and presentation of the restaurant's chosen cuisine
Ambiance - the way the place, in all ways, made you feel while dining (or just chowing down)
Potables - quality, selection, preparation, and presentation of liquid refreshments
Service - skill and 'attitude'
Price - self explanatory 
Value - the overall rating
 
He approached and evaluated each establishment based on its own terms.  That is, e.g., if a place presented itself as a neighborhood redneck bar he evaluated it on how well they achieved being a worthy or unworthy neighborhood redneck bar.  It was the same for the fanciest French Restaurants.
 
After Dresden led with his bottom line, his entertaining narrative would justify it.  His reviews were the most reliable and useful I've ever read.
 
------------------------
 
Sorry for prattling on, my question here is how important is ambiance to you?
post edited by MetroplexJim - 2014/07/18 10:25:21
#1

48 Replies Related Threads

    Davydd
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6379
    • Joined: 2005/04/24 12:15:00
    • Location: Tonka Bay, MN
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 10:49:35 (permalink)
    I go with ambiance. It is important.
     
    The Bubba Burger at Fugler's outside Marshall, Texas is the best burger in the state, IMO.
     

     

    #2
    MetroplexJim
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4120
    • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 11:21:09 (permalink)
    Exactly. 
     
    I've had better steaks than the ones I enjoyed at Windows on the World but few as memorable.
    #3
    lleechef
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6903
    • Joined: 2003/03/22 23:42:00
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 11:33:48 (permalink)
    Ambiance is nice but I'm gonna go with food first, but the place has to be clean.  When I used to go to Desert Hot Springs we would go to the VFW every Wednesday for tacos.  Ambiance: 0  Tacos: 10.  Same with Bush's Family Restaurant in Logan, OH.  Ambiance: 0  Broasted Chicken: 10.  Maybe I've just been to too many fancy-shmancy restaurants all over Europe and the US and ambiance is not so important any more.
    #4
    mar52
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 7981
    • Joined: 2005/04/17 18:50:00
    • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 11:59:40 (permalink)
    Ambiance "used" to be important.  Then I discovered that some of my favorite meals have come from places that just serve great food.
     
    My latest write home about great meal was at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack.  No ambiance whatsoever, but if I could go back over and over again I'd probably be there now.
     
    Ambiance is nice, but the food comes first.
     

    Another question might be.... location.
    #5
    Ketteract
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 230
    • Joined: 2011/10/09 23:10:00
    • Location: Hartford, CT
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 12:28:41 (permalink)
    Depends. If I'm going somewhere with friends (and we're not just drinking the night away), then yes, the overall dining experience is important, and food quality is only one of the considerations.
     
    But if we make a decision as a group to disregard that, and go somewhere just for the food, then ambience doesn't matter. And if I'm going somewhere by myself, I'm generally going just for the food, so ambience doesn't matter then either.
     
    Some of the best food I've had has been from places with no ambience or even negative ambience. It's easy for me to tune out everything but the food. Food, food, food. However, these aren't places I would take friends unless we weren't looking for a place to sit and talk, and I made the quality of the food clear beforehand.
    #6
    rumaki
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1055
    • Joined: 2008/03/01 11:22:00
    • Location: Minneapolis, MN
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 12:32:01 (permalink)
    I want ambiance to be appropriate to the place.  As you point out, Donald Dresden "got" this.  (Like you, I loved his reviews.)
     
    So, I want an honest Midwestern supper club to have "supper club" ambiance, and not put on airs, or try to be trendy.  If a place is supposed to be a profound upscale experience, I want everything to be perfect, from atmosphere to upholstery.  My biggest turnoff is when a place is "pretentious" -- hard to define, but as with Justice Potter Stewart and obscenity, I know it when I see it.
    #7
    easydoesit
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 520
    • Joined: 2007/06/20 01:52:00
    • Location: La Crosse, WI
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 14:36:24 (permalink)
    Kid's joke on "pretentious" --
     
    So this snooty waiter comes up and says, "And how did you find your hamburger?" 
     
    "It was easy," I said, "I just looked under the pickle and there it was!"
     
