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“Absolutely fantastic” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lavinia's

Lavinia's
Plymouth & Lake Sts, 18 Main Street, Center Harbor, NH 03226
+1 603-253-8617
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $0 - $35
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Brooklyn, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Absolutely fantastic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014 via mobile

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.

  • Visited August 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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113 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    68
    30
    6
    4
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
NH seacoast
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Continually disappointed”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014

I don't like leaving poor reviews, as there is good potential here if they tighten up service and address other issues. I have been to Lavinia's twice this summer, both times with family. First time there was OK, not outstanding, but good enough to try again. Though neither of the kids enjoyed the the dinners and didn't eat their meals - which was surprising as they were starving.

First, the menu is interesting but it gives you the impression that they are still trying to figure out what they want to be. The main menu or 'seconds', starts with items such as a burger, taco, and pulled pork sandwich. It then ends with NY Strip and Lobster Alfredo. Most everything on the menu sounds good, that's not the problem. portion size to price and inconsistent or low quality service.

Last night, a Thursday, accentuated the issues at the restaurant. We were seated at 6:30, and after some redirection from the staff we were settled. Drinks ordered, and eventually some delivered with the last drink ordered delivered after the meal was served. Our meals were delivered after 8:00, over 90 minutes later.

The portions are small, not what you would expect small but smaller. At the prices, sixteen dollars for a basic plate of 'house pasta', and the plate is only half full, and nothing else on the plate. And it is a normal sized plate.

Next, one meal ordered was incorrect, it was sent back and we waited another 30 minutes for the correct meal to be delivered.

During the meal and later in the evening, the lights were turned up, bright. After 5 minutes down to dim. And a few more minutes turned up again. Eventually the lights settled back to their initial setting. Not sure what this was about.

Our orders for a second round of drinks was asked well after the meal was finished and just prior to desert, and now about two hours at the restaurant.

It was a major disappointment, and expensive, well in excess of 100 dollars for 4.

I'm also going to add at this point, the men's necessary room (restroom), the stall is ridiculously narrow. Even my son made a comment. When I have to slide down into two slimy walls, it doesn't add to the quality, premier dining experience trying to be presented.

There are better choices in the region, all within a short drive.

Visited July 2014
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natick, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“15 Friends”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2014

I called to make reservations for 15 people for our annual "lets party off island" dinner. We can be a tough and boisterous crowd: There are several restaurant owners in our group, along with people who love to travel and go out to eat and will not hesitate to critique the food, surroundings, staff, etc. Let me just say, not one negative comment. The food was fantastic. Christian, our waiter, hung in there and got the drinks, appetizers, and food out in a timely way. The kitchen staff managed to get every meal delivered all at the same time and they were all beautiful to look at. We ordered the filet and NY strip steaks, the blackened fish (salmon) and risotto, the fish tacos, the scallops, the mini lobster rolls, pork belly slides (FANTASTIC), the roasted beet and the Caesar salads which were pieces of art. On the way out, walking back to our boats we were already planning our return. Thank you to everyone for the great food, evening, and memory. Debbie Towle

  • Visited July 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bluffton, SC
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Delicious and great atmosphere”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2014

We had a delicious early dinner today, service great, bread delicious. All meals cam out hot and with good timing. The fish tacos had great flavor, fish & chips a favorite, and the BBQ pulled pork also good. Enjoyed the history if the place and touring all the rooms. Happy witt the new chef and ownership. Nice to have a place like this in the area again.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 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.
Hollis, New Hampshire
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Nice one in lake region”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2014

It is well known that there are simply no good restaurants around center harbour or Meredith for many years. Finally there is one that is little close to Boston's standard without Boston's price.Beets salad was excellent. Fish taco with fried potato stick added interesting texture. Blackened salmon could be a little tender but mushroom risotto was very tasty.Bread came before dinner was warm but in tiny portion. The olive oil with Rosemary was very bland and did not tasted like extra virgin.Chelsey the waitress was friendly and efficient.We can tell the chef is creative and has his/her own style and did a good job. The dessert menu, however, did not looked too interesting and is very traditional.We will definitely go back again.

  • Visited July 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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