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“5-star food, less points for the service”
Review of La Fougere

La Fougere
Ranked #39 of 88 Restaurants in Westport
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$29 - US$84
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Description: La Fougere is a multiple award-winning restaurant, perched on the hill side overlooking Clew Bay & Croagh Patrick. Seamus Commons, one of Ireland’s most respected chefs, heads up the team at this Westport restaurant and the food is impeccable; with fresh fish, caught and landed daily, locally reared beef and lamb with fruit & vegetables grown in Knockranny’s gardens. Eating at La Fougere is all about relaxed fine dining, great food chosen from local producers and an interesting wine list – in great company. It’s a fantastic place to gather, open a bottle of wine, take in the breath-taking views and choose something from the delicious menu.
Stroke City NI
Level 6 Contributor
151 reviews
90 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“5-star food, less points for the service”
Reviewed 9 August 2013

My wife and I recently dined at La Fougere - a place we'd heard much about. We travelled to Westport solely to eat at this restaurant at the tail end of a recent vacation. [We did not stay at this hotel.]
Many of the other authors have spoken eloquently on their experiences - and ulysses4 pretty much sums up our observations to a tee in his May review. I suspect management at Knockranny is not reading the many Tripadvisor reviews otherwise some intervention would have been made by now, months later.
The staff are young and pleasant - though seemed to be under pressure despite a calm (if cavernous) dining room. The view from the large bay window is spectacular.
The food at La Fougere is delicious and beautifully presented but the staff are simply not trained to this level. All the timing and service errors previously spoken of were replicated for us: menu with no wine list; bread arriving pretty much with the starter; amuse bouche of rabbit-meat (when my dining partner was having a fully vegetarian meal - important detail); wine service which left us to self-pour; no query during the meal if everything was satisfactory; petit fours simultaneous with dessert and the bill being delivered without request.
This is a strange trichotomy: a fine 4-star family hotel, a five-star chef but service which has been outpaced in independent restaurants we have enjoyed in Westport down through the years.
My concern is that gourmands willing to pay well for a terrific dining experience will find fault - repairable, consistent fault as others have cited - with the Knockranny Hotel. The establishment cannot rely solely on the professionalism of Chef Commons to keep the reputation alive.
We would love to dine here again, but plead with the hotel to train their staff to higher standards.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank ernestBT48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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93 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
173 reviews
114 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Within touching distance of exceptional but may not bridge the gap.”
Reviewed 3 August 2013

My wife and I had dinner here two nights this week as part of a food/accommodation package. By way of context, the cost of each meal, with wine, was around €175.

I found the food to be exceptional, a fantastic combination of tastes and ingredients, cooked superbly and presented exquisitely. I found the portions to be measured smartly, filling but not too much. Nice complimentary appetisers and amuse bouchées, fantastic wine list.

The setting, on the lower levels, of the dining rooms, is simply unbeatable in overlooking Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay. While we were there it was busy and a good 'buzz' obtained with people enjoying themselves.

Why I think it may never make it to extraordinary is a complete failing in leading the service in the dining room. My considered view is that management need to seriously invest in training their staff to the necessary level for a retaurent of this quality and price. Having got to know some of the servers over the days I stayed there, they are friendly, genuine, and well intentioned young people but I think need development, support and mentoring.

More than that they (the manageent) need to lead by example and show a greater professional approach to match the excellent fare and setting. By way of example, it is never acceptable to get your menu without a wine list, more than that to get your starter without your wine at the table is a compete no no, the pacing of courses is erratic, petit fours with dessert is not smart either, no wine chaperoning is also not acceptable at these prices. The clear and only intention i saw of senior management was that diners signed their bills before leaving - including before service was complete. I think there is hope in the quality of the young people who work in Knockranney but they need bringing on and realising of their talent - come on management, there are cheaper restaurants in the town who knock the socks off your service.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank DanIelDMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Excellent Food”
Reviewed 19 July 2013

Me and my girlfriend ate twice at this restaurant as we were staying in the hotel. On both occasions, we were very impressed. The food is probably classed as Irish nouvelle cuisine as it looks like nouvelle cuisine but would actually satisfy all but the hungriest of diners. The food was very tasty and well presented. The staff are also good; polite, informed, helpful, etc. and service wasn't too fast or too slow. The wine list is extensive and the wines we had were all very good. The only downside was the heat. The restaurant is split into two parts, newer and older, which is good for ambience but good also because the air-conditioning in the newer part is a little better than the older part. Since it was exceptionally warm when we ate there, on the second night we went into the new part, still enjoyed the great views and were much more comfortable than the first night. A restaurant (and hotel) of this standard really needs effective air-con.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank KilbegganRanger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Westfield, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
879 reviews
743 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 462 helpful votes
“Talented Chef; Less Accomplished Service”
Reviewed 24 May 2013

I don't mind paying for exceptional food and service. The food here was quite good, with a few glitches. The service was closer to banquet style, and some of the young staff really need some adult supervision.

I can see why Michelin has included the restaurant in its Red Guide, and I can also see why it isn't deserving of a Michelin Star, despite several of its indigenous awards. While the views from the restaurant are spectacular, and the overall ambiance is quite pleasant, it is so damn big I thought we were in a ballroom.

We had four or five waiters/waitresses performing periodic service, although one waitress seemed to have primary responsibility for our table. After she said: "No Problem" four or five times, it was becoming a problem for me. The bread and butter/olive oil didn't arrive until about the same time as our first course. The wine, delivered by someone else, turned out to be a good selection, and after the first pour, it was my responsibility to keep it flowing.

We ordered from the a la carte menu, and were generally pleased with the John Dory and Lamb. The obligatory veg and potato seemed a little out of synch with the potatoes Anna already on my plate.

When we indicated an interest in dessert, we were shown a separate menu. The most interesting dessert, a souffle, required an additional 20 minutes. Not that we were in a rush, but usually you are advised in advance about desserts that require extra time.

We shared a delicious cheese plate. It was delivered simultaneously with some petit fours, a shortcut that I doubt the kitchen would have approved of. There was no explanation of which cheeses we were tying, or what order to try them in, which is quite typical in France-since the kitchen knows the various strengths of the flavors.

While we were enjoying the cheese, our primary waitress came up and placed the bill in front of me, but turned to my wife and said: "I'm not rushing you, but would you please sign the bill when you are done." I had heard her deliver the same routine to several adjacent tables. That is appropriate behavior in a coffee shop-not a place where you are spending 150 Euros or more for your meal.

The bill said nothing about thr inclusion or lack of inclusion of any portion of a service charge. I rather reluctantly left a decent tip, not knowing how it would be divied up between the flying squad.

as we left, the maitre d was still at his front post, looking a little bored as the evening wound down.

The food is better than average here, but not exceptional. The service has a long way to go.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank ulysses4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clare
Level 6 Contributor
356 reviews
206 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 184 helpful votes
“Brilliant food with amazing choices!!”
Reviewed 9 May 2013

We had the tasting menu here and it was out of this world. Staff were very friendly and had no problem explaining some of the dishes to us a few times. Got to try things I wouldn't normally eat and everything tasted amazing. Secenery from the restaurant was really great as well.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Voilareally
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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