Rialto is an elegant cafe' located right in the centre of Hamburg, in the attractive canal settings of the Stadthausbrucke area. The sight of tables nicely laid out across the canal will certainly lure you in.
The problem is that Rialto doesn't come cheap at all. It really is one of those places that should only be reserved for special treats. That's fair enough.
What isn't fair, however, is that the staff will automatically assume that the twenty pound note you handed out to cover a bill of £16-00 (two glasses of wine) included a tip. Even though you never said so. You didn't say a word, in fact. They assumed that you carried on sitting down, like a bunch of plonkers, for twenty minutes, enjoying Hamburg's cold northerly wind, just for the sake of it.
And when you finally draw a waitress' attention to ask where your change is, you are dealt with curtly and rudely, as if you were putting them out.
So here's a basic piece of advice on customer service, dear Rialto staff. If a customer wants to leave a tip, she will do so if she wishes and the same goes with the amount. It is extremely rude and presumptuous to simply take a customer's money away just like that. If I was less understanding, I'd even be tempted to call it theft, but that would be a step too far. You'd have thought such an exclusive and pricey establishment would be aware of that.
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