Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pan Asia Berlin - no, thank you.

I'm apologizing in advance - this is usually a "happy place" where I share things I like with you. But something happened yesterday that just made me so extremely angry that this time I need to vent a little.
Okay. So here it goes.

Friends of my parents (about 65 years old) came to town and I wanted to take them to dinner at PAN ASIA Berlin (it's very much like wagamama in London). We've been there a lot over the years. I called a few days in advance to make reservations, everything seemed fine. We arrived there last night, looking forward to a nice evening, when I had the following conversation with the hostess:
"Hi, my name is XY. I booked a table for three." "But not with us." (Without even looking at the guest list.) "I'm absolutely sure, I've called a couple of days ago..." "No." "Well, there isn't another PAN ASIA in Berlin, is there?" (I know there isn't.) "Yes, there is." (Pardon?) This went on and on. She tried to convice me - aka SHE LIED TO MY FACE - that I made reservations at the other place (which doesn't exist...). I thought I was going mad as I had gotten the telephone number directly from the PAN ASIA website. It was about 8pm, the restaurant was empty but we didn't get a table. We left, I was mortified, it was extremely embarrassing. Getting a table on Friday night at 8pm anywhere in this area is pretty much impossible. As I told you before...my guests were not that young anymore, had come a long way and were really really hungry.

After that I took them to our favourite Indian restaurant in our neighbourhood.

When I came home, I checked my phone records. Of course I had called the RIGHT number to make the reservation...and needless to say a second PAN ASIA didn't exist. And I did a little research on the internet. It turns out I hadn't lost my mind - PAN ASIA does this frequently. Even so you have a reservation, they turn you away (and not very friendy I might add...I've read stories that made me cringe) if they don't like your face or your attire (and yes, we were dressed appropriately). This is bad enough, but no broiled salmon is worth being lied to in a way that makes you question your own mental health.
The area around the Hackscher Markt is always brimming with tourists, so I guess they figure they have enough business as it is and the rules of common decency don't apply to them.

So if you should plan a visit to Berlin in the near future - drop me a line and I'll make a list of nice places to go. ...but don't expect PAN ASIA to be on that list.

8 comments:

lisa s said...

oh that sucks. i hate snooty restaurants. shame on them.

do you guys have a german/berlin version of yelp where you can all leave comments about how horrible it is???

sigh.

Amy said...

That is amazing! I'm sorry it happened to you and your guests...that's just rotten.

gracia said...

That sounds so awful. Thank heavens for favourite Indian restaurants...

see you, g

Anke said...

Thanks Lisa, Amy and Gracia - yes...I spread the word every way possible (especially online) in German and English. At least the internet gives you a little chance to even the odds. ;)

Phong said...

I can't believe this restaurant can afford being so rude to its customers. I just had a very bad experience myself last evening.

Some friends of mine from the UK came visiting Berlin and I wanted to take them out for dinner that evening. Since they all liked the wagamama in London I wanted to take them out for dinner at Pan Asia. Everything was just fine except one sushi order that let us wait for almost an hour until we finally cancelled the order. When we waited for the bill the boss of that restaurant came up with the sushi, which we already cancelled, and told us, we must pay for that no matter how long we had to wait. I was like really angry and started an arguement with her, because no matter what the problem is, she must not talk to her customers like this (other restaurants would excuse for the delay etc. and this one started being impudent right away). And I was even more angry because I already spent a lot of money on this restaurant!

Well the name of the boss is Tina Castacolessa (I'm sure about Tina as her first name, but I'm not sure about the exact spelling of her last name). If you don't know how she looks like, she's not dressed like the waitresses there. She does not really look like the boss of that restaurant, she rather looks like its mascot considering the way she looks (sorry for writing subjective, but when it comes to writing about a restaurant, interpersonal aspects must be taken into account either).

Pan Asia has a nice interior, food is a bit better than average, music might be too loud for conversation. Staff act arrogant if you're with people not fitting into their pattern. Greedy behavior when it comes to money.

Phong said...

Why don't we create a "Good spots to have dinner in Berlin" Blog? ;)

Anke said...

Hi Phong,
so sorry you had a bad experience at Pan Asia, too...I wrote about mine on my German blog (can you tell how angry I was :) ?) and the comments about PA's rudeness keep piling there as well.
I think there actually is a blog (in English) about eating out in Berlin...can't find the link just now. But apart from my favourite Indian restaurant I highly, highly recommend these:

Sasaya
Lychener Str. 50
10437 Berlin
+49 30 44717721‎
Traditional Japanese food and sushi, modern interior, great quality but not expensive and super nice service. You have to make a reservation - it is relatively small and always busy.

Si An
Rykestr. 36
10405 Berlin
Vietnamese restaurant, great food, beautiful interior. Nice service. Beautiful in summer when you can sit outside. They don't take reservations so you might have to wait a little to get a table, but it's absolutely worth it.

Have fun! :)

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