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“Above Average food but not Excellent”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of The Dolphin Inn

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The Dolphin Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Thorpeness B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
122 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
“Above Average food but not Excellent”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 February 2012

We were staying elsewhere in Thorpeness for the weekend and chose to eat at The Dolphin on Saturday evening. The Inn is a very pleasant and comfortable venue similar in many ways to several others along the coast here that cater to the corduroy and Boden clad professional middle class weekenders who flock to Aldeburgh, Thorpeness, Walberswick and Southwold throughout the year. We had popped in earlier in the evening to book and were offered either a 6:30pm or 9pm sitting. We elected for 9pm and turned up a little earlier, we were shown to our reserved table in the window and ordered. I had chicken Liver Pate to start and my partner the smoked Salmon. The Chicken Liver Pate was presented really nicely in spring top jar toasted bread and chutney on the side, unfortunately the chicken liver pate was very mild in taste to the point of blandness and also very cold as if straight from the fridge, so a little disappointing. My Partner’s smoked salmon had a good taste but a rather slimy texture which spoilt it a little for her and she was surprised that the salmon was not accompanied by any bread.
We both ordered fish and chips as a main course which was presented nicely, the chips in a little bowl and the cod an un-battered grilled piece of fillet sitting on a mixture of peas and capers. There were signs of lack of attention to detail in the cooking of the cod, the tail end of my piece having folded under during the cooking process leaving part of the fish uncooked. The fish was also incredibly salty, I wasn’t sure if this was accounted for by the char gilled surface of the cod which could have been painted in Anchovy butter prior to grilling or by the chef being a little heavy handed in the seasoning, not inedible but enough for both of us to comment and to mar our enjoyment of the fish.
In summary then a perfectly decent place to eat, comfortable bar and dining area, good friendly bar and waiting staff, food looked good and presented well, certainly above the average but let down by the taste and lack of attention to detail so only four rather than five out of five on this occasion but will try again next time I find myself in this part of the world

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 200911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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229 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Ipswich, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 February 2012

An excellent meal and friendly service by a nice open fire.

Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Paul T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Braintree, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
105 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 February 2012

When you vist a seaside pub for lunch on a Thursday in early February and there is hardly a (indoor) seat available, it's obvious the owners are doing doing most things right. The welcome & service were very good, the facilities were spotlessly clean, the blazing fire was just what was needed to warm away the chills of a bracing seafront walk & the real ale was of good quality.
Lunch when it arrived was hot & wholesome - but in honesty the food was a little disappointing when compared to the rest of our 'experience'. With just a little more effort & attention to detail in that area - I would have happily rated the Dolphin 'excellent' - as it is I feel slightly let down, which is a pity. Would I visit again - certainly.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Stephenrgreen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2012

I have visited The Dolphin before and always been impressed with the staff and the food but my experience of the place over the Christmas period was beyond my expectations. On Christmas Eve there was a bonfire and carol singers and the garden area was rammed with perhaps 400 people. Obviously getting served inside wasn't easy with so many customers in the Christmas mood but the staff worked tirelessly and remained in good spirits. Once the crowds thinned they even found time to serve dinner to a good number of people. There was no drop in quality of the food even though they must have been stretched.

It was the perfect place to spend a Christmas Eve as it seemed that the pub had drawn the entire local community together. There was a great family atmosphere and I will certainly be returning next year.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dgedge89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 November 2011

I, the significant other and two friends (staying in Aldeburgh for a long weekend) ate at the Dolphin inn on the Saturday night of 12th November.

No problem booking the night before.

We had a lovely meal: fish cakes, homemade chicken liver pate and duck salad for starts, Skate, steak and one of the best burgers with blue cheese and bacon followed.

Really excellent, well executed food served with cheer. Good wine on offer (2 bottles red, sunk)

We found ourselves last in the bar at the end of the evening and when we asked for a taxi, we were told we'd get a lift. And we did! One of the staff drove us all the way home back to Aldeburgh and wouldn't accept any payment or a tip.

Overall, a lovely night out and outstanding service and friendliness. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MattCooke2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tonyrefail, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 November 2011

Someone reviewed below that it was a mixed bag.

I left feeling the same? Although I could find no fault with the evening food, or our room, which was exceptionally clean and tidy, and serviced as if by magic when we were having breakfast. We stayed in room 3.

So why have I marked the inn as average?

We'll our main bone of contention was the fact the inn was closed more than it was open during our stay.

We arrived Friday at just after three to find the place all locked up, but we managed to get hold of someone to let us in, after banging various doors and ringing the bell on the guests entrance. My wife got locked out going back down to the car, as I had the key in the room (and her mobile), and had to get back in via the kitchen when she managed to get hold of a member of kitchen staff.

We have since found out the inn is closed between 3-6pm, so I assume if we had arrived fifteen minutes later we would have been stuck until someone turned up for evening opening.

I have gone back through all my emails and booking form and the website, and there is no mention anywhere there or on their website. Looking down the reviews on this site, I see these are "winter hours". I would strongly suggest they incorporate this information into their website.

We had two excellent meals there on Friday night, and Saturday. I cannot pick fault with the evening meals at all. Some may argue a little expensive, but the food was of a quality to justify the charge. Also the choice of ales was good.

Saturday night was the last time we saw the place open to the public. We checked out on Tuesday!

We had been told on arrival that there was no food on Sunday. So we had already made plans to eat out. What was not pointed out was the inn was completely closed from 4pm. We returned to the inn at about 8pm to find it in utter darkness. This was a shame, as we were hoping to have a night cap by the fire.

On arriving back in the Inn on Monday night, only a chance to comment to the owner meant we found out the Inn was closed completely again all evening!

We then had to go back down the road to Aldeburgh, which was really disappointing as we had been looking forward to finishing our stay with what looked like an excellent steak and chips!

The sad upshot of going to Aldeburgh was we found the White Lion Inn, which we would easily chose over going back to the Dolphin Inn, should we return to the area.

For all intents and purposes the Dolphin Inn is a guest house in the winter, and really should state so on it's website. If I had known so, I wouldn't have booked here and booked somewhere else. I have never stayed at an Inn that was closed to guests for most of the time I was there.

What they did, they did well for the first two days, and then nothing.

This review page, and the guest book is full of comments saying it had the wow factor. I am sorry I didn't leave feeling like that. Left with a feeling of that was okay, nothing more.

As I say a real enigma.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank PontyCyclops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hitchin
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 October 2011

The Dolphin is an excellent inn and base for staying in this lovely part of the world. Thorpeness is a uniquely English village with plenty to do in the immediate vicinity and slightly further afield. The staff are very friendly and the rooms comfortable and spacious. The food, breakfast and dinner, was delicious. Coupled with well kept ales what more could one want?

Room Tip: Only has three rooms, we stayed in 2&3 which were fine.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MLRHitchin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Dolphin Inn

Property: The Dolphin Inn
Address: Old Homes Road, Thorpeness IP16 4FE, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > East Anglia > Suffolk > Thorpeness
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Thorpeness
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Dolphin Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in the unique seaside village of Thorpeness, the Dolphin Inn, a free house, has placed itself in the heart of the community. A short stroll takes you to miles of unspoilt Suffolk heritage coastline and we are a short distance from Minsmeare, a birding paradise hosting some of our rarest wildlife. The Dolphin has three well appointed four star bedrooms, a fantastic restaurant with an enthusiastic chef, a bar that dispensers a large variety of whiskeys, ales, has a superb wine list and boasts a large beer garden. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Dolphin Hotel Thorpeness

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