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“Food good, service perplexing”

The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant and Pub
Ranked #2 of 34 Restaurants in La Conner
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$15 - US$35
Cuisines: French, Seafood, Gastropub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: The Oyster & Thistle Restaurant and Pub specializes in 'Elegance Through Simplicity'. Thoughtfully prepared dishes with attentive and unpretentious service in the most uniquely quaint destination. The Oyster & Thistle is a completely from scratch approach with a commitment to the classics.
Reviewed 14 April 2018

This is our favourite LA Conner restaurant, but on a couple of recent visits the quality of the service left us scratching our heads. It was as if nobody knew what they were doing. The first evening there were just two of us, and we did alright with our starters and mains, while observing frantic rushing back and forth of the servers. Then we waited ages until finally our waiter dropped the bill on a fly-by. "Hey," we said, "Can we see a dessert menu?" But the food was good. Later in the week, I hosted my extended family - one 9-year old, her parents, my sister and me - for a meal that was, again, tasty, but marred by frantic, forgetful and sporadic service. Our mains came out: three together, 5-10 minutes wait for the 4th, and another 5-10 minutes for the last. No apologies. You would have thought they might have offered a free dessert, or deducted the $3.50 cost of a basket of bread but no. The grand marnier souffle, which is normally superb, looked good, but they forgot the grand marnier. As it takes a while to bake - and in this case an extra-long while - I didn't complain but it was a disappointment. Thankfully we were all happy to be together and the young couple happy to get out for a pleasant evening so the actual dining part of the evening took a back seat to the visiting, but if we'd gone expecting a fine dining experience we would have been disappointed. There is nothing really kid-friendly on the menu. Dinner for 4 1/2 was $253 before tip. The staff were not unpleasant. That's the best I can say. I've given 4 stars for the food, which is better than average.

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Thank gettingandspending
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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13 - 17 of 276 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2018

This was our 4th visit to the Oyster and Thistle. This evening was my birthday. How very disappointed we were. We opted to not make a reservation but instead went in late on a Friday night. The restaurant was busy but there were at least 3 wait staff roaming around, and people were getting their food on time.

We began by ordering drinks for which we had to wait quite awhile. The waiter finally came with them and started to tell us about the specials of the day. He managed to get through ONE entree then said, "Oh I have to answer my buzzing," and left us mid-sentence. It was quite awhile before he returned to complete the specials of the night. By then, we had dithered and discussed every item on the menu.

We ordered a starter, French Onion soup and a salad. He told us that the starter was really best with their Artisan bread so we agreed to that as well. After 15 minutes or so, the starter arrived without the bread. I asked him where it was and he said it was still in the oven and he would bring it soon. It arrived about 10 minutes later and was stone cold. I asked him why it was cold (and I mean refrigerator cold) and he launched into a long dissertation about how the chef had to allow it to rest to room temperature to let the yeast do its proper job. I am a baker and I KNOW a cooked bread doesn't have to rest to room temperature before being served! Wouldn't you think bread fresh from the oven would be at least warm??

It got worse... we finally got our salads which were tiny. I have had this same salad on all FOUR visits. This time is was at least HALF the size of the usual order. The waiter sped away so quickly we could not ask about the size of the salads. My salad was the Apple, Fennel, Cucumber salad with walnuts and goat cheese. I had exactly two walnuts each the size of a sunflower seed. The goat cheese was about 1 inch long. The salad was absolutely drenched in dressing -- mostly oil. It just glistened on every bit of food. Just tasteless.

He then rapidly returned with the French Onion Soup, apologizing for them coming out so quickly but it was the "chef's fault". He asked if we wanted a second drink. My husband said "No" and I said "Yes."

Off he went.... our water glasses were almost empty and no one was about to refill them. I waited and waited for my 2nd drink which never appeared. Meanwhile, after stirring and stirring our soup to cool it down enough to taste it, we were able to try it. It was absolutely tasteless. My husband was picking at his soup, I just stopped and refused to eat it. It was a waste of calories.

The waiter finally came back and asked how we were doing and we sent both soups back after telling him the soup was tasteless. It wasn't salty, it wasn't savory -- it was brown water. The waiter came back with the dessert menus which we refused. We then asked him about the size of the salads and he told us, "Well, I assumed you wanted the side salad size not the regular large size." WHY would he ASSUME that instead of asking us. Given we were only have soup and salad for dinner, it stands to reason that we may have wanted a larger salad.

He apologized again and then I mentioned to him that he had never had brought me my second drink. He just looked at me and said, "Gosh, I just forgot, we are really busy tonight."

He took our soups off the bill, and presented us with the remainder of the bill. $65.00 for 2 side salads, 2 drinks and a small starter plate. Hardly worth it.....what a discouraging experience and a VERY disappointing birthday.

Our poor waiter was clearly over his head with this job. Sadly, we will NEVER return to this restaurant again.

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1  Thank Wifolina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2018 via mobile

After spending the day out driving to Mt. Baker, we were ready for a delicious meal....and we were not disappointed.
David showed us to our table and was our server. He was very knowledgeable regarding the menu and was very helpful. We both ordered appetizers. I ordered oyster stew and my husband, escargot. My stew was wonderful, with plump moist oysters and a rich base. The escargot perfectly seasoned & cooked. The bread was perfect to soak up all the butter and garlic.
For our entrees, I ordered panfried oysters from the appetizer menu (consisted of 6 good size oysters) with some green beans and my husband, prawn & sea scallop curry served with rice. Honestly, living on the east coast, not sure what to expect, but the oysters were fabulous. Not much conversation during dinner...we enjoyed it too much to talk!!
A definite must.

1  Thank dianneandpete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2018

Very attentive, formal service. Excellent food/wine pairing recommendations including a tasting and generous pour. The food itself was bursting with inventive flavors expertly combined. They lost one star for the exorbitant pricing on the special. My friend ordered the blackened Cod. My entree (hamburger speared with a bacon-wrapped prawn) was $20, his special was $43. That seemed a bit exorbitant for the experience. I expected the "Blackened" cod to have a strong sipcy cajun taste, but it was almost a sweet barbecue flavor. It did pair nicely with the cod and as you can see, the presentation was excellent.

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2  Thank fritztc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2018 via mobile

I enjoyed a wonderful dining experience with excellent food and amazing service. I had the seared scallops with risotto, which was absolutely delicious. The homemade bread they offer is well worth the indulgence. Our server, David was very attentive and made our dining experience that much more enjoyable.

1  Thank Chastity G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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