I've been coming up to the lake with my family for over twenty years now, and have been to Lavinia's in the past because the building and views are beautiful (and they still are). I went here for the first time since they got a new chef and was very impressed with the quality of the food. You can truly taste the difference between what they're doing here and what they're doing most (..all?) other places on the lake. The food is fresh and homemade (everything is made in-house, the manager informed us, from the stock to the pasta- they even cure their own pork belly, but more on that later- and the ingredients are sourced locally when possible, if that matters to you).
The first time we ate there this summer was in one of the dining rooms, which was quiet and relaxing. The atmosphere there was okay for me, but the views of the lake were really nice. I ate the best burger I've ever had (and this is coming from someone who doesn't even really like meat that much), followed by a fantastic cookie pie (the desserts are all made by the chef's mom, which I think is adorable). The waitstaff was super friendly, and the manager was very hospitable and happy to answer our questions.
If you're looking for something more lively, my sisters and I had a great time in the tavern (I think they even have a happy hour, which I'll definitely be back for). They make a wonderful dark and stormy with good ginger beer, and the food that we ordered was amazing. The pork belly side is to die for: crispy, fatty pork with spicy mayo. Again, I don't even really like meat, but I can't stop thinking about it. The scallops: also amazing. Just get them. And the arancini balls were perfectly crispy with just the right amount of pesto and chicken inside. We also had the house salad: wine-soaked cherries, are you kidding me? Why have I never thought of that?
The food is better than at most of the New York restaurants I've been to who are trying to do the same thing, but for half the price.
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