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“What a disappointment.”

Bella of Ancaster - Philip Shaver House
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed January 1, 2014

Our first visit to the Shaver House/Bella of Ancaster did not live up to the hype to say the least. There are new owners, who are very nice and want to please you, but right from the start we could tell they may be in over their heads.

To start….the service (something that has been mentioned in other reviews) is painfully slow. It took 10 minutes for a simple dollop of butter to arrive when requested. For us to make it through a salad, soup, main and dessert it took just over three hours. The time between courses just didn't make any sense.

And here lies the root cause of the problem.

The art of service is in fact an art, it takes training and pride…and a good server who has this training and professionalism can make a very healthy living for themselves and treat you to a wonderful experience (which is what we pay for, I don't care how nicely decorated a place is, I'm paying for the pride in the food and service). Sadly, we saw no evidence of that fine dining service knowledge. We would strongly recommend that the new owners invest in a 'fine dining mentor' for their staff…if you're going to charge what you are charging, then invest in your staff, give them the tools to excel in their positions. They work very hard but they do not know what they do not know. It will make all the difference in the world for them and your business.

As for the food…it was average. Certainly not worth the premium prices they are charging. This is also something you will see mentioned in other reviews. It's not bad food, but when you are paying such prices you expect to experience that wow factor that comes along with the pageantry of fine dining.

All in all the evening passed by without any ghastly events… the owners and staff were pleasant and the food was fine…but when you go to a place that charges fine dining prices and you leave with that average feeling towards the food and service the same way you would walk out of any Swiss Chalet - then there is something desperately wrong.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
6  Thank Derek R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (70)
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55 - 59 of 70 reviews

Reviewed January 1, 2014

Our first visit to the Shaver House/Bella of Ancaster did not live up to the hype to say the least. There are new owners, who are very nice and want to please you, but right from the start we could tell they may be in over their heads.

To start….the service (something that has been mentioned in other reviews) is painfully slow. It took 10 minutes for a simple dollop of butter to arrive when requested. For us to make it through a salad, soup, main and dessert it took just over three hours. The time between courses just didn't make any sense.

And here lies the root cause of the problem.

The art of service is in fact an art, it takes training and pride…and a good server who has this training and professionalism can make a very healthy living for themselves and treat you to a wonderful experience (which is what we pay for, I don't care how nicely decorated a place is, I'm paying for the pride in the food and service). Sadly, we saw no evidence of that fine dining service knowledge. We would strongly recommend that the new owners invest in a 'fine dining mentor' for their staff…if you're going to charge what you are charging, then invest in your staff, give them the tools to excel in their positions. They work very hard but they do not know what they do not know. It will make all the difference in the world for them and your business.

As for the food…it was average. Certainly not worth the premium prices they are charging. This is also something you will see mentioned in other reviews. It's not bad food, but when you are paying such prices you expect to experience that wow factor that comes along with the pageantry of fine dining.

All in all the evening passed by without any ghastly events… the owners and staff were pleasant and the food was fine…but when you go to a place that charges fine dining prices and you leave with that average feeling towards the food and service the same way you would walk out of any Swiss Chalet - then there is something desperately wrong.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
3  Thank Derek R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2013

Recently visited Bella of Ancaster. WOW!! First, the decor is outstanding, both warm and inviting and classy at the same time.
The owners are ever present with warm smiles and friendly greetings.
The food was absolutely amazing, the portions are very, very generous in size and the taste and presentatin is second to NONE!
The wine list is generous in selection with pricing that's affordable.
You won't be sorry when you visit Bella of Ancaster, a one stop, over the top gift boutique and fine dining restaurant.
Truly worth experiencing!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Martha R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2013

Celebrating our wedding anniversary over dinner, my husband and I went to Philip Shaver's House. We were welcomed warmly by the owners. A friendly couple starting a new adventure after owning and operating an antique and country store. They were delighted to have us there and we were absolutely grateful to be there. The waitresses were very helpful in making our meal choices - which turned out amazing!
As I always look forward to the desserts, we had the gingerbread cheesecake which was to die for - highly recommend trying it. Overall, we will definitely have many more anniversaries there.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Andrea_19525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2013

Our first visit was Oct.5, 2013. Our meal was delicious but the service was lacking. It seemed to take forever between courses. They were out of escargots as an appetizer which was disappointing. We decided that because they were a fairly new restaurant we would give them another try. We took friends to dinner on Nov. 16th to celebrate an anniversary and a birthday.
We were greeted at the door by the owner and she offered to hang our coats for us. Our coats were thrown over the back of a chair in a hallway and remained there until we left (not pleased).
We sat for a while before receiving two menus that the four of us had to share. Again we waited far too long before our orders were taken. They were out of the appetizer that we wanted. When our salads came there did not appear to be any dressing on them but because of the length of time it took for them to arrive we weren't about to send them back. The length of time between our appetizer and the arrival of our entrees was embarrassing. We had arrived at 7:00pm and now it was going on 9:30 and no meal yet. This time lapse was not spent over drinks, we were simply left to wait. Our server was friendly enough but didn't seem terribly acquainted with the menu itself or the specials of the evening. Unfortunately our friends will be in no rush to patronize this restaurant and truthfully we probably won't make a third visit either. Three of us ordered the pasta with shrimps and scallops and were all disappointed. The pasta stuck to itself and the shrimp and scallops were terribly overdone and dried out. This establishment prides itself as an upscale restaurant but I'm afraid they have a lot of issues to deal with. Finally after 10:30pm our bill arrived and we were more than ready to leave. A very disappointing meal to be sure. The ambience is lovely but that's where it ends.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Noreen P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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