Wife Attacked by Marseille Vieux Port Restaurant Manager

My wife, who is French, and I have visted Marseille a number of times over the years without incident. However, yesterday on May 28 a shocking incident took place when we went to an appealing looking restaurant on the Vieux Port for lunch, "La Cuisine au Beure". Our main issue was slow and unresponsive service from restaurant staff. I had a confrontation with the manager as we were departing after not being waited on for more than 30 minutes. The manager, who was taller and younger than me, became hostile said he was going to punch me and when my wife felt that he was about to hit me she stepped between us in an effort to calm him at which time he very forcefully grabbed both her wrists, breaking her bracelet and cutting the skin on her forearm. After the shouting by the manager three waitresses appeared and had to restrain the crazed manager and we made a hasty departure down the sidewalk. Following the incident I went on Trip Advisor to report the problem and was not surprised to find a large number of other customers from around the world reporting similar issues of slow service, hostile manager and food of questionable quality going back for several years. It is hard to understand how such an establishment manages to stay in business. Here is a link to the text of what I posted last night on Trip Advisor- http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187253-d1234630-Reviews-La_Cuisine_au_Beurre-Marseille_Bouches_du_Rhone_Provence.html

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Since the manager grabbed your wife and damaged her property and in fact hurt her by causing the cut on her hand ..I would have called police. Your wife being French gave you the advantage as many tourists would have trouble telling police what exactly happened.

Posted by John
Tualatin, Oregon
6 posts

I want to post a follow-up to my original report and Pat's comments. Unfortunately, it appears that reporting the incident to the local police would have been futile. The owner of another restaurant that we visited later that day for lunch told us that it would have taken up to two hours for the police to arrive and then you would have had to spend a lot of time filling out a report at the police station with it being doubtful that any action would be taken against the restaurant manager. The manager of our hotel in the Vieux Port told us basically the same thing when my wife related the incident to him. He told us that in Marseille when local people have to wait too long for service, they just get up and walk out and would never confront the restaurant manager. However, our hotel manager did say that he was shocked by the news of the attack on my wife and that the incident reflected negatively on the entire tourist industry in Marseille. He went on to say that he just happened to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce and would take our report to the next meeting which was taking place later that day. He sent us an email back that he did so and hopefully, that will get some results. He went on to say that the local authorities are more concerned about poor sanitation that poor customer service. I also told a gendarme friend of many years in Normandy about the incident. He said that we were lucky not to have been injured and that we should be mindful of the fact that the people in the South of France are known for their hot tempers! He too did not recommend notifying the local police. So the lesson learned here is to suffer poor service in silence and just get up and walk away after the wait becomes unbearable. John

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

Thank you for your report. I've sent you a private message. You can find it in profile when you sign in. This also convinces me to get a phone that can access TA quickly. I've never seen so many terrible ratings for a restaurant. It's near the bottom of all the restaurants in Marseille. Glad the two of you didn't get hurt. My husband suspected the restaurant could have some shady associates.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

We are going to be in Marseille off a cruise ship in Oct. The restaurant with your recommendation went to the top of the paper for Marseille and will be posted on cruise critic.