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“Great pub dining”
Review of Dark Horse Inn - CLOSED

Dark Horse Inn
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: 17th century coaching inn, with open fires in the colder days, with a warm welcome every day. Big steak nights every Wednesday, daily chef specials, over 50's Monday and Tuesday, Sunday lunch all day "Sunday".
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great pub dining”
Reviewed 19 July 2011

This looks like a pub but it is really in the business of serving good but unpretenious food. Lots of really local ingedients, and a map showing you the actual farms the food comes from in their menu. Some good "specials" too.
It was busy, probably best to book a table.

  • Visited June 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Orchardcroft
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

75 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    48
    11
    7
    3
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
portsmouth
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Best kept secret on Isle of Wight”
Reviewed 2 June 2011

Well worth a stop in what is otherwise a pass through location. Great, friendly atmosphere and dog friendly too. I have had a couple of excellent meals here and their steak pie is historic.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank bauhouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stourport-on-Severn, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Freshly cooked food using local ingredients.”
Reviewed 29 April 2011

We visited the restaurant while holidaying at a local caravan site. We were met by a warm greeting and friendly service. Both my husband and I are vegetarians and found that there was plenty of choice on the menu, even though it was 'steak night'! I was lucky enough to have the last banoffee pie of the eve - to die for! I can see why this place is a popular choice with the locals. I would thoroughly recommend you give it a try.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank helbarlow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Attractive surroundings, nice food but little regard for the customer....”
Reviewed 25 April 2011

I have been coming here since 1988 so this is through various incarnations. Some good and some bad.

At present a lot of care has been taken on the appearance of the Dark Horse and on a positive note although a lot of people can be fitted in, the tables are positioned in such a way that you don't feel like you are sitting on other peoples laps. There' s a cosy fire on one side and another bar area further around from the main bar in the dining area if you fancy it. The car park is a bit hit and miss though. I think it could do with actual lines being painted onto it so people know where to park as sometimes due to the random directions that people put their cars in, you probably won't get more than a few cars in there. There may be lines, but I can't say I've noticed if there is!

Unfortunately I have been here with friends, family, groups or just two of us six times since November last year and EVERY time I have had a bad experience in one way or another, and this is due to the staff in there. Let me note that I am a very tolerant person & don't complain about anything unless really necessary. The only pleasant member of staff to interract with is a young girl who works behind the bar - I don't know her name though so can't mention her directly. The food on the whole is very nice. I have only had one not so good meal and this was the Macaroni Cheese which didn't seem to contain any cheese, just a very thin and sickly white-looking sauce that had nothing to do with cheese. All the other meals though have been delicious and I really have no complaints on that score and the price for the food is reasonable considering the quality.

Here is an example of some of the not so good things that have happened -

One occasion that I was there was just to have a drink with a group of friends. We all fancied some crisps, and this being a pub as well a restaurant you would assume that this would not be an unusual request. On asking for said crisps the man behind the bar (the manager I think) scoffed at the person asking for the crisps, "Crisps?! We don't sell crisps in here! :-S". When he was asked why he said that, "People come in here to have food so they don't need crisps". Ok...... This wouldn't have been so bad, it was just the rude way in which he said it and the look on his face. We finished up our drinks & went on our way...

Another occasion was my mum's 60th birthday. There was a group of us & we had balloons, cards, gifts and those metal sprinkles you get that all said '60'. We made the table look a bit special for her on our arrival {a couple of ballons, special '60' serviettes & put some sprinkles around). We ordered and when the first course came out a very young female member of staff put the food on the table then proceeded to tell us to remove all the sprinkles as if they get wet they damage the tables as they're not varnished. She didn't say it in a particularly pleasant way then stomped off. For a start why would you not varnish tables in a restaurant as everything 'wet' will ruin it if it drops on there? and those sprinkles were metal, not paper, and they didn't have dye in to come out. They weren't paper ones. We sat there for over 10 minutes picking every single '60' up off the table and it really dampened the atmosphere. We felt like naughty children. All evening not one single person working there (apart from the girl at the bar as we left) wished my mum a happy birthday, and when we had the sweet nothing special was done. I had heard from other people that without them saying if the staff knew it was a special birthday (and they certainly did with my mum) when you get the sweet they'd come out with at least a sparkler stuck in the sweet. Oh well, not this time they didn't. Maybe that was a punishment for the sprinkles..... No happy birthdays, no pleasant serving staff.... We didn't leave a tip.

Another occasion my friend and were eating our starters, hadn't had them very long, actually had the food in our hands & were tucking in and the waitress (another one with an attitude problem) came up and said, "Had we finished so she could take our plates away?". We hadn't taken ages eating the starter and the food was still in transmission from our hands to our mouths so it was obvious that we weren't finished. We said 'no we hadn't finished just yet' pleasantly and she said 'ok', rolled her eyes and walked off. She came back a couple of minutes later and as she was obviously desperate to take our plates, we held the rest of the starter in our hands while she took the plates away. My friend and I just looked at each other as we couldn't believe it - we were still eating. This was obvious and we hadn't taken our time either.

Another problem with the Dark Horse is that they won't let you book tables for two. Not everyone goes out in groups of four. I do not know of anywhere else on the Island that does this. I know places that don't let you book at all, but at least that's fair and it's first come first served. You can't go for a romantic meal for two with a partner then at the Dark Horse - you have been warned!!! They say there's always a table but that's not true as it gets very busy even out of the tourist season, and I have been disappointed before after coming quite a long way to go there with my husband and found ALL the tables full so we had to turn round and go elsewhere.

A very good friend of mine had booked a table quite far in advance of her birthday, phoned up to check that the table was still booked in for her a few days beforehand but when she arrived the table had been forgotten about and the restaurant part of the Inn was full up. Luckily the group of four she was there with had a drink there and a table of people left so she was able to have her meal but this just isn't good enough.

So to end this long review I will say that I will never go to the Dark Horse again unless I am invited to someone's birthday/occasion and I have had no choice as to where we are going. The staff are a pretty unfriendly bunch (apart from the one girl) and you don't feel 'special' to them. They just seem to want to take your cash & shuffle you out the door without realising that it's important to feel like you are a valued customer. The opposite is true for every time I have been in there for months. You are not valued, you are just tolerated.

Maybe I am just terminally unlucky, who knows, but these have been some of my genuine experiences of coming here. Shame as the food's very nice. If that's all you care about then this may be the place for you.....

  • Visited April 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank ABB_IOW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Best pub on the Island bar none!”
Reviewed 6 January 2011

Been to the Dark Horse a few times now and it never disappoints. Excellent atmosphere, huge menu and large specials board to choose from, quality of the food it fantastic. All priced extremely competitively. No matter what you go for off the menu it is always perfectly cooked and presented well. Can get busy, so book ahead. Good bar with a good selection of lagers and ales. Tight car park, so think ahead, there is a large public (free) car park about 400m up the road.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Diavolo82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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