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“A Sad Decline of A Good Restaurant”
Review of Cafe Central

Cafe Central
Ranked #44 of 88 Restaurants in Bristol
Restaurant details
Reviewed 23 July 2016

We have dined at Cafe Central on many occasions over the years and even made purposeful trips to Bristol just to have dinner there. On the way back from T.F. Green Airport, this was our go-to place. The food was great, the bread was fresh and plentiful, the kale soup was almost as good as my homemade, and the servers were wonderful. However, the past two visits have given us a hefty pause in our ever going there again. The first disappointment happened when we invited some good friends to eat there with us. We waited an interminably long time for service, and the meals took just as long. It was embarrassing to hear our friends making comments about the service. We tried to make light of it, but after an hour or so of this nonsense, it wasn't funny anymore. When we left, a woman, who appeared to be an owner or a manager was outside having a cigarette, and she implored us to please give them another chance, that they were short-handed that night, because someone had called out at the last minute, and she was so sorry. Very nice of her, so we gave it another shot, this time with a party of twelve! We had called to reserve tables for our group, and when I arrived, it was all set up, which was a good sign. That was where it ended though. We got there before 6 PM, and we had a 9:00 event to get to, and no word of a lie, we barely got out of there by 8:30! The service was slow and horrendous, orders were all screwed up, and like the first fiasco, we were embarrassed that we had invited such a large group of our friends to eat there with us, based on the good dining experiences we had had so many times. My guests were obviously unhappy with what they ordered and with the terrible service. My husband got up to find a manager at one point, and there was a little more movement, but not enough to get us served and out of there at a reasonable, acceptable time. We then found out that our server was actually a bus girl, told to be a waitress that night, and she had never waited tables before! We heard again that they were unusually short-staffed that night ( a FRIDAY night). No one, except our poor flustered bus girl/waitress apologized. When we finally, painfully finished, the owner/chef came out and spoke to my husband, who felt responsible for this disastrous outing, and this man was cocky and unapologetic. He asked, "What do you want to do? Not pay the bill? What do you want from me?" He was belligerent to the point where we understood maybe why they were short-staffed on two separate occasions. Waitresses that we had had before and who were wonderful, like Casey M., were no longer there, so perhaps the problem is managerial. The food is so good most of the time, too, but honestly, even the most delectable dishes sour in the wake of abysmal service and managerial nonchalance. Now we need to find a new Portuguese restaurant.

2  Thank Debra C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 - 6 of 10 reviews

Reviewed 17 February 2016

Solid ethnic food served in a smallish restaurant which can be crowded on weekends BUT worth the wait, Nice bar aside from dinner area,

Thank Alfred S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2015

We go here at least once a month, so I guess that we like it. We have had a birthday party there for about 16 people and they were very accommodating. It is a good place for Portuguese food. Most of the time the service is quick, but sometimes the kitchen is slow. The portuguese soup is always good, the rolls are fresh. The portuguese steak with an egg is one of my favorites as is the shrimp mozambique. We've had almost everything on the menu and for the most part it has been good. I would recommend it.

Thank AZSnowbird1942
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2015 via mobile

Where do I begin in order to get everyone to at least try this restaurant? Hmmm... Lets try this;
During my 20 years as a "Senior Sale Executive", (glorified title for a sales rep-LOL) I Entertained many of clients, at many of restaurants, in many different towns and states.
That said. Cafe Central, by far, has the BEST "Portuguese Style Steak" I've ever, ever had. (Yes. Better then any Fall River Restaurant I've eaten at... Including the "Clipper"). It is not only tasty, thick & cooked to-order perfectly, it comes with hand cut fries AND rice. All of which, soaks in the juices from the pickled peppers of the steak & marinade. Incredible! Generous portion! Lean piece of meat. Limited fat on this "thick" slice of steak.
~On the soup front. Not sure how they make a profit to be honest with ya?? A quart of Portuguese soup is only 5 dollars & change. Its a meal in its self! Especially with the Portuguese rolls (papo secos) its served with.
Casual dress is fine. Bar seating available. They also serve to-goes. Which is what I've had three times already. Imagine if I had eaten this dish here... WOW! Go try this restaurant already!!
Job well done to the cook & owner. Hope you enjoy their food as much as I have!

Thank Kimberly H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2015

If you enjoy ethnic foods, this restaurant is OK. However, even if you attempt order a non-Portuguese entree, it is poor quality. I ordered baked stuffed shrimp and specified well done, and it was simply medium sized shrimp with uncooked bread crumbs on top. I ordered a plain broiled chicken breast, and specified no Portuguese marinade, and the chicken had been marinated in a spicey sauce. The wine list is limited to Portuguese wines , which are not of good quality. Service is poor.

Thank Linda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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