Alas, I made reservations at "Avante Garthe" (apparently Paparazzi's new name) based on these reviews... and something fundamental must have changed along with the name, because I was hideously disappointed. I love good food and am no stranger to small but tasty portions, but nothing about this evening justified the price.
First, they must have been understaffed, because the service was terribly slow and inattentive (even for German standards). Perhaps the room looks nicer by day, but at night, its empty-box shape is unlivened by the sparse, monochrome design, unimaginative wall hangings and the hotel-like chandelier, with spots of very un-cozy florescent light beaming out from wall niches.
After sitting there for at least 20 minutes, they finally plunked down some bread and promising-looking balls of homemade butter -- and then dashed off again without explaining a thing. One of the butters turned out to contain pork, so beware if you are vegetarian or a non-pork-eater.
The menu was sparse -- essentially, one had a choice of the whitefish or steak. They were out of one of the sizes of steak, so our whole table of six people ended up with the same two meals all around.
The fish came: in the form of a large, stunningly empty plate containing a single card-deck-sized portion of whitefish. When my friends looked sadly at their meager "meal," I asked why they didn't order a side dish. They had: it consisted of the colored smear of potato substance that the rest of us had taken for decoration. I ordered the steak for €32 and paid an extra €4 to have a side dish instead of only a lump of meat. Would I like a sauce with that? €2.50 please. I started to wonder if the plate and silverware cost extra, as well.
The steak tasted nice, but it was honestly not better than other nice Argentinian cuts I have had at two-thirds the price. The fish was fat-free and flavorless. During the meal, if we wanted another glass of wine or more bread (because the other option would have been to try to lick any remaining sustenance from our quickly-empty plates), we practically had to stick out a foot and trip the waiters as they hurried past our table.
Finally, exasperated, unsatisfied and still hungry, we simply wanted to pay and leave so that we could all go back to my place and have some cheese and wine. After sticking our hands in the air and waving for the waiter's attention, it still took ten minutes for someone to notice us and another ten minutes to get the bill paid -- at something like sixty euros per person!
Needless to say, I will never return.
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