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Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

Wiesbaden, Germany
Level Contributor
20 posts
88 reviews
Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

We loved our 1/2 day in Limburg. The Alt Stadt (old town) is really beautiful and everyone in the town was so nice. The cathedral is lovely, as is the walk behind it, looking over the Lahn River. Please don't be caught up in this, though:

However, at all costs avoid the Bella Citta Vecchia. We sat down at their table and asked for a menu. The Italian waiter, who spoke to us in German said he usually only served breakfast to the people at his Pension. (10a.m. and all the tables were out- looks like breakfast to me.) He absolutely positively refused to bring a menu. Okay, I should have been warned right there. I asked for two coffees and two cheese sandwiches. He went on an on about how we should really eat more, and even said he needed to sell more than that to us. Second warning! He then went on an d on about making a beautiful platter of cheese, cold cuts, fruit, etc. We kept saying no, he kept insisting. Finally we gave in and said bring the breakfast plate with the coldcuts, cheese, bread, and fruit. We ate it. It was fresh, but very rudimentary- a couple plain rolls, a few slices of watermelon, a tomato, small number of grapes, a few slivers of cheese, and some jam. We had to ask for butter. When it came time to pay, I asked for the bill. No, we don't give bills. WHAT?!!! No bill??? At that point I knew we were going to get it. He then told me our meager breakfast would be 25 euros. YES, 25 euro. That's more than we paid for a lovely breakfast in Paris three days earlier! I argued and argued with him, but his "gotcha grin" stayed in place. I paid, but at that point, no bill/no menu made me pretty sure what was going on. I produced my Euro Card (debit), which he did not want because all of a sudden there would be a paper trail. He finally took it when I showed him an empty change purse. I am sure he had to go back and write up a bill after that. I hope the city of Limburg looks into this shady practice. I would NEVER go back.

However, I WILL go back to LImburg with company. A lovely little place.

Limburg Cathedral
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Limpark
Game & Entertainment Centres
House of the Seven Deadly Sins
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Frankfurt
Destination Expert
for Frankfurt
Level Contributor
6,284 posts
38 reviews
1. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but a lot of it seems to be misunderstandings on your part.

- Every restaurant has a menu outside by the front door. Read it before you go in to see if they have want you want.

- Just because you call the final check a "bill" does not mean that everyone else in the world calls it that. Many people would think you meant paper money and not the check.

- Many restaurants do not use electronic cash registers, they simply write up your check. This is perfectly normal and not odd.

- Many small restaurants do not take credit or debit cards or dislike taking them as they cost a small business lots of money. It was not odd for the owner to not want yours. Just because he wanted to refuse yours, does not mean that you "were going to get it"

- If you did not want the food the owner was offering, why in the world would you say ok, and take it.

It amazes me when people walk into a place, things aren't how they want them, and they continue to sit there. Why not get up and leave instead of going ahead and ordering food you did not want?

Wiesbaden, Germany
Level Contributor
20 posts
88 reviews
2. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

I"ve lived in Germany for 11 years. That is why I said I should have known. Die Rechnung is die Rechnung, no matter what you call it in English. The entire event was in German. No language barrier whatsoever. There was no menu for breakfast by the door- I went back to look. You clearly didn't read- I said I SHOULD have known once he started putting the full press on me, but I let myself be bullied. Note you did not comment on the price, which you should know is absolutely out of line, if you live in the area. I posted this so OTHERS KNOW TO AVOID THE SITUATION. Do you work for Bella Citta Vecchia?

Florida's west coast
Level Contributor
380 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

A lousy experience for sure but with 11 years there and speaking German as well then with all due respect, and as you said yourself, you should have known better and walked away. And kein rechnung, kein gelt.

The price? Sounds excessive as you describe the food.

While I differ slightly with Bornheimgirl on some of what she said you may assume that she does not work for them. Rather that she has a different perspective.

Edited: 23 July 2010, 06:50
Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
15,705 posts
53 reviews
4. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

I think that you, yourself, are largely to blame. You went to eat at a place which does not offer breakfast to the public, were told so, and then insisted upon eating there. With no prices posted, you ordered something without discussing the price beforehand, which then places you in the hands of the owner. He could give you the food cheaply, or at a high price, it's his call, and perhaps that was the normal price. From what you said, it sounds like he disliked offering you breakfast and your insisting on it, after all, that wasn't his business, and I'm sure that is one of the reasons he decided to charge you so much.

