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“Good service but below average food”
Review of James Street South

James Street South
Ranked #21 of 1,129 Restaurants in Belfast
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $103
Cuisines: European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: City Centre
Description: City Centre Restaurant with Cookery School. Using the best of Northern Irish produce for a seasonal menu. Pre theatre Mon-Fri £21.50, A La Carte and Tasting Menu always available. Now with Private Dining Room and The Bar and Grill, a more casual dining option located next door. Our other restaurants are The Bar & Grill at James Street South, Hadskis and Cast & Crew.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

Normally I wouldn't write bad reviews but James Street South was very disappointing. We went on a Saturday night at 7pm for a special occasion having got engaged an hour beforehand, the service throughout was of the standard you would expect in a fine dining restaurant so I will talk only about the food.

I chose the Mackrel for starter as was curious as to how the chef would deal with the Mackrels strong flavour and personalise it, unfortunately it was not much different to what you would buy at a supermarket fish counter or indeed from a tin. I really wish I had went with my original choice of Pigeon.

For my main course I went with the rabbit, the rabbit and it's accompanying vegetables can only be described as bland, my partner chose the Vennison and while she said the meat was cooked to perfection she felt the accompanying vegetables did not complement it at all and she felt it really detracted from the taste of the meat.

Unfortunately having been so disappointed we decided not to hang around for desert and asked for the bill, the price was what was anticipated so was no shock, it was just disappointing the food didn't hit similar heights.

1  Thank Pete H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Managerjss, Manager at James Street South, responded to this reviewResponded February 12, 2013

Dear Pete H,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review, we welcome all feedback whether positive or otherwise.

I am delighted that you found the service to be attentive and as you would expect from a restaurant of our standard.

I am sorry to hear that your food did not match up to your expectations and I can only apologise profusely.

Please do let me know personally when you are next dining with us and I will ensure your next experience will be memorable for all the right reasons.

Kindest Regards,

Nicola Walls

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852 - 856 of 1,006 reviews

Reviewed January 25, 2013

Food and presentation is always excellent, the menu is expensive. The service also great. They do have a pre theatre menu but the choice is limited.

Thank Golftimestravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Managerjss, Manager at James Street South, responded to this reviewResponded February 12, 2013

Dear Ladiesgolftimes,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review, feedback is of the utmost importance to us.

We are thrilled that your dining experience with us was excellent, high praise indeed! We realise some of our menu items may be a little more expensive than neighbouring restaurants however Niall uses only local produce where possible in order to support all of our local producers and suppliers and often these products tend to be more expensive than their foreign counterparts.

We look forward to seeing you again onn your next visit with us.

Kindest Regards,

James Street South

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013

Recently had dinner here again - we tend to go here a couple of times a year for a "treat". The food was pretty good, though not faultless, but what really shocked us was the very poor service.

This restaurant is one of the most expensive in N.Ireland, at around £60 a head for evening a la carte. With this you should expect excellent servce and on all previous occasions we had this, for example when you went to the bathroom you returned and your napkin was folded on the table; also the servce was discreet but very attentive as it should be. This time service was very much "in your face" and not attentive. I had to move out of the way on a number of occasions to allow the (fairly haughty) waitress to fill my wine or water glass and she whipped away our starter dishes with a "I'll take those". Not a question of whether or not we had enjoyed them...!!

We also had to wait 10 mins when we were seated and then had to ask for someone to talk us through the menu. Too many different waiting staff coming to the table etc etc.

Overall, I would not eat here again until service improves - quality food is only one part of a dining experience, and at this price service must be better than a poor average.

Disappointed!!

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Thank Foodie186470
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Managerjss, Manager at James Street South, responded to this reviewResponded February 12, 2013

Dear Foodie186470,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review, we welcome all feedback whether positive or otherwise. We normally pride ourselves on our standard of service and can only apologise that your experience fell short of the standards we have set for ourselves.

We pride ouselves on friendly, efficient, knowledgable and discreet service and we profusely apologise that the service on the evening of your visit does not depict any of these characteristics. Please be assured that this has been addressed with the team and will not be tolerated.

If you could please make yourself known to me when you next make a reservation I will personally ensure your experience with us is memorable for all of the right reasons.

Kindest Regards,


Nicola Walls

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Reviewed January 17, 2013

I had dinner to celebrate a family occasion; none of us had the set menus, since the a la carte (provided you only choose starters, main, and dessert) is a much better value and provides more liberty, specially when it comes to dessert. Food was very well presented and everyone enjoyed their dishes, which included monkfish, pigeon, pheasant, duck, scallops, and rabbit. The bread starters were a little disappointing given how, if you are paying for bread to be served (something which i disagree with on principle), you expect out of the ordinary bread and perhaps special dipping sauces or flavored butters, and in this case the bread was ordinary and simple (albeit tasty) butter was served. All the dishes were very well presented and portions were fairly sized. Everyone at the table was raving about the chocolate assietes plate. Whilst their prices are not the best, their wines do seem to be a good value.


The caveat is that the restaurant seems to be following the "rush your customers" policy: We were somewhat apprehensive at first, having received a phone call a couple days after booking telling us that for our 7pm reservation we needed "to be out by 9"...something which you definitely do not expect from any restaurant, much less from one that is marketed as a top tier restaurant. However, i must say that on the actual dinner we only felt rushed at the very beginning (the starters were rushed and plates removed as soon as people left their fork down).

Overall, James Street South was a very good dining experience, although i am not certain it is the best i've had in Belfast (beatrice kennedy's, cayenne, the room at the merchant are all contenders). I do recommend trying it.

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Thank D Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Managerjss, Manager at James Street South, responded to this reviewResponded February 12, 2013

Dear D Q,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review, feedback is of the utmost importance to us.

I am delighted that you enjoyed your meal with us when you were last in with your family. In regards to the bread, this is something that we used to give out as complimentary however many people did not eat it and was wasted, we have since decided to charge for bread for those who would like it. Some of our prices are a little more expensive than neighbouring restaurants, Niall uses local produce when possible and these products tend to be more expensive that their foreign counterparts.

We apologise that you felt that a two hour allocation was not long enough however this is common practice in restaurants to have two sittings, especially at the weekends. We do feel that two hours is more than adequate to have a three course meal and we certainly have no intention of making anyone feel rushed and we apologise that you and your guests felt differently.

I do hope that you will return again soon and we look forward to welcoming you back.

Kindest Regards,

James Street South

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Reviewed January 15, 2013

Just had a great meal at James street south, ths scallop and chorizo starter was the tastiest ever and the main course of pheasant was cooked to perfection. Great to see such attention to detail. we missed dessert as going to the opera house but the dessert cocktails were packed with all the right ingredients. The waitress was pleasant and helpful and looking forward to going back for their pre theatre menu which we had missed by 15 minutes. A place not to be missed.

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Thank C L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Managerjss, Manager at James Street South, responded to this reviewResponded April 18, 2013

Dear CL,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review, customer feedback is of paramount importance to us.

I am delighted that you enjoyed your experience with us, I also love our dessert cocktails, the lemon martini being a particular favourite.

We do look forward to welcoming you back soon for our pre-theatre menu.

Kindest Regards,

The Team and James Street South.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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