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“What a Disapointment”

Freemason Abbey Restaurant
Ranked #3 of 712 Restaurants in Norfolk
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $35
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Located in a 140 year-old renovated church, Freemason Abbey Restaurant has been a local's favorite in the heart of downtown Norfolk for 23 years. Freemason Abbey is closed New Years Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Lakehurst, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“What a Disapointment”
Reviewed July 15, 2009

After hearing so many good things about this Norfolk landmark restaurant, my husband and I were very excited to finally have the opportunity to dine there with our neighbors - what a disappointment it turned out to be. It was a Saturday evening and we had reservations for 7:45 pm. The first thing I noticed was that the restaurant was very empty for a Saturday night (not a good sign). We were seated promptly upstairs in a booth. The booth would be comfortable for two people but it was a bit tight for four people. Our server had no personality whatsoever and her service was definitely not on par with what one would expect from a restaurant of this price range. My husband and I both ordered the WHOLE NEW ENGLAND LOBSTER ($24.95) which is (strangely enough) served with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. I asked our server if I could have broccoli in lieu of the green beans and was told there would be $1.00 charge to make this substitution (seriously?? $1.00 charge???). I agreed to pay the $1.00, as green beans are the only vegetable I don't care for and I wanted to get something I'd enjoy. A salad is not included but can be purchased for an additional $2.95. I am very glad I didn't order one after I saw the house salad that was served to our neighbor. His salad consisted of a wedge of iceberg lettuce drizzled with dressing and served with a small block of cheddar cheese (bizarre). A wedge of iceberg lettuce? Seriously? It was the strangest "salad" I have ever seen. My husband and I each ordered the she-crab soup. The soup was OK (overpriced for sure), but too spicy in my opinion. I much prefer the she-crap soup served at the Lynnhaven Fish House. Our entrees were served promptly enough. The menu describes the lobster as "A whole, fresh 1-1/4 pound live lobster, steamed just right to make the meat sweet and tender" I am not sure what their definition of "tender" is there, but our lobsters were anything but. They were obviously overcooked and very tough - truly disappointing. Our server was very slow to clear our table and again, didn't provide the level of service one would expect from a restaurant with such a pricey menu. She brought out the tray of desserts. They apparently do not make any of the desserts there. I ordered one of the cakes offered and it was not at all impressed. The coffee also left much to be desired. My husband and I each had one drink, soup, an entree and a dessert and our bill came to $99. I do not mind paying that much (or even more) for a good meal and good service but Freemason Abbey provided neither. From the other recent reviews I've read, the food at this restaurant has apparently gone down hill from what it once was. Such a shame. The food at Free Mason Abbey is no where near worth the prices they are charging. With the number of really good restaurants in this area I will not be returning to this high priced disappointment.

    • Value
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    • Food
2 Thank the-way-2-go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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894 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Chesapeake, VA
2 reviews
“Disappointing, not worth the price”
Reviewed June 13, 2009

Wanted to do something special for the son's graduation. Picked Freemason Abbey due to proximity and reviews on the net. Out of my party of eight, only one diner was satisfied with thier dinner (they had a seafood dish). My Primerib was fatty and tough, two of my guests had steak and it was tough. The kids and my wife had fettucini and none of them liked it "Dad- it tasted like it was made yesterday and reheated today". Service was poor, even though it did not seem busy, not sure since we had a party of eight if the mandatory 18% gratuity remove the incentive to provide good service. Will not go back.

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Thank eodo3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Memorable architecture, forgetable food”
Reviewed June 2, 2009

We loved the history of the building and the ambiance, but the food leaves a lot to be desired. With so many other great choices in Norfolk, skip this one.

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    • Food
Thank mtlandm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Charming atmosphere - the best She Crab Soup I ever had!”
Reviewed May 23, 2009

Nice food, great atmosphere!

Thank TheJollyOldElf
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level 6 Contributor
208 reviews
132 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Don't miss the She-Crab soup”
Reviewed April 12, 2009

This is a charming restaurant in the Freemason district near the waterfront. The She-Crab soup was absolutely fabulous. The steak special was a bit tough. Good local beers. There was an unexpected crowd on this Sunday evening and the service was slow.

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    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank nuwildcat65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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