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“Superb food, but not very much of it”
Review of Clifton Inn

Clifton Inn
Ranked #123 of 541 Restaurants in Charlottesville
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: American, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Cash Only, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Route 250 West
Description: At Clifton, it's all about delicious discovery. Our culinary team offers guests the chance to taste the world with daily departures designed to thrill the palette and capture the imagination. The elegant atmosphere and attentive service at Clifton is perfect for transforming any occasion into a special one. Executive Chef Tucker Yoder regularly assembles tantalizing tasting menus that turn a meal at Clifton into a fine food lover’s dream. Clifton diners can also have front row seats for the culinary action at the Chef’s Table. Designed for groups of 6 to 10 people, the Chef’s Table puts you literally front and center, allowing you to watch the culinary team make their magic.
Charlottesville, Virginia
Level Contributor
85 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Superb food, but not very much of it”
Reviewed January 12, 2014

My wife and I had New Year's Day dinner here with three other couples. Clifton Inn is an absolutely beautiful place and oozes charm without being pretentious. Service at the Clifton is among the best I've ever had and the food is incredible. A meal here is a truly special experience. The Clifton offers four or five course meals at a fixed price for each. Each course we selected was expertly prepared and a work of art. The problem is that the portions are tiny and after four courses we still hungry - we felt like we had received a sample of each. Our server explained up front that portions were not as large as in most American restaurants, but this bordered on being a joke. Even wine was offered by the half glass, something I've never seen before. If you want a really good, albeit small and expensive meal, the Clifton Inn will rock your world.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Ricochet_Rabbit_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
___027, General Manager at Clifton Inn, responded to this review, January 22, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review us and comment so positively and say that " absolutely beautiful place and oozes charm without being pretentious. Service at the Clifton is among the best I've ever had and the food is incredible. A meal here is a truly special experience...."

We genuinely are appreciative of that.

As we offer multiple small plates options for dinner, we give each diner the choice of eating as much or as little as they wish. We also offer half glasses of wine, so that if one for example, wanted say a six course menu, one could have a different wine with each course. We are sorry that the "Ricochet Rabbit" maybe was not fully aware of this and so did not fully enjoy dining with us as much as we would hope that all of our guests do.

Niall Reid
General Manager
The Clifton Inn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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154 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    86
    19
    26
    9
    14
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Englewood, Colorado
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Romantic Inn”
Reviewed November 14, 2013

I and my wife celebrated many special events in Clifton Inn and recently visited again for dinner. We like it since it has a unique combination of history, romantic atmosphere and high-quality service.
I was a bit nervous since I heard that they got new chef and we did not know what to expect.
However, to my satisfaction, this place seems to be better every time we come. Everything here is in paying attention to details. Our waiter was extremely knowledgeable about wines since they did not have our favorite Shiraz by the glass. We started first with delicious home-made sour dough bread and home-made butter (who else does this?)
We then took 4 course menus and food was served with impeccable timing to allow us to enjoy every moment in this quiet and charming place. Great thing is that you can choose to take any combination of food that is offered. I took mixed salad, sea scallops, snapper and stake. My wife had pork instead of beef and a cake for desert. Each portion was small but delicious, tastefully presented and yummy! I finished with a real decaf coffee in French press. Before we realized it was over and restaurant manager came personally to check on us.
This definitely remains one of the best places in Charlottesville for very special occasions, worth coming back for sure.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Slobo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
55 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Special Treat”
Reviewed October 31, 2013

Once in a great while you will find a restaurant that merits a special remark and the Clifton Inn is one of them for us. From the unique menu, to the superb food, and to the excellent service, this is a must stop for anyone who values special service and freshly prepare foods.

A great evening that will be with us for years. The Clifton Inn was a A plus or us.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Richard V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level Contributor
28 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“The "aged" duck”
Reviewed October 10, 2013

The place looks beautiful, and grand. And we're told that the hotel service is extremely good. Now for the painful stuff about the restaurant.

We went as a group (around 15 people), a foodie meet-up group with multiple Michelin-star eating experience, and high expectations. Our group organizer had negotiated a 50% discount on the tasting menu (looking back, that was a mistake: for half price, what do you expect? but the punishment was way too harsh; read on). Over the 9-10 courses of the tasting menu, a couple were decent, most were very uninteresting and standard, and one was decidedly bad: the duck breast. They must have had two duck breasts in the kitchen, one almost off and the other really very much off. Half of us -- those who had the rotten duck -- obviously left it on the plate. On confronting the manager, he claimed that the duck was not rotten, but simply "aged". We told him that if that were the case, then why were we not told? Smugly, he said it was written on the menu, but then we looked at the menu and nowhere did it say the duck breast was "aged". Upon which, the manager flared, apologized with a forced smile, left, and was never seen again.

Since that event, I have been asking around about aging ducks, and everyone I had asked - including professional chefs in both France and Italy - told me they'd never heard of such a thing. Google actually says you can age a duck up to 60 days, but the procedure is not as simple as leaving it around in the kitchen, which was possibly what happened to our rotten, "aged" duck breast. Moreover, it seems that "aged ducks" are more popular in the US than Europe. Which probably explains why more Europeans like eating duck than Americans.

We sent back two bottles of wine because they were really, really bad: the kind of bottle which might cost 3-4EUR in any French supermarket was listed on the Clifton Inn's menu at 50+ USD (and I'm not saying those same bottles we were served actually cost 3-4EUR - I'm saying they tasted as if they did), then decided to go for a different strategy: we asked to tasted the open bottles (those you could order by the glass) to see which was best. As it turned out, we got the least worst, but still better than the previous trials.

There were also problems with the bill. They left the wine bottle out, in what we though was an apology gesture towards the rotten duck, but the service charge (automatically added to the menu since we were a large group) was too high: around 35-40%, but listed on the bill at 20%. We protested, and were told that the service charge was a percentage of the original tasting menu price rather than the discounted one. This goes against simple maths: 20% of 100$ cannot be 40$. So they took away the bill and re-calculated it. Again, we could make no sense of it - then we noticed that the missing wine bottle item had surreptitiously re-appeared on the bill. All in all, it took around an hour to pay that blasted bill. Talk about transparency.

The service was OK, but no more. Initially, the head waiter explained each course. After the 4th course, he decided we'd had enough explanations, and just served us the dishes without uttering a word.

Maybe it was just a one-off night, who knows? But my advice is to stay well clear of the place, at least for eating purposes.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank leoliberti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
___027, General Manager at Clifton Inn, responded to this review, October 22, 2013
We like on-line sites, such as TripAdvisor, because it gives us the opportunity to listen to what our customers want in a different forum. We do take feedback here seriously, for a lot of places that is word weary cliché, but here it is true

In Mr Leoliberti experience there were three problems:-
They did not like the duck (We listened, and this has been removed from the menu, and they were not charged)

They did not like the wines - they were not charged for the wines they did not like - (we felt that there was nothing wrong with them, but thats a personal opinion - and of course, we are going to say that ) (We listened and gave them wines by the glass)

They did not like the bill. Who does ? Regardless, they were informed of the tipping policy prior to the meal and they did not like it, so we listened and adjusted.

Whatever we feel or think of our guests, there is one thing we always do - we do listen to our guests and learn and improve.

Niall Reid
General manager
Clifton Inn
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Coast
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Huge Improvement, fun evening”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

We sat outside, tried the tasting menu (great deal, but took longer than we thought...) and had personal service from the waiter/bartender. The atmosphere was relaxed, and many of the dishes were top notch. Not all the drinks were but they were happy to take them back and adapt them. Do try them if you like unusual combinations though.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank rialto11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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