This is our 4th year of an annual big "splurge" at Pai Thai. Bear with the background information for a bit.
In 2013, we went on a Thursday night just before leaving town for the holiday. We were greeted personally with our name, slowly and quietly led to our table, greeted by several waiter and waitresses who seemed genuinely happy to see us.
4 years ago, from the moment we sat down until we took the abra back to civilization, we felt pampered and personally welcomed. The service was attentive without being intrusive. The food was suggested to us after asking questions and helping us carefully consider the choices. From appetizer to dessert, every dish was slowly and proudly presented, describing each dish and how it was prepared. When it looked like we needed something, our napkin fell on the ground, or even just a bit more light to view our menus, it seems they anticipated our needs before we asked them.
Fast forward to last night (15 December 2017). We arrived on our abra as usual and were greeted perfunctorily but politely. The hostess seemed to scurry ahead of us and only slowed down when we asked if we could have the table next to the water. Without reply, the hostess turned and went toward the water. The hostess quickly said the name of our waiter while looking away at other tables (we didn't catch the name), and was gone as quickly as she got there. The menus we were given by our waiter were tattered and worn. On this lovely calm evening, the light was wonderfully dim, and we were straining to see the menu. We had to flag someone down to bring us a little extra light.
Orders were quickly asked for - again politely but quickly. Gone was the personalized service, the sense that we were truly welcome, and that we had all night to leisurely enjoy our meal. Unfortunately, the service we received could have been given at Applebee's or Chili's - not that there's anything wrong with those places.
The food this year was good. But was it good enough for 1800 dirhams for 3 people (appetizer sampler, 2 salads, 3 entrees, 1 bottle of budget wine, 3 desserts, and 2 cocktails)? I just don't see it. We paid this amount (maybe even more) 4 years ago without batting an eye and pledged our loyalty to come back annually for this "splurge" that we really can't afford, but do it anyway.
Next year, we'll be trying a fancy holiday brunch at a hotel somewhere. I wish we could say we'll be back - but it's just not worth it any more.