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“Definitely a keeper”

Freemason Abbey Restaurant
Ranked #3 of 722 Restaurants in Norfolk
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $35
Cuisines: American
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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.
Reviewed September 10, 2010

In Norfolk on business, four of us had a terrific meal here - great beer selection, interesting specials (lobster, venison chop) and very good food. All four adults (including the picky eater) were pleased with the quality and quantity of food - it wasn't an overwhelming dinner. Dessert was perhaps not quite as good as we had hoped, but much better than where we ate the night before. We were there early and it was quiet, by the time we left, every table was full, so reservations are probably a good idea. Would definitely go back if I'm in Norfolk again.

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1  Thank GothamMuse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (925)
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885 - 889 of 925 reviews

Reviewed August 26, 2010

I really don't get some of the poor reviews. They don't match with my experiences at Freemason Abbey. We love the place and used to eat there regularly when we lived in Virginia Beach. We still try to make it there at least once each year.

The interior is very attractive, and the cathedral ceiling trusses are stunning. The tables are a little close together in some places, but overall, it's comfortable, and there is plenty of room. The wait staff has always been very attentive. Sometimes when the restaurant is packed, service gets a little slow, but I think that's understandable. I've never had them goof up any order, and the one time when a steak was overcooked a little too much, the waiter quickly expedited the fix with the kitchen.

We never had a bad meal at the place, especially considering how relatively inexpensive it is. I'm really puzzled by the number of people who think this is an expensive restaurant for what you get. There isn't an entree on the menu above $30, and most are in the $13-$20 range. You'd pay more than that at an Outback or Red Lobster, and the quality here far, far exceeds the quality of food in those places. Heck, a whole lobster dinner is only $25, and the lobsters are flown in fresh daily. We've always found them excellent, as is the prime rib. You can't miss with the Abbey's version of She-Crab Soup; it's one of the best in the area.

The only problem I have with the place is that although they have some parking available at night, sometimes it can be hard to find a place to park, especially if you come early. The good thing is that if you dine there during the day, the restaurant will validate tickets for a nearby garage.

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5  Thank readem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2010

This is one of my family's "must-visit" restaurants during our annual trip to Virginia Beach, and it is not unheard of to come here twice during our stay. The building itself is beautiful and comfortable, though parking can be tight depending on the time of day. We have always had great service, and it helps to call ahead for a table. Never had any "bad" food here, but make sure you get something that suits your taste. The she-crab soup should be a mandatory side to any meal- it is excellent. There is always a very unique selection of special entrées, usually in the form of steaks from animals you probably have never eaten before (emu, yak, shark, etc...), but also plenty of classic dishes.

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1  Thank Lyanheart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2010

We have been going to Freemason Abbey Restaurant for the 14 years we have lived in Norfolk. When we moved to Norfolk , we set out on a quest for the best she-crab soup in the area. We had never even heard of she-crab. We ate in every restaurant in Norfolk and the seafood restaurants of Virginia Beach. Freemason was one of the best. Fifteen years later their competition has closed or now makes a less expensive version of she crab while charging a higher price.
My frustration with Freemason is that the menu has changed little. I'd love a new entree now and then. But we are regulars there because it is downtown, the wait staff is excellent, the restaurant is lovely, lobster night is a treat, and we are hooked on the she-crab soup.

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2  Thank travel7continents
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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