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“Could be great, but isn't” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Dorsal Restaurant & Bar

The Dorsal Restaurant & Bar
1 West St, Forster, New South Wales 2428, Australia
(02) 6554 8766
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Ranked #53 of 67 Restaurants in Forster
Cuisines: Seafood
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Reservations
NE England
Level Contributor
288 reviews
154 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Could be great, but isn't”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

The location, opposite the main beach, is excellent. The interior is light, bright and comfortable. The menu looks interesting and, although the drinks are expensive, the lunch time meals are not that overpriced. However, the food was only average and we were disappointed by the quality of the service and training of the staff.

We were visitors from Europe carrying UK credit cards, we always prefer to pay the bill on our card in AUD not GB pounds (our credit card provider gives a better rate of exchange). We were presented with a bill in AUD and the card reader showed AUD, but on receipt of the cardholders copy I found that I had been charged in GBP. I pointed this out the staff and said I wanted to pay in AUD and asked them to void the transaction and repeat it in AUD. They said they could not do this that the credit card machine automatically charged in GB pouds for UK cards and that they could do nothing about it.

I now know that this is untrue. Indeed after leaving the restaurant I read on the creidt card receipt the following statement. " I HAVE BEEN OFFERED A CHOICE OF CURRENCIES FOR PAYMENT INCLUDING THE MERCHANT'S LOCAL CURRENCY. I ACKNOWLEDGE THE CURRENCY CONVERSION SERVICE IS CONDUCTED BY ANZ."

At no time did the staff offer payment in the local currency and indeed refused to allow me to pay in local currency. I have since contacted the restaurant explaining my dissatisfaction with this, and to add insult to injury they have not even had the courtesy to respond.

If you carry a European credit card beware.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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91 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Forster, Australia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Keep trying this restaurant but always disappointed”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

We live in the area & have visited this restaurant over many years, hoping for an improvement. Now only go if visitors want to go there, not our own choice. Food expensive for the quality, often served cold, very average taste. The saving grace with this restaurant is the magnificent beach view, breakfast or coffee on the terrace is the best choice.

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Forster, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A wasted opportunity!!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012

Forster is crying out for a decent restaurant and the Dorsal should be leading the way. I have been going there for dinner reasonably regularly and until last night the food has always been good quality even if the menu is very basic.

Last night the menu had changed and looking at the entrees I thought it showed some promise. However the menu for the mains did nothing to whet my appettite. It looked like the menu from a 80's pub bistro. This was confirmed when I turned the page to the 'travellers menu with rissoles etc on the menu!!!

So I settled on the steak, which in the past had always been an aged fillet. The menu this time listed the steak as scotch fillet served with a puree and beans. The steak tasted like it had been broiled, it was bland, dry and overcooked - the worst meal of this kind I can recall!. The amount of puree on the plate would have covered the back of spoon and the beans were ordinary. The waitress was obviously new and unfamiliar with the menu and I saw other diners looking around for service. We were not asked whether we had enjoyed our meal otherwise I would have shared this feedback with them directly. My dining companions shared my views. When I go out to eat I want something on the menu I can't cook myself and if it is something I can cook myself it needs to be much better that I can cook. Thats what I am paying for.

The Forster economy survives to a large extent on the tourism dollar. This means that restaurants and cafes need to be constantly on their game. Outside tourist season its the locals that keep the place going. The locals and tourists deserve good food and good service. In this department most of the restaurants and cafes in Forster are 20 years behind the rest of the world. And the Dorsal, which should be leading the pack as the best restaurant in town has just lowered the benchmark even further with its latest offerings in food and service. Its such a terrible shame! Tourists will go to other towns who 'get it' and where they can get a decent meal and a great experience. The locals will have to keep dining at home for want of a better alternative - Woolworths is the only beneficiary from this.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Havelock North, New Zealand
Level Contributor
93 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Very nice In-house Restaurant”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2012

No need to travel out for dinner, this is an excellent restaurant

Visited July 2012
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Tuncurry, Australia
Level Contributor
52 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Great View”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2012

I have only ever had lunch at the Dorsal but they have a good variety of lunchtime meals and the View is so good the food tastes good whatever

Visited February 2012
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