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“Nice lunch visit”
Review of The Dowling House - CLOSED

The Dowling House
Cuisines: American, Italian
Restaurant details
N Florida
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Nice lunch visit”
Reviewed April 15, 2014

Met a friend for a business lunch and was my first visit since the new owners took over. Interior was similar to previous tenants and there were new tables and chairs. Arrived at 11:00 am so hardly anyone else there. Was met at the door and greeted warmly. Drink order was taken and menus passed out quickly, we discussed the lunch specials, and two of our party ordered sandwiches while I chose the Chicken Cordon Bleu with green beans almandine and garlic mashed potatoes. Food came out quickly and was hot. The chicken had a nice bread crumb type coating with thinly sliced ham and cheese with a light sauce, clearly not a packaged frozen chicken breast and seemed to be hand breaded/pan fried and was very moist and tender. The green beans were good, I thought the mashed potatoes were a little bland and dry and I did not get much of a garlic flavor at all. Service was reasonable and friendly, most importantly they did not let me my tea glass get empty. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food and it was quiet so nice for conversation. They have a huge deck out back so lots of room although it will be hot in the summer. My friend commented on the Sunday lunch buffet as they have eaten at the Dowling House on several Sundays and commented positively on the quality of the buffet. I'll plan on giving it a try.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank zload
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

23 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    7
    7
    4
    3
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Jacksonville Florida
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A great asset and a very good restaurant”
Reviewed April 6, 2014

We have a small weekend place outside Live Oak and have been to the Dowling House several times. We have never been disappointed. The food has been excellent and the servers and staff have always been friendly , efficient and doing their best. The owners bought and are rescuing a grand house and doing well with one of the best restaurants in the North Florida area.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Takethescenicroute
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Live Oak, Florida
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A Disapointment!”
Reviewed March 27, 2014

After reading the past two reviews listed about March 23rd visits, my wife and I decided to have her Birthday dinner there along with my Mother on the following Wednesday evening. Well, lucky for me, my wife chose the place! The two of us have a great relationship so we can do nothing but laugh about our visit now but I feel compelled to warn the public. Don't look for "Fine Dinning" as I saw in one of their advertizements! Service was not only slow for an almost empty restaurant, but just plain TERRIBLE! After finishing our Prosciutto wrapped Mozzarella that should have been served warm (something about re-set melted cheese!) the empty plates sat on our table through two drink re-fills and the delivery of my side salad. Yes, we could have asked to have them removed, but that's my point about the service! And, in case you are wondering, we were drinking Iced Tea! 15 mins after my salad, our main coarse arrived only then to cause nothing but confusion to our server because her hands were full! So after some "helping out" which we could have done if we stayed home for dinner (yes we are locals!) we settled in. My Wife and Mother both enjoyed their the stakes but said the side dishes were lacking in that they did not compliment the meal in any way. I decided to play it safe and ordered the Chicken Parmesan. Served in a bowl, the Pasta was not properly drained and the classic "water puddle" developed. This would not have been so bad if it was at least warm! The Chicken was tough and had that "removed from the freezer breaded, ready to heat and eat" look, taste and texture. I can say nothing about the marinara other than it was very plain and got worse when mixed with the excessive water in the bottom of the bowl. So bottom line-- a safe bet decision on meal choice gone bad! We sat with our finished plates in front of us for a good 10 min. while we made a desert choice but before our plates were cleared , the waitress showed up with the check with out asking if we would like coffee or desert. I accepted the check most willingly as we just needed to leave!
Now, there is handicap parking which we do not use but my mother requires a walker and utilizes the handicap walkways. To our surprise when we left after dusk, the walk way was not lit. And I then noticed that there was no lighting in the Handicap parking area. This is an accident waiting to happen. I intend to point this out to the management of the Dowling house on my next trip to town. All in all , it was a bad experience and it is a shame because the facility and location in town could make for an excellent fine dinning restaurant if some one just put forth the effort. Menu selection says "Casual Dinning" at best and that's after the wait and cook staff are retrained in the basic required skills on making patrons "comfortable". Yes I know it was a Wednesday night, but as a consumer, it should not matter ! If the doors are open, the quality should not vary night to night. As of now, we will not be back and best of luck to all that do visit especially those that require the walkway after dark!

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Sandra E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake City, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
374 reviews
170 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 161 helpful votes
“Great Meal”
Reviewed March 23, 2014

We were excited when the Dowling House reopened recently. It is in a beautiful historic old home with lots of ambiance. The server did a great job and the food was excellent and very reasonably priced. All of our dishes were well prepared and the portions were large. The only complaint is the menu offerings were to similar to each other. Maybe a little more variety. We will definitely be back.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank travelerkent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake City, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
472 reviews
207 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 237 helpful votes
“Worth a Try”
Reviewed March 23, 2014

This restaurant has been open and closed over the years with different owners. We ate there last week and quite enjoyed our meal. The staff was very friendly and we were greeted warmly upon arrival. Everyone enjoyed their meal and the prices were fairly reasonable. I ordered a chicken dish that came with a garlic cream sauce. The waitress said it came with one side and they were lots of choices. I ordered green beans which were excellent, not overcooked and they had shallots and almonds with them. My husband ordered the same dish but with mashed potatoes for his side. I was surprised when our meals came and the chicken was served over pasta. It makes sense that it was, but the menu did not state that nor did the waitress tell us. I was glad I did not order the potatoes, since I already had pasta. The other person in our party had fried shrimp and she said they were very good. Two sides came with her meal. They bring you a basket of bread while you are waiting on your meal. The menu seems fairly limited as far as variety, there were a lot of similar dishes. We will probably go back and give it another try.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank travlingal51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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