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Subject: Horrific Dining Experience at Via Veneto

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Welcome back to the Eater Complaints Dept. where Eater readers are invited to vent, gripe or praise at will. Got something to say? We're here for you. Today, another unhappy diner complains about Via Veneto.

From: Brad
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 12
To: Eater Complaints Dept.
Subject: Via Veneto
___________________________________________

Perhaps you may find me overly concerned about this stuff, but for better or worse, this is something I value when going out to a nice restaurant.

To provide a brief overview, we had an 8pm reservation for four at Via Veneto and arrived promptly on time (actually a rarity for me). While there was a nice small circular table set for four, we were told we could not sit there as it was really intended for 5 or 6 seats. Not a huge deal, but mildly irritating as there was no way this table could fit 6 (was tight even for four). So after fifteen to twenty minutes we were seated.

I had brought a magnum of very nice wine for our meal. Considering I am a pretty big wine guy, I even made sure to call ahead to check the policy. I was told that they have a one bottle max, regardless of the size of the party, but because I was only bringing one bottle they would be happy to open it. Considering it was a magnum, I even went as far as double-checking that this would be treated as one bottle (have had problems before).

After sitting down, I asked the waiter if he could decant the wine (newer wine and def needed some aeration) to which they outright refused. This was not a function of a shortage of decanters (in fact I was told they had plenty of them), but a matter of policy. The waiter explained to me that they will only decant bottles of wine BOUGHT IN THE RESTAURANT.

I asked to see the manager (was actually one of the owners, but refused to disclose this info) and when he approached, asked for some further clarification on the policy. When I tried to explain that this was a special bottle that really needed to be decanted and asked if he could make an exception, he snapped back... He explained to me that he was doing us a huge favor to open one bottle. He then began to raise his voice and effectively told us told us to leave. It was a humiliating experience watching this arrogant owner screaming across the restaurant that he had a "table for four open" while our party continued to sit at the table. As we got up and started to leave, the owner patted me on the back and declared in a rather condescending tone that that he's been around 10 years as to imply that he certainly doesn't need us.

Now, I am a big foodie. I will go out of my way to find great restaurants, whether a complete hole in the wall or a three Michelin star establishment. I have seen all kinds of characters and have certainly walked away disappointed/frustrated, etc. That said, the tone and manner in which this individual treated paying guests was an outright embarrassment. I am a big believer that service can make all the difference and genuinely find it shocking that such hubris can remain at a successful restaurant such as this.

Anyways, thank you for reading this.....It was a horrible experience.

-Brad

Via Veneto

3009 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405 310-399-1843

Via Veneto

3009 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA, 90405

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