Worst Place on Earth, Part II.
In 47 years of dining out, I've never before been chased down by a restaurant owner waving the credit card slip I'd signed, and threatening to call the cops on me. So, my dinner at Soprano's Cafe in South Beach was a first time experience for me.
First, however, the fundamentals. Soprano's is a storefront Italian cafe on South Beach's Lincoln Road Mall. The interior is unimpressive--but the restaurant spills out onto the sidewalk and offers a nice view of the people strolling by.
Like many restaurants on Lincoln Road Mall, Soprano's has a friendly/aggressive hostess who pitches the menu to passers-by. The evening we ate, there was a $40 special for two--two appetizers/salads, two entrees, and a bottle of wine for the table. Given the setting, the price seemed reasonable, so we chose to return and dine there. And since it is South Beach, we ordered two mojitos to start.
The mojitos were standard size, and good enough. The Pasta Fagioli was tasty, and the Caesar Salad was average. Our main courses were edible if not great--Eggplant Parm and a Grilled Salmon--somewhere in quality between a college dining hall and a coach-class meal on an overseas flight of an airline you'd not choose to fly again. if that was the extent of the evening, we'd have had a nice time--pleasant weather, an attentive cheese/pepper/water boy, and a full stomach. The wine wasn't great--actually we only drank a half of the bottle between us--but it was free.
So it was a bit of a surprise when the check came, and the total for our $40 special and two drinks was $88. First we figured that an error in addition was made, so I asked the owner to come over to explain. Remarkably, the restaurant charged us $17.50 for each of the mojitos--adding $35 to the check. So I pushed a bit further and complained that was outrageous. The owner and someone else on his staff replied, essentially, that this was South Beach--and these prices were customary here. I don't buy it--I don't think a mojito at the nearby Ritz-Carlton would be $17, frankly--but I figured it was better to take it up with American Express. So, I provided my card, signed it, added "Paid under protest, pending challenge" in the tip line, and we got up to get some gelato at a nearby storefront.
We were at the gelato shop ordering when the owner of the nearby restaurant chased us down. Screaming, he had the charge slip in hand, "You can't write that on the check--I'm going to call the cops!". I explained to the owner and his accompanying staffer that I could write anything I pleased on the charge slip, and that his prices were a rip-off. The owner continued his yelling in the gelato shop, and repeated his threat to call the police. I shared with him that he should do so, but that I wasn't going to return to the restaurant with him. That's when he started a different tack, shouting at my friend and me and to all the others in the gelato shop--"You get drunk, and now you don't want to pay your check!". Given the low level of alcohol in his overpriced mojitos, and the half bottle of wine we left unconsumed--I can attest that we were quite sober. And growing more and more amazed at this evolving dinner theater. . .
He finally left, and we got our gelatos and left the shop. But our encounter didn't end there. We walked down the mall away from the restaurant, and remarkably, the owner caught up with us again, this time about a block and a half from his restaurant. "You have to return to the restaurant, so I can call the cops". Clearly his tenacity exceeded his logic with this heated request, and both surpassed the culinary standards of his restaurant. Anyway, we repeated that we were not going anywhere near his restaurant, that he had a signed (albeit challenged) charge slip, and to please leave us alone.
I plan to challenge the drink portion of this check with AMEX, and would suggest to anyone who might consider dining here to go elsewhere. Anywhere.
Worst Place on Earth. My wife and I were on vacation and decided to eat dinner here after being agressively recruited by a semi-attractive (depending on your taste) hostess. While we were waiting to order, a waiter spilled a beaker of foul smelling liquid on my wife and I. Instead of cleaning it up he began screaming at us in spanish. The manager soon came out due to the commotion and instead of reprimanding the waiter he simply joined in the screaming and demanded that we leave. We did so gladly after we were blamed for a rude waiter spilling a foreign substance all over us.
Fat Jokes. The manager is out of control!!! On my way to the washroom I overheard him with another customer, poking fun at my wife...saying, "it looks like she's had her fair share of cream sauce!" I confronted him twice, and both times he simply turned his back on me. Needless to say this is not my new favourite restaurant!!!
Threatened by Manager.. Been all over the world, and eaten at a ton of restaurants in my day...but this is the first review I have ever written. Felt it was necessary to warn people about the manager, and the waiters. At the end of the night, we were surrounded, threatened, and told that we could not leave until we had ordered more drinks.
Not worth to try. Slow service. Food was just ok. I can have better food around that area with less or similar price. Charged almost 20% gratuity post-tax. Strongly not recommend.
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