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“Satisfying food... and if you're lucky, they might even honor your reservation...”

The Fish Restaurant
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed August 7, 2013

This is my second review of Fish, and it's going to be a love/hate observation. First, the food. John Kilborn, the proprietor, genuinely cares about delivering good food at a reasonable price point and he mostly succeeds. In the land of planked White Fish, Walleye and Perch, he delivers a very satisfying fish house experience, reinforced by a cheery professional staff, all served in a funky, contemporary road house decor.

But there are issues. Because Fish is one of those restaurants that takes reservations without bothering to reconcile whether the restaurant has the capacity to actually accommodate the reservation. That's right. They'll take reservations from everyone -- even though the restaurant never really bothers to calculate whether it will be able to seat the diners when they arrive.

Frustrating? You bet. And long term, it can't be good for business. On a recent evening, we arrived at the requested reservation time and were greeted by a twelve year old hostess who politely told us -- and the other arriving diners also seeking to have their reservations honored -- that there would be a delay in seating us. "How long?" we inquired. "Maybe a half hour or so...," was the reply. It was the "or so" that gave us real pause. And of course, our twelve year old hostess had no seating chart with which to calculate table availabilities... because no such determinations are ever made. It's all "evening at the improv." We left, as did two of the parties behind us.

This was the third time we'd confronted this situation. On the preceding occasions, we'd toughed it out and found seats at the tiny bar. But not this time. Nor the next time... if there ever is a next time.

This is really not a difficult problem to solve. A capable front-of-the-house manager, a seating chart and a policy change would do wonders. And I really hope John gets this message and addresses the issue. The food's better than average and he deserves the business. And, of course, I do recognize that there are people who could care less about reservations. So be it. But please don't tell diners that you take reservations -- unless you have some intention of accommodating them.

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1  Thank Freddyt64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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83 - 87 of 109 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2013

Very, very UpNorth Michigan experience ... wonderfully situated in an outback location in rural Harbor Springs ... Truly an UpNorth experience !
Nice well-stocked bar while waiting for a table ... reservations on the weekend are a must ! The neon bar even handles a St. Germain Elderflower vodka martini with a champagne topper ... Wonderful ! Service is friendly ... Dinner very well prepared ... A variety to choose from - all done with pride !

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1  Thank VintageVF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

We have eaten at THe Fish at least 8 times. We always bring guests there. We took a couple there on July 4. I was embarrassed. A hostess brought us the wrong drinks twice. THe special white fish was very dry and the garlic mashed potatoes were way too garlicky and kind of gluey.

I love the decor and the atmosphere and have always enjoyed the food but there was something wrong that night.

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2  Thank Siebee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

It's 10 minutes out of town on a long and winding road, but well worth the effort and some lovely scenery along the way! Staff was extraordinary, restaurant was adorable and food was truly excellent. We had many different dishes, all fish altho chef told us lamb shank is his personal favorite, and they were all fresh, beautiful and delicious. Drinks were wonderful too. A must-do when in Harbor Springs.

2  Thank T S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

People always told us that we needed to try The Fish Restaurant near Harbor Springs. We finally did and the meal was phenomenal. I had the Shrimp Tempura and my wife had the Ahi Tuna. I have to say after living in Japan, the sauce they served with the Shrimp Tempura didn't match my taste, but the tempura tasted great with salt. My wife says the Ahi Tuna is about the best she has ever had. It was so tender that she could easily peal layers apart to eat.

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4  Thank drbtansha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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