Could an entire town have dodgy service?

Shoal Bay is a beautiful place. But if our experiences and online reviews are to be believed, don’t ever eat there.

Shoal Bay – It’s on Fiji Time

During the week my family has  spent holidaying in the area, we have had three experiences of what I’d call a very laid-back approach to customer service.  Cafes that take that extra ten minutes to offer you a menu, a coffee that took fifteen minutes, fish and chips that took thirty minutes, and the one time we were told that the waitress was setting up for a birthday banquet so we’d have to wait. Huh?

We know some locals here and they suggested a bit of ‘Fiji Time’ was in evidence. It seemed reasonable enough; People who live here – in a cluster of coastal towns two hours from Sydney – don’t watch the clock too closely.

Keep in mind, the Shoal Bay/Fingal Bay community is very small. There are about five food options in Shoal Bay and just one in Fingal Bay. Something here must be worthwhile, I thought. So, I turned to Google and checked out the online reviews. And, oh my gnocchi.

Here’s just a sample…


There were only 4 tables though and it took almost 15 minutes for coffee and juice to come out. Juices are Home Brand and poured straight from the bottle. At $4.50 per glass I was not happy.

via LongBoat Cafe (Fingal Bay).


Myself and my wife attended this restaurant on a Sunday evening in November 2009. I ordered the grilled snapper and as well as the one hour wait for the mains to arrive, the real problem did not hit me until I awoke at 3 am with massive food poisoning. The doctor thought it must have been “cheap takeaway”….unfortunately it was not takeaway and it certainly wasnt cheap.

via Catch at Shoal Bay


Thank goodness our breakfast finally arrived

There are only 2 Italian options on the street and this is the bad one. Absolutely poor management. Service is rude. Pizzas are below average. Wine selection is poor. And they keep coming to ask if you are done even when you are having food, just to make you leave so the ones waiting can fit in.

Once or twice during my night I even got pointed at when I was only less than 3 metres away. I think they were planning what to do with our table …

I could over hear the staff constantly talking about ‘getting rid of this table and getting rid of that table’, to hurry families out of there within the hour, even taking away food while still being eaten and placing bills on tables as people were still receiving their coffees!

Charged an extra $2 because the waitress felt our 2 year old had made a mess in his high chair. It’s only $2 but was a rude thing to do in a ‘family friendly’ place

via Gianni’s Bar-Pizzeria & Ristorante.


From the start the service was terrible. It was 10 mins after we sat down before we were given a menu. The garlic bread we ordered actually went to the table next to us who had ordered after us. So it was a long wait before we got our garlic bread. Next came the disastrous meals which my partner and I categorically describe as THE WORST meals we’ve ever had in a restaurant. After 3 small mouthfuls of my fettucine I pushed my plate away and felt sick and couldn’t eat anymore. It tasted as though they had melted about 250gms of pure butter. I know lobster is quite rich so I don’t know what they were doing in that kitchen! Basically it was inedible! My partner’s pork belly was pathetic. We have done a better job at home ourselves and neither of us are qualified chefs. So this incredibly disappointing and sickening meal cost us $87!!!

The food and service were terrible. When we complained and asked to see the manager about our absolutely inedible meal, rancid in the case of the risotto, we were told to pay up or they would call the police!

We tried to order the hot chocolate that was on the specials board, but was told we couldn’t have it because “it would take too long to construct”. Huh? So we ordered coffee instead, which arrived lukewarm and burnt. Our food arrived relatively quickly, but the reason for this soon became apparent – my Eggs Benedict had eggshell in it, and there were lemon seeds in the hollandaise sauce. … At one point the waitress did come over and asked how our food was, but as we both had our mouths full at the time she managed to disappear because I could swallow and tell her it was mediocre.

via Marco’s Restaurant.

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