Restaurants: 4 Things That Really Get My Goat


I eat out frequently, will happily munch on everything except eggs (another story) and friends will tell you I’m an easy going sort. Few things really annoy me but when it comes to restaurants, here are my prime gripes:

The music

Basically if it’s on – I’m off. I hardly ever go out to eat alone and I fully intend to talk to my companion(s) during the meal. Any music playing is invariably far too loud. A couple of years ago in one well known chain in the UK the volume was on full pelt and when we requested a reprieve the waiter obliged only to discover (no surprise) that everyone in the establishment was screeching manically at each other in an attempt to be heard.

Only last week I visited one of my favourite tavernas in Paphos. This place boasts a stunning location right on the beach. My soundtrack of choice is the sea and the birds but I was dismayed when this was drowned out by the thump of the local rock station. Why?

Having said all that, I do occasionally enjoy some classical music aired at suitably low volume (it’s not called background music for nothing) and afternoon tea at The Ritz wouldn’t be the same at all without the resident pianist but these are special occasion venues, not everyday experiences (I assume!)

The tables 

Not too close together please. I don’t wish to hear your conversation and I’m quite sure you’d rather pass on mine!

The lighting

I often feel that I’ve mistakenly opened the wrong door and pitched up in an operating theatre. Such bright lights! Why? Aside from the fact that a little subdued lighting makes for a far more relaxing experience, it’s terribly cruel to bestow a fluorescent onslaught upon ladies of a certain age.

The wine

I love wine. Having ordered a bottle it can become a serious battle of wills to persuade the waiter to refrain from constantly hovering and replenishing my glass. I prefer to do so myself in my own time, especially if I’m the designated driver! I want to know exactly how much I’ve had.

Strangely, the food itself is rarely a prime factor in my choice of restaurant. Most establishments can produce a variety of well-cooked meals these days and as I’m not a fussy eater I can always find something appealing on the menu.

Give me ambience every time.

Oh – and I can always be silenced with a plate of warm pitta, some fresh houmous and a bowl of fat, glistening, Greek olives…

Καλή όρεξη!

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  • Edward Elliott

    I agree on the music thing, sometimes it is just too loud and I rarely go to a restaurant to eat alone. My hearing is already not at its best, and the background noise of music and people shouting over it makes it very difficult to hear the people I am with. On the other hand it makes me get closer to my wife so that I can hear her and share more intimately. How does it get any better than that? Thanks for sharing.

    • KarenGuttridge

      Great to find a positive coming out of the noise bombardment! I find I’m less tolerant to noise as I get older – oh dear! :-)

      • Edward Elliott

        My pleasure Karen. There is always something good within something that we see as bad. :-)

        • KarenGuttridge

          So true – we must all keep reminding ourselves of that :-)

  • Ivy B

    There are establishments that play music more lightly – they’re typically your higher end restaurants here. I don’t mind it as much – sometimes it’s nice to hear some music.
    I’m in the situation where we are liking the more loud restaurants because we like the noise to drown out our potentially loud child.
    But on special occasions with hubby, it is nice to have a much more quiet atmosphere!

    • KarenGuttridge

      Ah yes I don’t recall minding the music so much when I had 3 kids under the age of 5! Now I seek peace and quiet! :-)

  • KarenGuttridge

    Yes I find the music distracting – not easy to listen to several things at once! Loving the olives :-)

  • Marian

    In Italy they have something even better than piped music in restaurants! In most pizzerias, bars and some trattorias they have gigantic flat screen tvs which are invariably tuned to Berlusconi’s channels so lots of scantily clad girls jumping around, or it’s the match of the day with excited commentators shouting the odds. Now isn’t that enough to make you run a 100 miles……..??!!