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Thread: Someone needs to tell the owner of Anna-Maria's not to attack bad reviewers

  1. #1
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    Someone needs to tell the owner of Anna-Maria's not to attack bad reviewers

    Before we go to Aruba (something we've done more years than not the past 8 years) I like to read restaurant reviews on various sites to get a sense if our favorites are still going strong and the get ideas about new places to try.

    One site in particular tends to feature the most reviews and also allows owners/operators to respond to reviews (I think you can guess which one as it is the world's largest such site).

    The reviews for Anna-Maria's are mostly excellent and good, so clearly most of the folks who eat there and take the time to write a review enjoyed themselves. But for the minority of reviewers who pen a bad rating, the owner tends to lash back with a vengeance, essentially disparaging the reviewer in a manner that is quite off-putting. I realize, of course, that any restaurant that serves a lot of people will deal sometimes with difficult guests, but it seems to me over-the-top to use a public forum to disparage guests.

    Personally, when I read a review site that feature so many reviews, I don't expect any place -- restaurant or hotel -- to have a perfect rating, since mistakes happen at the very best of places. But I do take not on how places respond to criticism as the places I tend to enjoy most are those that go out of their way to address concerns in a positive way rather than attacking those who express them. That gives me some assurance that if something goes wrong when I visit -- again, a possibility at any place -- that the proprietor will do everything to make it right. To me, good service is not being perfect, but rather, it is usually being excellent, and doubling the effort to do so on the rare occasion that something goes wrong.

    I have not yet eaten at Anna-Maria's nor, of course, written a review, so I know nothing of the place but what I have read, which again, is mostly good to excellent, so I am not making this post because of a bad experience. But perhaps someone who does eat their often and know the owner might suggest he not react so angrily to the occasional bad review. Far better to acknowledge fair criticism and promise to do better while ignoring unfair criticism.

  2. #2
    Senior Member cindyo's Avatar
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    Well said, perhaps the owner should soften up a bit and react a bit more appropriate. I will say I have never been there but the reaction from owner does not warm my heart

  3. #3
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    Tripadvisor is the site.
    There is no harm in mentioning it.

    The owner certainly creates controversy when he rebuts those negative reviews. Yikes.

    Here are some tagged threads re: Anna Maria Restaurant
    click link http://www.aruba.com/forum/tags/anna%20maria.html


    Quote Originally Posted by NorthExposure View Post
    Before we go to Aruba (something we've done more years than not the past 8 years) I like to read restaurant reviews on various sites to get a sense if our favorites are still going strong and the get ideas about new places to try.

    One site in particular tends to feature the most reviews and also allows owners/operators to respond to reviews (I think you can guess which one as it is the world's largest such site).

    The reviews for Anna-Maria's are mostly excellent and good, so clearly most of the folks who eat there and take the time to write a review enjoyed themselves. But for the minority of reviewers who pen a bad rating, the owner tends to lash back with a vengeance, essentially disparaging the reviewer in a manner that is quite off-putting. I realize, of course, that any restaurant that serves a lot of people will deal sometimes with difficult guests, but it seems to me over-the-top to use a public forum to disparage guests.

    Personally, when I read a review site that feature so many reviews, I don't expect any place -- restaurant or hotel -- to have a perfect rating, since mistakes happen at the very best of places. But I do take not on how places respond to criticism as the places I tend to enjoy most are those that go out of their way to address concerns in a positive way rather than attacking those who express them. That gives me some assurance that if something goes wrong when I visit -- again, a possibility at any place -- that the proprietor will do everything to make it right. To me, good service is not being perfect, but rather, it is usually being excellent, and doubling the effort to do so on the rare occasion that something goes wrong.

    I have not yet eaten at Anna-Maria's nor, of course, written a review, so I know nothing of the place but what I have read, which again, is mostly good to excellent, so I am not making this post because of a bad experience. But perhaps someone who does eat their often and know the owner might suggest he not react so angrily to the occasional bad review. Far better to acknowledge fair criticism and promise to do better while ignoring unfair criticism.

  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
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    here a reply by the owner on this forum re: a not so great review

    Christian

    Junior MemberJoin DateNov 2010Posts1

    One can never please everyone!

