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“Wonderful spot in Pienza”

La Bandita Townhouse Caffe
Ranked #15 of 57 Restaurants in Pienza
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Description: Stylish restaurant in the center of Pienza
Reviewed July 15, 2013

La Bandita was recommended by a friend in Toronto. We had a wonderful delicious lunch there last week on the terrace. Highly recommended!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Greg J T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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168 - 172 of 371 reviews

Reviewed July 12, 2013

This review is a tale of two restaurants. The restaurant we ate in in Pienza. And the restaurant we didn't get to eat in. La Bandita Caffe was the restaurant we didn't get to eat in but wanted to. The other restaurant - which shall remain nameless - was where we ended up eating thanks to a friendly waiter who saw us struggling with a pram and made an effort to accommodate us even though strictly speaking no tables were free. Before I explain why I was so disappointed with La Bandita let me say that the first rule of running a restaurant is hospitality. If you can't offer it then no matter how good your food is or your decor you should get out of the business. Now the tale I promised you: On a hot early afternoon in July my wife and I were walking our baby to sleep, not only because it was time for her nap but also because we wanted to have lunch and out of consideration for those at nearby tables we wanted her asleep. I spotted a sign outside an entrace saying "Lunch in the garden". Perfect, I thought to myself: In a garden area we can be cool in the shade and there will be space for our pram - we won't be a nuisance to others. So I went down the street to where my wife was pushing the pram around to bring her to the entrance. We tried entering on the street but the pram was an obstacle so we were told by a friendly lady to try another wider entrance around the corner. We did so. But when the waiter saw us he informed us that tables at the garden were all booked. Having seen a sign outside advertising "Lunch in the Garden" I didn't believe him. Rather I believe that this restaurant didn't want our custom because we had a baby and a pram (our baby was placid at this stage although not asleep). This was my clear impression from both the speed with which the waiter told us this - he didn't even check in the book but also from the fact that there were several empty tables outside. And that sign on the street advertising lunch in the garden. A sign that if the restaurant was booked up should have been removed on grounds of false advertising. Had the waiter informed us that babies were not allowed in the garden that would have been disappointing, but acceptable. But having advertised lunch in the garden his restaurant was being disingenuous in refusing us. Now that other restaurant. Unlike La Bandita when we got there it really was full and we unwittingly jumped a queue. But when we sat down a very friendly waiter - while informing us that there were people in the queue ahead of us - saw two hungry parents and took pity on us, rearranging tables to make space for us. This friendliness towards babies and their parents is typical of the wonderful nature of Italian people. The reason I don't name the other restaurant is this: Because its staff are chronically overworked - four staff dealing with well over a hundred customers - we had the unfortunate experience of getting a piece of hair and a fly in our pasta. The waiter was grovellingly apologetic and refused to accept payment even for the salad and coffee which was fine. I don't mention this restaurant because its management were informed privately and took steps to deal with what was a failure in the kitchen. Besides this restaurant is a family run one and to err is human. Genuine error is forgiveable. Disingenuousness far less so. So here is my verdict on La Bandita: Had we been allowed to eat there I am sure we would have agreed with all the positive comments about the food, the ambience and the decor. But we weren't. And here is the most damning finale to any review a reviewer can give: If we ever go back to Pienza and the choice of our restaurant is between La Bandita on one side and on the other the place where we got a fly and a hair in our pasta, but a friendly smile and warm hospitality, we will choose the latter: Culinary errors can be redeemed. But for a restauranteur a lack of hospitality - particularly towards small children in a country whose people cherish them - is almost beyond redemption. And if as i suspect that is what this restaurant demonstrated, it is a poor outlook. I qualify this review by saying that there may be a reason why the restaurant had a sign "lunch in the garden" to lure us in only to humiliate us when we actually tried to eat in the garden. If so, I look forward to the manager's explanation on this website. If convincing, I will withdraw the remarks above.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Marcpc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orners, Owner at La Bandita Townhouse Caffe, responded to this reviewResponded July 13, 2013

I was disappointed to read that you had a brief, but unpleasant, experience at the Townhouse Caffe. I am not sure why you are so upset or felt the need to write such a negative review when in fact, as you say you did not actually eat in the restaurant.

I can assure you that we do not turn people away for no reason, or just for having a pram or a baby. Every single day for lunch and dinner we have young children and babies in the garden, especially at lunch time. Every day. We try to make everyone happy here, young children and adults. Every day the chef prepares off menu items free of charge for families with young children. As a new restaurant we are eager and happy for customers. We're a small restaurant, however, and now in the busy season of July, it does happen sometimes that the restaurant is fully booked, with reservations, and I am sorry that we could not accommodate you when you arrived. If the waiter said the restaurant tables had been booked, then it was true, I'm sorry. When all your tables are booked, you don't need to look in a book to check.

Normally we trying to find a way to serve everyone, even if it means coming back later etc. Here, it sounds like we could have done a better and kinder job of explaining the situation, and for that I do apologize.

The menu and "lunch in the garden" sign is always placed outside as a form of general advertisement, even when we are fully booked. We should have put a note there indicating when we are fully booked, which, I assume, would have saved you the trouble of writing this review.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We had lunch on the terrace. The place is well decorated and the garden is beautiful. The food was good and the waiters very nice. It is however more a trendy location than a traditional Tuscanian place.

Thank arob1208
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

Food choices are all fresh and prepared with care. Chef David knows his stuff and has an amazing staff at his disposal. All wait staff is congenial and more than accommodating.

Every plate was left empty.

1  Thank Meyen23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2013

A new restaurant in Pienza with a distinctly non Tuscan look, which is actually quite refreshing. Very modern, open kitchen and high quality decor with great attention to detail and a fantastic deck outside. Food was simple but with the odd quirky idea that worked very well ( Tuscan Brie with raspberries, anyone?), at least for me. Really good service and a wine list that is up to the standard you would expect of the area. Great place, will certainly return.

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

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