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Old 22.05.2009, 11:39
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Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

I just don't want other people to fall victims of such restaurants!

Explanation:
My boyfriend and I visited Winterthur, for the first time, on the Saturday after Karfreitag (Good friday). We walked around the center (old town) and noticed that many shops and restaurants were closed, bec. they had decided to take the whole weekend off along with Friday. Due to the sunny weather, we ended up visiting the main church, sitting at a cafe and enjoying the view at a park.

For dinner, I had chosen a restaurant, a bus ride from the center, since it was recommended in the Winterthur Guide (like the Zurich Guide). We decided to try our luck that it would be open. Unfortunately, it wasn't but we managed to accidentally find an Italian-Indian restaurant "Cucina" on our way back to the bus stop. We were both hungry and didn't want to bother searching too long, esp. bec. many were closed. We thought it looked OK on the outside, the interior was OK and it was located (same building complex) next to Migros center..nothing suspicious. Also, we were open-minded - we thought it would be interesting/impressive to be in a restaurant where an Indian cook could also cook excellent Italian cuisine.

There was an Indian waiter and a European waitress. The European waitress was very friendly, but strangely, strongly recommended that we both take Indian dishes rather than Italian ones. My boyfriend didn't want something spicy, so Italian it was even with her efforts.
I ordered an Indian dish and my boyfriend an Italian one (grilled lamb chops with a special garlic and chili sauce, along with risotto and vegetables).

When the dishes arrived, mine was middle-end Indian (not like Vulkan or King's Kurry), but my boyfriend's..!

The lamb chops were overcooked, extremely greasy (smelled like old fat), and the so-called "lamb chops" smelled/tasted more like sheep (much older, not as fine meat). Also the "special garlic and chili sauce" was missing from the plate?? He asked and the Indian waiter brought him one of those plastic, sealed mini-containers with garlic butter that you find in Migros. The garlic butter was the "special garlic and chili sauce"?? My boyfriend who is used to proper European cuisine was astonished that the garlic butter was not one of those shaped as a drop which is either placed on the side of the plate or on the meat.
We found it cheap behavior to forget the sauce, claim something else on the menu and come up with a sealed sauce..like eating at home?

We couldn't complain bec. there was a problem with the ingredients/what they claimed on the menu (meat, sauce), not the cooking. I mean they had overcooked it, not undercooked it!! Also the Indian couple (not the waitress, but the waiter and his wife (the cook)) who owned the restaurant couldn't speak/understand much German. We felt tricked by the Italian dish, bec. they had lied on the menu and the cooking was "not Italian", but we were still paying the same price as in Molino's! I can guarantee that Molino's lamb chops are never cooked or presented like this!
Later that evening, after we had paid, my boyfriend felt slightly sick (bec. of the fatty taste still in his mouth, even after drinking a cocktail to get rid of the taste) and he had digestion problems (probably the unhealthy fat).

I would like to notify the restaurant control in Winterthur so they can check the place. I heard that in Switzerland they wanted to make a list of the worst restaurants. Does anyone know about this? I wish to put them on the list.

Last edited by hkang; 22.05.2009 at 17:15.
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Old 22.05.2009, 11:58
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

Another reason why I take packed lunch everywhere. Main reason being that I am a tight fisted pig. For authentic food I make friends with families from the relevant country and then pig out at their place. In return I buy the ingriedents for the feast. OOOOOOOink.
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Old 22.05.2009, 12:02
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience.

(Maybe next time you'll listen to the waitress...?)
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Old 22.05.2009, 12:44
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience.

(Maybe next time you'll listen to the waitress...?)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Why

Personally, I eat what I want. If the waitress suggests something nice then I may choose it but not roll over and say "yes" to every waitress' suggestion just in case it upsets them etc.
I would have sent it back and either re-ordered or walked out.
Good luck next time
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Old 22.05.2009, 12:49
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

A waitress in a restaurant reccomending something you should take off the menu, and a waitress warning you not to take something off the menu are two entirely different coloured horses.
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Why

Personally, I eat what I want. If the waitress suggests something nice then I may choose it but not roll over and say "yes" to every waitress' suggestion just in case it upsets them etc.
I would have sent it back and either re-ordered or walked out.
Good luck next time
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Old 22.05.2009, 13:08
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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If the waitress suggests something nice then I may choose it but not roll over and say "yes" to every waitress' suggestion just in case it upsets them etc.
If a waitress (or waiter) recommends something like 'a special', it means they've got two tons of it back in the kitchen and they need to shift it quick
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Old 22.05.2009, 13:12
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

I sympathise with you, I am learning over here to go with your gut instincts, if it does not feel right then run away from the place.