    Sorry, hey, I'm just trying to get to 500 posts.  Then I get promoted or something.
    #8
    Foodbme
    Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 10289
    • Joined: 2006/09/01 14:56:00
    • Location: Gilbert, AZ
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 14:58:26 (permalink)
    To me, the definition of Ambiance is "Comfortable".
    If a place has a comfortable feel to it, like you've been going there all your life even though it's your first visit, then it has "Ambiance."
    Friendly, relaxed service, good food and cold beer and I'm a happy camper full of Ambiance!
    #9
    felix4067
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 3516
    • Joined: 2003/12/13 02:58:00
    • Location: Near Grand Rapids, MI
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 15:17:44 (permalink)
    Ambiance seems to mean "high class" to some people. It's not. Ambiance can be sitting family-style at a diner. It can be an old oak tree with a picnic table underneath. It can be 847 items in your place setting with a linen tablecloth underneath. It can be carefully planned, added onto over time, or taken out of a corporate box.
     
    What I like is a restaurant that looks like I want to eat the kind of food they're serving there. If I'm out for a romantic dinner, I expect white tablecloths, cloth napkins, and gleaming silverware. If I'm out for a mess of BBQ ribs, I expect a red-and-white checked plastic tablecloth (if any at all), and a dispenser of paper napkins or a roll of paper towel. Two of my favourite places for ambiance have completely opposite looks: Mary Mahoney's in Biloxi and the House of Seafood Buffet in Bush, LA. One is all about elegance, the other looks like a church camp dining hall. Both are appropriate to the food served, and both have their own unique quirks.
     
    I will say if the food sucks, the ambiance can't make up for it. But good food can make up for a less than desirable surrounding.
    #10
    MetroplexJim
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4120
    • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 20:07:31 (permalink)
    To me, ambience means a welcoming, aesthetically pleasing, comfortable atmosphere appropriate to the type of food and drink one intends.  This can include everything from 'divey' bars to the "Holy Sh*t, look at this place".
     
    But, even in the latter category, one must be comfortable and feel genuinely welcome amidst all the pomp and opulence.  I've been to a lot of swanky joints in WDC, NYC, Paris, Rio, and even Dallas.  But the one that really 'took the cake' was the Jockey Club in Madrid in the mid-'70's.  It made the Palm Court look like a soup kitchen and the service was both unobtrusive and perfect; e.g., drinks were always 3/4 full and I never noticed them them filling the glasses!  And the cuisine was magnificent; at the time I visited it topped most of the 'World's Best" lists. 
    post edited by MetroplexJim - 2014/07/18 20:14:07
    #11
    lleechef
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6903
    • Joined: 2003/03/22 23:42:00
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 20:48:00 (permalink)
    If we're talking pomp and opulence my favorites are La Tour d'Argent and Apicius.  Both in Paris.  Been there, done that.  I would rather have my next meal at Brick Pit in Mobile which has absolutely NO ambiance but the best ribs I have ever had!
    #12
    pnwchef
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 2423
    • Joined: 2011/03/16 14:15:00
    • Location: Kennewick, WA
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/18 21:39:43 (permalink)
    Ambiance! I don't need no stinking ambiance!...........Good food and the people I'm with, that's all that counts........
    #13
    MetroplexJim
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4120
    • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 09:09:57 (permalink)
    While watching the Bourdain show that featured 2014's 'Best Restaurant in the World',  Copenhagen's Noma, I was struck by it's lack of ambiance - especially for a joint that is going to get in your knickers for $900 pp.
     

     
    At Noma, clearly the emphasis is on food
     
    But as much I have no doubt that it may very well be the 'best'/ 'finest'/ 'ne plus ultra' ...whatever ... in the world, I have absolutely no desire to consume it in such a spare ambience. 
     
    To me, it would be like 'dining' at a hospital!
     

     
    For that kind of money (less, actually), give me La Tour d'Argent any and every day.
    #14
    JRPfeff
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2647
    • Joined: 2006/12/01 10:05:00
    • Location: Pewaukee, WI & Fuquay-Varina, NC
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 09:22:03 (permalink)
    I think that if the food is outstanding, a place that would be "dated" or "a dump" suddenly becomes "traditional" or "homey." Flipping through my Roadfood books, "ambiance" in the eyes of a traditional restaurant reviewer is not all that important.
    #15
    MetroplexJim
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4120
    • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 09:24:13 (permalink)
     
    For snicks I'm going to summon the ghost of Donald Dresden for a review summary of Noma.
     
    Food - +
    Ambiance -
    Potables -  
    Service -
    Price - $ $ $ $ $ +
    Value
     
    On reading this some would rush to book a flight to Copenhagen. 
    I'd avoid the place like the plague.
    Chacun a son gout!
     
