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“The Best Restaurant in Central PA” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Char's at Tracy Mansion

Char's at Tracy Mansion
1829 N Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102
717-213-4002
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Ranked #6 of 459 Restaurants in Harrisburg
Price range: $25 - $50
Cuisines: French, Contemporary, International
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Kelker
Louisville, Kentucky
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“The Best Restaurant in Central PA”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013 via mobile

Char was located in Shipoke and got flooded on a regular basis. She found a wonderful location on front street overlooking the Susquehanna River and opened a fabulous restaurant I would suggest reservations because the food is outstanding and the service is as good as it gets and if you are lucky you too will enjoy a sunset on the Susquehanna. You will not be disappointed. The best restaurant in Harrisburg.

Visited April 2013
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116 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    77
    23
    9
    4
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
harrisburg pa
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Very good”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Char's on Front st in Harrisburg PA. I recently had dinner with friends in main dining room on weekend night and then bussiness meeting on weeknight in a sideroom off the bar. Overall the atmosphere is terrific, very professional staff, kind and attentive. The bar always seems to be packed even on weeknights and many choose to just sit at the bar and have their meals. Call for reservations way ahead for prime dinner hours on weekends.
Majority of guests in the 30 - 60s range. Dress appropriate (many men wearing jackets but they dont appear to be required, ties not required). I didnt see any small children there and the atmosphere doesnt lend itself to small kids.
Cocktails excellent and I never had to wait for another.
Food excellent - I had the beet salad both visits, the ham hock soup is terrific, I had steak one visit perfect, and Pork Tenderloin the next - again perfect. Never room for desert.
Others have enjoyed the seafood and no complaints.

Overall excellent restaurant for taking your wife or friends, they did a good job with bussiness meeting also. Call ahead for reservations - I understand even made for at the bar. Look forward to the spring and summer when outside is open. The artwork is also for sale and I understand much of the glass sculpture is by a family member.

History - the mansion was finished in 1918 the Osteopathic hospital was there from about 1950 - 1970. Then became a psychiatric hospital into the 80's.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Post-flood Char's is even better”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We had visited Char's in Shipoke a few times before the flood closed it down and were eager to try out the new location. The new spot is larger with a parking lot instead of difficult street parking and great views of the river. With the Circular Dining Room closed for renovations and The Golden Sheaf in need of its pending one, Char's is definitely in the running for the Harrisburg area's top spot. Service is attentive and friendly, not stuffy. The food was uniformly excellent. We tried the escargot with baby spinach, the sea scallops in a tarragon cream and the duck pate, all uniformly good. They kept the favorite salad from Shipoke, pear and endive, excellent as always and we also enjoyed a beet and apple salad with shaved fennel. Entrees come in "small plates" and regular. The small plates are sufficient with a multi-course meal. We tried the risotto du jour (that night with a duck leg confit) and the paella, which was loaded with shrimp, black mussels, chicken and chorizo. (Could not finish) The third entree was from the small plates: veal osso buco. The wines need a bit of commentary. First of all, if you go to their web page only the "premium" wines are shown; you might get the impression that the cheapest bottle in the house is $115! Not the case. The full wine list is short but well selected. Luckily we agreed with the sommelier's decisions and because it was a special occasion went with the Veuve Clicquot ($88 as I recall ) and the exceptional Kistler 2009 Chardonnay ($125) but you could easily go for half that price or less. Still with presumably more storage space I wouldn't mind seeing an expanded list. (For example, the Kistler was the only "premium" Chardonnay offered but we happened to know and love it.) Timing was a bit off that night, as we waited a long time between the appetizers and the salad course and then the entrees showed up as we were taking the last bite of salad. Other than that minor point, no complaints. Highly recommended but remember that you get what you pay for; we dropped $500 for a party of three (but, as noted above) we spent more than $200 on the wine and could have gotten by on a lot less). Time your dinner for sunset.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Hershey, PA, USA
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“What? and Endive Salad?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

Having heard mixed reviews about Char's new restaurant (and having been quite pleased with her Bella Mundo before it closed), we were a bit wary given some of the criticism we'd read. Fortunately, our experience was quite good. Met at the door imediately by Robert who seated us. Waited only a minute or two for drinks to arrive. Service overall impeccable. Food excellent with the exception of the signature Pear and Endive salad: if there was anything in there which was (or once was) a pear, I missed it. This was more like chunky cole slaw with straight mayo dressing. Fortunately, that was the only disappointment (with the exception of the dreadful banquette seating - whatever happened to a real table for two?). We'd requested a 6:00 PM resrvation, but they recommended 5:30 as we had tickets for an 8:00 show. Serendipity: room was mostly empty when we arrived and our service was prompt; by 6:00 it was crowded and we overheard grumbling from other tables about long waits for drinks and food. Wine by the glass very limited; no trocken or halbtrocken Riesling. Overall (and sadly), as good as it gets in Central Pennsylvania. When will we get a really good restaurant?

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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harrisburg, pa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“LOVE!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

Had a wonderful experience at Char's and will definitely be back. The food and service are fantastic. I especially enjoyed the Roasted Local Beets & Apples Salad. I once had a beet salad in Napa that was one of the best and most memorable things I have ever eaten. My quest to find something to top it has ended! It is so nice to have a place in Harrisburg that is worth the money. If you want a wonderful meal in a fine dining setting go here, you won't be disappointed.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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