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“Very disappointing experience at Hillebrand!!”

Trius Winery Restaurant
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Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $52 - $153
Cuisines: European, Contemporary
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Description: Hillebrand Winery Restaurant celebrates the relationship between our land, our people, our wines and our food. Chef Frank Dodd showcases locally inspired cuisine made with ingredients from the bounty of Niagara Wine Country, and Winemaker Craig McDonald pairs them with wines made from grapes that grow in the same soil. Extend your stay in Wine Country, and allow us to arrange a private tasting in our Collector's Boutique or another Winery Experience prior to your meal.
Reviewed October 18, 2010

We were there to celebrate 3 very important occasions - two milestone birthdays and my parents' upcoming 60th anniversary. My sister called beforehand and mentioned these occasions to the host. Unfortunately, it was evident that our waiter (I believe his name was Dave M. ) couldn't have cared less - the experience and the meal went downhill rapidly. Suffice it to say, that for the prices they charge, we expected a stellar experience. We didn't get it by any means. Yes, the walnut bread was good and the scallops as an appetizer were delicious (should have ordered that for my main) - however, the smoked salmon appetizer for $18 which my parents wanted to share (and which was our waiters' supposed "favourite dish") consisted of one tiny quail egg and a dollop of smoked salmon - there is a limit to how small a portion should be to be considered acceptable and this wasn't. There was not enough for one person, let alone two. Of course, this wasn't mentioned at the outset - literally $18 for two bites of food - it was not that delicious and certainly not worth the price. Two of us (we were six people) had problems with the steak - my meat was cold and tough - same problem with the other steak dish. My father was offered and brought another piece of tender meat - too bad he received it after the rest of us had finished our dinners. My mother's lamb chop was so tough she asked for a serrated knife to cut it. They didn't have any and the only choice was to have the chef cut it up for her - very impressive. We were clearly not happy (although we did have a good laugh at the size of the smoked salmon appetizer) - and absolutely no mention at all from our waiter to compensate with anything - not with price, not with dessert or even coffee. The fact that we were there to celebrate such important occasions was clearly lost on this waiter who did the absolute minimum to ensure we had good service. We were supposed to have two desserts with congratulatory writing on them, but instead we opted to leave and take our business elsewhere for dessert. If you think we are not used to restaurants such as this in terms of fine dining, I assure you we are - but this did not rate and I would never come back. If you read through the reviews you will see how often service is said to be lacking - unbelievable for a restaurant that charges $40 a plate! Nice place, wine tastings beforehand was fun, excellent busboy who tried his hardest, but the inattentive service (i wouldn't say horrible, but not far off) and the less than mediocre food make this one destination I won't be seeking out in the future. There are better places to eat in Niagara on the Lake, and certainly better restaurants who actually care about the important occasions you are celebrating.

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3  Thank ChilliinOttawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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532 - 536 of 578 reviews

Reviewed October 18, 2010

And we've been to Italy, New York, Switzerland, California. Hands down, best meal. The mushroom broth, the fish dish and the chocolate dessert were above excellent. If they gave out Michelin ratings in Canada, Hillebrand would have one! This is definitely a splurge night out.... not for the budget conscious.

Thank janbo19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2010

We drove all the way from Toronto to have lunch at Hillebrand (a longer drive than usual thanks to an accident involving a trailer full of cows), and it was more than worth it. We knew it would be expensive, but there really was a lot of value provided - for example, it costs $25 to add the wine choices to go with the lunch tasting menu, and you get 4 actual glasses of wine (one with each course), not small tasting glasses... 4 glasses of good wine (including icewine) at a similar calibre of restaurant would cost a lot more than $25!

Food was excellent, the portions look small but we were all very full by the end of the meal. I much prefer this setup that allows you to taste a wide variety of local dishes, rather than a regular restaurant where you get one huge plate that's mostly starch and vegetables. Service was always attentive and very knowledgeable about wine, explaining the history, winemaking procedure and why it goes with that particular dish. The location was great too, good view out across the vineyard.

If you have a special occasion, the trip to Hillebrand is well worth it.

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1  Thank Manatus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2010

I did tons of research to decide where we were going to eat. I emailed the innkeeper at the B&B we were staying out and she recommend Hillebrand. I am SO glad she did! It was HANDS DOWN the best meal of my life. I was VERY nervous when we walked in. Most of the meals I could not pronounce and the menu was intimidating. I was afraid it was going to be too "fru fru" for us (especially my husband who orders everything plain!)

I started with a salad made with Arugula and Watercress lettuce, pears, candied pecans, beets, and some kind of dressing. The flavors danced in my mouth. I made my husband (who does not eat vegetables) take a bite of the salad and he was raving about it the next day to others! I actually found myself getting upset as I neared the end of eating this amazing salad!

My husband ordered the Pork Tenderloin and I ordered the fish (the menu had Sea Bass down but they did not receive the order so it was Perch). Both meals were fantastic. Had we not been in such a nice restaurant we would have been licking our plates.

We finished with the Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee which was cooked perfectly. It tasted like the vanilla was flown in from Madagascar that morning!

The service was definitely not as impeccable as the food but it wasn't bad. It was average. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough. It was very pricey but worth every penny.

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Thank iwannatravelm0re
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2010

Enjoyed the chef's tasting menu and flight of wines last night at Hillebrand Winery. Chef Dodd clearly knows what he is doing! We have enjoyed meals in Tuscany, Napa, and Sonoma Wine Country and Hillebrand firmly hold its own. The food and wine pairings were sublime. Our waiter, Joseph, was accommodating and knowledgeable. The atmosphere was delightful. Sunset over the vineyard was magic. We have dined at Hillebrand several times both at lunch and dinner. Cannot wait to return!

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2  Thank calmsky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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