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“Noisy, unimaginative, slow, and DOGS!!”

Barnard Inn Restaurant
Ranked #1 of 1 Restaurants in Barnard
Certificate of Excellence
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Families with children, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
PALO ALTO
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Noisy, unimaginative, slow, and DOGS!!”
Reviewed November 22, 2009

Having just moved to Vermont, we heard about the Barnard Inn, and about Will and Ruth, who came from SF, where we had just moved from...we knew their restaurants and thought "what a great idea" so we drove 2 hours round trip in the dark.

What a major disappointment!

First, we couldn't find anyone to help us--we had to search all over the Inn and finally realized that we were to be seated in the very crowded tavern with probably over 30 people milling about with drinks and, of course, being very loud. Granted, there was a party there that moved into the dining room but it was a rocky start.

Than, looking at the wine list, my heart sank--some of the most unimaginative wines I've ever seen, some from vinyards in California that I knew was not good. Ordered a European red bordeaux, a modest success.

Then, the waitress kept apologizing for the slow service--it was crowded and few staff were on hand--so my obvious question was why they wouldn't have anticipated this...it took FOREVER to get anything we ordered.

Our waiter was fine, but honestly, very inexperienced (an art student) and really knew nothing about the food.

On top of that, it was so dimly lit and the menu in such small font, it was impossible to read (I still don't know exactly what I ordered).
The food and choices were, shall we say, uninspired to say the least...steak with fries, fish with veggies, chicken with potatoes. Yes, the food was good, but really nothing special.

There was a party of children--and they later decided to run all over the restaurant playing hide and seek--the staff tolerated this at the discomfort of the dinner guests.
To top this off--TWO large german shepards were allowed to roam all over the tavern and into the kitchen--a MAJOR violation of health regulations...licking the floor, licking the guests, and where where the owners? Nowhere to be seen...OK, I know it's vermont, but this is not only a health regulation but who the hell wants to see large police dogs roaming around .

By dessert, we had had enough, and begrudgingly drove the 1 hour home--a large waste of money and we were largely disappointed in what could have been a nice experience. I though if we came back and ate in the dining room, perhaps it would be better, but given what we saw and experienced, I doubt it.

I read the other reviews here. For the prices, Barnard Inn is really nothing worth driving for.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank DrDANT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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146 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Tomato Bisque that will actually make you cry (actual tears) for more.....”
Reviewed June 8, 2009

Since I ask no less then 100 questions, I discovered the chef/owner lived in San Fransico for a while. It showed. I have had meals (thank god - I am a very lucky guy) at some of the best restaurants in the country (and some in Europe) - this was seriously better then ANY MEAL I HAVE EVER EATEN. The soup - 2 bowls - it was that good. The salad - outstanding (all local and organic), the main course - beyond perfection - was this really a meal in Vermont??? I could not believe it! Then - desert, a simple hot fudge sundae that would make you say "for my last meal, please bring me back to Barnard Inn". I had some seriously good meals up here. It was a huge surprise. You tend to think only the big city has outstanding talent. Far from it. The simple, peaceful surroundings made this trip, and this meal all the more special. You could actually carry on a conversation, people are friendly, the staff was delightful. This sounds insane but I'd actually drive the 2 1/2 hours (each way) just to have dinner. Absolutely the best of everything.

    • Value
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    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank JSMass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Milford, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
102 reviews
56 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“The greatest dinner in the history of dinners!”
Reviewed April 8, 2009

The only reason I made a reservation at this restaurant is because the owner of another restaurant (Osteria Pane e Salute) stated in his website that if he had a choice of eating at another local restaurant, he'd choose the Barnard Inn Restaurant. I'll take a chef's recommendation any day so I called the Barnard Inn and made reservations over a month in advance. It turns out making reservations for the dining room is totally unnecessary.

The Barnard Inn is about 10 miles outside Woodstock, VT and is literally in the middle of nowhere! Our GPS system had trouble locating it and I had to slam on the brakes when the inn just popped up out of nowhere. We were one of the first diners to arrive and, not knowing where to go, we entered through the front doors and right into the dining room.

It's important to know that this restaurant is divided into 2 parts: the dining room and the tavern. The dining room is a more elegant setting with a price tag to match ($60-ish per person for a 3-course menu not including drinks). The tavern is located around the back of the inn and is on a first-come-first-served basis. The tavern is about half the size of the dining room but the locals know better than to eat in the dining room - the food served in the tavern is comparable to that of the dining room but the ambiance is more laid back. The catch is that if you don't get to the tavern before 7pm, you could be waiting a long time for a table to clear. The bar in the tavern isn't very big, either.

When my fiancee and I walked into the dining room, there wasn't even a hostess to greet us! I guess we were a bit early. When we did find one of the 2 waitresses working that night, she said that we were to be the only guests eating in the dining room! This means they had set up everything just for us! She told us we could sit wherever we pleased. Feeling awkward about having them keep an entire area open just for us, we offered to switch over to the tavern but she insisted we stay in the dining room since they had printed out menus that night just for us. So now we felt obliged to eat in the dining room and picked the best spot right between the crackling fireplace and the picturesque windows that allowed us to view the sunset over the snowy hills and that perfect Vermont scene.

At this point I was reeling at how unbelievably romantic this all was! I couldn't have planned a more romantic dinner and felt blown away by this red carpet treatment. The food was incredible. For the appetizer I had the Grav Lox and my fiancee the Tomato Bisque. Both were incredible. For the main course I had the salmon and he had the gnocchi. Again, incredible. The whole dinner I kept smiling. And then I commented to my fiancee that this restaurant was so incredibly romantic it would be the perfect place for someone to propose. He agreed and, in a moment of utter spontaneity, proposed! He had actually planned to propose back at our bed and breakfast (The Village Inn at Woodstock) but changed his mind halfway through dinner because the dinner was just too perfect and romantic.

So as you can see, I'm incredibly biased in loving the Barnard Inn because such a momentous occasion took place here. But the food was also top notch. The bill ended up coming to about $225ish (not sure if that included gratuity) but I can't imagine a more romantic setting. Had this restaurant been in a more metropolitan place, the price tag would have been double.

I want to go back to this restaurant again, just because it was sheer magic. Next time I'd try the tavern, because it can get lonely in the dining room! Make sure you're bringing a dinner guest that knows how to talk or else dinner will pass by slowly. The diners in the tavern seemed to be having a wonderful time (we could hear their laughter) and I've never seen a place more packed. Clearly this is the place to eat at when you're in that neck of the woods.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank HappyGoLuckyNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“certainly the best restaurant in the woodstock area”
Reviewed July 27, 2008

We happily join the other reviewers of this restaurant in commending it for entraordinary cuisine and service. We recommend the "regular" restaurant and not the pub unless you fancy a noisier and more bar-like environment. The pricing is appropriate for the quality of the cuisine and the service is warm-hearted and knowledgable. You will enjoy!!

Helpful?
1 Thank danazoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
vtlocalWoodstock, VT
1 review
“Incredible Food! -- Tavern or Dining Room”
Reviewed April 4, 2008

Just had a meal at there at the Tavern, 04/02/2008. W-O-W! Everything was great. The German Chocolate Cake we had for desert was a knock-out. This place never disappoints. Next time i go, I'll take pictures to post.

Helpful?
Thank VtLocal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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