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“Awful”

San Carlo - Bristol
Ranked #234 of 1,934 Restaurants in Bristol
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $13 - $19
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Delivery, Reservations
Description: San Carlo is a popular and award-winning Italian dining institution in the heart of Bristol's bustling Corn Street. Owned by an Italian family, the restaurant's lavish dining room – with tiled floors, neutral décor and electric blue accents – has a unique Mediterranean ambience and is always busy with a vibrant local crowd. The buzzy atmosphere, bold flavours and warm hospitality at San Carlo combine to provide an ideal setting for group parties and corporate events. We love the modern yet authentic seafood-led menu, and favourite dishes include the spaghetti with shellfish, garlic, chilli and fresh basil in a tomato sauce; the classic tuna carpaccio; and the traditional spiced Italian sausages cooked with Borlotti beans and served with grilled polenta.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I have had for starter bruschetta, it came cold and hard, like someone done it few hours before and put in the fridge. I said it to the waiter, he even didnt ask if I want something else instead, no sorry, nothing.
My husband had beef tartare, no taste at all.
Mains was ok.
We had to ask for desserts menu twice, waiters was doing all table together so they didnt know what happened on each table.
Really poor customer service, not gonna come back again.

Date of visit: January 2020
2  Thank Alekzandra_133
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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15 - 19 of 1,730 reviews

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

My friend booked a table last night, for 4 of us, to celebrate her 19 th birthday .
I am a waitress at a four-star hotel, knowing the standards, I was disgusted by the way the staff think that they can treat customers. 
This was my experience on a busy Saturday night.

We walked into the restaurant to be asked "what's your name", no greeting not even a smile.
We were told to wait by the bar, so we started to walk towards the bar then told by another staff member to follow them . We were seated in the top section.of the restaurant
We sat down with no smile and then we were then asked to move seats to the table opposite as the tables are so compact in there no one would've been able to get passed to reach the back of the restaurant.  
When we were seated at the second table I couldn’t hear my friends talking just the women’s conversation behind me .

I ordered a bottle of wine for the table,  I am knowledgeable about wine, I picked a bottle of wine which I thought we would all like. The wine came to the table, the waiter opened the cork and just started pouring it in all the glasses, there was no trying of the wine, this was just basic skill which was lacking .
The food although nice is overpriced for what it is and something that could be easily replicated at home .

There is a vast quantity of dishes on the menu which to me shows that most of it must be microwaved, as it would be not be practical to make all those dishes from scratch and fresh .
Our waiter (didn't tell us his name), failed to check back to make sure our food was ok and just lacked general people skills, it's more like a conveyor belt.
After he took our order we didn't see him again until I asked him for the bill, which he then rudely dismissed me, I then asked someone else.

The worst is yet to come,

My friend and I paid in cash and my other 2 friends paid by card we split the bill evenly between the 4 of us, we paid for the service charge as it wasn't the worse service I had encountered but was poor at this point, it is always awkward taking off the service charge. He then said to my friend who was 19 on the day, could you get your calculator out. Which he then proceeded to tell her to add up what was paid on card and he then counted the cash in front of us on the table, telling my friend what to put in the calculator, when i said there is 6p extra there. He ignored me and carried on. ( It was at this point when I should've asked for the tip to have been taken off the bill as this was just appalling and embarrassing.)
I was shocked and mortified. He left the table and all 4 of us were looking at each other like what just happened. As we are 18 and 19-year old girls, he thought we were stupid on multiple occasions, and he obviously thought that he could treat us very poorly, as I didn't see him counting out cash on the tables of older people asking them to get their calculators out. Just goddam rude.

I didn't want to complain on the night as it would've spoilt my friend's birthday, but as you can probably guess there was no mention of her birthday too. Why have a special message box when you don't read it or even say happy birthday. Overall a very negative experience.
There are much better restaurants in Bristol that serve very similar food at a more reasonable price with better service ... looking at the recent reviews over the last few months majority of them say the same and the main issue is service .
I think the restaurant are living off there past glory ... if you haven’t been in a while .... don’t bother .

Date of visit: January 2020
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
3  Thank lozzak101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Amazing food, great atmosphere, attentive staff, An entirely wonderful experience. The food was so fresh and tasty and the staff could not have been more helpful. However felt a little rushed when it got very busy so not surprisingly so.

Date of visit: January 2020
Thank Sazler78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2020

San Carlo used to be a terrific restaurant with amazing food.........It is now an expensive Pizza Hut.
Arrived to celebrate my Wife's birthday as she selected the restaurant.
Ordered a very expensive bottle of wine, all the wine is expensive and expected a fantastic meal.
Ordered Calamari with chilli.......it arrived without any chili and after asking a pot of sliced chilis arrived. Not very professional.
Ordered Filet steak wrapped in Parma ham......smallest, over cooked steak arrived with cold dauphinoise potatoes, cold green beans and cold mushrooms. How can everything be cold.
Manager refunded cost of meal but I paid for overpriced wine.
It doesn't help to refund the misery of a wasted night.
There are plenty of good restaurants in Bristol, please use them before booking this place.

Date of visit: January 2020
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
3  Thank cedbrooke2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2020

Possibly the best Italian restaurant I’ve been to in Britain. Very authentic and delicious food. I had the chicken calzone which was beautifully seasoned with homemade tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. A generous portion too which filled me up nicely. Also had the pistachio cake for dessert which was light and tasted fantastic. Some of the nicest interior decorating you’ll find in any restaurant, looks absolutely stunning when you go in. The service is fast, efficient and friendly, and with a superb location right in Bristol city centre everything is perfect about this place. Maybe slightly pricier than the usual chains but it’s a cut above most and it’s definitely worth it for the superior quality. Guaranteed a lovely evening at San Carlo and I’d 100% recommend it.

Date of visit: December 2019
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Tom G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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