We went for New Year’s Eve, our first visit to the Inn, because we wanted something special. They delivered. Ambiance is lovely and low key in this historic country home. Food was very good, including lobster bisque, lamb chops or rockfish, a yummy salad. Service was attentive and very cordial, though it could have used a bit more polish...the waiter took the orders in an odd way and I had to ask for a soup spoon. The only thing that made me a tad concerned was that they weren’t busier on what should be a big night out! When we left at 1030 pm, we were the last guests to leave!
Lesson learned. From now on I will call ahead for holiday menu options anywhere I go. I spoke to Clifton at least twice confirming our new year's eve reservation but no mention was made by phone or on their web site regarding a Prix Fixe menu. We drank modestly and still dropped $282 (20% gratuity factored in) for 2 people/6 total in our party. Just two entrees: a rockfish or lambchop and neither were spectacular. For this price I would expect a phenomenally prepared surf and turf, beef wellington or chateaubriand perhaps and musical accompaniment! It was a five course meal but none of the selections justified a $98 per person price tag. The bread crust was even burned in some places. The food was good, but unfortunately nothing memorable or so remarkable that we would want to try again. All six of us were first timers that had been looking forward to trying Clifton Inn for a long time so this one really stung. We apologized to our friends for not doing our homework . . .
My partner and I were staying at neighboring Keswick Hall and thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience at Clifton Inn. Beautiful decor, attentive service, and an overall wonderful atmosphere.
Wonderful dinner in a quiet but festive holiday atmosphere. Love the ambiance of Clifton Inn and food is always first rate.
We have been dining at Clifton Inn for years and experienced its various formats, menus, personnel and decor. This time three of us went for Thanksgiving. The main entree -- we all ordered the turkey option-- was fine. Not exceptional, but fine. I did not care for my appetizer, the smoked trout spread. My husband did enjoy the soup. We each had a different dessert, and were satisfied with all. Problems: No bread served until requested. (forgotten) No soup spoon, missing a butter knife, had to request water refill. In short, disappointing service. That said, they were busy, but when one pays this price, one expects more from the staff.
Excellent thanksgiving meal. Ruined by charging for coffee. After spending over $200 for dinner did they have to charge for coffee and not give the change due after bill was paid
From front of the house to the back - excellent service. Welcoming. Thoughtful, well executed holiday meal choices. Highly recommended for a special occasion. My dining partner and I both ordered Lamb chops that could not have been more perfectly prepared and presented with carrot pure' and perfectly roasted broccoli. Lovely Thanksgiving meal.
Very nice quaint old historic house turned to B&B and restaurant. Very old but turned into a beautiful setting. Building while old and historic could use a little facelift.
Food was very good but a little eclectic for some tastes. Plenty of staff waiting tables but we did experience relatively slow service. We were not in a hurry so not a problem.
We booked this for Thanksgiving. We had to give a $60 deposit up front which was fine. The meal was $72 per person for a set 3 course menu. The food was good but not great. Portions were adequate but not abundant. Service was great. Bar- charge $15 per ounce of alcohol. So, two people with 2 glasses of wine and 3 oz. of vodka- our bill was over $250 with the $60 deposit already applied. I would not eat there again.
Our evening at the Clifton Inn was amazing. Polite and attentive staff, delicious food and a quaint quiet setting. We had dinner and then had a drink at the bar area. It was a fantastic evening out!
Unfortunately we were disappointed with our dining experience. We have been to Clifton Inn more than 20 times in the last 20 years. The dining experience has changed considerably in that time period. Twenty years ago it was an event with a prix fixe menu headed by chef Craig Hartman. He left and the chef has changed multiple times and we have continued to give the restaurant a chance because of the history and ambiance. It is now Ala carte dining but this will be our last visit. The service was lacking, the waiter did not understand the wines on the wine list and they have no sommelier, waters were not refilled (they brought food and really never came back) food was ok but not for the price. We were celebrating a birthday and they were not even able to place a candle on the dessert. It was simply not the higher end experience we expected or paid for this last time.
With the new menu format, Clifton is no longer the really special dining destination it used to be.
Third stay at in...nine years ago was fantastic in all respects. Last year was markedly less impressive. This year was pathetic. Poorly trained waiter was trying hard and friendly, but overmatched. Tapas appetizer was not creative and a poor value. Entrees were very pedestrian and not quite large enough. My wife ordered decaf coffee after dinner and waiter returner five minutes later to inform us they were out of decaf coffee. This place used to be very inventive and high-end. It is a shell of its former self, in all categories. Huge disappointment.
We enjoyed our meal immensely. We ate in the dining room while a large crowd occupied the outside veranda. We were warned in advance about this group but felt our evening was not impacted much but the activity.
It is a very charming and intimate place to eat.
Having lived in Keswick for about twenty years, I can honestly say that Clifton Inn is the best restaurant in central Virginia. The atmosphere is elegant, the service impeccable, and the food is to die for. We have the halibut in season, and have never been disappointed. A bottle of Chardonnay from the Yamhill-Carlton region of Oregon is reasonable in price and unsurpassed in richness of taste and fragrance. The scenery is magnificent–perfect for a special occasion.