    I usually don't reply to comments like the last one posted but I think it's necessary to clarify for other viewers to have a fare and honest expectation as for what to expect.
    This is not your typical commercial restaurant where most of the meals if not all are cooked early during the morning hours and than put into the convectional oven when ordered. We cook to order - EVERYTHING - with exception of our soups! We invite anyone to come into our kitchen when preparing their meal to witness that we stand behind what we promote.
    Here you will experience real Southern Italian cuisine cooked to order by Anna-Maria and Chris. If you've ever been to Italy and have experienced a small family owned restaurant, you will know & understand that in order to eat at the level we prepare all of our dishes, it takes a bit longer then heating a meal in the microwave or driving through McDonald's. If you have no patients and don't expect the very best, than we suggest you make a stop elsewhere!
    Here we're not interested in turnover, instead we want you to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere - no rush - fresh - cooked to order ambiance with your friends and family.
    As for the pastas, we do make some of the pastas, like ravioli's and gnocchi's, all other pastas are brought in directly from Italy.
    Veggies as part of your main dishes is not impossible (all one has to do is ask) however there are meals you can & there are other's you just can't add vegetables to - it doesn't make a match! Imagine a spaghetti Bolognese or a linguinni frutti di Mare with vegetables? and so are many others...
    As for our marked up wines, one can buy anything anywhere at any price their budget permits. It's a deferent ball game when you're running a business, or else why go out?! You could buy most of the ingredients yourself (or just bring them from home where everything is cheaper, especially in Canada, hey!) cook it yourself and save all in all, again especially if you're on a budget. Our wine bottles are comparable if not cheaper to any other Italian on the island guarantee!
    Anna-Maria and Chris are not trying to make a go of anything, we've put our name out there thanks to the freshness of all of our ingredients, the passion we have in what we enjoy doing and the know how, especially to the all so many costumers that were here and had nothing else to say than positive comments ( some even suggested we raise our prices for the quality of the food and the ambiance we offer)!
    Last, with all due respect to everyone, you don't have to return if you were unhappy, there are many other good restaurants on the Island and why would I change a winning horse if 99% of our clients are repeat customers and are all 101% satisfied with everything?!
    Buon Apetito e buona fortuna to everyone!



  5. #5
    Senior Member danadog56's Avatar
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    so much for making an effort to take a guest's experience that they feel could have been better to telling them to go elsewhere……certainly not a place my husband would be happy with since he comes from an Italian family that have Italian Restaurants…..geez !!!!!
    ARUBA....HOME AWAY FROM HOME

  6. #6
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    We have been to Anna Maria’s, probably at least a dozen times now and are always warmly welcomed and as Chris says “we are family”. We first went to AM’s after reading some wonderful reviews on this BB. Our first time the restaurant had only been open approx one year and we became hooked! The restaurant is a quaint, small place located in a residential neighbourhood similar to the area of many Aruba restaurants (Madame Janettes/Papiamento). There is no sign on the outside of his restaurant as he wants it to be like an authentic Italian Dining experience, like you would be going to someone’s home. Agree with it or not, that is his rationale.

    I can attest to a number of things that have been discussed in this thread. First, his food is great and without a doubt the best Italian on the island. His prices are right in line with better/higher end establishments in Aruba. His wine list is not extensive but (I believe) you can bring your own bottle and pay a corkage fee. What Chris says about his food being “fresh” is exactly true. We have had so many of his dishes which are all wonderful and so incredibly fresh. Some we like better than others but that is true at any place. He scatters his reservations so he can handle the timing of his food preparation. There are occasions where he can get behind because of people arriving early or late for their reservation but he does his best. One has to know that it is a dining experience and not a fast place to eat. We have had our dinners range from just under 2 hours to 3 hours depending on how many in our party, if we want dessert or our just taking our time in ordering. Some people have mentioned it takes time to get the bill...perhaps, one can just nicely remind the waiter instead of complaining afterwards?

    Chris is very passionate about what he does and wants to please people, I believe this is why he reacts so strongly to some of the negative posts. Again, because we have been to his restaurant so often I have become privy to some of the stories behind what is written and we all know there are two sides to any story. We witnessed (a few years ago) a rude customer who was totally out of line, the review did not reflect anything of what was the truth and Chris was very upset about what had been written. He responds when he feels the review doesn’t resemble reality. His tone is due to his desire to please and that is where is passion sometimes gets the best of him. For example, one poster gave a negative story about him but in reality, the customer ran out on his bill. Chris had to call the police and they went to the hotel to get his money. Luckily, one of his staff heard the mother tell the young son that Dad went to get the car and they were going to make a run for it. By the time the staff got Chris they had left.
    So, like us all, we need to access and rummage through all the posts and figure out what is truth and what is a falsehood. Is AM’s perfect? Absolutely not, as is any restaurant but if you go with an understanding of what this place is, then you will have a wonderful experience. What I mean by this is that it is a small place with wonderful food but it is a dining experience. This is someone’s livelihood and he takes this very seriously. Please go and enjoy his SICILIAN Italian food.
    happiness is going to Aruba with your adult kids because they still want to come with their parents

  7. #7
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    I am with Cindy, he certainly does not give you the warm fuzzies.

