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$19 - $36
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options
Drinks, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night
American, Bar
Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Table Service
Reviews (378)
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All reviews chicken mussels hamburger connecticut river beer garden overlooking the river swing bridge iso entrees lawn godspeed essex
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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Big place, good distancing, good friendly wait staff. Large windows overlooking the river, nice big outdoor bar and patio. Great sandwiches and salads.

Date of visit: April 2021
Reviewed January 3, 2021

As East Haddam residents, we have the fortunate opportunity to frequent the Gelston House Restaurant. Over the years we have tried most of the menu items, which are always cooked to perfection with fresh ingredients, and pleasing to the palate. The staff are knowledgeable and...friendly and aim to please. Our waitress Amber, during our last two visits, was observant, attentive, professional, sweet, and kind. The proprietor Iso never fails to stop by our table to say hello and ensure all is well. In the summer, the Beer Garden offers majestic views of the Connecticut River, Goodspeed Opera House, and Swing Bridge. There is often musical entertainment on Sunday afternoons. When it is colder outside, the Tavern's fireplace makes it a cozy gathering spot. We have enjoyed Christmas parties and New Year's Eve celebrations in the ballroom sized dining room. We always leave the Gelston House in a joyous mood whether we visit with good friends, attend a party, or share an intimate dinner. Management has made the Gelston House a safe place to visit during Covid. The spaciousness and soaring ceilings of this historical landmark allow for huge distances between tables and greater than typical air volume. Many thanks to the Proprietor and his Staff for all the great memories!More

Date of visit: January 2021
Reviewed November 11, 2020 via mobile

We went twice about a month apart. The first time, the food was good. I got the shrimp and scallops and the sauce was rich and creamy. The tacos were also very good. The second time, 2 people in our party got the shrimp and...scallops and it was quite different. The sauce tasted more like weak tomato soup and it made the scallops tasteless. They could not eat the risotto and most of the meal. I got the poor boy sandwich and it was made with real small shrimp. The bang sauce had a good flavor, but I guess I was hoping for larger shrimp. The manager did take one of the meals off the bill and gave us 2 deserts, which were just OK. The outside deck is really nice on a warm Fall day overlooking the river. We wish the food was more consistent.More

Date of visit: November 2020
Reviewed October 20, 2020

Sunday afternoon 3:00PM. Waited 15 minutes for a waitperson to acknowledge our existence, ordered drinks which arrived five minutes later. Waiter then totally ignored us even though we told him we would be ordering some food, so 45 minutes after arriving we had finished our...drinks, I threw an appropriate amount of cash on the table and we walked out. Will never return.More

Date of visit: October 2020
Reviewed August 31, 2020 via mobile

There aren’t many places to eat on the waterfront and far fewer on the CT River. This is the spot to be on a warm or slightly cool summer afternoon and night as well as lunch as I have done them all with friends, family...and clients. Great overlook of River from the promenade outdoor restaurant. Felt very safe. Lots of space as well on the lawn below. Cocktails are typical for outdoor bars. Alcohol menu is extensive. Lunch and dinner menus had good variety. I am not a foodie but I was very satisfied each time. The chicken at top of entree menu was surprisingly good. Nice views of river, Godspeed Opera house and the swing bridge. Just watching the boats go by can make any meal better. I will recommend the shrimp poboy sandwich for lunch or dinner. Shrimp was breaded but had an excellent texture and the sauce was very tasty. Don’t remember dessert probably due to the cocktails. Park in the lower parking lot behind restaurant. Ample parking and a nice short walk across a small bridge. Take a walk to the dock and river views and if around sunset expect some potentially spectacular sunset over and through the bridge. (By the way the best sunset picture of the CT River valley is one mile north on Route 149 at the stop sign. Unrivaled. While your Gelston house food is settling! Park in the lower parking lot behind restaurant. Ample parking and a nice short walk across a small bridge.More

Date of visit: August 2020
Reviewed July 26, 2020 via mobile

We took a boat ride up the river with two couples, from Essex on a recommendation to have dinner at Gelston House in East Haddam. The trip was a slow one, through no wake zones. We enjoyed the picturesque setting of the landscape with palatial...homes along the Connecticut River on that warm clear summer night. We docked at the pier and took some beautiful pictures on the lawn. We were seated on the top tier with incredible views of the bridge, river and the opera house. The sunset turned the sky pink. The menu was classic. We started with Bavarian pretzels and an order of the lamb pizza that was smeared with fig jam. It was delicious. I split an order of the lobster tacos which were 4 large tacos bursting with lobster meat. It was split in the kitchen and served perfectly. Others had steaks and burgers.More

Date of visit: July 2020
Reviewed July 13, 2020

Four of us had dinner in the outside "beer garden" on a Thursday night. The place was very busy and we had to wait about 15 min for a table, no biggie as the the view is gorgeous and you can even get a cocktail...at the bar while you wait. We sat down and were greeted immediately and our drink order was taken. We ordered the lamb lollipops and mussels for apps which were delicious and the entrees were amazing as well. Service was great, our waitress-Bree was so friendly and professional. Highly recommend!More

Date of visit: July 2020
Reviewed July 5, 2020

It was a beautiful day. Had a table facing the water,since Covid is still a problem, all we’re wearing face masks and we had some distance between diners. However, my wife’s hamburger was almost raw,uncooked! The waitress noticed it and when my wife bit into...it, realized it was raw. The waitress (I’m sorry, forgot her name) was v Rey good about it and got the kitchen to make a new one. Her demeanor and attitude saved the day. That’s why I gave it 4 stars but only because of our very pleasant and understanding waitress.More

Date of visit: July 2020
Reviewed April 26, 2020

Take out was awesome...fresh, hot and delicious. Generous portions. Wings were spicy and juicy. Rib panini with grilled onions and provolone just perfect.

Date of visit: April 2020
Reviewed December 25, 2019

My family and I recently had dinner at Gelston House before a show at the Goodspeed. The staff was excellent and extremely helpful and friendly. The food, however, was very ordinary and quite overpriced. If I’m going to pay over 30 dollars for an entree...I expect it to be more than just a small piece of fish in a fairly bland sauce, woody, tasteless asparagus and six or seven fingerling potatoes. Another person had the scallop and mushroom risotto, which was so salty she couldn’t even eat half. The two steaks others ordered were good and cooked as requested. The highlight was the crab cake appetizer that my mom said were the best she’s had and she’s something a of a crab cake expert.More

Date of visit: December 2019
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Questions & Answers
Ask a question
October 26, 2018|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from blertak2018 | Property representative |
We do not have buffets on Sunday, we do ala cart, so ordering is off the menu. AND IT'S GREAT :)
August 6, 2018|
AnswerShow all 11 answers
Response from cckone | Reviewed this property |
Yes....but with reservations - both literally and figuratively. As it is the nearest restaurant near the Opera House, it gets very crowded before show times so a reservation is a must. And then allow plenty of time (at least... More
Lynda C
July 22, 2017|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from sue f | Reviewed this property |
Hi Lynda No sorry but they don't.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Gelston House

  • Gelston House is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
    • Food: 3.5
    • Service: 3.5
    • Value: 3
    • Atmosphere: 4