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“Good steaks, terrible service”

Charcoal Grill Restaurant
Ranked #243 of 1,427 Restaurants in Canberra
Cuisines: Steakhouse
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed October 26, 2013

We went to Charcoal for my daughter's birthday. Despite being Canberra natives, we had never been, so we were all eagerly anticipating a lovely dinner at this famous Canberra restaurant.
Whilst the steaks were perfect, we were very disappointed with almost every other aspect of our dining experience. The restaurant is very homely, which, granted, is part of its charm, but the use of placemats and uncomfortable, battered chairs are not befitting of a restaurant that charges the kind of prices that Charcoal does.
Even though we told our waiter that it was our first time eating at the restaurant, we weren't told that the meals came with a baked potato and vegetables. I'm sure they do this on purpose, to ensure that customers order up on plenty of sides, which we did, believing the meals to come with steaks only.
As I said before, our steaks arrived perfectly cooked and utterly delicious. The disappointment was then that we had cooked vegetables on the table, baked potatoes on our plates, and a myriad of other sides that we'd ordered such as chips and garden salads, that sat largely untouched, and which we would not have ordered had we been properly informed to begin with.
Then we went to pay for our meal, and the girl told us she required a few minutes to get the bill ready. We were waiting to head home to have birthday cake, as Charcoal forbids BYO of any kind, including birthday cakes, but a few minutes transpired into ten minutes, all just to get a bill ready!
We won't be going back to this restaurant, not even for the great steaks. Restaurants are much more than the food they serve - they are about the atmosphere they create and the enjoyment of their guests, neither of which we experienced at Charcoal.

1  Thank Jane J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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101 - 105 of 159 reviews

Reviewed October 10, 2013

I have eaten at the Charcoal grill many times over the past 10 years.
The quality of the food remains excellent. The steaks are very, very good. Their wine range is good with both local, interstate and overseas. In fact there is nothing on their menu from entre to desert that I have been able to fault.
Their staff are friendly and knowledgeable and the service is always there when needed.
The only drawback if you could call it that is that it is a smallish restaurant so you really should book particularly at weekends.

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1  Thank Baldric666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2013

The ambiance of this restaurant fits in well with Old Parliament House, but I think this adds to its charm. The food is fantastic, no qualifier needed. If you like steak, you'll love this place.

1  Thank CDNGuy2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

I was looking specifically for a steak restaurant one night when we stayed in Canberra. I was a little alarmed at some of the negative reviews I found about the decor and the cost but we were not disappointed when we elected to book here. I figured the place must be doing something right if it has just celebrated 50 years in business! My first contact was when I left a message on the answering machine and my call was promptly returned and reservation made. Parking is conveniently located across the road. The atmosphere was cosy and a little old fashioned but the steaks were very juicy and the desserts enjoyed by all. Our waitress was pleasant and attentive. The wine list was very good. I would recommend this place and return. Just a note, although we did not have our wheelchair relative with us on this occasion, there is limited space and this would not be appropriate for someone in a wheelchair or families with kids in prams/strollers.

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1  Thank Beetrootears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

If you want an outstanding steak meal, in a small restaurant (about 5m wide x 20m deep), with excellent service, this is the place. Atmosphere is old world. Felt like time slowed down. This is Paleo diet heaven.

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Thank Sam_Bris-Vegas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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