I'm very leery about ordering food for which there is no menu and prices. It's worked out well for us before where the owner has offered on his own to provide food, and then at a very reasonable cost. But I'm sure that forcing someone to provide a service that they don't really want to offer is a good way to make sure that you will be dissatisfied with the quality and price of the food.

As to the price of the food, 25€ for the two of you isn't unreasonable, many hotels charge a similar fee for breakfast for their guests. With some you get an excellent breakfast, with others a poor one. Perhaps that's why he suggested having more than just cheese sandwiches and coffee, because you were going to pay the same for them or for the same price you could have more.

Wiesbaden, Germany
Level Contributor
20 posts
88 reviews
5. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

The purpose of these postings is to give advice and hints to other travelers. If I had not posted, the same thing could happen to you, fellow traveler, WHICH IS WHY I POSTED. If others want to post about how it was all my fault, fine, it was at least partially. But I don't want this to happen to any of you "non-locals", since I doubt they would have dared this with anyone local.

I do know better and, we started to get up the minute the very charming and glib Italian waiter, who was Istanbul-carpet-seller-insistant, begged us to stay and let him make us a more healthy breakfast We were outside and literally got out of our chairs when he didn't have a menu. Had I been alone, I probably would have left, but I let the moment get to me. Limited time to see the town with a friend on her way to the Frankfurt airport that afternoon. There were a good 15 empty tables, with no mention that they were for hotel clientele. In fact, it did not look like a hotel at all- it looked like an outdoor cafe. The poster who assumed we pressured the waiter to serve us misunderstood. It was quite the opposite. He was the one who changed the entire situation. The waiter used the excuse of "normally serving breakfast to Pension guests" as an excuse for not presenting a menu. He did not want us to leave! I was there, I know what the situation was. I can assure you this was a situation where the waiter's entire intent was to take advantage of us. When he refused to give me a menu, refused to tell me the price of his healthy breakfast, I should have left. Mea culpa.

The Westin and the Marriott in Frankfurt charge this much for this kind of breakfast, only nicer. This was no upscale hotel. I travel a huge amount and I can promise other travelers, this price is absolutely out of the norm. It is a "business on an expense account price". Not at all in line with the other Limburg restaurants with similar breakfast going for 4,50 plus 3,00 for coffee. It was a meager 9 inch shared plate for two people, but portions for one. This is more than we paid in Frankfurt, or Wiesbaden, or Ghent, Brugges, Paris, Hamburg and Berlin. From 3-12 euro more, and no where near as nice as the 22 euro Paris breakfast. This price is not normal for this type of establishment, nor is "no menu, no prices". This kind of price would only be expected at a more upscale place, and then they would have not refused to give you a menu. Get up, like I SHOULD HAVE DONE!

In my eleven years living here, Citta Bella Vecchia is the only place where this has happened. That is why I wrote this! Normally, this is a country where you can depend on things being right, and on standard procedures.

This is why I will not return to this restaurant. The closest thing to happen in the past was in another Italian restaurant in Heidelberg where the waiter insisted no tip was included and I had to leave 15%. Luckily I didn't allow myself to be fooled that time. We share these things with each other so we know what to watch out for. Please watch out for this one. "The locals" generally do not have the same experiences as those of us who are heard speaking other languages with our travel buddies.

This is a charming city, and I hope you leave it feeling happy.

Paradise, California
Destination Expert
for Rhineland-Palatinate
Level Contributor
7,194 posts
29 reviews
6. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

"If I had not posted, the same thing could happen to you, fellow traveler, WHICH IS WHY I POSTED."

It's fairly unlikely that other travelers would do as you did.

I wonder where you stayed the night before. At almost every German establishment I've patronized, a free breakfast comes with your stay.

Chain hotels like the Marriott, however, frequently depart from the norm. Breakfast means you enter a coffee shop, with menus, receipts, etc. Maybe you didn't stop there on as you set out that day. Anyway, I don't understand your comparison of price, product and service when BCV doesn't have any of this systematized coffee shop routine and doesn't serve breakfast to the public at all, but only to private guests of their hotel.