Indian/Italian, (hhhmmm, a place that does not know what the f*** it is)as soon as those alarm bells start ringing, get out of there asap, and save yourself money. Switzerland is just too hit and miss, with more on the miss to be open minded.

We had a simualar scenario in Locarno a few weeks back, expecting a nice Italian dinner and it was pathetic. Decor was from the 70's, so to was the staff, and hey guess what, so was the food, utter rubbish.

I just dont know how these places get away with it, most likely they just pick up the clueless tourist walking into their trap, they dont care about repeat business.
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Old 22.05.2009, 13:24
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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A waitress in a restaurant reccomending something you should take off the menu, and a waitress warning you not to take something off the menu are two entirely different coloured horses.

One is a sleek and speedy coffee-brown mare with a silky mane and the other is mouse grey with matted hair for a tail and barnacles growing on its backside?


To the OP: Try reporting the restaurant to the Gemeinde (town council) where it's situated.
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Old 22.05.2009, 13:27
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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Also the Indian couple (not the waitress, but the waiter and his wife (the cook)) who owned the restaurant couldn't speak/understand much German.
I'd wager they were pretending not to be able to speak. Sounds like a real con to me.
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Old 22.05.2009, 13:32
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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Indian/Italian, (hhhmmm, a place that does not know what the f*** it is)as soon as those alarm bells start ringing, get out of there asap
I can only agree with you there.

Some of the more seedy places are calling themselves "internationale spezialtäten". I once asked a waiter standing outside such a place what an "international speciality" was, seeing that once something is international it's not really a speciality any more. Needless to say, no satisfactory explanation was provided.
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Old 22.05.2009, 13:42
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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Indian/Italian, (hhhmmm, a place that does not know what the f*** it is)
To be fair, sometimes the new owner simply doesn't want to alienate the existing customers.

There's an excellent curry house in Waedenswil called 'La Stufa' that serves Indian and Italian food. I asked the owner why he didn't change the name to something more fitting (you know, The Jewel in the Crown or something... perhaps buy some nice flock wallpaper and a seventh generation cassette of songs from 70s films while he was at it...), and he explained that they were already in the phone book with the Italian name, everybody knew the restaurant by the Italian name, so why on earth should he change it? I thought he had a fair point.

I'll be honest, though: Although the curry is excellent (not spicy enough, of course, but that's typical for this country, alas), I've never tried the Italian food. And I do tend to have a policy of eating the presumed speciality of a place, rather than any other stuff that's on the menu: If the chef's Italian, I won't order raclette; If the chef is Indian, I won't order spaghetti; If the chef is Swiss, I won't order the Riz Casimir...

By all means, the OP should complain to the local authorities if he considers the food to have been unhygienically prepared, but the fact that an Indian chef is better at cooking curry than some Italian speciality (regardless of what the restaurant is called) shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
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Old 22.05.2009, 14:00
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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If the chef is Swiss, I won't order the Riz Casimir...
Riz Casimir is a Swiss recipe by the way. Supposedly invented by Betty Bossi.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riz_Casimir
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Old 22.05.2009, 14:06
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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To be fair, sometimes the new owner simply doesn't want to alienate the existing customers.
Maybe, but he shouldn't claim Italian attributes if he doesn't know much about Italian food. Maybe he was an expert in Italian cooking in which case it's fair, but otherwise he is potentially fooling customers who are coming for the ultimate Italian experience and then not living up to their expectations. Sometimes its better to start a clean sheet and be honest.
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Old 22.05.2009, 14:26
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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... potentially fooling customers who are coming for the ultimate Italian experience ...
In all fairness, if you are looking for "the ultimate Italian experience" you go to an Italian restaurant, not a restaurant that advertises itself as Italian/Indian/Eritrean/French/Thai/Chinese/Sushi House/International cookhouse/Whatever else.

For a Full-Blooded Italian meal, go to a full-blooded Italian restaurant.
Same goes for any other type of cuisine.

I sympathise with the OP. The Italian food sounded terrible. If was really that terrible, then definitely report it. After that, though, I'd just chalk it up to experience.

