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“Service - what service?”
Review of Ambeli - CLOSED

Ambeli
Price range: $1 - $33
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Description: Driven by the good cheer of maxim "it's an empty house without our visitors!" and the plethora of the hosts's family heritages, Ambeli's cuisine is offering the true satisfaction of the Mediterranean from a new angle; supported by the winelist of owner Shaebodine Moleta whose passion for the service of dinner is boundless.
Reviewed September 15, 2012

Went here with friends who had eaten there a couple of times and had a great experience, so it was their recommendation. To say they were embarassed is a gross understatement. After 15 minutes at a table on the upper level we were asked if we wished to place a drinks order - 15 minutes! When the drinks had not arrived after a further 15 minutes we had to ask again. In the meantime more guests had arrived, been seated and had their drinks orders delivered. Another 5 minutes passed before our wine came. A glass each for the ladies and a bottle of (very ordinary) chianti riserva. The waiter broke the cork while pulling it from the bottle and had great difficulty getting the remainder out - an act he attempted to conceal - and admitted the problem only when asked. He then offered to replace the bottle IF we found it spoiled or containing cork. At the same time we received he sparkling water we had ordered. This all contributed to a poor start. At one point we considered leaving but as we had ordered food, chose not to. The meal was ok but did not live up to the hype.

Back to the drinks. Another waiter rushed at speed up to the table and without asking filled a glass with tap water. I'm sure Wellington tap water is eminently drinkable, but the glass was half full of sparkling water. Profuse apologies and the glass was removed with a promise that it would be replaced. That never happened and we had to take a glass from an adjoining table. As I have said, the ladies were each served a glass of wine. And that is all they got. Despite a number of wait staff attending the table for various reasons no one offered to refill the obviously empty glasses.

It got to the point that it didn't matter if the food was good or not. The damage was done by terrible service. The restaurant should be ashamed. When settling the bill we were offered an opportunity to make whatever adjustment we considered fair. Rather than do that we simply advised that we would never return.

Thank PedroNP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (119)
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24 - 28 of 119 reviews

Reviewed September 10, 2012

I went there with some friend looking for a restaurant with kiwi specialties. If the price was a bit above our expectations, the food was definitely awesome. The lamb here is simply fabulous and so are the other meals according to my friends. If I was rich enough, I would eat there every day!

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Thank Raphaël D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2012

We called in here last night (a Friday) at about 6.30 pm on the off chance there was a table going (we didn't have a reservation). It took the waiter about 2 seconds to confirm that he did have a table (and the nice one by the window). It had turned cold, so when this he pulled the heater round so it was closer to us - seems a small little thing, but made a huge difference! The menu doesn't have heaps of options, which is just as well as it's hard enough to choose between what they do have. We weren't starving so we opted to share a charcuterie platter and went for the duck and the fish and a bottle of chardonnay. Another small thing that made a huge difference - as soon as we ordered a bottle of wine, the 'standard' wine glasses were removed from table and replaced with chardonnay glasses - it's nice that you don't have to ask for them! We were offered a taster from the kitchen, which sounded a little odd - mulled wine with duck liver foam on top. It was delicious, not quite sure how it tasted so good but it did. Service was perfect - wonderfully helpful and attentive without being pretentious or too in your face. All in all, an awesome little place!

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Thank Mimo13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2012

The perfect dinner: a cozy restaurant, excellent food and wine, passionate, great staff. Ambeli ticks every box, dots all i's and crosses all t's. "Inspiring" was the word I use repeatedly when describing this evening.

Reading the menu is fun by itself, having the privilege to eat the dishes is an absolute pleasure and experience.
The staff is very knowledgable and passionate, unobtrusive whilst providing great service.
Their wine recommendation for the starters were absolutely spot on, complementing the dishes perfectly. The passion really showed when our waiter gave his wine recommendation, painting a verbal picture why and how the specific wines will work with the dishes. (That was one of waiters, not a sommelier, mind you!)

Ambeli, this cozy place hidden away in Wellington, was the culinary highlight of this year (so far) and went straight up into my personal top 3.

Thank sbe_000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2012

I was visiting friends in welly and on my last night in town we went to ambeli for dinner. Was totally impressed, it's the little things that make it stand out for me & set it above so many others. It's the complimentary hand made bread, the fact that the olives came warm, the olive oil is local & specfically selected, the fabulous knowledge & professionalism of the staff - on both their food & wine menu. The real stand out for me & something I will always remember was the gift from the kitchen, on a winter theme we were presented with a glass of mulled wine topped with duck liver foam. I wasn't expecting much, but WOW it was amazing, tottaly blew me away. Between the four of us we covered the venison, duck salad & the fish of the day. Lastly there was cheese & a chocolate dessert. Along with a bottle of syrah. We all throughly enjoyed our meals & I'd love to go back again. Even better we were able to use our entertainment gold cards for a mains discount. I wish more restaurants in Auckland did this! Totally recommend you visit this winter.

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Thank Claire T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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