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“Early Bird catches the Worm” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Vanilla

Vanilla
Cambray Place, Cheltenham GL50 1JS, England
01242 228228
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Ranked #87 of 331 restaurants in Cheltenham
Price range: $29 - $39
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Large groups, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Gloucestershire
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Early Bird catches the Worm”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

I had been looking at their New Year Menu which I thought ridiculously overpriced. Then I spotted the 'Early bird' menu. If you wish to dine Friday you must book in advance. I did this and left a message. As no one returned my call to confirm availability I had to call again, so customer service here needs to be sharper.

However, the meal was excellent. I chose the three courses for £13.00 and was not disappointed. My starter was hummus, tzadziki, a dish of mild, mixed olives and two pitta bread.

Main was the burger which was well cooked and juicy served with chunky homemade chips and a selection of leaves in olive oil. My husband thought that there was too much oil. We both thought that a relish would enhance the burger and add moisture - not just ketchup offered. A teenager diner did have cheese on his, perhaps this could be offered?

Desert ( I made myself manage!), a light textured sticky toffee pud with sauce and praline ice cream. A delight and well worth the effort on my behalf as so many puds are either too treacley or micro waved within an inch of their lives, resulting in cloying brick like qualities. Not this one and what a choice when faced with brulee as well!

I like the dining room which was subtly lit with candles and staff were attentive without being intrusive. Wine was priced at the going rate £4.30 for House White.

There is one 'ladies', rather small and with many mirrors. Fine unless you're taking young ones with you. Then again I'm there to dine and enjoy which I certainly did and will be back.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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231 reviews from our community

80% Recommend
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Wonderful Italian restaurant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013 via mobile

We found this great little restaurant from the Guardian Best Food restaurants and were not disappointed. Great service and food. If you try there early bird menu you will not be disappointed. Section and taste of the food on offer was fantastic. High recommended and definitely worth a visit.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great food and good service, little niggles though.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

Good food from a skilled chef, a nice menu which changes often, with a variety of different dishes that are a little out of the ordinary from your usual restaurant fayre.
The restaurant is downstairs and well decorated, suited to romantic dinners very well, quite a lovely setting.
We have been to Vanilla maybe a dozen times and each time there always seems to be something 'off'. Most of the time the staff are very attentive and pleasant with very good service, but a couple of times we seemed to suffer from poor service although it didn't seem busy. Still good, but small things that were making it not worth the money the more we went.
Our niggles were as follows - I was beginning to get rather irritated as every time I called to reserve a table the first thing we were told was "I don't know... it's very very busy...". Fair enough one would think, but this was happening every time and the chap on the phone was a little gruff. Even worse was that when we arrived, the restaurant was nearly empty and did not get too busy at all. Sales patter perhaps, to imply how great and in demand they are, but a little annoying to hear every time I called.
Second, and perhaps the nail in the coffin was a last two times we went a fairly generous 'service charge' was added to the bill, handwritten in thick blue pen and kindly worked out for me at 10 to 15%. Maybe it's just me who gets offended at this - but we always tipped, sometimes up to 25% of the bill if service was good, and we would often buy our server a drink at the bar before we left. So it stung a little to see this charge conspicuously added to our bill.
When we mentioned it, it was pointed out that it was optional and they apologised. But it happened the next time we went and seems to be their MO now, so between the harsh phone manner of the booking chap and the big "TIP US!" always added to the bill we have stopped going.

Which is a shame, because the food really is good, and when you get one of the good waiting staff they are really great.
Perhaps I'm becoming a grumpy old man - if you don't mind a manual service charge being audaciously scribbled across your bill, and a grumpy booking agent it is actually a very good restaurant with a great chef! Hence four stars despite my gripes…

  • Visited October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Fab u lous!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012 via mobile

We took my mum here last night for a pre Christmas meal. The service was really good - very attentive! Food great. Fabulous atmosphere. Would highly recommend

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Superb”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

My husband & I ate at Vanilla recently and were most impressed. The ambience was lovely, the lighting and decor is beautiful and the food was delicious, I have to confess that we had starters, main courses AND desserts!! ( It wasn't my intention to eat so much but I couldn't help myself!) I found the service to be attentive but not invasive and would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for something special.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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