    Sure there are going to be some people who are unhappy no matter what, however, any good business person should be open to constructive criticism. It is just that, "constructive" in order to enable the proprietor to better themselves and their business.

    Imo the customer is always right, even if they are not. Years ago we had some poor service at a restaurant in Aruba. Did it ruin our dinner? No, did we let the manager know? Yes. The manager politely apologized and replied that he would retrain the server in question. Now years later the server is now a supervisor at the same establishment and over the years the service has only gotten better. Criticism was acted upon and the problem was fixed. A win, win for everyone.

    It doesn't matter, you just do not attack your customers, if you cannot handle a little negative feedback in a conscientious and professional manner maybe you should not be in business? Showing a bit of empathy will gain you more customers. In this case, evidently they do not need or want more customers.


    The Narcissist's Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . .

    Let us not be surprised if the business owner responds here in this thread feeling the need to "straighten us all out" instead of doing some inner reflection on the real issues here.
    Last edited by Arubalisa; 06-22-2014 at 12:00 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randi View Post
    We have been to Anna Maria’s, probably at least a dozen times now and are always warmly welcomed and as Chris says “we are family”. We first went to AM’s after reading some wonderful reviews on this BB. Our first time the restaurant had only been open approx one year and we became hooked! The restaurant is a quaint, small place located in a residential neighbourhood similar to the area of many Aruba restaurants (Madame Janettes/Papiamento). There is no sign on the outside of his restaurant as he wants it to be like an authentic Italian Dining experience, like you would be going to someone’s home. Agree with it or not, that is his rationale.

    I can attest to a number of things that have been discussed in this thread. First, his food is great and without a doubt the best Italian on the island. His prices are right in line with better/higher end establishments in Aruba. His wine list is not extensive but (I believe) you can bring your own bottle and pay a corkage fee. What Chris says about his food being “fresh” is exactly true. We have had so many of his dishes which are all wonderful and so incredibly fresh. Some we like better than others but that is true at any place. He scatters his reservations so he can handle the timing of his food preparation. There are occasions where he can get behind because of people arriving early or late for their reservation but he does his best. One has to know that it is a dining experience and not a fast place to eat. We have had our dinners range from just under 2 hours to 3 hours depending on how many in our party, if we want dessert or our just taking our time in ordering. Some people have mentioned it takes time to get the bill...perhaps, one can just nicely remind the waiter instead of complaining afterwards?

    Chris is very passionate about what he does and wants to please people, I believe this is why he reacts so strongly to some of the negative posts. Again, because we have been to his restaurant so often I have become privy to some of the stories behind what is written and we all know there are two sides to any story. We witnessed (a few years ago) a rude customer who was totally out of line, the review did not reflect anything of what was the truth and Chris was very upset about what had been written. He responds when he feels the review doesn’t resemble reality. His tone is due to his desire to please and that is where is passion sometimes gets the best of him. For example, one poster gave a negative story about him but in reality, the customer ran out on his bill. Chris had to call the police and they went to the hotel to get his money. Luckily, one of his staff heard the mother tell the young son that Dad went to get the car and they were going to make a run for it. By the time the staff got Chris they had left.
    So, like us all, we need to access and rummage through all the posts and figure out what is truth and what is a falsehood. Is AM’s perfect? Absolutely not, as is any restaurant but if you go with an understanding of what this place is, then you will have a wonderful experience. What I mean by this is that it is a small place with wonderful food but it is a dining experience. This is someone’s livelihood and he takes this very seriously. Please go and enjoy his SICILIAN Italian food.
    Quote Originally Posted by Randi View Post
    We have been to Anna Maria’s, probably at least a dozen times now and are always warmly welcomed and as Chris says “we are family”. We first went to AM’s after reading some wonderful reviews on this BB. Our first time the restaurant had only been open approx one year and we became hooked! The restaurant is a quaint, small place located in a residential neighbourhood similar to the area of many Aruba restaurants (Madame Janettes/Papiamento). There is no sign on the outside of his restaurant as he wants it to be like an authentic Italian Dining experience, like you would be going to someone’s home. Agree with it or not, that is his rationale.

