High noise levels have become an issue for more diners of late, and restaurants are heeding the clamor for some quiet.
By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
Los Angele -- You can count on the hippest restaurants to have dazzling menus, stylish servers and an attractive clientele.
And increasingly, there's a featured side dish: noise.
As restaurateurs strive to attract a younger crowd, they've ditched the pile carpets, soft tablecloths and plush velvet booths for crowded communal tables, clattering open kitchens and pounding Rihanna music. And it's all amplified by cavernous ceilings, spartan walls and bare floors.
The hustle and bustle is credited with bringing in more business, but it's also creating a backlash.
Kristina Pivnyuk, 21, said she was hoping for an evening of fine food and good conversation when she ate recently with friends at Bottega Louie in downtown Los Angeles. She got only the meal.
"It kind of ruined the experience for me," the Cal State Northridge student said, recalling the loud music and diners shouting to be heard over the din.
Restaurant raters have taken note.
Yelp has begun listing noise levels atop its ratings. OpenTable, a reservations service, allows reviewers to rate restaurants as "quiet," "moderate" or "energetic." Several national restaurant reviewers now factor sonic quality into their reports. The Rundown LA, which sends email blasts on local activities, provides noise ratings when it reviews eateries.