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“Perfectly OK, but nothing special. The only place around.....”
Review of The Lifeboat

The Lifeboat
Ranked #1 of 13 Restaurants in East Cowes
Certificate of Excellence
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Description: The Lifeboat stands proudly over East Cowes Marina, which is a huge favourite of visiting yachtsmen in the summer, but also a family-friendly home-from-home for locals too. In the summer, our large outside decking area offers one of the best riverside dining experiences on the Island. For many visitors to the Isle of Wight, East Cowes will be their first port of call, since the Red Funnel car ferry docks here, delivering its passengers from Southampton straight into the town centre. East Cowes is the home of Osborne House and was once a maritime industrial town and former home of British Hovercraft. One of the most arresting landmarks many people will see, as they approach from the ferry, is the vast Union Jack painted onto the shore side doors of the old hovercraft factory. Now, East Cowes is a small but busy town with a cluster of popular shops and a stunning marina development.
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Perfectly OK, but nothing special. The only place around.....”
Reviewed October 20, 2013

The real problem with the Lifeboat is it has no competition, so although the food was cooked to a good standard, the menu is just predictable and and easy way out. Lot's of burgers, fried food, grills etc. Even the specials on the night were sausages and fish cakes. In other words, stuff that can be easily frozen, easily prepared and requires minimal effort to cook.

Yes, the location is great for the marina, and yes the decor and ambience if very pleasant, and it is certainly all nice and clean, but you do feel they could do more. I did enjoy the local IOW ale they had on tap, but I had an issue with an offer they had on the wine.

On each table was a list of offers, including buy a bottle, but pay the price of two large glasses. This meant a £17 of very average wine would cost £11 (which is what it was worth, the wines in general are way overpriced). However, when I tried to order it, I was told the offer starts on Monday. I said the offer should be honoured as it was advertised, and the staff just shrugged their shoulders saying they couldn't. After a bit of arguing, and the threat of calling the owner there and then, the deputy manager finally relented. Not a good experience.

I hope East Cowes gets developed soon, so like the West, places like the LIfeboat will either "up its game" in the face of competition, or go under.

Mediocre is the best word....you won't go hungry, and you won't hate the place, but you will leave pretty underwhelmed.

Visited October 2013
Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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410 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Don't bother !!”
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Visited the lifeboat on the first night of our weekend trip, food poor. Had fish and chips, thick greasy batter and very little fish. Our daughter had kids pizza which was very bland and looked like a frozen one. Staff young and couldn't care less, preferred chatting to each other. The only plus side of this place was the view of the marina.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank FamilyMunro2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crowborough, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Good value and speedy service”
Reviewed September 14, 2013

As sailors we are constantly watching the tide. Quick service is important for lunches and this pub does not disappoint. Excellent lunches all round today served with a smile. The wine however is expensive for the island! Nice views and atmosphere.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Angela J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertford, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Good food reasonably priced”
Reviewed August 31, 2013

Great view of the river from the deck, great food reasonable priced. Take the Sally river taxi from Cowes which will drop you at the pontoon. Busy with families.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Kirstie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
Reviewed August 23, 2013

Follow the signs off the main road and you wil wonder where you are going! Through various styles of houses and finishing up through an estate you find the huge Lifeboat Station and the Lifeboat Pub on the left. We came here on our last night on the IOW and wished we had discovered it before as we only needed a snack (following a superb lunch at another hostillery).
The setting is interesting for non boaties such as us, including walking round to see the Inshore Lifeboats. Word of warning-dont let the Grand children wander down to the pontoon unaccompanied-there are gaps in the railing straight down to the briny below, and no signs to tell you this..good job Lifeboat staion is nearby!
Anyway back to the review... House white -delicious, crab starter -hot and spicy, and garlic prawns the same... there the food review must end as just a snack for us but all the dishes coming out of the kitchen looked great. The bar staff and the waiting staff were freindly and efficient.
The pub looks great to look at and is very smart inside.
We sat outside fro the view and the tables are nicely spaced so you dont feel hemmed in. Inside it is noisyish due to the fact that every seemed to be having a great time and as we left a band was just setting up ... I'm sure if I was 20 years younger I would have stayed and had a thouraghly good time. Next time we are on the IOW definetly coming back for a big lunch.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Kate B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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