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Unfortunate restaurant recommendation

My wife and I made reservations at Le Bistrot in Edinburgh based upon the recommendation in Rick Steves' 23rd edition of Great Britain.
My wife ordered the salmon and I ordered prawns over linguine. I initially wanted the sea bass, listed on the specials board. I was told it was not available even though we were there for an early dinner at 6:45.
Our dinners could not have been worse. The salmon was so overcooked it flipped over when my wife tried to cut into it. I requested a steak knife to try to separate the prawn meat from it's shell. I was unsuccessful. I could only remove tiny pieces of the meat after great effort. I elected not to order a replacement meal as I have no confidence that the replacement would be any better after seeing how my wife's salmon was presented. I can only say that recommending this restaurant is a great mistake and Mr. Steves should remove the restaurant from its recommendations. There are many other options in Edinburgh and this restaurant should be avoided.

Posted by
10497 posts

The salmon was so overcooked it flipped over when my wife tried to cut into it

Never ever would I have thought one would have to "cut into" salmon.

Prawns still in the shell over linguine? ...really?

I hope they made some accommodation on the bill

Be sure to leave comments here---

Posted by
6113 posts

Any guidebook is out of date before it is published. The recent Trip Advisor reviews are polarised - either brilliant or awful and few reviews in between.

Posted by
5828 posts

In some cases, shrimp is cooked in a way that eating the shell is a treat. Epicurious:

"Yes, shrimp shells are not glamorous. They aren't particularly
appetizing. You could even argue that they aren't even food. But I am
here to assure you that under certain circumstances, they are
shockingly delicious, with a treasure trove of flavor and texture that
naked unshelled shrimp can't even match. And if you're tossing them
away, you're missing out. Here's what you need to know about how to
live that shrimp-shell lifestyle:"

Posted by
2 posts

I can assure you that these prawns were not a treat!
What little meat I was able to remove from the shell and eat was tough. I can only guess that the prawns were overly cooked or frozen for a long time or had suffered some other mistreatment..

Posted by
531 posts

This is why I prefer to look at Google and Yelp reviews versus just Rick Steves' restaurants reviews. Better to see several opinions/reviews and determine if there is a trend, whether positive or negative.

Posted by
99 posts

It seems like you were offered a replacement but chose not to order. IMO this website leaves no room for the restaurant to tell its side of the story. I guess I wouldn't take the chance and eat there but I would think that Ricks recommendation should carry more weight.

Posted by
5828 posts

I just realized that "Le Bistrot" in Edinburgh is a "French" resturant. I wonder why Rick would be recommending dining in a French resturant is Scotland.

Posted by
5828 posts
Most of the "reviews" are 4+ of 5 but one "one star" reviewer agrees with OP:

Andra Luciana Chizeveter

1 stars

2 months ago on Google

Husband got food poisoning from the prawn and linguine dish…I looked at the reviews and I see the restaurant serves so much sea food
and people are very satisfied, I bet we had really bad luck, it only
takes one prawn. We had just arrived in Edinburgh and after checking
in the hotel we went sightseeing, didn’t eat anything before, ate at
Le Bistrot - we both had the Onion Soup - which by the way is NOT
French Onion Soup with cheese and bread,

Posted by
31491 posts

actually, Edgar I don't think that the review you chose has anything to do with the complaints made in the OP. I saw nothing about getting sick.

I too see that the OP was offered and refused a replacement.

Posted by
2060 posts

"the OP was offered and refused a replacement"

Not much solace there, if both original meals missed the mark, little hope the replacement would be any better. If the post is to be believed, I would just want out of the place, pronto.

Posted by
2640 posts

Line 5 in original - "I elected not to order a replacement meal ..." sure sounds like the restaurant tried to fix this.

Two notes--This is a new entry in the RS GB 23rd book, it was not in the 22nd edition. And given the comments made in that edition, along with other RS books, I find it rather surprising that a restaurant smack dab in the middle of the tourist conga line on the Royal mile is being recommended, as he is always recommending get a block or two off the tourist area for better food and prices.