Friday, August 9, 2013

Comforta Bill... And Other Famous Cowboys

Our friend Miguel was visiting family in Marbella during the week and zipped over to Fuengirola to spend some time with us. He and I had a great afternoon at the beach Wednesday, and the three of us then drove into the mountains to Benahavis for dinner. Benahavis is one of the most mountainous villages in the area and has become famous for its restaurants. It's known as "the dining room of the Costa del Sol." The sun had well set by the time we arrived, so we didn't see much. Miguel thought it was a 20- to 30-minute drive. It turns out to be really a 45-minute drive, and it took us nearly an hour. San Geraldo and I experienced our first-ever Spanish traffic jam as we neared Marbella.

THE COSTA DEL SLOW.

A PLAZA FILLED WITH PRICY RESTAURANTS IN BENAHAVIS.

We took the mountain roads in pitch darkness and arrived in town around 10:15. I might like to see the town in daylight. It was founded in the 11th century and — although it now has six golf courses, dozens of expensive restaurants, and sprawling housing developments — there are parts of town that retain some historic charm. I won't spend much time recalling our meal, except to say I wouldn't recommend the restaurant, Flor de Lis. Charming atmosphere. The food was okay but absurdly overpriced (the most we've paid for a meal in Spain). The service? The worst any of us could remember experiencing. Bad on every level. And when Miguel very nicely (he couldn't have been more gracious) told the manager what a nice place it was but the service was disappointing. She made every excuse she could come up with: short-staffed, lots of stairs in the restaurant, summer rush (four other tables were occupied). Miguel was gracious; the manager wasn't. Benahavis might be worth a visit. Restaurante Flor de Lis definitely is not. Fortunately, we had the pleasure of Miguel's company.

IT WAS ALL DOWNHILL FROM THERE.
MIGUEL AND JERRY HEADING BACK TO THE CAR AFTER DINNER.

Cowboys
As we were getting into the car to head home, San Geraldo said something about being very comfortable. Only, he didn't exactly say that. Comfortable is spelled the same in Spanish as in English. And San Geraldo knows that. He also knows that, in Spanish, it's pronounced (first syllable like the English word 'comb') comb-for-TAH-blay. For some odd reason... (Does San Geraldo ever really need a reason?), he decided to say cum-for-tah-BILL. Miguel found this funny. He said in Spanish, "Ah, like Buffalo Bill... Or Wild Bill..."

BUFFALO-BILL.
WILD BILL.
. . .

COMFORTA BILL... AKA SAN GERALDO (WITH HIS GAL SAL?)

14 comments:

  1. It's too bad that going out of your way to dine and over-paying for the meal doesn't guarantee a good experience. It sounds like the kind of place I would never go. I stick to places like Olive Garden, Chili's and Applebees--at least they're in my price range.

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      San Geraldo and I hate paying for the "privilege" of dining someplace chic. Lots of beautiful, affordable, and unpretentious places to chose from ... especially here.

      Delete
  2. The pictures look great but bad service can really ruin a dining experience.

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    1. Stephen:
      And there are plenty of places as beautiful (or more so) right nearby for 1/3 the price.

      Delete
  3. I second what Stephen said. Bad service or mediocre food really ruin a restaurant experience-- not matter how beautiful the setting.

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    1. Judeet:
      Absolutely. We've been to many more charming places with incredible food AND service AND for a lot less money. Also, even if Wednesday night had been a better experience, we still wouldn't consider it worthwhile for the money.

      Delete
  4. Oh dear, what a disappointment. It looks lovely there and ruined by a mediocre meal. To my mind its so simple. You open a restaurant to serve people, to give them the best darned meal ever and send them away happy. We're along the way does it go wrong. Do you suddenly start to think lets do a shit job and take people's money for nothing. Won't last long with that attitude, or maybe they will. There are a lot of tourists out there who will try it just the once. A bad attitude though nontheless. Shame on them!
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Your life is so fun!
    Di
    Xxxxxx

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    1. Di:
      And we no longer need to be impressed with the fact that "famous people dine here." But we did get to experience our first Costa del Sol traffic jam (not at all a bad one) and we DID get to meet Comforta Bill. YOUR life looks fun from here!

      Delete
  5. The eyes tell it all in that last photo!! UnComforta Bill! lol

    Too bad about that restaurant....and that fact they don't have the decency to own up to their poor establishment, tells all.
    Nice you had time with your 'old' friend Miguel.

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    1. Jim:
      Imagine all the cowboy names we could come up with!

      At the restaurant, the final nail in the coffin was the manager's response to Miguel. We never once received an apology for any of the many errors, long waits, delays, and badly coordinated service. Then that response... I'd say avoid Flor de Lis!

      Delete
  6. I can happily overlook average food if the service and ambience are outstanding. But average food, lousy service, and inflated prices - never!

    I love the photos. Over here Comforta Bill would be Comforta Bull. It's the Kiwi accent.

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    1. Judith:
      I agree about food!

      Comforta BULL, huh? That would be like Sitting Bull and Raging Bull... and Red Bull.

      Delete
  7. It looks like a lovely village in which to enjoy a meal, what a shame that it didn't live up to expectations. I can't abide over priced food, even when it's good. It all sounds a bit like it's priced for the tourist trade and because most tourists will only be there once before they head home, they probably don't care too much about the service level. Pretty sad and not a good way to run a business.

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    1. Craig:
      The town is known for its fine dining. Still, to me, not worth paying such steep prices to be chic. We used to enjoy that but no longer find it important.

      We've got restaurant/bars right on the beach here in town that tend to jack up prices for the tourist trade. We've only been to one (truly a tourist trap, overpriced and poor quality... although the service was very pleasant) and I'll probably avoid the rest in future. Most are closed off- season, which says it all.

      Delete

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