PDA

View Full Version : Cali Grill Review - Beware of your server!


lissawynn
08-08-2006, 06:21 PM
I've been dining at CG since 2002 when DH and I honeymooned in WDW. Every time I've been there our service has been outstanding. Last year Jamie set the bar for excellent service. He was wonderful and went above and beyond our expectations. This year, however, our service was terrible. I don't know if we were victims of the dining plan or if our server should be moved to another position in the vastness of WDW.
The food was delicious. I had the heirloom tomato app, oak fired filet, and chocolate and banana dessert. My sister had the chicken flatbread, pork tenderloin, and blueberry dessert. Dad had the fois gras, ribeye, and chocolate and cherries. Everyone enjoyed their food.
Our service was the killer of what should have been a wonderful dinner. From the moment Rachel came to our table, she just didn't deliver. We had two children at our table and she never offered us Goldfish for the kids. We had to ask several times until she brought them. She could have been bothered to offer us refills on our drinks. My sister and dad had a glass of wine while we were waiting to be seated. Being pregnant, I had a Coke while we waited. Again, was our server upset that we didn't order more drinks? We're not really drinkers, so one is our usual limit. My sister's son was going to be sharing our dinners and I ordered my son mashed potatoes. This is the best part of the evening. I clearly remember saying I would pay for his food OOP. That was not a problem, but when the check arrived, she charged us 2 TS credits for an order of mashed potatoes!
I did see one of the managers speak to Rachel as we waited for our food to arrive. His back was to me, but I did see her stand there with a smile pasted to her face as he spoke to her. Was her service in question with other diners, too? It was this same manager who cleared up the mix up with our check and comped us for the serving of potatoes.

I know I'll be back to CG on my next trip to WDW. I also know that I will avoid Rachel's section at all costs. Our total bill came to over $212 and that did not include the drinks we had earlier. I know a fixed % of our total was her tip, so she really had no reason to treat us any differently than nonDDP diners.

I have to say that our service at all the other TS restaurants was wonderful.

KAYELIZ
08-08-2006, 07:06 PM
This also happened to us last year at California Grill. Our server treated us as if we were an annoyance to him while he couldn't do enough for the group at the next table. I really don't know why because we weren't demanding or difficult and with all that we ordered, there would have been a sizeable tip for him. If he had treated everyone like he did us, we would have thought he was just having a bad day but that was not the case. Besides, when you dine at an nice restaurant like this, you expect a certain level of service, the least of which is a pleasant attitude. In our case, we spoke with the manager and suggested that the server might feel overwhelmed with having to serve our table. The manager assigned another server to our table and comped our dessert. The new server was very pleasant and attentive and we ended up having a wonderful time.

YCFAN
08-08-2006, 08:08 PM
Wow, all I can say is that we had exactly the opposite experience. Our server was so good at CG. He was one of the highlights of our trip. We had Walter and when I complimented him to the front desk as we were leaving their reply was, yes a lot of people ask for Walter on return trips.

KAYELIZ
08-08-2006, 10:45 PM
YCFAN - Thanks for recommending Walter :thumbsup2 We're going back in a couple of weeks and we'll be sure to ask to be seated in his section.

Mackey Mouse
08-09-2006, 08:43 AM
What you are describing here for bad service is what happened to my husband myself at Flying Fish and the reason we have never gone back....and the manager there did nothing to make us feel any different..we were not drinking and so the waitress wanted nothing to do with us....plus my husband food was not cooked...EEK...

I am happy to hear that you just chalked it up to one bad experience and will return, we on the other hand may never give Flying Fish another chance...

kaceyisme
08-09-2006, 08:57 AM
It really bothers me when you don't receive the service you are entitled to just because you aren't "drinking". We usually don't order drinks, just iced tea and coke, and for me, it is mainly because I want to save my calories for the food. I think that the servers should respect your choices of what you are ordering, and leave it at that. Things tend to even out for them by the end of the night.

heather360
08-09-2006, 09:19 AM
I'm very sorry about your bad experience. It's a shame when bad service ruins what could have been an excellent evening. The last time we were at California Grill we didn't have bad service but it wasn't particularly good. Not sure if the waitress was having a bad day or just overwhelmed with all the tables she was serving. We didn't get our coffee until after we finished our dessert.

