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“Delightful and Relaxing”
Review of Gecko Cafe

Gecko Cafe
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $5 - $10
Cuisines: Indian
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed December 15, 2013

I am wondering what is up with the recent bad reviews of Gecko. I think I have procrastinated reviewing the place long enough.

I found Gecko tucked away in a lane on my third trip to Mamallapuram. We were looking for a nice place to eat, drink and relax a bit after a tiring day. Gecko's lizard caught my eye and we walked in. It is a nice quiet place overlooking a not so beautiful pond. The ambiance is one of unhurried nature. Though not on the menu, you can get a cold bottle of beer if they have it in stock. Grilled chicken and spaghetti in red sauce was what we ordered. No complains there. Nothing too wowing either. A few foreign tourists occupied the other tables. The music was soft and relaxing.

What makes Gecko stand out was its friendly staff. You can ask them for anything and they respond with a smile. If you need help choosing your seafood or want another beer. Mani and another guy from the cafe actually sat with us after the customers had been served. General chatter about our travels, the day's activities, Mamallapuram, etc. Mani shared his idea behind the cafe, why and how it had come up, how he had picked up French from the tourists, how he planned to travel. It was a delightful experience. We left the cafe refreshed and entertained, more than we had come in for.

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2  Thank guptakaran11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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104 - 108 of 229 reviews

Reviewed November 26, 2013

We went there for lunch having made a reservation ahead of time due to our large group. We were offered a "special" menu with no prices listed, but they were regular curry dishes that would have cost somewhere between 100-250 rupees anywhere else in India, even the tourist centers. The owner demanded 600 rupees per plate of food in our group, while other customers we talked to had just paid 200-300 rupees for their dishes. We have been in India long enough to know that 600 rupees per plate is an exorbitant price, especially for food we can get anywhere. There were people in our group that had gotten swordfish at a 5-star hotel restaurant for less than the food we ate there. Also our food took over an hour to arrive, and when it did many plates had hair in it. It was clear that the sanitation of the restaurant was questionable when we saw that the kitchen was teeming with cats, and we even saw a rat crawling around in the ceiling. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone. The bad experience there managed to ruin most of our trip in Mahabaripuram. Don't waste even one rupee there.

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2  Thank rpetek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
geckocafe, Inhaber at Gecko Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

Thank you for taking the time of writing your review about my place.

As far as I know you belong to the group of 20 people. I am sorry that the visit ended up in such misunderstanding about the prices and that you have been not happy in my place.
Since your group came without pre-ordering meals (no phone call, only a short announcement of a group of 20 people next day), it did take some time to order and only than i could start cooking. Of course we did prepare as much as possible up front before you came, but in detail we could only start after 20 people decided, and the variety of food included not only vegetable curry but also fresh seafish, chicken and prawns masala plus rice, naan, chapati as well as several drinks. That all came into a total bill of 9000 RS for your whole group as one bill, after i even did give a discount as well as free extras.
I am sorry if this arrangement led into confusion which we could not clear in place.

If you are disappointed about higher prices than in other places of India, i only can assure you that in our tourist place in mamallapuram our prices are reasonable and surely not the highest in town.

I can assure you that there are no cats in kitchen and upstairs int the cafe, i am personally cleaning it every day two times and i carefully watch out for clean work in the kitchen as well. If still there was a problem, it was clearly our mistake, i am sorry for that.

Of course our place does have fan (recognizable in the fotos). Unfortunatly there are many power cuts in Mamallapuram, but our fans even work with battery, so if there is enough power for recharging, of course we offer our guest fan-cooling even in power cuts.

Surely i did learn a lot in this situation and will handle big groups like yours better next time.
I am sorry for any inconvenience and that my restaurant did not meet your expectations.

With kind regards
M.Mani

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2013

Our group was IMMENSELY cheated. We attempted to make reservations with this restaurant prior to our visit. We had discussed the menu over the phone. When we got there, we were roasted outside for well over an hour waiting for our food in the searingly hot, air conditioner-less, fan-less balcony. Our group noticed that the prices had been dubiously removed from the menu upstairs. The waiter took our orders and left. After having traveled throughout tourist hubs across India, we kind of presumed that this very mediocre place would be priced no more than 200 to 250 rupees per meal. Shortly after taking our order, the waiters decided to tell us that each curry would be 600 rupees. Of course, they waited until the food was already being prepared to let us know that. That price is ludicrously expensive for India. We tried to argue the price down, and then manager said we could discuss it after tasting the meal. What was already unimaginably slow service seemed ten times longer, because were dying in the heat. The food was lackluster at best. We found hair in two of our meals and there was a rat climbing up the walls right next to us. The place was also dirty and the kitchen area was highly unsanitary with cats roaming everywhere. We tried compromising with the manager for a long while. We had eaten 5-star steaks and expensive meals in better parts of India for far, far less than 600 rupees each. The swindler knew that he was cheating us hard, but he wouldn’t budge. I would URGE you to stay far away from this place. The manager will indubitably rip you off.

