I've been enjoying the NYT dining blog by restaurant critic Frank Bruni. But I'm having a hard time sympathizing with these diners who have to have their tap water. Fair warning of the restaurant's policy, sure, that would be nice, but this is a culture clash pure and simple, and it seems to me that the restaurant owner is entitled to act on his philosophy about what kind of water is fit to drink with his food.
Many years ago on a college trip to Europe, one of the first restaurants on the Continent that we experienced was in Bruges, Belgium. Naive, ugly Americans, college students on budgets, we asked for tap water. An indignant waiter responded in broken English, "You want tap water, go to the bathroom and drink it!"