I'll give the California Grill one more try on our next visit because I do really enjoy the food.

CamColt
08-09-2006, 09:43 AM
Thanks for the review.

We will be dining at CG for the first time in a few weeks. I will be sure to take note of who our server is now. ;)

Do you remember what came with the filet?

lisaviolet
08-09-2006, 10:03 AM
This also happened to us last year at California Grill. Our server treated us as if we were an annoyance to him while he couldn't do enough for the group at the next table. I really don't know why because we weren't demanding or difficult and with all that we ordered, there would have been a sizeable tip for him. If he had treated everyone like he did us, we would have thought he was just having a bad day but that was not the case. Besides, when you dine at an nice restaurant like this, you expect a certain level of service, the least of which is a pleasant attitude. In our case, we spoke with the manager and suggested that the server might feel overwhelmed with having to serve our table. The manager assigned another server to our table and comped our dessert. The new server was very pleasant and attentive and we ended up having a wonderful time.

Ditto. Maybe same waiter. I'd have to look back in my posts but Eric rings a bell. We were snubbed absolutely 100% by design. It was unreal and very emotional for me. I could not even make any eye contact while he was standing right by us. Never asked us a thing about our meal or came to us for tea, coffee or dessert. Another table right near us had extended chats, hands on shoulders "why don't you go out and see Wishes?". (Not that I wanted that!) My mom and I shared a meal, didn't drink, were on free dining......who knows????

He was good. Did the minimum so you just didn't know what to say. It was just an intense feeling. Did go to the manager but being left feeling emotional and weird at a restaurant is a hard thing to explain. Plus, since it was Jekyl and Hyde I'm sure some loved him. Never discussed it with Mom at dinner and after I talked to the manager she said, "my goodness I felt that same way the entire time".

I should have done what you did and not waited through two hours of it.

I had never been to GC and was so excited to go.

And for everyone who will say, "I've never had that there" well I hope you never do. It was something I never want to have again. And this happy go lucky girl never expected to have an emotional experience in a restaurant of all things!!!

lisaviolet
08-09-2006, 10:06 AM
And the food was incredible by the way....

RSoxFan
08-09-2006, 01:02 PM
Thanks for the review.

We will be dining at CG for the first time in a few weeks. I will be sure to take note of who our server is now. ;)

Do you remember what came with the filet?

I was there about three weeks ago and also had the filet. It came with delicious gratin potatoes. They were cheesy and fabulous. There were also some green vegetables on there that I quickly shooed away. :teeth:

KAYELIZ
08-09-2006, 04:03 PM
lisaviolet - it sounds like you may have had the same server we did. I agree that sometimes it's difficult to explain to the manager - it's one of those "you had to be there" moments.This is one of our favorite restaurants - the food is excellent and the fireworks really make it special. We've been at other times and had good service so we'll keep going back and hope for the best.

Mom of Sleepy, Bashful and BabyDoc
08-09-2006, 04:23 PM
My mom and I shared a meal, didn't drink...

I think this might have been it. The fact that you shared a meal and were'nt racking up a big bill.........that's just my opinion......it could have been something else.

Mind you, I don't think it is right to treat people like that. I was a waitress for 3 1/2 years. I would have never treated someone badly for sharing a meal.

And if I share a meal with my DD, I certainly give more of a tip than the standard % of the check. I realize that the server is still doing the same amount of work.

I'm sorry that happened to you.