Germans rarely eat breakfast out. In tourist towns, there sometimes are some sit-down places where you can have breakfast, but these are usually pretty expensive for what you get.

You basically mistook BCV for an establishment that was there to serve you, a non-guest. Your "warning" is based on your wish to eat at a place that doesn't serve breakfast to the public and was CLOSED (their lovely website says they open at 11:00) and your wish that they invent a breakfast you had in mind and charge you what you had in mind. I'm sure there wasn't a sign out front that said "we don't serve breakfast to non-guests" but the waiter did "warn" you when you arrived.

I fail to see what is "shady" about this situation. It was 10:00? Breakfast is usually "over" at 9 or 9:30 at most inns that offer breakfast. The tables out front were no doubt being prepared for the lunch hour. Your meal at BCV seems like a special favor done for you by a non-restaurant that has other things to do when its guests have already eaten and left the hotel. I would expect a heavy convenience fee for something unusual like your request, and your review might just as easily praise BCV for going beyond its normal routine and attempting to cater to your needs on that day.

It's really unfair to the establishment to have posted this. But I think the other responses you've received, R-and-R, bear this out.

The meals they do offer to the public look very reasonably priced. I think I'll try the place on my next visit. Italian food in Germany is the best!

http://www.bella-citta-vecchia.de/essen.html

Edited: 23 July 2010, 13:37
Wiesbaden, Germany
Level Contributor
20 posts
88 reviews
7. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

Too bad Russ can't read. All of his accusations about my stupidity were explained. YOU feel free to eat there, Russ. I wouldn't. Regardless of what you read online (I didnt have a laptop out at the time...) The WAITER himself could have said any or all of that to me, but instead did his best to make us stay. Now why would he do that, no menu, tables set, smile on his face, and the full court press if he did not want to serve us? Again, THIS MESSAGE IS FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NOT LOCAL and think like I do. LOCALS DON'T EAT BREAKFAST OUT, according to Russ, therefore you probably should not listen to those without experience- good or bad. END OF STORY.

Wiesbaden, Germany
Level Contributor
20 posts
88 reviews
8. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

PS Thanks for the menu posting, which shows we could have had two main dishes, or two pizzas and two appetizers for the price of a 9 inch plate of breakfast items. Case made beautifully for my complaint. Yes, those prices are reasonable, but the prices and situation we faced were not.

FL
Level Contributor
1 post
4 reviews
9. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

OMG! I think this was the same place that did this to us 2 weeks ago. it was an italian name on the fish market st. We asked for two coffees with milk and got pushed into ordering food. We got plain rolls and butter and two coffees for 20 Euros. Same crappy story.!!@&*@^%**&^%!!!! No menu and no one said they didnt serve bkfst. I wish we'd thought to pay with a credit card. My sister took me to Idstein and Limburg for the day and both were nice but this left a bad taste I'm sory I didn't write it sooner. The rest of the trip was good. Idstein was just as nice as Limburg but smaller. BTW we found a restaurant 2 doors down in limburg with a list of breakfast prices, so you should try that. They were like 3-6 Euros plus coffee 3 Euros. Also, the only hotel that gave us breakfast in GErmany was a mom&pop place. The 4 star hotels do not!!!

Paradise, California
Destination Expert
for Rhineland-Palatinate
Level Contributor
7,194 posts
29 reviews
10. Re: Limburg is ADORABLE, but AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia

If you read my post, it should be clear that I don't think you are "stupid" and that I did not accuse you of "stupidity." I merely detailed and commented on the very irregular nature of your visit to BCV. The majority of visitors to Germany eat a free breakfast where they stay. If they don't for some reason, and they try what you did late in the morning, then any non-bargain they may experience is really a matter of not understanding the restaurant culture of Germany, not a matter of shady business practices.

I could easily see your experience happening anywhere in Germany. When a visitor isn't fully informed on culture-specific dining practices, interesting experiences like yours are the result. Your post would be perfectly legitimate if you were warning the traveler about eating breakfast in Germany rather than blaming BCV. But it's not right to evaluate a restaurant that doesn't offer breakfast on the basis of your very unique breakfast experience there. Your broad "AVOID Bella Citta Vecchia" makes it sound like you patronized the establishment in normal fashion, when in fact you requested (and received) some very unique services.

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