Silver Lake restaurant serves up controversy with water bill

SILVER LAKE — Since opening its doors in June, Alimento has won over many foodies and critics with its take on Northern Italian cuisine. However, even some of the diners who praise Alimento and its young chef, Zach Pollack, have taken issue with the restaurant’s water policy: a $1.50 charge to drink filtered or bubbly water. “The water charge is a kiss of death and becomes a focal point for discussion when it should be on the food,” said one diner on Yelp!

The $1.50 charge includes an unlimited amount of water but it still  rankled some customers, who note it applies even to only a single glass. The L.A. Weekly, in a review that gave Alimento a “Very Good,” 3-star rating, said the “controversial” water fee is “the type of small thing that causes big outrage.”

The water fee is not a big deal for many customers, however. In fact, half of the fee is contributed to the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy, which is dedicated to preserving the neighborhood’s landmark reservoirs, located up the street from Alimento. The conservancy, on its website, said the Aliminto contribution will “support our efforts and to help communicate to their clientele the importance of water!”

Despite complaints, Alimento’s $1.50 water fee has remained in place. “If you don’t want to pay for water,” said one Yelp! reviewer, “I’d suggest drinking up before you come.”

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  1. It’s these kind of dumb policies that keep me away from places like this. It is so pedantic. HALF the charge goes to the SLC? So dumb.

    • Yes, in a free market society, you have the right to choose not to patronize this place. And check the dictionary for the definition of “pedantic.”

      • An alternative explanation for the misuse of the word “pedantic” is that “white echo parker” wanted to bait commenters into a pedantic “pedantic” correction.

        A very turgid prank by white echo parker.

      • Don’t need to check the dictionary, Thanks. Pedantic is you pointing out that I should check a dictionary. Or people going out of their way to make sure you know they are do-gooder’s. People who give to charity and brag about it are the very definition. That’s what these people are doing. And a very handsome F- you sir.

  2. i can’t think of one eating establishment that gives you bubbly water for free. if its not tap water, you always have to pay.

  3. I don’t care much about the water fee, and I think the food – for the most part – is very good. BUT the lack of any kind of sound baffling makes it impossible to enjoy a relaxing evening with friends, since it sounds like you’re in a train station at rush hour. All new restaurants who cater to 20 and 30 somethings seem to be doing this. The noisier, the better. In the two times we’ve been there, our respective set of friends loved the food but said that they wouldn’t be back. You have to yell to be heard, and the last time our waiter was such a snobby ass, that it spelled the death knell for us. Really unfortunate – a little sound baffling would improve the experience markedly, but when I mentioned this to the manager … no response.

  4. Ugh, I’m so tired of all the misdirected drought shaming going on in LA.

    There’s certainly a lot of water waste in California, but getting all bent out of shape over glasses of water at restaurants, or a 2-day slip ‘n slide downtown with recycled water, or public fountains and public parks enjoyed by 1,000’s every week… people really need to put these things into perspective.

    You want to go after water waste… we have acres upon acres of lush golf courses in the desert, shame them. We grow almonds and rice in the central valley (seriously, rice!)

    • I agree with you all around, though it’s worth noting that Los Angeles is not (yet) technically a desert.

      Personally, I’ve done things like change my toilet to one that uses 1.3 gallons/flush, yet driving through Pasadena & San Marino today, I saw sprinklers watering massive lawns at 1 PM.

  5. Oh. Hell yeah!
    $1.50 ?
    Im paying my $1.50 then filling my 10 gallon jug of water with every glass i make them bring me until my jug is filled !
    Best thing ever !
    Watch me .

  6. Why would anyone want to donate to the SLRC? They are obsolete old coots.

  7. The posting calls this “the type of small thing that causes big outrage.” Exactly. The cost of a meal there would feed a family of four for a week. What’s a buck and half, part of which goes to a good cause. Get real.

  8. Larry, Take your meds. It’s really OK.

  9. Do they charge a cap/corkage fee if I bring my own water?

  10. What if I pay for the water but don’t want the SLRC to get the .75. Will they respect my request?

  11. I suspect that they will soon start to see empty tables as word of this policy gets around similarly to how El Condor found that they had empty tables when word got around that they charged for chips and salsa. I also suspect that they will change their policy just like El Condor found that they had to stop charging for chips and salsa. My family and I certainly won’t try Alimento if they continue to charge for TAP WATER.

  12. Supposedly they’re charging for ‘filtered water’ Someone says ‘filtered’ and I think ‘Brita’….
    City and County Health laws require a food establishment provide ‘potable water’…I think I’ll look up the law.
    I know it’s the law in France that ‘table water’ be provided. You might have to ask for it (‘eau de table’) but you get it.
    I’d like to know about BYOW also….

    and I don’t care who benefits, I will NOT support someone else’s idea of a worthy cause. I hate it with friends, I hate it at work, it offends me when people solicit outside markets….It’s my money I choose where my charity donations go.

  13. Just went there Friday, having not heard about the water charge. Can I afford $1.50? Yes, I can. Should I reward a high-priced restaurant for trying to make money in such a slimy manner? No, I should not. We left as soon as I saw the charge on the menu.

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