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“Brilliant concept, mixed performance”
Review of La Peniche

La Peniche
Ranked #1,075 of 2,665 Restaurants in Dublin
Price range: $0 - $22
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Description: La Peniche on board Barge Riasc is an unparalleled experience in Dublin and is situated on the 200 year old Grand Canal, just ten minutes from Stephens Green. As the name suggests – for anyone that speaks French.
Reviewed June 9, 2013 via mobile

Before we ever arrived on board, the staff were very helpful on the phone with our booking and with directions to the barge. The weather, to our great fortune, was perfect, and as we drank our glasses of nice wine in the sunshine on deck, smelling the fresh air and the clean canal water, surrounded by the leafy trees lining the banks, we looked forward to a very special occasion, which marked the last evening of our visit.

The barge began its slow cruise down the canal a few minutes later, gliding between rushes and irises on either side. The moment was heavenly.

I wish I could say that the rest of the evening was equally perfect, but in several ways La Peniche failed to live up to its potential. Having the franchise of operating this really charming, handsomely appointed barge on the restored canal, the management don't seem to give adequate thought to what the expectations of their visitors might be. As a result, the cruise doesn't succeed fully either as a dining experience or as a unique opportunity to experience the historic canal.

To start with the cruise aspect: we were surprised to learn that meals had to be taken in the dining room below decks. After beginning our drinks, we were shepherded downstairs to eat. Although the dining room is truly lovely, it deprived us of the wonderful canal views. because we had ordered three courses, which did not arrive in quick succession, we spent ALL of the rest of the trip in the dining room. We were permitted to go up between courses, but my mother did not feel comfortable negotiating and renegotiating the narrow stairs; a younger person could have done so easily.

The pilot navigated skillfully and also operated the locks, an entirely manual operation that is a show in itself. I know about this from having witnessed it previously from the banks. The human-powered mechanism is beautifully quiet and simple and should have been a highlight of the cruise, but many passengers never got to see it and, indeed, the crew made no mention at any time of the lock process; they did not announce the entry into the lock, the sealing of the back gate of the lock, or the start of water flowing in/out. The educational opportunities of the cruise were entirely overlooked; at a minimum, we might have been given a printed leaflet on the history of the canal and the mechanics of the lock.

As to the food, the wine was nice, and the goats-cheese tart was truly lovely. The meats-and-cheeses board contained two delicious cuts of cured meats and a couple of very nice cheeses, none of which were identified on the menu or otherwise--again, more information would have been nice. A pleasing touch was the handful of greens on the board, lending a nice fresh counterpoint to the meats and cheeses. Overall, though, the dish was not distinguished by impressive variety. The beef and Guinness stew was bland; the Guinness flavour was not detectable, nor were there enough seasonings to enhance the beef, which was also rather dry. The clever dessert of strawberries and crushed meringues was very tasty, but each dish contained the equivalent of about half a small strawberry--hardly what we expected!

With the wine, three courses, and a bottle of water (tap water is not available), our meal came to nearly €50 per person. We did add a bit for a tip to our very kind and helpful waitress. In the end, I am sure we will remember the evening for the beautiful light and the few minutes we were able to spend on deck--but the experience could have been so much more.

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2  Thank JenPacific
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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40 - 44 of 99 reviews

Reviewed April 29, 2013

What a wonderful way to end a week in Dublin! Great food, atmosphere and company. A must do if you are in the area and the weather is pleasant.

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1  Thank Lisa O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2013

I celebrated by birthday recently and it couldn't have been better, The food was excellent and the crew was great. The boat's atmosphere is very cosy and, I would say, lovely for a romantic evening as well as for a party. I will definetely choose the barge for my next celebration!!

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1  Thank Catalina D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

loved it, staff great, food amazing. Its a shame I live in Manchester as I'd every weekend. There is loads of room and the food is great, lots of choice. Was a little cold up top but we got provided with blankets and it was a really great start to the night

2  Thank caroleh78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

I visited La Peniche as part of a large group recently with 3 courses costing €39.50. I, along with the other people at my table, were very disappointed with the food.
I had the starter of Vol au Vent of Asparagus and Baby Spinach with Wild Mushroom and creamy White Wine Sauce. There did not appear to be any asparagus or spinach and instead was just full of mushrooms. The Vol au Vent case was rock hard and the filling was lukewarm.
I had the vegetarian main course of Hand rolled Canneloni which, while hot, was extremely tasteless. The other diners at the table had the Beef Stroganoff and Fresh Fish of the Day and all main courses, aside from the Canneloni, were only lukewarm.

Given the occasion and the fact that our table of 5 were part of a larger group, we didn't send the food back (which I regret now) as we didn't want to create a fuss.

This is overpriced food of poor quality and has the feeling of being just thrown together in the microwave. I would not return to La Peniche nor recommend it to anyone.

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

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