Bella Vista Amsterdam
On a cold and rainy saturday evening, I was looking forward to a sumptuous meal in the warm bosom of one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Amsterdam, Bella Vista.
Located in the chic Museum District of Amsterdam, not far from het concertgebouw in Amsterdam oud zuid (old south), it’s full of chic looking older ladies with identical hairstyles. Blonde with dark highlights being the most popular.
Upon arriving, after marvelling at the successful business the local hairdresser must have, my first impression was one of utter chaos. The staff were running around like headless chickens. In spite of having reserved a table, we were left waiting around in our wet coats for quite some time.
Outside it was between 12 and 15 degrees, and in fact was still raining. In spite of this, a group of hardcore smokers were sat outside the restaurant consuming enough cigarettes that the terrace of Bella Vista could probably be seen from space.
For some inexplicable reason, the fact that it was cold outside, didn’t bother the staff at all. The main door was left open. The table we’d been offered was drafty and cold. The waiter offered us another table which he assured us was in a warm spot. It certainly would have been warm if I’d kept my hat, coat and scarf on.
It took ages before we were able to order. It was clear that the regular guests eating at the restaurant took priority, as they appeared to receive excellent service while we were still waiting to order a drink. In spite of requesting to have the door closed, it remained firmly open. It’s a strange feeling being sat in a restaurant and wishing that we’d kept our coats on. The food itself was excellent as always, but the service was appalling, and the constant cold draft ruined the evening.
Fight for your right for tap water
I’d also like to add that in spite of ordering glasses of water, a bottle of mineral water was brought to the table. For those of you not from the Netherlands, restaurants and cafes have to provide tap water if requested. There’s actually a law that covers this. Considering that we were also drinking wine, and prosecco, it’s not as if they wouldn’t have made enough money from us. Forcing bottled water on customers like this is just plain obvious and greedy.
Only when a family with a small child sat at the next table and also complained about the cold, did a member of staff finally close the main door. However, this was only for a short time, and soon the door was left wide open again. This led to people at the next table having to get up and keep closing the door.
When it came to paying, I mentioned to the waiter that the cold had ruined our evening, to which he responded, “it’s not cold”.
The arrogance of the staff, and the refusal to keep the door closed on a cold evening absolutely ruined the meal and the evening. If you’re a heavy smoker and love sitting outside in the cold then I’d recommend this place, otherwise, during the winter months choose a place that operates for the convenience of its customers rather than the staff.
I used to love Bella Vista, but in the words of the Fleetwood Mac song, “never going back again”.
No penguins were hurt during the writing of this post