    I can attest to a number of things that have been discussed in this thread. First, his food is great and without a doubt the best Italian on the island. His prices are right in line with better/higher end establishments in Aruba. His wine list is not extensive but (I believe) you can bring your own bottle and pay a corkage fee. What Chris says about his food being “fresh” is exactly true. We have had so many of his dishes which are all wonderful and so incredibly fresh. Some we like better than others but that is true at any place. He scatters his reservations so he can handle the timing of his food preparation. There are occasions where he can get behind because of people arriving early or late for their reservation but he does his best. One has to know that it is a dining experience and not a fast place to eat. We have had our dinners range from just under 2 hours to 3 hours depending on how many in our party, if we want dessert or our just taking our time in ordering. Some people have mentioned it takes time to get the bill...perhaps, one can just nicely remind the waiter instead of complaining afterwards?

    Chris is very passionate about what he does and wants to please people, I believe this is why he reacts so strongly to some of the negative posts. Again, because we have been to his restaurant so often I have become privy to some of the stories behind what is written and we all know there are two sides to any story. We witnessed (a few years ago) a rude customer who was totally out of line, the review did not reflect anything of what was the truth and Chris was very upset about what had been written. He responds when he feels the review doesn’t resemble reality. His tone is due to his desire to please and that is where is passion sometimes gets the best of him. For example, one poster gave a negative story about him but in reality, the customer ran out on his bill. Chris had to call the police and they went to the hotel to get his money. Luckily, one of his staff heard the mother tell the young son that Dad went to get the car and they were going to make a run for it. By the time the staff got Chris they had left.
    So, like us all, we need to access and rummage through all the posts and figure out what is truth and what is a falsehood. Is AM’s perfect? Absolutely not, as is any restaurant but if you go with an understanding of what this place is, then you will have a wonderful experience. What I mean by this is that it is a small place with wonderful food but it is a dining experience. This is someone’s livelihood and he takes this very seriously. Please go and enjoy his SICILIAN Italian food.
    Many of the dished featured on the menu have their origins in other parts of Italy and would be foreign to a Sicilian home-cooked meal. Consider:

    spaghetti carbonara -- a post WW II dish whose ties to the past are Roman.
    spaghetti puttanesca -- A preparation most associated with Campagna, the region centered by Napoli
    lasagna bolognese -- Bolognese refers to a specific sauce made popular in Bologna, where it is not often used for lasagna.
    gnocchi with vodka sauce and mushrooms - Gnocchi are generally the creation of several Northern Italian provinces.

    To understand food in Italy is to know two fundamental things:
    (1) It is a micro-regional food, with each town and city having its own way of preparing food. When I was in Parma, for example and interested in trying a cured pork product called culatello, I was told by a native he had only sampled it in the towns that produce it, about 30 minutes away along the River Po. No Sicilian would pass off as a product of his town or city gnocchi or a bolognese sauce.

    (2) It is a cuisine whose quality is based first and foremost on the quality of the raw ingredients. When I eat with my Italian inlaws, I enjoy fresh vegetables from their garden, bread, sausage and cheese they make and chicken and goat they raise themselves. In Sicily this means that cooks rely on the bounty of the sea and land, the soil and climate in Sicily ideally suited to growing so many things. When I read reviews that refer to sub-par bread, I suspect the proprietors don't make the bread themselves.

    Another thing that strikes me when I see photos of their food: Their past seems to be swimming in sauce. That is not authentic in any part of Italy unless you are having a Tuscan specialty of a stuffed pasta "in brodo" or in broth.

    It is quite possible for a restaurant to be largely inauthentic but still delicious and a wonderful place to eat. One does not need to adhere to tradition to produce wonderful food, and indeed, one would have to adapt Sicilian cooking for Aruba because one does not have the same access to local ingredients. But when a proprietor dismissed concerns by saying the diner is essentially too stupid to enjoy his authentic Sicilian cuisine, and at the same time, features a menu that in many ways is anything but authentic Sicilian, it comes across to me as pretentious and entirely false.
    Last edited by Andrea J.; 06-22-2014 at 04:29 PM. Reason: cannot allow TA posts on this forum. "permission issue"

  9. #9
    Aruba since 1979
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    well, .. no harm in mentioning tripadvisor, but your posting of the Tripadvisor reviews and Trip advisor responses is something that i will not allow. permission issues.

    i wish that you had experienced Anna Maria yourself. There are many that love it.

    what many of us see re: restaurant reviews in general.... is that all of the glowing reviews and all of the crummy reviews maybe should be ignored and accept only the middle of the road reviews

    i too, as Arubalisa does, expect the owner to make commentary here. He is a forum member.
    He will have to PM me in order to post, as i am now closing this thread.
    i will open it for him to post and then close it.
    Last edited by Andrea J.; 06-22-2014 at 04:30 PM.

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