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“Bland, ordinary food and an owner who couldn't care less”
Review of Le Rendezvous

Le Rendezvous
Ranked #998 of 1,368 Restaurants in Canberra
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Surrey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
192 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 198 helpful votes
“Bland, ordinary food and an owner who couldn't care less”
Reviewed December 29, 2012

I have eaten at Le Rendezvous a number of times over the past few years. My experience there has been varied, but the most recent one means I will never return.

We dined with another couple. Despite it being only about 10 days before Christmas and every other place in Manuka was bursting at the seams, Le Rendezvous was only about two-thirds full. The two waitresses looked about 16 years old and quite clearly one of them in particular was completely inexperienced. She was nervous, hesitant, didn't know the menus, didn't know anything about the food, when serving placed the wrong dishes in front of people and despite passing by our table six times (I counted) after we had very obviously finished our meals, did not take away our plates or offer us dessert menus (we waited a full 20 minutes before finally calling across the room to get her attention).

The food also, disappointingly, was decidedly average. I cook better pasta and pizza at home. All four of us were underwhelmed and surprised as we'd all eaten at Le Rendezvous previously and enjoyed better food.

The real disappointment however was the attitude of the owner/manager. Having finally managed to order dessert, my three companions were almost immediately served the gelato they had ordered. They politely waited, their gelato melting, for my slice of cake to arrive. After about 7 or 8 minutes, my friend went out to tell the manager that I was still waiting for my dessert. He apologised and said it would be out soon. Another 6 or 7 minutes went by before I was eventually served my cake. What was the delay? It's pre-made cake! Also, despite it being described on the menu as being served with a mango coulis, it was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I do not like ice cream, gelato, cream etc - I have a low dairy tolerance. Therefore I quickly gave the scoop to my partner before it had a chance to melt on my plate. It was only when I was halfway through the cake that I realised the mango coulis was missing. I didn't finish the dessert - the cake was ordinary and would have benefited from the mango coulis.

I finished my dessert and we decided to leave immediately. At the counter I told the manager I didn't believe I should be charged for my dessert as I'd waited a full 15 minutes for it to be served and ended up eating it by myself as my three companions had to eat their gelato before it melted. Also, it wasn't as described on the menu - where was the coulis? I was then given a cock-and-bull story about them having decided not to do the mango coulis anymore as in the warmer months 'it goes off'....?! Refrigeration? I asked what he meant - I couldn't understand this reasoning. He asked me then if I knew what a coulis was. I answered that I have made many a coulis myself at home, so yes - I did know. And I never had a problem with it 'going off' if you refrigerated it. When he realised he could not bamboozle me with this story, he then changed his tune and argued that (a) it was not 15 minutes I had waited (I told him I had timed it), and (b) 'We always serve gelato first'. Incredulous, I asked 'So you would ordinarily serve gelato immediately to a table, whilst others who've ordered different desserts have to wait?' He claimed this was the case. When I said that if they have decided not to serve the coulis, they should alter their menu as people ordered a dish on the basis of its description, he scoffed and said they didn't have to.

I should mention I also had an Entertainment Card entitling me to a discount for the meal. This was the main reason we'd decided to eat at Le Rendezvous - to get some benefit from the card. As I handed it across, the owner then told me it was his prerogative whether or not to accept the card (this is NOT true, by the way and the Entertainment Card people are taking this up with the owner). He was clearly annoyed that we'd complained about the dessert issue. I told him that if he didn't accept the card, none of us would dine there again and we would tell all our friends about this experience. We were agog when the owner stated that he didn't really care whether we came back or not, and informed us that 'People think the restaurant business is competitive - it's not. It makes not difference whether you come back or not' !!!!!!!

So there you have it, people - the owner of Le Rendezvous doesn't need your business so don't bother going.

Only a couple of weeks before this experience I had dined at Le Rendezvous with a friend and enjoyed good service from experienced, mature staff and reasonably tasty food. The contrast on this last visit was incredible. I am unwilling to risk suffering another dud evening and therefore will not be returning.... particularly, as noted above, when the owner tells me he doesn't need my business.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank mareepsasja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    16
    38
    18
    16
    45
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Ordinary food, awful service, over-priced”
Reviewed December 14, 2012

This restaurant has been running on this site for quite a few years. It changed ownership a year ago much to the detriment of it's former reputation. Waitresses with absolutely no training are hired and these 14 year olds are are oblivious to their customers; they look everywhere but at the tables! Our waitress basically ignored us once the main was served and we had to virtually tackle her to come over and clear the dirty plates and take an order for dessert. The food is, at best, ordinary and certainly not at all worth the money. The pizza is fair - but honestly, how hard is it to cook pizza?? Basically most people could cook the pasta dishes at home and with much better flavour. If you want to pay ridiculous prices, suffer awful service and eat flavour-less food then this is the place for you. Otherwise Manuka has much more, and much better to offer just a very short walk away. Don't wast your money.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank JoyKev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ACT
Level Contributor
62 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Good lunch in Manuka”
Reviewed December 9, 2012

I heard about Le Rendezvous from my friends who visited the restaurant several times after it went under new management (a year ago?). This was the first time we tried it and can confirm that the positive opinions were correct.
We came to Manuka on Saturday just to walk around and when we saw Le Rendezvous decided to stop for a lunch. It was a nice Italian style food (as the owner explained he hired three very experienced chefs). At a moderate price. Like it and will go again.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank YuriKAct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
55 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Good Food and Prices”
Reviewed December 2, 2012

Took a large party there for dinner. They handled it well. It was a very hot day but lovely and cool inside. Service fine, prices reasonable and the food was enjoyed by everyone.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
Thank BeenThere55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra Australia
Level Contributor
56 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“An Oasis in Manuka”
Reviewed November 22, 2012

This restaurant which has been on on this site for at least 40 years is a Canberra institution. Of course it has changed hands many times over the years.
Great food and always good service. I have been there for casual lunches and dinner usually before or after going to the movies.
Highly reccommeneded.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank gemmabel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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