Gerweniel
08-09-2006, 04:46 PM
We had a terrific experience last year with a waiter named Ryan (I think). It was just my sons and I and we had ADR's for dinner just prior to the fireworks. I know nothing about wine, but wanted to sample some from their wine list :rolleyes: and Ryan asked me my preferences and what meal I wanted and brought me out 3 glasses that he recommended. It was great! He was patient, efficient and non intimidating. We had an excellent meal and loved the fireworks. We were on the dining plan, but ordered some items ala carte.
I was so impressed, on my way out, I personally spoke to the manager to rave about Ryan.

To the OP, sorry you had a bad experience. It really is a bummer when you look forward to a meal and because someone is grumpy or a bad employee, it brings down the whole event.

patsal
08-09-2006, 05:20 PM
The first time we dined here the waitress was aloof, very attentive to the other tables she was working with, but kind of "cool" to us. The food was fabulous and we really enjoyed ourselves despite the less than stellar service. The second time we went we took the kids with us 8 and 12 at the time and tehy were excited and a bit nervous. Our waitress could not have been more attentive and helpful. I'm glad we went back a second time!

otter215
08-10-2006, 05:51 PM
Walter is the most amazing server on the planet!!! :thumbsup2 He is the best. We eat there about every two months, and service makes a huge difference. Last time we went on Walter's night off and Ron was our server. We asked if he could live up to Walter, and he did very well. Ron was a great guy. I take all of our visitors to meet Walter and have dinner. My parents recently ate at the French Room in Dallas, where they live, and they said that their team of waiters almost lived up to Walter.

lisaviolet
08-10-2006, 07:20 PM
lisaviolet - it sounds like you may have had the same server we did. I agree that sometimes it's difficult to explain to the manager - it's one of those "you had to be there" moments.This is one of our favorite restaurants - the food is excellent and the fireworks really make it special. We've been at other times and had good service so we'll keep going back and hope for the best.

I will be back for sure. Terrific food.....

I look forward to a wonderful evening there. Thanks for your thoughts.

lisaviolet
08-10-2006, 07:25 PM
I think this might have been it. The fact that you shared a meal and were'nt racking up a big bill.........that's just my opinion......it could have been something else.

Mind you, I don't think it is right to treat people like that. I was a waitress for 3 1/2 years. I would have never treated someone badly for sharing a meal.

And if I share a meal with my DD, I certainly give more of a tip than the standard % of the check. I realize that the server is still doing the same amount of work.

I'm sorry that happened to you.


I hear ya....but have you seen those appetizers....flatbreads.....we had one before our meal and I'm unsure how we even got to our main dish, even shared, after sampling that!!!

But now that we have DVC I might take the scrumptous leftovers back to our suite.

I personally like sharing meals but quite honestly regardless I think sharing, with an appetizer, is the only way I could fit CG into some of my trips. Especially since all spare change went into DVC!!!!! :goodvibes

Thanks for the nice thoughts. I better go make dinner because I can taste CGs cuisine right now.....

hamlet35_2000
08-11-2006, 09:31 PM
We had Abbe as our waitress and she was fantastic...she saved the dining experience for us after having to deal with the Prima Donna Hostess at the Hostess stand on the 2nd floor.... she was horrible, and I complained to a manager right away, and suddenly there is Abbe and she provides us with a table right next to the window, and the manager comped our drinks. Once we got beyond the hostess stand everything was great!

Mom of Sleepy, Bashful and BabyDoc
08-12-2006, 12:24 AM
I hear ya....but have you seen those appetizers....flatbreads.....we had one before our meal and I'm unsure how we even got to our main dish, even shared, after sampling that!!!


I know, I've seen pictures..........that thing is HUGE!! :earseek:

Disney owl
08-12-2006, 07:48 AM
Sorry to hear you had such bad service

Fairy_Tale_Bride
08-28-2006, 03:59 AM
We're going to CA Grill on Oct. 20 and I'm shocked to hear these bad reviews about servers from anywhere in WDW, but especially at CA Grill! It is said to be nice and "upscale." I would be shocked and so disappointed not to receive the best service anywhere in WDW, but when you're paying big bucks to eat...I'd expect it! I hope I have a happy experience to report when I get back!