Sabor Rattling



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Sabor Brazil, Pleasants Street, Dublin (top) and Jennifer’s ‘legal notice’

Jenniffer writes:

“About 3 months ago I ate in Sabor Brazil, the top rated restaurant in Dublin on TripAdviso.  I wasn’t too impressed with the food and I gave them an average review on the website (3 stars or less account for 12/500 reviews). In it I recommended another restaurant [Locke’s Brasserie]  and they were not happy. Today they sent me a legal notice about my review..

“No wonder they are top if this is how they conduct themselves! I have over 50 reviews up from all around the world and am a senior contributor so I am sure they would otherwise disregard me. I’m so annoyed that they try and bully people like this. And for the record no I’m not related to anyone who owns Locke’s! I even got the name of that place wrong in my review….”


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75 thoughts on “Sabor Rattling

  1. Rep

    I guess restaurants are getting a little bit sick from having no real comeback from dubious reviews on trip advisor. I read one that gave a place a terrible review even though they didn’t eat in it.

  2. YourNan

    trust fund princess doesn’t like being told off by people who actually have to work hard to make a living.

    1. donkey_kong

      good for you – I’d love to hear how you know this.
      Is there more to the story or are you just prone to throwing out random abusive put downs?

  3. bozo

    Still though have people not learned that you should just suck up a bad review? If you are that good people will look at 50 nice reviews and ignore the 1 or 2 bad ones. No one gets it right all the time and normal sane people understand that.

    1. ahyeah

      I suppose, though, if a restaurant thinks or suspects the bad reviews are being posted or orchestrated by a competitor, it’s kind of hard to just allow that to happen.

      1. Mister Mister

        If Jenniffers review was one of her only two, the other being a glowing review of Lockes, then they can be suspicious.

        But this “Legal Notice” just looks like a farcical attempt in having her removed or amend it.

        Up yours Sabor, take it on the chin.

  4. ScaryLady

    I use Tripadvisor a lot (I too am a senior contributor), and I’ve always wondered why Sabor Brazil is rated so consistently highly there. I’m sure it’s very nice – I’ve never eaten there. It’s just that I don’t know anyone else who has eaten there, or who has even heard of it. So it seems really strange that it gets so many reviews, and it consistently outranks high-end restaurants like Chapter One or Thorntons, or even old reliables like Yamamori or the Winding Stair. Perhaps its popularity is down to tourists who read Tripadvisor, go to the no.1 ranked restaurant and then review it.

    For what it’s worth, I had a similar experience when I reviewed a hotel in Lisbon where, while not threatened with legal action, I got an email where a higher review with more stars was requested very forcefully. It’s the other side of tripadvisor I suppose – some establishments (and some reviewers – but that’s another story) do their best to play the system.

    1. Mani

      Can you clarify what senior contributor means, please?
      I have a mental image of someone eating in a restaurant dressed in a UN hard hat and wearing a flack jacket.

      1. Gers

        A TripAdvisor “Senior Contributor” is basically a glorified troll that has climbed the ladder of the “I’m offended” Cliff. They usually have so much time on their hands hair grows inside them (the hands). Likely has hipster tendencies also (beanie hats, beard for the men, etc… )

        1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

          Also, they can be aul peeps with time on their hands. Like my Dad. He LOVES doing reviews and therefore is a senior senior contributor.

        2. Adamski

          Thanks for that Gerr. I’m also one, and hard not to take a little offence to that, but anywho, what it actually means is someone who has submitted over a certain number of reviews. The more reviews the higher your ranking. The idea is that if you have a lot of reviews then people can look at your previous submissions, and if your are a rollicking basket case, ranting about how awful everything is, then people will probably take stock of that in reding your reviews. Like wise, if your seen to be balance, you will be more credible.

        3. Mani

          So…….basically some Trip Advisor meat drone dreamt up the term ‘Senior Advisor’ as a mean nothing term for constant reviewer and people are actually wearing that as a badge of pride.


          1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

            Ahhhhhhhhhhh, come on. My Dad is proud as punch of it. I’ll ring him today and tell him a guy on Broadsheet thinks he’s a gobshI*te. You’re going to make a senior citizen CRY.