How was the Indian, though. Was it also below par, or was it ok, or superb? If you had to rate the place on it's Indian alone, what would you give it?
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Old 22.05.2009, 14:42
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

So Italian/Indian I'd normally run a mile too, but here in Lugano have a good one. Ristorante degli Amici in Vezia, owner is from Goa, used to work as chef in UK and NYC and wife is Ticinese. Has outstanding Chicken Tikka Masala, lamb curry, parathas, sauces etc and then great local dishes too, homemade pasta and outstanding desserts, kulfi, sorbets and gelato. Not cheap (32CHF for lamb) but a great crowd pleaser as many of the local mates are reluctant to commit to an Indian place, so the back up of good Italian/Ticinese helps a lot.

Mind you, having lived up north and down south I'm finding on average food/service is on average better here (off the tourist track), although much more extensive variety in Zurich, Bern etc...
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Old 22.05.2009, 17:08
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

Thank you for the feedback! I will follow all your advice!

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In all fairness, if you are looking for "the ultimate Italian experience" you go to an Italian restaurant, not a restaurant that advertises itself as Italian/Indian/Eritrean/French/Thai/Chinese/Sushi House/International cookhouse/Whatever else.
Usually, if a restaurant "claims" that it is "also" specialized in Italian cuisine then one expects the Italian food to be better than the average first attempt at cooking at home or with friends. The food was a disasterous (maybe first) attempt and we actually paid for it (bad service (lies), bad food). It is like someone who doesn't do their job properly, bec. they are incompetent in the area they "claim".

Professionally, we are paid or we pay people who are specialized in their area.
I mean I would not hire a typical physicist to do a biologists' job and it would be strange for him/her to claim that he/she is also specialized in biology, except if he had an extra qualification and experience in this area as well. There are such people in biophysics and some, due to varying qualifications and experience, are competent to do some of the biologists' work. This would be "impressive", bec. it is unusual but possible.

However with restaurants, unlike companies and organization, we cannot know what qualifications (CV) the cook has except believing what he/she claims and taking the risk to try food.

Any excellent cook with qualifications and experience can cook high-quality food of any nationality, independent of his/her own nationality. For example:

Imagine www.imagine-zh.ch/
Tibits www.tibits.ch/
Blaue Ente www.blaue-ente.ch

Check the menus, many offer Swiss, Thai, Indian.. cuisine and they are usu. Swiss (sometimes even Indian) cooks.

Did you notice that Santa Lucia in Niederdorf or Restaurant Commihalle have Indian cooks? The cooking is still quite proper.

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How was the Indian, though. Was it also below par, or was it ok, or superb? If you had to rate the place on it's Indian alone, what would you give it?
Mediocre. Not the worst, but they are also usu. cheaper.
But for that price, from experience, I would have expected better.

Last edited by hkang; 25.05.2009 at 15:30.
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Old 22.05.2009, 17:16
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

You can make your feelings known on this website:

http://ch.restaurant-kritik.de/2724/bewertungen/
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Old 22.05.2009, 18:05
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

Thanks for the link! I will add an entry.

I'm very surprised. I agree, that the buffet did look good for the price, but they only had chicken (Brazil -> antibiotics), so I didn't take it.
I had a pork dish. I do believe that King's Kurry and others were better. One of the best places for curries is in Manchester on the "Curry Mile".

As for the Italian food, I cannot believe it. We were two people to judge and the lamb did cause digestion problems for my boyfriend. I don't know why it only happened to us?? Were we unlucky? But the lamb really didn't look or smell fresh.. Not even like in the migros..

Last edited by hkang; 25.05.2009 at 15:34.
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Old 22.05.2009, 18:38
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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If the chef is Swiss, I won't order the Riz Casimir....
If the chef is Swiss I won't order, full stop!!

But I agree with the basic rules eat Italian in an Italian restaurant, curry in an Indian restuarant etc. Generally you can't go wrong because the locals weed out the bad ones before the rest of us get there, except the really touristy places of course - Like Switzerland!!
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Old 22.05.2009, 20:52
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Re: Warning! How to have the restaurant control? check a restaurant

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Riz Casimir is a Swiss recipe by the way. Supposedly invented by Betty Bossi.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riz_Casimir
Cheeky cow also claims puff pastry is her idea, too. Either she's hundreds of years old, travels through time, or is a handy face to put on some old tat...
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