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“Good food and really bad service”

Restaurante Joao Vaz - Palace Hotel do Bussaco
Ranked #14 of 28 Restaurants in Mealhada
Price range: $157 - $1,575
Cuisines: Mediterranean
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed May 29, 2013 via mobile

Tried this restaurant expecting a 5 star hotel restaurant experience. Food was very good, really enjoyed the sardines, great duck, dessert a flan store bought. Service unimaginable, looked like 10 lost human beings. Had to serve my own wine and water. The bread was frozen when served and replaced without any apology.

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2  Thank JohnnyDamian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (62)
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9 - 13 of 62 reviews

Reviewed October 23, 2012

The Palace it self it is a pearl of Portugal. Service is made according to 5 star standards. Wine cellar is one of the most fantastic in Portugal.

2  Thank NunoAlegre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2012

Low quality food, extremely slow service. I'm quite baffled by the four and five star reviews. There may be a good reason for the low quality too: The contract for the hotel is up, and the restaurant must be part of the package. There's really no reason for the current hotel chain to invest in any sort of improvement.

If you're close by and are looking for a restaurant, I would advise you to look elsewhere.

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5  Thank Pedro A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2012

super meal at the price, in(or rather, just outside) a 5 star hotel, wine was out of this world, service very good, my first Leitao...excellent. Altogether a great Hotel/Restaurant.

Thank martin h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2012

We stayed at the Palace for the night, and we had done so much driving we just wanted to stay and have a little meal. We were shocked by the prices-- €40 for a 3 course meal in Portugal is pretty scandalous-- but wanted to try anyway, thinking "how bad can it be" even in the light of very bad reviews on sites other than Trip Advisor. Bad choice!!

Things were bad from the start, as we waited for at least 30 minutes for a soup and salad. That gave us some time to appreciate the grandeur of the dining room (definitely worth a visit for the architecture, as there are plenty of details to admire.)

During the wait we were surprised by an amuse bouche: A terribly salty shrimp wonton or something. NOT a good surprise. Maybe an attempt to squeeze more money out of us with insanely over priced drinks? Think 5 EUR for a couple of water bottles. Oh, and forget about having wine with your meal-- the rock bottom cheapest was €25 for a bottle of nothing special, which is highway robbery-- in a grocery store it would be €4, in any other restaurant €10. We stuck to water.

Foodwise, out of two appetizers, entrees, and desserts, only my salad and my husband's chocolate mousse were up to par, and even those you could get cheaper just about anywhere. It was catering quality, tasteless food, no matter how good the dining room makes it look.

The staff had a "yeah, we know, please bear with us" look on their faces, and I'm sure being forced to wear uniforms which look straight from the battle of Trafalgar doesn't help. We were left with an awkward last-meal-in-a-ghost-ship kind of feeling.

There is obviously a degree of subjectivity involved in reviewing a restaurant, but I have absolutely no idea how this particular one can have multiple "Excellent" reviews on Trip Advisor. All I can say is that we did give it a try, and sadly our opinion is more in line with all the online and offline reviews we read and heard before.

Are you staying at the Palace and want options? We spent a total of 100 EUR on three great meals nearby - in Luso at Pedra de Sal, in Santa Comba Dão at Cova Funda, and in Condeixa-a-Nova at O Cabritino. That's three 3-course meals for the price of one at this restaurant. Not hard at all to find better options.

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5  Thank Jenopolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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