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“Nice location but appalling food and patronising staff”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of La Marina

La Marina
Ranked #26 of 70 Restaurants in Penarth
Price range: US$52 - US$209
Cuisines: Mediterranean, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups, Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings, Child-friendly, View
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, After-hours, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Newport, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Nice location but appalling food and patronising staff”
Reviewed 28 July 2014

My partner and I visited for Sunday lunch at 2.30 without booking and although the marina area was extremely busy we were surprised to see that there were numerous tables available in La Marina. I am not at all surprised!

There were several waiting staff milling about aimlessly when we arrived so I thought the service would be excellent but, unfortunately this was not the case. We ordered a bottle of wine and a white wine spritzer which took an absolute age to arrive and only came when a second waitress asked if we'd ordered drinks. While waiting, I went up to the counter to look at the menu and opted for the crab bisque followed by roast lamb. I was astounded when the young man behind the counter said, "You do know that crab bisque is soup, do you madam?" How patronising and what an insult to my intelligence and my knowledge of food! I have been eating in fine restaurants for years.
I annoyingly replied, "Yes, of course I know it's soup. That's why I'm ordering it." He then tried to excuse his insult by saying that several diners had ordered it that day and sent it back saying it was not what they ordered as they did not know that bisque was a soup.

I don't think that was the real reason they sent it back. I am pretty sure that, like me, they were extremely disappointed with the quality of the soup. Firstly, if one orders crab bisque one expects it to taste of crab but there was not the slightest flavour of crab, there was no bread roll to accompany it and it was so ridiculously salty I couldn't eat it. I see that other reviewers mention that theirs came with bread so I guess the absence of mine was a kitchen/serving error.

I called the waiter as I thought I had been served the wrong soup but he insisted that the waitress had served me the correct dish and he offered to change it for the mediterranean fish soup which was slopped over the edge of the bowl as the waitress placed it in front of me. Sadly, although that did have visible traces of fish (and shreds of crab) it also was far too salty and I was able to eat only a few mouthfuls before abandoning the idea and hoping that the roast lamb I'd ordered for mains would save the day.

Unfortunately my disappointment continued. My lamb consisted of a load of scraggy pieces of flavourless meat served with 2 tiny pieces of what were supposed to be roast potatoes (tough as old shoe leather) and a dish of assorted uninspiring, luke warm, bland vegetables. Lamb is usually a very tasty meat but I don't think the chef had seasoned it at all before cooking...... I presume he'd run out of salt having used it far too generously when making the soups!

Although La Marina enjoys a pleasant location and is housed in a fine building it no longer deserves the good reputation it once had. I was totally disappointed with both the quality of the food and the service provided by the staff, most of whom need substantial training before they are let loose to serve customers. - Lesson number one for the young man behind the counter - Do not assume that your customers are idiots who don't know what they are ordering!

Needless to say I won't be returning. There are much better places to eat in the Cardiff/Penarth area where the food and service is a hundred times better.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank Linda H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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163 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Rhoose, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
76 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Standards are Slipping......”
Reviewed 27 July 2014

Table for two booked & looking forward to a good Sunday lunch.......good reception & service on arrival with drinks arriving fairly promptly. Both ordered the Spring Lamb as no rare/medium rare rib of beef available. Also ordered extra Yorkshire as it does not come as standard with lamb. Started with crab bisque which was delicious together with the "extra" French Bread. Mains arrived together with a turine of mixed vegetables. I queried whether the one slice of carrot was to be shared between two. Waitress offered extra vegetables which were much healthier than first portion. I then queried where were the boiled potatoes, to be told that they were available at an extra charge. The two lamb was plentiful, although rather bland to taste.....thankfully the mint sauce added some flavour. As for the roasties, there were two rather small pathetic excuses that had surely never seen the roasting pan.
Overall.......very underwhelming.......& then they got the bill wrong.......adding some miscellaneous items that no one could explain, or remove from the electronic billing.....so adjustment made with a pen.......not A good day for La Marina.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Bryan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fleet, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
535 reviews
379 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
“Investment in training would've gained it an Excellent rating”
Reviewed 20 July 2014 via mobile

Located in Custom House on the first floor (ground floor is a similar concept restaurant, but the theme is different - bizarre, but not a distraction), it has the attraction of splendid views of Cardiff Bay and the barrage
Parking is plentiful and free, which was an added bonus, considering Penarth Marina feels like an exclusive cliquey zone of much pretense

The concept of this restaurant is similar to the old Brasserie on St Mary's Street in Cardiff, whereby you queue up at a market style counter and select the seafood or meat product that you would like to eat, tell them how you wish it to be served and then return to your table to which it will be served - seemingly cooked to order

The food was good, thoroughly enjoyed it (even impressed with the chips, just like a chippy) and the overall ambience was pleasant
The wine list is extremely extensive - so I recommend you get a lift or taxi to bring you there and back, so that you take full advantage....if you fancy a tipple of course

Now on to the service - extremely helpful, friendly, quick and non intrusive
So what's why the heading of my review?
It's aspiring to be a higher end of the scale restaurant, but the delivery of the service lets them down - and I view it as simple lack of detailed training
Simple things like placing dishes carefully in front of the customer - as opposed to throwing it down so that soup splashes out of the bowl
Serving the women of the group first, as opposed to whoever was closest
Serving from the correct hand side of the customer and clearing from the other - as opposed to clambering over other guests to clear a plate, and in that haste, you splash reminisce of food into the customer's eye

Value wasn't crazy expensive as the Trip Advisor ratings indicate, so please don't be put off by that
Overall, a pleasant location to eat (we spent 5 hours there and not once were we harried or given the impression they wanted our table) and a place I would return........would be good to see if the service levels upped themselves a notch when I do

Visited July 2014
Thank j100lok
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
31 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Good food but rough crowd! Won't be back!”
Reviewed 17 July 2014

Booked this 4 weeks in advance for my birthday and asked for nice view so bit disappointed when they seated us by the bogs! Not happy asked to be seated elsewhere the waiter looked very put out! but eventually seated us in the gangway! Not happy! Not a good start! Many empty spaces by windows.
I am a working class man and we only have special meal twice a year so I get suited and booted and my wife shapes up very well also so when chap next to me sits down wearing builders boots t shirt and shorts he has literally just come off the building site I feel very overdressed! Many here turned up in t-shirt and shorts very unsavoury for such a fine eatery surely there must be some sort of dress code. Many men turned up drunk and manager let them in!
We won't be back! I am no snob believe me but if you want Mc Donald's then that's fine but if you are going to nice restaurant then dress well! I cannot believe the manager let go their dress code! I ordered nice bottle wine but I had to refill my glass and that is not good no attention from servers.
So many staff we had 6 servers in total should be just the one not good! Why so many servers?
I have no idea why but you can't order food with a waiter from your table?
You have to go up to fish stall and order there from the big boards this is so not good.
We arrived early so ok but 30 mins later huge crowd turned up trying to order... very unsavoury!
Couldn't wait to get out of there!
What a shame as food is fantastic! Starters mains excellent what a shame the ambiance has caved into cramming them in!

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank JudgeLeigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“La Marina”
Reviewed 10 June 2014 via mobile

Went as a family celebration for the first time in a couple of years and nothing has changed. Food is excellent, service was fantastic and a lovely setting to enjoy it all. We arrived for a three o'clock booking and were disappointed that some of the dishes had sold out but the alternatives they suggested were all lovely. Even if you're not too keen on fish dishes like myself you can indulge yourself with a lovely Sunday roast. A great afternoon enjoyed by the whole family and even the 3 year old cleared his plate, result!!

2 Thank Highburydreams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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