    To me, Dresden gave the ultimate 'full disclosure', caveat emptor - type of reviews.
    That's why I valued him so.
     
    #16
    lleechef
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6903
    • Joined: 2003/03/22 23:42:00
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 11:03:36 (permalink)
    $900 pp??!!!  No way.  Heck, I could eat at The French Laundry AND La Tour d'Argent for that much!
    #17
    chewingthefat
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6186
    • Joined: 2007/11/22 17:02:00
    • Location: Emmitsburg, Md.
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 12:15:48 (permalink)
    pnwchef
    Ambiance! I don't need no stinking ambiance!...........Good food and the people I'm with, that's all that counts........


    Can I get an "AMEN"!
    #18
    lleechef
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6903
    • Joined: 2003/03/22 23:42:00
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 12:17:42 (permalink)
    AMEN!  There ya go, Tom.
    #19
    MetroplexJim
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4120
    • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 14:32:49 (permalink)
    lleechef
    $900 pp??!!!  No way.  Heck, I could eat at The French Laundry AND La Tour d'Argent for that much!


    The $900 pp was a too quick read of this.  In fact, it's $900 for TWO!
     
    With tip, that's more than a nickel each.
     
    Silly me, but even for that 'bargain' I require a plush leather chair, space, and linens. 
    (And, carpeting and window treatments might be nice as well - if for nothing else, to dampen noise). 
    Just saying.
    #20
    MetroplexJim
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4120
    • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 15:01:12 (permalink)
    chewingthefat
    pnwchef
    Ambiance! I don't need no stinking ambiance!...........Good food and the people I'm with, that's all that counts........


    Can I get an "AMEN"!




    No.
    Here in Dallas, I once (and, believe me, just once) found myself trying to enjoy some very good food with the comely, convivial, and soft-spoken Mrs. Metro.
     
    We had a nice booth, one of six in a small, charming low-ceilinged dining room.  Also seated in the room were loud-talking Texans, their cackling women, and two squealing children.
     
    I was in the Fifth Level of Dante's Hell; soon after we were served I couldn't take it and asked if they might have a quieter place where I might at least be able to hear my wife. 
     
    The manager told that the room was not unduly noisy (I guess he meant "for Dallas").  Yes, they were very busy that day; he wasn't rude, just stupid - or deaf.  I threw a Grant on the table and left.
     
    So, tell me again that only the food and company matter.
    #21
    Sundancer7
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 13510
    • Joined: 2001/07/18 14:10:00
    • Location: Knoxville, TN,
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 16:16:47 (permalink)
    A sorta personal thing with me but to enjoy any meal whether at home or at a restaurant, I have to feel comfortable with the total environment.  I have left when it was too hot or too cold, dirty restrooms and dirty environment or even feeling uncomfortable with the service or food.  I cannot stand any place that it not spotless.
    I have two grandchildren and I can recall when both were very young, they were terrible and I had a hard time learning to endure their torture.  That does not bother me so much anymore but it is still a issue.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN 
    #22
    Foodbme
    Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 10289
    • Joined: 2006/09/01 14:56:00
    • Location: Gilbert, AZ
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 17:15:21 (permalink)
    To me, Noma looks comfortable, therefore it has Ambiance.
    And I'm dying to try their "Caramelized Milk & Monkfish Liver" and their "Beef Tartar and Ants"!
    #23
    chewingthefat
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6186
    • Joined: 2007/11/22 17:02:00
    • Location: Emmitsburg, Md.
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 17:23:10 (permalink)
    MetroplexJim
    chewingthefat
    pnwchef
    Ambiance! I don't need no stinking ambiance!...........Good food and the people I'm with, that's all that counts........


    Can I get an "AMEN"!




    No.
    Here in Dallas, I once (and, believe me, just once) found myself trying to enjoy some very good food with the comely, convivial, and soft-spoken Mrs. Metro.
     
    We had a nice booth, one of six in a small, charming low-ceilinged dining room.  Also seated in the room were loud-talking Texans, their cackling women, and two squealing children.
     
    I was in the Fifth Level of Dante's Hell; soon after we were served I couldn't take it and asked if they might have a quieter place where I might at least be able to hear my wife. 
     
    The manager told that the room was not unduly noisy (I guess he meant "for Dallas").  Yes, they were very busy that day; he wasn't rude, just stupid - or deaf.  I threw a Grant on the table and left.
     
