Better bring your extra patient nerves at The Thomas / Fagiani’s

It was an unpleasant surprise. The Thomas is an award-winning restaurant and highly recommended by countless food and travel guides so, while in Napa, we had to check it out for you. The building itself is stunning and even though the sign only states Fagiani’s, the restaurant calls itself The Thomas (the bar is Fagiani’s).  Let’s start with the good news. The location, overlooking the river has a certain retro chic and the terrace is a prime spot for a romantic candlelit evening.  The cocktails are crafted to perfection with an astute eye for detail. One of our absolute favorite drinks – The Moscow Mule – was served in a copper cup as god surely intended it. The menu is well designed with some interesting combinations and plenty of unnecessary ingredients to give the impression of being an upscale restaurant. Why a menu needs to state the first and last name of a goat cheese we (and Laura Chenel) will never know. We tried our fair share of dishes, from the classic burger with angus/kobe beef on a brioche bun ($16), to salmon tartare with grilled vegetables ($13). While the the prices are steep, the food was good, but almost bragging that its oh-so-artisan.

Now the bad news. The service was pitiful. It’s been a while since we have been treated this badly, especially in the US, a country known for having the friendliest and most able waiters, hosts and bartenders in the world. But at this place, nobody seemed to care. When we arrived, we were sent to wait at the bar for 45 minutes. When we were finally led upstairs every 2nd table was empty. If the goal was to make us order drinks, way to go staff, but unless you were born yesterday on the dark side of the moon, you couldn’t have helped feeling subtlety ripped off. The hostess couldn’t have cared less that we were paying customers with empty stomachs. Also, guests should be prepared to wait eons for food to arrive. We have all grilled our fair share of burgers and fish, but we have yet to figure out why The Thomas needed over an hour to do so in a half-full restaurant.

The times when a bar or restaurant was “hip” if the staff treated you like shit were back in the ’90s, when that kind of behavior was standard in posh places. But today, you can get the same quality chow from a food truck and with better service. The service overshadows the fact that this restaurant grows its own fresh vegetables in their garden or that the chef was some kind of hot shot back when nobody cared. You treat your customers badly and you’ll lose any reputation you built up over time.  Once word-of-mouth rips The Thomas to pieces, all it will have left is the awesome interior design and the view from the terrace.

The food was good, but emptied our wallets faster than it arrived at the table. Go for the design, terrace and the cocktails and not for the service. Reserve ahead and don’t be in a hurry. We won’t be back and would rather splurge on food that is brought by friendly people in a timely manner.

Nuff said.

The Thomas
Dinner: Daily, 17:30 to 2:00 (bar menu available until midnight)
Brunch: Sat & Sun, 11:00 – 14:30
Lunch: Mon – Fri, 12:00 – 15:00
Happy Hour: Mon – Fri, 16:30 – 18:00

Fagiani’s Bar at The Thomas:
Mon – Thu, 12:00 – 24:00
Fri 12:00 – 1:00
Sat 11:00 – 1:00
Sun 11:00 – 24:00

813 Main Street
Napa, CA 94559