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“Excellent food in unusual surroundings”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Cafe Essence

Cafe Essence
Ranked #25 of 158 Restaurants in Bangor
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Families with children, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Description: Cafe Essence is a Chef Owned local seafood restaurant. This means our focus is on food. We are committed to preparing only the finest dishes and serving you only the highest quality food to capture the essence of fine dining.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Excellent food in unusual surroundings”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2013

We were looking for an anniversary meal, and don't know Bangor very well to eat out. This scored highly on the reviews, and I can quite see why. To start with, it's a BYO, which might put some people off, but I like. Wines in restaurants is usually overpriced, and this way I can concentrate on the food. The menu is clever as well, with a fixed price two course menu, and a specials board giving the extra should you choose from it. The tempura prawns were excellent, as was the large portion of pâté that I chose to start with. My partner then had the Brill, whilst I had the baked monkfish on a prawn risotto. I have to say it was the best I've had for quite a while. The service was pleasant, if a little slow between the courses for my liking, but that's better than being rushed. The restaurant is on the first floor up a narrow staircase, and a view of Hamilton Road, so don't go for the surroundings or the view - just go and enjoy some very very good food. I will certainly be back.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Gareth J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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170 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    111
    29
    18
    9
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bangor, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
60 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“It's Great Reputation is Warranted”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013 via mobile

Although we have been long aware of its reputation for terrific seafood food, because my wife is partially disabled we had forborne to climb the steep stairs to this small, well furnished restaurant until recently invited by friends. We were greeted by smashing attentive staff who knew what constituted the dishes on the various extensive menus and handled any variance in our requirements in their stride. As for the food, just mouthwateringly beautiful. There were five of us, each having a different starter and main course. All were served with perfectly cooked vegetables and piping hot. The desserts were huge and simply delicious. The climb was well worth the effort and we will return as soon as we can get a table which because of its size and popularity is proving difficult. Well done to all concerned.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
Thank Harry M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great Bistro Menu”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2013

Went for the early evening Bistro menu . For 2 courses for £12 it is excellent value and the quality of the food is first class. With a choice of 4 starters and 4 mains for this price it is worth ever penny. Bring your own is also a good policy so bring a good bottle as you only pay for corkage.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Stanley B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangor, Northern Ireland
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Good food and pleasant service.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 11, 2013

We enjoyed our visit to Cafe Essence. The restaurant is small and has a quirky Bistro kind of feel. We had the Early Bird menu and so the restaurant was quiet but I can imagine that later on in the evening on a busy night it would have a very cosy atmosphere. We liked the jazz music themed black and white photos on the walls.

The service was attentive and we were served very quickly. The Early Bird set menu was small but everything looked appetising. Our food was served piping hot and in generous quantity. It had obviously been prepared with care and hadn't just been thrown on the plate in the kitchen.

It was a nice choice for a date night as it has an intimate feel. It's not necessarily somewhere I would bring small children, but that's fine. It's nice to get away from the small people sometimes!

I feel slightly hesitant about raving about this place as I do think it stops short of being somewhere really special. I think it has a lot of potential and in my view is nearly there, but not quite. I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't absolutely fall in love, because there was nothing in our visit to complain about. Perhaps I simply didn't have the best dishes on the menu? We are also not wine drinkers so the 'bring your own' element, which I know will be a huge draw for some, was not a factor for us.

In any case we will definitely be back. I think the fact that we were are more than willing to give Cafe Essence another try is why I am plumped for 4 stars rather than 3, perhaps though 3.5 might have been my preferred score if that were possible. In summation I would definitely recommend that you give this little Bistro a try. I don't think you will be disappointed as long as you perhaps take some of the rave reviews on Tripadvisor with a little pinch of salt, if you'll pardon the pun.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank RubyShoes5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangor Co Down
Level Contributor
34 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Excellent as always......”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2013

came with my daughter for a treat for a big birthday.... food excellent and service outstanding. i ate til i had no room left. def a hidden gem :)
Seafood is a speciality

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank chocaholicgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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