I cannot express enough how terrible of an experience we had at this restaurant - recommended by a local Marseille legume shop owner. This was our ONLY stop in France and my entire family left extremely upset as eating at Le Bocal was the first thing we did after getting off the ship. As soon as we sat down, we were given menus. I politely asked for still waters all around as we had just walked several blocks around Marseille with my 60 year old mother with a bad knee & my near-70 year old father, looking for less-touristy restaurants before settling on the grocer's recommendation of Le Bocal. The young English/British host who sat us immediately snapped back at me with "I only have two hands!" He had no reason to be rude to us! I was shocked! He seemed stressed so we let it slide. I planned on ordering a salad but was told that 14€ salad was HUGE and was meant for several people. Since our waiter spoke very little English, he used the young, rude British man who sat us to translate his messages to us. He told us that the 3-course meal comes with the same salad I wanted but in a HALF portion and also comes with an entree & dessert for 25€. I like dessert and figured "what the heck, why not" and ordered the 3-course meal. We waited for quite some time until my family & boyfriend all received their entrees (I was the only "3-course" orderer) and I received my salad. Normally, the salad should come before the entrees, no? I didn't say anything as we were starving, in France and had already obviously irritated our translater/English host. Cut to 15+ minutes later. Everyone is finished with their entrees and I'm still looking at my now-wilted 1/2 salad. No steak in sight. I finally tell our waiter.. "Look, my family is done with their entrees and I still haven't received my steak. My salad should have come BEFORE their entrees and my steak should've came WITH their entrees." I tell him to "please cancel the steak - it is taking way too long" and we really just wanted to leave by that point. Everyone, including me, was full. I asked if he could just charge me the 14€ for the FULL salad (since I had received just the half portion) and cancel everything else as we STILL hadn't received the steak. It seemed like they simply forgot about it. This is when it got crazy. Since our waiter couldn't fully understand my request, I had to tell the English host/translater who got very upset & then told the 65 year old French restaurant owner. The owner of Le Bocal started yelling at the young English host/translater in French and basically told him to tell us "too bad". 5 mins later, (that's about how long it takes to cook a med-rare steak!) out comes my steak and before he sets it on the table, my entire family is saying "No no no, we don't want that anymore. It took too long. We've all been finished with our meals for 20-25 minutes." I literally say to the host "I am not going to eat that, please just take it back." He looks at the old French owner and says "She doesn't want it." The owner gets even more upset & (I'm assuming) tells him to put it on the table anyway. The host puts the plate in front of me on the table and raises his hands up in the air in the same fashion as if the police have him at gunpoint. As if to say, "it's too late. It's on the table. We're not taking it back and you're still paying for it." My entire family was shocked by this behavior. We had just stated SEVERAL times that it took way too long and we didn't want the steak any longer and asked if we could just pay full price for the 1/2 salad. My parents made me take one bite of the steak so they wouldn't be able to eat it back in the kitchen, as I planned on not touching it at all. So, we sat and stared at a steak that wasn't even good for about 2 minutes and they then brought us the check. THEY DIDN'T EVEN BRING MY DESSERT. They had the nerve to charge 25€ for my "3 course meal" and didn't even bring the dessert. I told our barely-English-speaking waiter that I was supposed to get a dessert with my meal. He apologized profusely for the behavior of the French restaurant owner and the English/British host/translater and immediately brought the dessert I asked for. He was either truly sorry & embarrassed by their ridiculous attitude/antics or was just hoping for a tip from us. We left Marseille extremely frustrated, angry and upset that a restaurant would treat its patrons like that. In the States, the customer is always right. That is NOT the case in France. They were so rude the entire time we were there and couldn't care less that we were leaving their restaurant extremely unhappy. I've never been somewhere where they so blatantly don't give a crap about customer service. The OWNER was the worst part of it all and we didn't even interact directly with him! He just stood 15 ft. away from our table, eyeballing us and screaming in French to the host/translater, it's no wonder that young man is so rude.. His boss is 50x worse! They have NO idea how to treat their customers and I would recommend everyone stay far away from France. It seems this is a problem in many restaurants, after speaking to some cruisers with equally horrifying French restaurant experiences. I think they just take advantage of foreign tourists and try to get as much money as possible since they know they'll only see you once & never again. It was terrible, all around, and left us feeling horribly sour about France. Marseille, France was, by far, everyone's least favorite port and we would not recommend anyone go there. There are so many NICE places you can go to like ANYWHERE in Italy, where they are extremely polite to their patrons and they actually WANT you to be there. (after this, I'll be writing several great Italian restaurant reviews) I skimmed over a few previous reviews and it seems I'm not the only one who received terrible service. Le Bocal completely ruined our Marseille/France experience, and for that I am extremely disappointed and upset. Do NOT eat here!
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