The Griswold Inn

4.3
32 reviews
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$31 to $50
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American

The Griswold Inn is an inn and restaurant located in the historic seaport village of Essex. The Gris, as it is affectionately known, has been in continous operation since 1776. Guests enjoy dining in historic, art-filled rooms which exude character, charm and tradition. The Inn's chef prepares classic American Cuisine in simple but imaginative ways. Menus showcase fresh seafood, aged beef and the highest quality chops and poultry.

The Inn boasts a wine list consistently recognized by Wine Spectator with the prestigious Award of Excellence; an award-winning Tap Room, where lively music rings out nightly, and a stunning Wine Bar. Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure have recently recognized the Inn's restaurant as "Connecticut's coziest" and it is included in Patricia Schulz's "1000 Places to See Before You Die". The Griswold Inn is also the recipient of Connecticut's Highest Award for Hospitality. The best of old and new meet here.

What 32 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.6
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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1
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LP
New England
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

I have been to the Griswold Inn a few times. I love the atmosphere and the staff is very friendly and attentive. Two friends and I went there for Sunday brunch buffet and I was a little disappointed. The food was average. It’s been much better the other times I had lunch or dinner there. But the ambiance and the peach mango sangria I had made up for it. I would still highly recommend the Griswold Inn.

BO
New York Area
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My family and I had a wonderful time! Our server was very helpful and amiable.
We would highly recommend The Griswold Inn.

DL
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

The ambiance is wonderful and so is the service. The sea salt caramel chocolate mousse torte was one of the best I've ever tasted. I would definitely recommend The Gris.

KK
New England
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent dinner and service. Lovely old historical inn with lots of character. Only downside was the noise level coming from the bar and a large number of small children in the dining room!

SC
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great music, friendly service, would come again

d
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

good food with excellent service. The noise level was a little too high

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect I’m ever way

CH
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The staff were very pleasant and helpful. The food was excellent and pleasingly presented. The old world feeling in the tavern was comfortable.

OT
1 review
Dined on July 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved it were there for sea shanty sing along. Was fantastic! Such a cool spot!

DW
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Went here for lunch on a Sunday. The menu is a little bit lacking in the tavern, but the quality is excellent. Our server was prompt, courteous and professional. The ambiance is amazing- 18th -19th century fare with an authentic live jazz band. An overall awesome experience.

OT
1 review
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food wonderful at this fair great price

FE
Denver
1 review
Dined on July 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food and very interesting atmosphere. Good choices for all ages/tastes. Got pretty crowded waiting to open for lunch and I was very glad we had a reservation. I’d definitely go back next time I’m in Essex.

DC
1 review
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

The food was pretty good, exactly as described in the menu. The bar drinks were bad, overpriced and tasted like medicine. My family were the only Hispanic people there and we definitely felt uncomfortable with all of the stares, however the staff there were friendly and professional.

BJ
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our whole party felt the food we had was very good. We had a great time for our first visit and are sure to come back again. The setting was pretty neat with the nautical theme. Definitely worth a visit.

RM
1 review
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

We love the nautical ambience. Excellent food in a quiet, yet stimulating setting. Our table was behind a column, however, making it challenging for the waitress to serve with ease. We had to pass plates and glasses and it was a bit awkward. We frequent the restaurant several times a year and plan to return soon!

Thank you!

LS
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

The table in the corner is a bit crowed for four adults especially if one has mobility issues.

MO
Jacksonville
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

His too setting with outstanding cuisine. Service was personal and prompt. Lots of variety in menu selections. Would recommend to anyone looking for a wonderful dining experience.

MR
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It is our go to meet halfway place when meeting friends. Never disappointed and lots of history.

The Griswold Inn
Responded on June 19, 2019

Greetings from The Gris! Thanks so much for your patronage - we're delighted you enjoy our spot!!! :)

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c
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Not our first time and certainly not our last time visiting the Griswold Inn. Arrive early so you can start off with a few drinks or appetizers in either the Tap Room or the Wine Bar next door. Follow dinner in the main dining room with music afterward in the Tap Room! Great menu with a variety of plates and starters for every palate, as well as great service! Picturesque Essex Main Street is fun to walk around before dinner no matter what time of year you’re visiting!

The Griswold Inn
Responded on June 19, 2019

Griswold Greetings! We are so glad that you enjoy our spot and really know "how to do The Gris"! Only one or two experiences you might be missing...a visit to our Store across the street - Goods & Curiosities - and an overnight in one of our charming guest accommodations! :) We appreciate your enthusiastic endorsement and your patronage and look forward to serving you again!

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VM
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great dinner at a great location!

The Griswold Inn
Responded on June 19, 2019

Hello Valerie - we're delighted you enjoyed your experience with us and thank you for visiting! We hope you will return for more! :)

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N
New England
2 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

Bar staff was good - waitress in the dining room had a terrible attitude- very inattentive. Food was mediocre at best. Fish and chips and fried shrimp were like fish sticks - have had better from frozen Gortons frozen fish. Not worth it. It's the only act in town - drive into old Saybrook - better places to stay and to have meals-especially for the money.

GI
New England
11 reviews
Dined on June 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Very cool place...great artwork and ambiance.
Loved it.

The Griswold Inn
Responded on June 19, 2019

Thank you for your visit, Ginny - we're delighted you enjoyed your experience with us and hope you will come back for more! :)

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JG
New York Area
73 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

It was Saturday and they had the prime rib. It was rare. It was tender. It was flavorful. The wine list was replete with exciting choices, all well priced. Dessert of sticky toffee pudding was a delightful way to end an entirely enjoyable dining experience.

MC
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very quaint and lovely. Cozy and roomy. Tables are spaced nicely. Excellent clam chowder. Good salads and sandwiches nicely presented. Easy parking across the street.

TE
1 review
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had the absolute best dinner and ended the evening with some live music that was family friendly and very lively! Can’t wait to return!

S
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a great evening with friends. Food and service was excellent, and was actually able to hear everyone in our group talk (sited in small room). A little pricey, but would differently come back.

MA
Richmond
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

They were rigid about not seating us before our 12 o’clock reservation. After having driven all the way from New York City I thought it was a bit much that at 11:55 I had to go and wait somewhere for another five minutes.

The potato pancakes were excellent but the Cobb salad was ordinary at best. Our waiter Stephen was charming and very attentive without being intrusive.

FW
New England
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Very interesting and historic place, but the popcorn in the Tap Room was stale, and our beef filets were closer to medium well than medium as we had ordered them. A little disappointing.

LA
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We like to come to the Gris for special occasions (e.g., birthdays). The menu has many wonderful selections, but we often stick to our favorites (braised shortribs for me, fried seafood for my companions). During our recent visit, I noticed that it was quite noisy, and I was particularly sensitive to this because my husband had mentioned earlier that another restaurant we had considered was too noisy and he had trouble hearing our conversation. Noise aside, the food and service were excellent, and the non-auditory ambience is lovely.

AG
Miami
3 reviews
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service. Fun bar and beautiful fireplace in the dining room.

AB
Naples
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 3

Very disappointed with the food. Ordered a grilled cheese with Brie. Very little Brie a lot of arugula not good at all. Clam chowder was also disappointing. More potatoes than clams.

S
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Sunday breakfast is always great. Great atmosphere, good selection and friendly staff.