As many of you know, I live here in Chiang Mai and am a "foodie" who loves to share my restaurant "finds" with all of you who plan holidays to my hometown. I reviewed and gave very high marks to The River Market here on T/A when they first opened almost a year ago and have also listed it in my five favorite restaurant FAQ for other "foodies"...Yesterday, I even posted directions to this venue here on the Forum since I have always highly recommended it. Last night I went to dinner at The River Market with friends whom I hadn't seen in years and years for their "last night in Chiang Mai Dinner".
To be perfectly honest with you, I have NO idea what has happened to the efficient, helpful service from wait staff, or the well thought out attention to detail - but it was one of the most embarassing, dismal, lack of thought and service meals I have eaten anywhere in a VERY long time. Some of our sushi even looked and tasted as if it had been made for lunch and then left around to serve at dinner! If it had been my first visit to The River Market I most assuredly would not go back ever again.
Our evening began with a lengthy wait next to the "Please wait for hostess to seat you" sign. When it became evident that there was no hostess on duty, we found our way to a table with a lovely view of the river....and waited, and waited, and waited.
I do realize that restaurant owners here in the Kingdom have a very hard time keeping their staff. Thai National workers have a irritating way of simply "going walk about" right after you get them trained...sometimes they leave for a lunch break and never return. However, last night there were at least 10 wait staff all of whom seemed to find something very interesting and funny to discuss among themselves at the bar and no amount of polite waving in their direction could get their attention. The only way we were finally waited on was we sent our fluent Thai speaker in the group over to the crowd and they were told we would like to order drinks and dinner. There ensued something that resembled a Chinese fire drill with none of the staff seeming to know where they were to go or what each was to do..lots of Indians but no Chief in charge or even in sight. We were overwhelmed by various staff pouring many, many glasses of cold water for us - but other than that their attitude was "Now what do we do?"
Our starters and meals were brought out in no particular order - and our Thai speaker finally had to ask if we could PLEASE get dinner plates so that we could share the various things we had all chosen. A wait staff person appeared next to our table with a stack of dishes about five minutes later and handed us two - we decided that clean plates must be at a premium in the kitchen, since there were four of us and our Thai speaker had to hurry after staff and ask for two more plates. Even when the starters began to arrive - they were wrong - and the looks and sighing from the staff - well - guess we were just suposed to say, "Mai pen rai"....laugh and let it go.
Again, I must say I have NO idea what has happened since my last visit there about three months ago. I know that every restaurant has an "off night" now and again - but other than the fact that the restrooms were clean that is about it for my praise for this venue right now. Perhaps someone in the know can enlighten me - but for right now, sorry River Market, I can no longer give you five stars and that makes me very sad indeed. Marie (nannyre)Edited: 1:57 am, February 24, 2013