    So, tell me again that only the food and company matter.


    Jim, I 'm including the Company I don't know, in other words the whole Restaurant...I don't blame you for leaving! AMEN!!
    #24
    Foodbme
    Porterhouse
    • Total Posts : 10289
    • Joined: 2006/09/01 14:56:00
    • Location: Gilbert, AZ
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/19 18:08:53 (permalink)
    Ambiance in any environment, be it The Four Seasons or Bob's Hot Dog Shack, is immediately killed by unruly, screaming kids AND their STUPID parents! Period!!
    I have no problem approaching parents to explain in no uncertain terms that the place is a restaurant, not a playground!
    #25
    MetroplexJim
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4120
    • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/20 08:39:44 (permalink)
    Foodbme
    Ambiance in any environment, be it The Four Seasons or Bob's Hot Dog Shack, is immediately killed by unruly, screaming kids AND their STUPID parents! Period!!
    I have no problem approaching parents to explain in no uncertain terms that the place is a restaurant, not a playground!




    I have four children; the youngest just got married last year.  When they were young and 'fussy' in a restaurant one of us would remove them from ear-shot of the dining area until they quieted down.  And, we didn't even think of taking them into a 'linen tablecloth' restaurant before the age of reason.
     
    But, here in Texas, many fecund Caucasians actually badger quiet toddlers to make noise, I guess because they think it's cute and wonderful that their spawn are acquiring language.
     
    And, these (f-word, adjectival gerundive form) IDIOTS even take toddlers to high-end steak houses!  (Frankly, I'm beginning to ask if high chairs are available when making a reservation at a swank joint.  If they are, I just hang up the phone).
     
    Frankly, I much prefer the company of Asians, Latinos, and Blacks in dining venues.  They know how properly to mind their young!
    post edited by MetroplexJim - 2014/07/20 12:18:46
    #26
    pnwchef
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 2423
    • Joined: 2011/03/16 14:15:00
    • Location: Kennewick, WA
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/20 12:06:22 (permalink)
    chewingthefat
    pnwchef
    Ambiance! I don't need no stinking ambiance!...........Good food and the people I'm with, that's all that counts........


    Can I get an "AMEN"!




    Tom, I would break bread with you by any railroad tracks. I would like it even more if you brought your BBQ Beans, ribs and brisket..................Oh yah, Vodka too!
    #27
    lleechef
    Sirloin
    • Total Posts : 6903
    • Joined: 2003/03/22 23:42:00
    • Location: Gahanna, OH
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/20 12:17:01 (permalink)
    Bill, you bring the corn and we'll meet you guys!!
    #28
    MetroplexJim
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 4120
    • Joined: 2007/06/24 08:45:00
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/20 16:26:26 (permalink)
    Foodbme
    To me, Noma looks comfortable, therefore it has Ambiance.


    I agree that it looks like a wonderfully comfortable place to enjoy a casual lunch of, say, a $9.00 'gourmet burger', Neapolitan pizza, or barbeque.
     
    But for a $500 pp. three hour degustation?  
    Non, la-a, iie, Nein, naonyet ... frigging NO!
     
    Here's what I demand for that:
     

    post edited by MetroplexJim - 2014/07/20 16:30:55
    #29
    rumaki
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1055
    • Joined: 2008/03/01 11:22:00
    • Location: Minneapolis, MN
    • Status: offline
    Re: How Important is Ambiance to You? 2014/07/20 16:43:03 (permalink)
    Metroplex.Jim:  Is that photo at the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower (I assume so)?
     
    My father took me on my very first trip to Europe in the summer of 1967 when I was a young teenager.  He was going to a medical convention in Stockholm, and my mother didn't want to go, so I got to make the trip. We went from Stockholm to Copenhagen to Amsterdam to Paris to London.   It was kind of a "If this is Thursday it must be Belgium" kind of trip, which was why my mother didn't want to go (and sadly she died a few years later before ever going to Europe).
    I cannot tell you how thrilling it was to dine in that restaurant.  I had escargots and frog legs, and crepes for dessert.  Yes, I suppose it was touristy, but the food was spectacular and the waiter couldn't have been nicer. We had a wonderful time. (This was in August, so the Parisians were mostly out of the city, and many restaurants were closed for vacation.)   
    #30
    Page: 12 > Showing page 1 of 2
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1