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1  Thank bonshaquidalafondria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
geckocafe, Inhaber at Gecko Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

Thank you for your review about my place.

I am sorry that the visit of your group had ended up in such an unhappy misunderstanding about the prices.
Since your group came without pre-ordering detailed meals - there was only a short announcement of a group of 20 people next day- we did prepare as much as possible up front before you came, but in detail we could only start after 20 people decided, and the variety of food included not only vegetable curry but also fresh seafish, chicken and prawns masala plus rice, naan, chapati as well as several drinks. That all came into a total bill of 9000 RS for your whole group as one bill, after i even did give a discount as well as free extras.
I am sorry if this arrangement led into confusion which we could not clear in place.

I can assure you that in a touristic place like mamallapuram our prices are reasonable and we are having surely not the highest in town.

i am personally cleaning my place every day two times and i carefully watch out for clean work in the kitchen as well. If still there was a problem, it was clearly our mistake, i am sorry for that.
I am also sorry for the inconvieneince of many power cuts, we do offer guest our fans and our place is open air on our rooftop - i am sorry if it did not meet your expectations.

Surely i did learn a lot in this situation and will handle big groups like yours better next time.
I am sorry for any inconvenience in my restaurant .

With kind regards
M.Mani

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Owner seemed nice enough when we arrived and we had heard good things about the restaurant prior to arriving in Mahabalipuram. However, the service was extremely slow--over an hour for food to arrive--and the prices were outrageous by Indian standards. I was charged Rs. 500 for a simple veg curry with rice. The food was decent, but not worth more than Rs. 200 or 250 at any other place. No menus/prices are given so be careful of Inflated drink prices as well. Definitely would not go back or recommend to any others.

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1  Thank Laura E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
geckocafe, Inhaber at Gecko Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

Thank you for taking the time of writing your review about my place.

As far as I know you belong to the group of 20 people who visited in October 2013. I am sorry that the visit ended up in such misunderstanding about the prices and that you have been not happy in my place.
Since your group came without pre-ordering meals (a short announcement of a group of 20 people next day), we did prepare as much as possible up front before you came, but in detail we could only start after 20 people decided, and the variety of food included not only vegetable curry but also fresh seafish, chicken and prawns masala plus rice, naan, chapati as well as several drinks. That all came into a total bill of 9000 RS for your whole group as one bill, after i even did give a discount as well as free extras like bottled water, extra rice and naan etc.
I am sorry if this arrangement led into confusion which we could not clear in place.

About higher prices than in other places of India, I only can react to common prices in our tourist place Mamallapuram, i know our prices are reasonable and surely not the highest in town.

I am sorry for any inconvenience in my restaurant.

With kind regards
M.Mani

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2013

We went here for lunch. The owner/waiter offered us a variety of "special curries". There was no menu or prices up on the specials board. We asked how much each dish would cost and he replied that the fish curry would be 600 rupees! We had definitely been in India long enough to know that this was absolutely ridiculous. We replied that the price would have to be cut in half, to which he responded that we could discuss it after the food was served. The meal took over an hour to prepare. When it finally arrived, it was good, but definitely not worth 600 rupees! Also, two friends found hair in the dishes and there was also a rat that ran by in the ceiling...ugh. After the bill arrived, the price had not changed. Even after discussing with the manager and asking to see a menu, he still charged 500 rupees per dish. Overall, it was a horrible dining experience and I cannot understand why people would recommend this restaurant. The owner clearly wanted to rip us off, which he managed to do. If you decide to go here, make sure you have the prices of the dishes in writing BEFORE ordering.

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1  Thank Alison P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
geckocafe, Inhaber at Gecko Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

Thank you for your review about my place.

As far as I know you belong to the group of 20 people who visited in October 2013. I am sorry that the visit ended up in such misunderstanding about the prices and that you have been not happy in my place.

Since your group came without pre-ordering meals (a short announcement of a group of 20 people next day), we did prepare as much as possible up front before you came, but in detail we could only start after 20 people decided, and the variety of food included not only vegetable curry but also fresh seafish, chicken and prawns masala plus rice, naan, chapati as well as several drinks. That all came into a total bill of 9000 RS for your whole group as one bill, after i even did give a discount as well as free extras, like bottled water, extra rice and naan etc.
I am sorry if this arrangement led into confusion which we could not clear in place.

About higher prices than in other places of India, I only can react to common prices in our tourist place Mamallapuram. i know our prices are reasonable and surely not the highest in town. I did not intend to rip of any guests and especially with this arrangement there was no profit included for my side. But to give a full variety of lunch (with fresh fish, prawns etc) for 4500 RS for 20 people it was impossible for me to offer, even under pressure.

I am sorry for any inconvenience in my restaurant.

With kind regards
M.Mani

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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