There’s a line in Jim Leff’s Eat Everywhere app about avoiding Spanish restaurants that use the word “papa” instead of “patata” because papa is not the peninsular Spanish term for potato. The idea being that people from latin-america can’t own or operate legit Spanish restaurants because they aren’t from Spain.
There’s a whole debate to be had about the concept of authenticity, but let’s leave that for another thread.
I was looking at the menu for a recently opened Spanish restaurant in Ottawa and wondered about the wording of menus and their impact on perceived quality of the restaurant. The menu I was looking at was full of Spanish language mistakes, dishes with the wrong name or names that make no sense in Spanish, and the some random Italian mixed into the Spanish for no apparent reason. To me, mistakes like that reflect a lack of knowledge of the food they’re serving and a certain laziness in menu writing that reflects poorly on the rest of the business. So I got turned off. This has happened to me before with other places as well, including the “papa” instead of “patata” thing or an Argentine restaurant getting the names of the cuts of meat wrong, for example. It’s also happened to me with French and English in different contexts.
So the question is: Have you experienced something similar with a language or food culture you are particularly familiar with? What was your reaction? And do you think it’s justified to write-off a restaurant because of such a thing?