          2. Spartacus

            Apart from some references to dry bread, a few gefelte fish and the odd drop of vino collapso, I don´t recall him ever being referred to as a culinary expert.

          3. Mani

            Maybe you should reflect on why your father is so proud of something so mundane and yet never expresses how proud he is of you.

          4. Disasta

            I find trip advisor useful, but you have to review the reviewer. Put up a few myself of places that strike me as either very good or very bad.

            I find Mani’s comments here sarcastic and beyond useless.

          5. Mani

            I’m sorry I was not able to contribute as well as you. Please don’t rate me badly on commenter advisor. I’m saving up those points for a weekend in clonmel.

        4. Fredtheninja

          With all due respect, I think that’s a bit harsh. And a bit snobbish.

          Some people (me included) like using Tripadvisor ands find it generally very beneficial, although not without it’s faults. If I stay somewhere or eat somewhere that I checked out on Tripadvisor, I like to put up a review. In my own time. Its a pastime and I think a relatively productive on, in fairness.

  5. Mulch

    To be fair to them, its a review of their restaurant. If you feel it wasn’t up to scratch, then you write your review accordingly. But mentioning by name a direct competitor in a review of their restaurant is poor form. State there are better places on price/quality/standard nearby. You might not be anything to Locke’s Bar, but how are they meant to know that?

    1. Jock

      Part of me agrees but not when you consider the league they are in with the prices. They are up against names at that stage and its fair to mention competitors.

      Read the two star reviews which are also very fair.

      1. Disasta

        Did the restaurant contact them about their email?? Usually good places that have good management do if you write a poor review. They generally try to rectify the situation with explanations or offers so that you’ll change your review or come back and write a good one.

        This may not be one of those places.

  6. Odis

    I often wonder how AA gill gets away with some of his one star (*) restaurant reviews in the Sunday Times. One of the best reasons for buying the paper. I suppose that’s why he always seems to take guests with him. So that they can give witness, in the event of legal action.

      1. Odis

        I find Clarkson to be very readable. He’s a good journalist, with a genuine talent for communication.

        Do you mean Clarkson is right wing and has a lousy TV show (that’s popular with knuckle draggers world wide), A misogynist racist responsible for the needless slaughter of polar bears, so you don’t read him? Or what?

    1. bisted

      …I look forward to Jay Rayner’s reviews each week, they are very entertaining even though the chosen eatery sometimes isn’t. He recently addressed this same issue and basically his point was that if a restaurant asked for payment for its service then he was entitled to his opinion of that service.
      Incidently, Jay Rayner seems to be a Broadsheet follower and had a comment on here last week.

  7. Robyn

    Like tequila, reviews on Trip Advisor should be taken with a pinch of salt. Even when I worked in travel, when looking for info on a hotel etc. I wouldn’t put much emphasis on the odd bad review on the site. It is if there were a huge number of bad reviews I would take notice.

    As for this particular one, while it’s poor form to mention a specific competitor, the knee jerk reaction, bordering on a kind of “they’re out to get me” paranoia, is a bit over the top. While some people may have an ulterior motive, some degree of good faith should be allowed.

  8. Jack Ascinine

    I’ve reviewed on both Trip Advisor and Menu Pages and I know that Menu Pages doesn’t allow for other restaurants to be mentioned in a review. If you want to review a place, make your comments about that place and leave it at that. Trip Advisor should do the same. I read an article about Yelp constantly harassing restaurant owners to buy advertising with them and when one did, they still kept calling. So he turned the tables on them and said that anyone that gave him a one star review could get a discount on food when they came in. Completely screwed their rating system. They weren’t pleased but then again, they should have a better business model.

  9. W_Thomas

    I can understand where Sabor is coming from here. The privately sent legal notice is simply asking: Do you work for Lockes?

