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“Great Food-Poor Service”

Freemason Abbey Restaurant
Ranked #8 of 796 Restaurants in Norfolk
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $35
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Located in a 147 year-old renovated church, Freemason Abbey Restaurant has been a local's favorite in the heart of downtown Norfolk for 31 years. Freemason Abbey is closed New Years Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Reviewed June 2, 2010

In VA for vacation. Nice location and decor. Seafood was very good. Son had quail and enjoyed. Husband had ostrich, which was luke warm and tough. Overall food was good.. However, our waiter was also the bartender for the evening and could not be found for long periods. Because our waiter was doing two jobs we felt like he was rushing us to order, eat, pay and get out. Manager made me a nervous wreck quickly pacing back and forth from the entrance to the kitchen.

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1  Thank bmcelfresh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,195 - 1,199 of 1,236 reviews

Reviewed May 22, 2010

We hosted a party of 30 and we were all thrilled. The setting is lovely and even with that many meals the food was delicious. The staff was extremely accommodating. I would highly recommend Freemason Abbey in historic Norfolk.

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1  Thank ItalyInTheSpring
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2010

i went during lunch time and had salmon with crab - and some kind of sauce. It was good, but not to die for. There was a good crowd around me, mostly elderly individuals meeting for birthdays. i would say the location is ideal to downtown, where I was for a work conference.

Thank aliceinw0nderland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2010

We are here visiting and my husband has been to this restaurant a few times before, but this was a first for me. We decided to go on lobster night and after reading reviews here, we made an early reservation at 6:30 in the evening.

We arrived early and to our delight were seated immediately. I expected to have to wait and was perfectly willing to do so, but this was a nice surprise.

I have to say that all the complaints about Freemason Abbey (FA) running out of lobster, and bad planning, is completely and utterly unfair. If those customers had actually read the history, on the back of the menu, they would have learned that FA had tried several local New England companies before finally settling on one exclusively. The reason they selected this company (sorry, but I cannot remember the name of it, so I'll just call it "the company") is that their lobster is of high quality and can be delivered the same day most of the time. The same day! This guarantees FRESH lobster and not some rubbery grocery store lobster that has been tanked, for no telling how long.

That said, this means that the company can only send so many every day, causing limitations. So all the complaints are completely unfounded and besides, Red Lobster charges nearly twice as much for only a lobster tail and in this instance patrons get a salad, two sides, bread and a WHOLE lobster for less than $16. What's not to love about that? Just go around 6 and you're usually good.

In any case, it was 6:00 p.m. when our waiter said that there were about 30 lobsters left.

Speaking of the waiter, he was very courteous and attended to all our needs. The order came quickly and despite the so-called Alaskan (I lived there myself for six years and that has little to do with being cold in a restaurant) saying they needed a jacket, I was fine. It wasn't cold in there at all. The surroundings are not nearly as bad as some of these complaints say either. I thought this suited the place very well and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Now for the food... I thought it was fantastic! We started with the She Crab Soup (after hearing how yummy it was, I had to try it), which is a definite winner! I can see why it has won all sorts of rewards. Our entrée started with a salad that was served with a chunk of cheese, a slice of cantaloupe and an interesting cracker. I had to ask about the cracker which had poppy and sesame seeds as well as something else that I couldn't put my finger on. Our waiter said that they purchased these crackers by a local baker. In any case, this was followed by our very BIG lobster, mashed potatoes (which had a delicious seasoning, it had a little kick), green beans and rolls. It was truly excellent!

We also ordered a bottle of white wine that is bottled specially by a Norfolk vineyard. The bottle even has a picture of FA right on it. We're saving that as a special memento. I'm not a special wine taster and know nothing about wines. In fact, I don't even like it all that much, but I can say that it was good and I fully enjoyed it. It went well with the lobster.

As is probably obvious, I cannot understand all the nit-picking. If they wanted fine dining, then they should perhaps go somewhere else. This is for a casual family atmosphere, not fine dining. I'm not sure where the idea is coming from that this is supposed to be a fine dining restaurant and if that is what you're looking for, then find something else. It isn't and it clearly says on the menu that they want this to be a casual family restaurant and tavern.

However if you want a fun experience in a local restaurant with good food, then this is it. I would definitely return in a second and I would also recommend this to friends and family.

3  Thank magnoliasouth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2010

I am SO glad we found this restaurant in Norfolk on our 1 day visit to the city. The She-Crab soup was divine! The ambiance, atmosphere, and service were outstanding! The bread, salad, fettucinne, shrimp, club style sandwich, and chocolate cake all received excellent reviews from my family members. The history of the restaurant is very interesting, and it is within walking distance of the battleship and museum. The location, food, and price were great!

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1  Thank gourmetsuzanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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