What bugs you about Portland restaurants?

at the lunch counterWe're lucky here in Portland, but that doesn't mean everything is hunky-dory. Portland restaurants offer a lot to be irritated by, too. Here's my short-list, but I totally want to know what bugs you too!

Restaurant Websites

  1. Have one
  2. Keep it current -- that means hours, and if you'll be open on xmas
  3. Make it readable with Flash turned off!
  4. No music! None!

At the restaurant

  1. Don't have an Open sign on unless you are open
  2. What time is Close, exactly? Saying you're open 5-Close doesn't really tell me your hours.

So, what bugs you about Portland Restaurants? Feel free to name names...

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November 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (17)


McAngryPants said:

Green Dragon...crappy service in the restaurant side. Like, epically bad. My friends say this is standard for Portland. I disagree. I will, however, complain (I did) and give them another shot (I did). Then never to return. Hopefully the new ownership will address this problem

vj Author Profile Page said:

If it was someone other than Rogue who had bought GD, I'd have a little hope. But Rogue doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in either service or food.

Chris said:

"eggs, over medium" should mean hard white, runny yolk.
There should be no white slime!
I get the slime at every restaurant I've ordered eggs at including Vita, Tin Shed, Ladybug, Gravy, Beaterville, Cup & Saucer (NE)and more.

McAuliflower said:

racking my brain as you nailed my website peeves...

+ Our neighborhood pub is chronically understaffed. It has a bar + over 10 tables and usually only 2 staff on for the floor + bar, even on weekend nights. It sucks.

+ and waitstaff not recognizing the universal symbol of an empty drink glass placed at the table's leading edge... aka my drink is broken- fix it!

+ my biggest pet peeve lately- when menu descriptions don't accurately reflect the item. Yakuza and Bamboo sushi have both hit this point with me lately.
If a drink is predominantly limey- say it.
If a dish is sweet- say it.
This is such a crucial restaurant detail! If my expectations are built and then not met, I'm not going to want to come back.

gaile said:

That it takes over an hour for blossoming lotus to serve me a freaking bowl of rice with beans and kale in it. And no, they didn't just make the rice. so not worth going back.

vespabelle said:

Bluehour: auto music! argh!
Oba: wants me to install some super updated version of something. no!

Websites should put a phone number prominently on the front page. Lots of people go to the website simply to find the correct phone number!

vj Author Profile Page said:

Vespabelle, you are so right. You reminded me of how irritated I become when I encounter restaurant websites that have the address as a graphic. I go to copy the address so I can plug it into google -- and it's an image. Oh, that eats me! Then I have to keep switching between two tabs to type the address in -- yeah, like I'm going to do that.

Also. Phone and address -- and what the hell, hours too -- should be on every page. Why not??

vj Author Profile Page said:

There's just no excuse for Blossoming Lotus. Really.

vj Author Profile Page said:

Agreed, Chris.

I hate when the server asks how I'd like a burger cooked -- and then it comes back cooked to death. I know that most places have to cook it to death -- but if the kitchen can't handle cooking to order, please don't ask me how I want something cooked!

Mitch Conners said:

Here are a few:
Portland isn't really a great food city. Most places serve pretty bland food and some styles of food are completely unrepresented. Finding good food is tough. I have to eat at 10 places to find 1 I like.

Long waits for places with only about 10 tables.

Inconsistent hours.

Not open on (pick a day of the week). I simply don't get this, especially when it's a weekend day.

Websites that cannot articulate their style effectively. Yes, yes, I get that you're a fusion place, but what am I going to see on my plate.

Vespabelle, you are so right. You reminded me of how irritated I become when I encounter restaurant websites that have the address as a graphic. I go to copy the address so I can plug it into google -- and it's an image. Oh, that eats me! Then I have to keep switching between two tabs to type the address in -- yeah, like I'm going to do that.

Ugh, I was going to say just that. Why they don't just drop in a get directions link that has their address as the end point on a Google map, I don't know.

mike said:

My gripe is that most of the food carts downtown are closed on the weekend.

gal4giants said:

The damn 5 - close drives me crazy too! But I do kind of understand it, can you at least have a 'no earlier than ...' line.

Not noticing that my beer/wine glass is soon to be empty or already there & not asking to refill it, same goes for water.

If my napkin is all waded up after the salad, I sure would appreciate a fresh one, on or before the next course.

Taking 2 more tables orders after taking mine but not firing mine before doing so (mainly for the lack of beer factor) but what if one of those tables is a high maintenance fool?!

Empty pepper/salt/condiment bottles on the tables.

Empty paper towels/toilet paper in the bathrooms with no back ups.

And what McAngry pants said but goes for both sides!

Tori said:


Those carts are usually run by one or two people, sometimes a family. They prepare the food for the day elsewhere before coming in to open the cart. Most of those carts open at a reasonable time in the morning meaning that the owner has been up for 4 or 5 hours prior to opening doing prep for the day. All of that makes for a long day.

I'm sure you don't work 7 days a week at your job and neither should they. Those carts cater to the people that work downtown, most of which are office jobs and 9-5 M-F. Even if they did want to work 7 days a week with long hours each day the money they would make on Saturday and Sunday wouldn't make it worth the effort.

Snowyaker said:

@Mitch Conners

Really. Eat at 10 to find one you like? Wow, that's a little harsh. I can usually eat at 10 and only dislike one. And before you quip back, I've eaten at some the best restaurants in the country (they were good too).

I think Portland is a great food town - full of young talent and experienced veterans taking risks with their menu without the pretense (usually) you'd find in other cities like San Francisco or NYC. We're spoiled in Portland and the bar has been raised pretty high. Plus all that Oregon-grown goodness just outside of town. Good ingredients plus a good chef almost always equals good food and we've got plenty of all of that in my opinion.

Sorry - not a gripe. Here's mine: Won't take reservations

se_renter said:

*the massive local bubble in restaurant prices and restaurateur egos

*self-indulgent hipster servers who earn tax-free salaries while people who actually do the real work are paid eff all

*the no substitutions and no special needs movement

*the "foodie" cabal who believe that eating the fattiest and most disgusting animal parts is cool (or sustainable)

*the many, many pdx residents who zealously insist that the food in this town is just as good as in NY, SF, etc.


*food bloggers who are nothing more than thinly disguised shills for the PDX restaurant hype-machine (and/or their own restaurants)

Daniel H. said:

My "beef" isn't so much with the restaurants as it is with the Douchey MacDouchebags that inhabit them as "regulars". I mean honestly I can go off for a while on a few places, but I usually worked at them or know someone who does.
However I can't stand it when I take a chick out to grab a bite at some local shop supporting my local businesses and on the way to the table I get the stink eye from two or three tables. Then after we've been seated they start talking and yelling to each other across the room. They've raided your table for all the condiments cause they can't figure out how to share. They even throw stuff sometimes. You'd think I was talking about kids, but I've had people at least as old as I am act this way, and in a few cases much older than I. I've had this issue over a handful of times at multiple places in all parts of town. Oddly enough I haven't had this problem in the burbs, yet. But I suppose it's only a matter of time.



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