In Part 2 of this fine dining in Dalian series, I visited two more restaurants: Strollers and The Riviera. One restaurant, I'll never go back to; at the other, I enjoyed a gourmet meal.
1) Strollers 流浪者西餐厅 View In Map
I ate at Strollers two years ago when I first moved to Dalian and even though it was a smoke filled, oddly decorated little restaurant, I considered it a top notch fine dining establishment because the food was really good and the staff was very professional. So, when I walked into Strollers a couple of nights ago I wanted to like it, I even tried to like it, but no matter how hard I tried to convince myself it was still the same great restaurant I remembered it to be, it just wasn't the same. Its quick plummet into a sub-par restaurant brings up an interesting business management question: What caused the level of food quality at Strollers to plummet so drastically? As I ate my dinner I interviewed my waitress to gather some information about Strollers so that I could form a theory and try to answer this question. The most pertinent bit of info she gave me was that the owner recently moved to America, which I believe explains why the restaurant is no longer good.
After I finished the interview I began to observe the employees in Strollers as I tried to eat my dinner. The manager sat at the bar and played a video game on his laptop, never moving. There were three bartenders in the restaurant; one bartender sat in the corner of the bar reading a magazine, another bartender leaned against the back wall of the bar half asleep, leaving the last bartender to do all the work. There were three waitresses working and they stood in the center of the restaurant chatting.
Just how bad was the food? I'll describe it. My girlfriend and I started with a Chicken Caesar Salad and some onion rings. The "Chicken" Caesar Salad didn't have any chicken; instead it came with bacon. The salad itself tasted as if it had been made five hours before I ordered it. The dressing had soaked into the lettuce forming a congealed salad gelatin. I took one bite and almost threw up. The onion rings didn't make me gag, but they were severely under cooked. For the main course we ordered spaghetti with meat sauce and a cheeseburger with fries. The spaghetti tasted like a Lean Cuisine Frozen meal. The noodles had that cardboard taste that can only happen when they've been cooked days before, frozen, and then re-heated in a microwave. Overall the cheeseburger wasn't that bad. It came with one sad little tomatoe slice, and one even sadder piece of limp lettuce, but it was the best dish of the night.
There were a couple of nice aspects to Strollers. The waitresses were really nice, Strollers has a huge menu, and the prices are cheap. You can order a variety of appetizers like fried squid, nachos, and onion rings for around 25 RMB. There are 10 different salads all around 25 RMB as well. They also have many different pizzas, hamburgers, and sandwiches all at about 40 RMB. And they have a large variety of foreign and domestic beers. However, these things cannot make up for an overall disappointing dining experience. In conclusion, Strollers has turned into a bad restaurant that I'll never go to again.
Add: 4 Jiqing Jie, Zhongshan District, Dalian
Tel: 411 8269 8293
Opening hours: daily, 11:30-24:00 (food); 11:30-02:00 (drinks)
2) The Riviera 里维埃拉西餐厅 View In Map
After I had spent only a couple of minutes in The Riviera I realised that in many ways it was the exact opposite of Strollers. The Riviera is owned and run by an Australian woman named Jennifer Prescott, who is very hands-on and makes sure that everything in The Riviera is perfect. Jennifer opened The Riviera in 2007 with the hope of filling a niche in Dalian. Her restaurant caters to businessmen who are looking for a gourmet meal in Dalian. Of course not only businessmen go to The Riviera; people who are celebrating a special occasion also go to The Riviera to take advantage of the one-of-kind eating opportunity it offers. Jennifer also told me that she is starting to get many regular clients who have become addicted to her Riviera-style dishes. The Riviera spans the coasts of France, Italy and Spain. In order to offer up an authentic taste of this area Jennifer flew top-rated chefs from these three countries to Dalian, where they trained her Chinese chefs. She also imports ingredients from countries all around the world.
When you go to the Riviera you can order one of four 5-course meals. An example of one of these set meals is as follows: the first course is a Mediterranean Salad, the second course is Cream of Asparagus Soup, the third course is a pasta plate, which has Lobster Ravioli, Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi, and Veal Ravioli. The fourth course is a Grilled Wagyu Beef Plate, and the fifth course is a sampling of five different desserts. This 5-course meal was the most expensive one at 418 RMB. The other set meals cost 388 RMB, 298 RMB, and 288 RMB. You can also order a la carte. Some of the cheaper dishes are the Veal Ravioli at 68 RMB, Penne Ricotta Nocciole at 58 RMB, and the Classic Shrimp Remoulade at 78 RMB. Some of the more luxurious dishes are Steak Tartare for 211 RMB, Montreal Steak for 414 RMB, and Australian Rack of Lamb for 317 RMB. The Riviera offers a wide variety of gourmet dishes at different price ranges. Highly recommended.
Add: 1F West Side, Hongyu Building, 68 Renmin Lu, Zhongshan District, Dalian
Tel: 0411 8273 9759
Opening hours: daily, 11:00-22:00
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Keywords: Dalian best foreign restaurants Dalian The Riviera review Dalian Strollers review
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2 Comments Add your comment
sounds like all Chinese restaurants. Nobody cares about job, work, or people. The food will make you sick. first of all, if you want to have a good restaurant with good food--if you want to trust the food--don't go to a place with such a big menu--jack of all trades, master of none! A good restaurant will keep his menu small, brief--and pay special attention to each dish. There is no need for a sup-sized menu--all lies anyway--all you will here in a Chinese rest. is 'mayo, mayo, mayo'!
So your so-called plus about the menu is a also another negative. Sounds like this is not a western restaurant and never was. Its almost clear by the appearance. If it's a coffee shop and the help is sitting on laptops--fine, sometimes, but not in a restaurant. I see this-i turn around and walk out--why should i wast my money and risk the squirts, and maybe some future disease? Why should I reward their apathy and human indifference?
Jan 04, 2012 21:31 Report Abuse
I went to Stroller's three times since I read this review. I was upset to here this. All three times I went I had good service and the food was good. This place is like the many Greasy Spoon Bar/Pubs you find in the US where they make everything. In those trips I tried the burger, Chicken Schnizel, and Philli Steak sandwich. They were all good. As for the Riviera just go and fly to Shanghai. Flights are cheap and the food is much better and cheaper. I have gone three times to the Riviera. ( One time the ran out of 'water' ).
Jan 12, 2012 02:26 Report Abuse
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