My wife and I took our new neighbours to Il Giardino because they like traditional Italian food, and they go quite a bit. I should have made a reservation in their names instead of ours, and maybe we would have been treated with at least some form of civilized manner. It starts and ends at the door.
My wife and I arrived at the time of our reservation, and I received a message on my phone that our guests would be late. We spoke to the M'aitre 'd and gave our names, telling him that our guests would be late. "Snotty" is the word I would use. I retired as the CFO of one of the largest oil companies in the world, and have dined with captains of industry, and never been made to feel as unwelcome as I did at that moment. I asked to wait in the bar, and was told "NO, the bar is full, SIR"
so we stood in the narrow crowded hallway for 20 minutes as waiters carried all manner of food and drink past us, and were never offered anything.
When our guests arrived, the host's manner sure changed.
Apparently our guests are well known for many years in this restaurant, and the man at the door all but kissed them when he said 'Buena Serra' then remarked to me that I should have told him who my guests were and we would have been seated. Somehow, I was made to look bad in front of my guests because I had queued up and refused to name drop to get my way.
Though I found no fault with the food or the waiter's service, the restaurant was old and dingy, and not in a charming way; in a 'could use a good scrubbing' way. Crumbs on our chairs, unmatching cutlery (like a dessert fork for my salad course while the others at my table had salad forks). I actually laughed out loud when the M'aitre 'd told the busboy 'make sure they get breadsticks'
We tried the owner's own vinyard when we selected wine, and it was good. The food was regionally correct, and I was impressed that our waiter had been there 'forever'.
I found out that the man from the door is the manager of the restaurant, and he came to check on us. I don't know if he meant to come across that way or if it is just his own manner, but I watched the 180 degree shift right before my eyes from when I was a stranger to him, to knowing regular patrons of the restaurant and it did not sit well with me. I remarked about the man who was SMOKING, and my guest and the manager both told me that he was allowed.
Had we not had guests with us, I would have walked out long before we got a table. It is important to note than our waiter was a saving grace, but my mark is still a 1 for service. Days later, I still have a bad taste in my mouth.
I would not go back, and if you do want to go I recommend that you drop a name or two, or at least be a little famous to get treated like your money is worth something.