, , ,

For almost five years now, since first starting my Sevilla Tapas blog, my policy has always been to only put up tapas bars and restaurants that I would recommend to a friend. If I didn’t like a place it simply didn’t get included. I guess I just thought I wanted my tapas blog to have a positive and helpful feel to it. A couple of years ago I did put up a very scathing review of a place that had treated my friend and me horrendously, but I don’t know, it seemed to throw a shadow on what I like to think of as an upbeat and friendly site and I removed it.

But lately I’ve been wondering if this is actually the best policy, especially as fewer of the places I visit these days end up on the blog because I know I wouldn’t ever recommend them to a friend. Was I getting jaded, I asked myself. Or just more experienced and discerning? Then today happened.

I met my friend Pablo for lunch at a place that had not only been recommended to me many times over the years, but people couldn’t actually believe that I had never been there, as it was apparently such a popular location. So as I had a meeting right around the corner from this place that finished at lunchtime, that’s where we went. And well. I should have known upon entering that it was going to be dire, but again, you never know. Sometimes the shabbiest looking places serve up the tastiest tapas (though to be honest, this almost never happens in the city) and this place was certainly shabby. It had the look of someplace that had had its day about fifteen years ago and hadn’t bothered to paint or replace the tacky furniture. It wasn’t DIRTY exactly, but it had an unclean feel to it. So why didn’t we just get up and leave? Well, because I had to find out if all those who had praised this joint were right. They weren’t.

The food was not only pedestrian in the extreme, but most of it seemed past its time, hard and dry and tired looking. And the service was haphazard and impersonal. Even if the tapas had been cheap (they weren’t at 3-4 euros each) it wouldn’t have made up for such a dismal meal. Pablo and I were left feeling upleasantly full and unsatisfied and, well, a bit annoyed. And I felt ripped off thinking I’d wasted my time and money at a crappy tapas bar that I wouldn’t even be able to put in my tapas blog.

After lunch we ran into a friend of ours, Markus, and told him about our experience. His office is nearby and he said he never eats at that place. But both Pablo and Markus told me that it would actually give my tapas blog more credibility if there were some negative, or at least not glowing, reviews. So they convinced me to change my policy a bit, if only as a public service.  Because I truly pity anyone who might end up eating where we were today, especially when there are so many other terrific places nearby.

So that’s it – no more Ms Nice Guy. 😉

What do you think?

[also posted on the Sevilla blog]