My husband and I had read in a travel book that the National Hotel was a "must see" and that the restaurant was the best place in Nevada City for a meal. Well, yes, if you want to see what the Old West must have been like, then this is the spot for you.The hotel is grubby; it needs a good cleaning and window washing. Actually, it needs about $2 million spent on rejuvenating it. The restaurant reminded us of a scene from a 1950's western movie, with some lovely oak mirrors but dirty tablecloths and tin cutlery that could have graced an 1849 boarding house. An ancient, moldy grand piano was at the entrance to the dining room, which was cavernous.
Surprisingly, the food was quite good. We enjoyed some excellent clam chowder and fish and chips. The fish was tender and fresh, and the chef does in-house breading and cuts and fries the chips. Really delicious. We were the only patrons in the dining room, and we noted that the chef came out to ask if we had enjoyed our meal. We said "yes," enthusiastically.
But the place did seem haunted. There were photos on the walls of George Custer's brother (I think). and the stairs leading up to the hotel rooms were dark, dirty, and unwelcoming. The restrooms were in need of a major rehab--yesterday. Whoever owns this hotel needs to look again at the business plan. It's a shame to let an historical treasure fall in such disarray. I noted that there have been various notes of strange voices and ghostly visitors. I'm not really convinced of such supernatural visits, but we did feel strangely creepy and left rather hurriedly. Go somewhere else for the hospitality of the town--that's my advice.