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“A Historical Experience” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Gadsby's Tavern

Gadsby's Tavern
138 N Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314-3278 (Old Town)
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Ranked #54 of 647 Restaurants in Alexandria
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Old Town
Cross street: Cameron Street
Description: Gadsby's Tavern has been offering fine dining since 1770. Enjoy lunch and dinner in one of the elegant Colonial dining rooms. The one-of-a-kind Gadsby's Tavern experience awaits you.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“A Historical Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

To dine where George Washington and John Adams once ate was such a wonderful experience. This is a very quaint restaurant that has a lovely ambiance. I took a tour group to the restaurant recently. We had a great time. It brought you back in time to this country's founding. To think that the great men and women of the country's founding were visitors there really added something special. The food was good. I had the prime rib and the gingerbread pudding. Both were very tasty. The wait staff dresses in period costume so that adds to the experience. They were also wonderful staff who took good care of our group. The night we visited they had a gentleman in period costume who came to our room and entertained us. My group loved it. It made the night extra special. A wonderful place to visit. Perhaps include it with a trip to Mount Vernon. Great time.

Visited April 2013
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272 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Plymouth, Michigan
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Quaint atmosphere, decent food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

It was amazing eating lunch in the same tavern that George Washington supposedly once ate in. The furnishings were lovely and tasteful, though I would have enjoyed it more if the fireplace had actually been functional. Sadly, it was bricked in - with an electric outlet there, no less. The service was fine, no complaints there. The menu seemed to me like typical upscale tavern food for contemporary times; it did not strike me as being particularly authentic to the late 18th centuries. I am, however, no expert. The food was good, not great. I would recommend Gadsby's more for the experience and for the atmosphere than for the food. I have heard good things about their brunch - seems like this would be a great place for an upscale brunch.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Charleston, West Virginia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Disappointing Easter Dinner”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

For years, GT has been my favorite place to dine while in the D.C. area. My husband and I were in D.C. for the last five days while entertaining my in-laws from California. I have been raving for weeks about GT and we were very excited to make Easter reservations there. Out of the five of us in our group, I was the only one who had ever been to D.C. before. We ate at many delicious restaurants while there, all new to me, and I was very impressed with them all. Still, I felt like we were building up to the grand finale on Easter with dinner at GT.

Unfortunately, our experience did not turn out that way. Our reservations were at 1:00 and we were seated promptly. Our server was, to put it mildly, neglectful and rude. She was obviously overwrought. (Perhaps they were understaffed.) She very loudly and abruptly “placed” our plates on the table. Basically, we felt like she was almost throwing them down in front of us. If we asked for anything, we were met with heavy sighs and excuses. Then she rushed us through every course, barely giving us time to finish. My husband never did get to finish his salad or oysters. When our meals arrived, she loudly banged the covers to the plates and dropped one on the floor, creating a booming crash. One of our guests received her lamb chops too rare for her liking and requested they be cooked a little longer. The rest of us finished our meals before she finally asked the waitress if she could check on her lamb chops. When they did arrive after that, they had apparently been under a warmer for an extended period of time as the side dishes were lukewarm at best. Our guest was afraid to send them back because the rest of us were already done. The waitress then brought our bill before even taking our dessert orders. When dessert did arrive, the apple pie was soggy, the ice cream melted, and the flourless chocolate cake full of sharp little pieces of what I could only guess were grated cinnamon sticks.

What should have been a relaxing, enjoyable, lovely dining experience turned out to be a rushed, loud, nerve-wracking, agitating experience with food that was mediocre at best. It was the most expensive meal of the week, despite dining at some fantastic new steak houses, and the most disappointing experience. It is a good thing that the tip was already included in the cost of this over-priced meal because our server would not have received half of what she did. My husband swears he will never return to Gadsby’s Tavern. My heart is broken for what was once a cherished favorite memory of my many visits to D.C. with my grandmother who is no longer with us.

I am not one to complain and am known to my family and friends to be very tolerant. In fact, I am usually scolded for making excuses for poor service or behavior. I've written many reviews on TripAdvisor before, all of them good, preferring to live by the old rule, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." But this experience was so personally embarrassing for me and so disappointing, that I wanted to warn others. I am afraid I won’t be dining at GT in the future. I am so sorry to have to write this former favorite off my list of “must-dine experiences.”

  • Visited March 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
195 reviews 195 reviews
101 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
“Just Perfect”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

Beautiful room. The food was great (even for this vegetarian). I was watching to make reservations; however, could not retain one one the website. Lucky for me I contacted them directly two weeks before so that we could make arrangements. This is a don't miss for people who enjoy history. Very nice.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DeKalb, Illinois
18 reviews 18 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“A wonderful experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

We were part of a tour visiting Washington and the operator arranged for a private dining room with entertainment. Being an American history buff, I was delighted by the experience. The period costumes, entertainment and food swept you back 200 years and made the visit something to remember. I don't know if entertainment is a standard part of the dining experience, but the ballad singer, who drew us all in, greatly enhanced the meal with an abundance of laughter. If I am in the area again, I will definitely make a return trip.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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