    I’ve looked through the reviews for Sabor. Normally, what I look out for on TA is plenty of 5* reviews from 1/2/3 time reviewers. To be fair to them, the good reviews by and large appear bona fide, with many of them from people with dozens of restaurant reviews. Without doubt, the staff have mates who have given plenty of top reviews. But many restaurants do this. The thing that stands out about Sabor is not that its average rating is so high, but that its rating is so high when it has more than 500 reviewers. The margins are fairly fine on TA, as even the restaurant ranked halfway down has mostly good reviews. So one bad review can skew things. Being top of the TA rankings is undoubtedly worth money to Sabor, it is clearly hard earned judging by reviews (disclaimer: I have never eaten there, dont know anyone working there). I think they are entitled to privately ask the question.

    1. Don Pidgeoni

      Or they could let the one bad review, which wasn’t even that bad, go.

      Ask yes, get lawyers involved? No.

  10. Harchibald

    Has anyone who actually lives in Dublin and knows the eating out scene reasonably well, actually ever eaten in this place? The few I have spoken to that have said it was distinctly moderate compared to all the other top places in town.

    To be honest the fact it’s on there as no.1 puts me off using Trip Advisor when I go abroad.

    1. Mani

      The fact that it has a tasting menu for around 100 quid put’s me off. Clamper’s mother makes do with a fish box. And then I do to.

    2. Jack Ascinine

      I eat out quite often and I was interested in eating in this place. Then I looked at the menu and the prices. You can rest assured that their most likely customers are out of towners that think this is the place to go. I don’t know anyone who’s eaten there and don’t see any rave reviews about it outside of Trip Advisor. Probably is a nice joint, however, there are far more pleasant places to eat for much less in town.

    3. Herya

      They run a coupon promotion every once in a while, so you’re basically only paying a half. That’s how they get so many people through the door – and it is an experience to eat there, so I know a good few people who used the promotion for a special night out. I don’t know if they review anything, but I would expect the value to experience ratio to be very good if you’re using a coupon.

  11. Clampers Outside!

    Last time I was in Locke’s I thought I was sitting in the middle of a drafty old freezing cold cottage. Couldn’t wait to get out of the place… food was fine but it just couldn’t be enjoyed because the place was so drafty and cold…. and expensive to boot.

  12. Simon

    A 3 star rating is not a bad review. A restaurant would have to be exceptional to get 5 stars from me and I’m also a Senior Reviewer or whatever.

  13. savagehenry

    When would anyone recommend an alternative in a review ??? It’s a review website not a comparison website. dumb move by the restaurant but Jenn also seems like a senior idiot.

  14. pissedasanewt

    I posted a bad review about a restaurant once. There weren’t an excessive amount of reviews there before mine. Quite sporadic.. one or two a week. Within 1 hour of my review, 6 more great reviews were posted. Some within minutes of each other, pushing my review down off the first page.

  15. Praetorian

    The Oranmore Lodge hotel in Galway has some manager kind of one who spends her time replying to negative comments on Trip Advisor…blaming the guests,even went as far as to tell a guy it was his fault he brought his three kids on a weekend away when the family room only had two beds…worth a read.

  16. Paul Davis

    The food is terrible swill in that restaurant, how it has been number one for the last three of four years is beyond belief.

    Obviously something going on with forced reviews, no other city can keep one restaurant at number one for so long.

  17. Maria

    I think if it was a genuine question and not a bully boy attempt, the author of the email would have signed their name or asked the reviewer to contact them off line.

  18. Alex

    Myself and my wife eat out 1/2 times a week and Sabor was the nicest dining experience we’ve had in a restaurant in Dublin for food, service and atmosphere. It’s very expensive which others have mentioned though. I chose the restaurant because it was listed on a ‘dealpage’ type gig and when I looked at the TA reviews they all seemed legit.

    I wasn’t disappointed. I read this girls review and everything seems normal/acceptable/understandable apart from the last paragraph. The review system on TA is for the restaurant in question, not do promote other ‘cheaper’ restaurants in the area, which is what she essentially does here, so I can see where the restaurant is coming from here.

      1. Alex

        Simple. We eat a child size portion twice as fast. As opposed to a portion the size of a young adult, in the normal amount of time..

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