Banff was a major stop-off point on a recent three-week Canadian Rockies and prairies road trip. Banff Main Street is buzzing, with lots of eating choices. We chose Giorgio's over the nearby Old Spaghetti Factory. We had been to OSF in Calgary and it was fine, but we fancied a change. Giorgio's looked inviting from the outside, but, as we were to discover, appearances can be deceptive.
The low lighting in the interior gave it a rather seedy ambience. We were seated, and treated to the usual 'Hi, I'm.........and I'll be your server this evening.......' You get used to this in North America. It seems a bit over the top at first, but I actually quite like it now, and it's normally the prelude to very attentive service. However, our server, a young lady whose name I do remember but won't mention, seemed a bit odd from the start. I ordered drinks. She repeated the order - somehow my request for a bottle of Grasshopper Ale (disappointingly no draught beer available) came back as 'Merlot'. This was baffling, but I persevered and repeated the order for the beer. The drinks materialised fairly promptly, and we then ordered two pizzas and a pasta dish, with a salad to share. We had to wait some time for these, though the restaurant was fairly quiet. My wife's pasta dish was nothing special, but quite palatable. The pizzas were something else. Why do some places have a default thick crust pizza? Surely a thin crust would make more sense, as they use less dough. Anyway, these were too doughy, and my goat's cheese and vegetable one was smothered in cheese to an extent which made it an ordeal to eat - goat's cheese is fairly intense, rich stuff! Didn't finish it.
The tour de force however, was the ritual with the bill. This was presented, and the waitress had underlined and circled with a pen a section of the bill which referred to a customary 15-20% tip. Now, coming from a culture where 10% max is the norm, if you're lucky, 20% seems utterly ludicrous, the equivalent to another person at the table, and then to have this thrust in your face just gets yer back up! Resisting the temptation to leave nothing, as well-behaved Brits we left our usual 10% and departed quickly.
This sort if nonsense really tarnishes the eating out experience. Nowhere else in Canada did we encounter this aggressive tipping culture, and I'm thinking it is some insidious import from the USA which is creeping in. I was once followed out of a cafe at Newark NJ airport by a very stroppy waitress demanding her 20%.
It might be slightly more acceptable if Giorgio's was any sort of decent restaurant. The food, however, is mediocre, and the service, well........... I think also that this particular branch exploits Banff's position as a honeypot venue. The town generally seems to be overpriced. You can go 30k or so back down the highway to Canmore, and get a much better deal.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.