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Sato’s, how to NOT run a restaurant!


We thought we would go to a special and different dinner to celebrate our daughter Amna’s 18th birthday a few nights ago and decided to go to the oldest Japanese restaurant in Bahrain; Sato at the Gulf Hotel. As it was mid-week, it wasn’t difficult to get a table.

We were received on arrival by the maitre d’ and led to one of their Japanese rooms where you sit at the table with your legs in a hole beneath it giving you the impression that you’re actually sitting on the floor Japanese-(or Arab)-style but you’re actually just sitting “normally”.

As the restaurant wasn’t that busy, we were soon attended to and placed our orders. We were all looking forward to a nice quality family night. Unfortunately, Sato’s had other plans.

I must admit that our knowledge of Japanese food is minimal. I prefer some kinds of sushi and teriyaki, but couldn’t tell you the contents nor do I know all the names; however, the minimally explained menu somewhat indicated what we can expect to get. We all stuck to the teriyaki side of the house that night, thinking better be safe than sorry. Amna, probably did the best thing and chose a set menu.

We chatted a bit after placing our order thinking that – as in a normal restaurant of its ilk – the order will take a while to arrive – something I generally enjoy – but I was mistaken. No sooner than the drinks were served then the first course arrived. Amna’s course, that is, while everyone else was left waiting much longer to get theirs. One would have thought that the arrival of food for all patrons at the table would be coordinated; not this one. That mish-mash of mis-coordination was symptomatic of the whole evening, leaving us at various stages of dinner, capped by them forgetting to bring my main course until almost everyone had finished!

That could all be forgiven of course had the food at least been acceptable. It was far from it.

I don’t think you will find me at that restaurant again by choice. If I ever want to enjoy Japanese food again, I would be much better served by picking up a Japanese meal from Al-Osra and enjoy it at my own pace rather than be hurried and harried as we have been at Sato’s. What a disappointment.