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“Almost as good as home”

The Victoria Freehouse
Ranked #420 of 4,519 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Cuisines: British
Restaurant details
Reviewed July 1, 2013

My mister and I had been once before but only had an appetizer, so when the opportunity presented itself to go for dinner we did. The curry cheese chips was a large tasty portion. The Fish n Chips were good though sadly the cut was not in the traditional style making it a little harder to enjoy especially when it's served on top of the chips in a basket and with paper as the barrier. I found the fish a little oily even with the crispy batter, which caused a hole in the paper and I ended up with a few chips on my lap. He had the Bangers and Mash, which he enjoyed. The beer selection is quite impressive and having 1/2 pours available, it allows trying different beers more fun. I had a shandy which the bartender made since they don't have it on the menu and found it quite palpable. The Sticky Toffee pudding was delicious and I devoured it and wanted more. The service was a little slow as there was only one bartender and one wait staff; however, there were only 3 tables including us, so the wait wasn't too bad. It's the only place that has proven itself capable of actually having English puddings (desserts) true to form, so I'd go back if for that alone.

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Thank Caroline C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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60 - 64 of 66 reviews

Reviewed June 3, 2013

Been here a few times and enjoyed the real pints of British beers ( 20 oz glasses). Food was decent, people friendly and the atmosphere nice. But there Beer Week special was a bit of a disappointment. Four Scottish 10 oz brews along with pub snacks for $25. My wife and I sat down and ordered the special and the bartender opened a 12oz bottle and poured it into 2 goblets. 2 x6 = 12 not 20 oz. So be it. 5 minutes later he brought out 2 bridies (lamb patties in a light dough) which were very good. Then the rest of the beer but no more bar snacks. I thought that the beer was paired with a different snack but was told it wasn't. I said there were supposed to be bar snacks and he said they weren't. I was really annoyed. $50 + tip for 8 small beers and a bar snack? A bit much. To make amends he offered another bridie but we politely refused. In a few minutes a small platter was brought out with toasted bread, a couple slices of a radish, 2 slices of fried potato and some cheesy food in dough. Not a good experience.

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Thank joegrink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2013

Great place with a really good array of british beers. You can also find some British favourites on the food menu. Have been here twice and enjoyed both visits, the servers and bar staff are always friendly and helpful. Will definitely be returning!

Thank Leanne590
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2013 via mobile

The family decided today would be a great day to try out a new restaurant, The Victoria Freehouse on Front Street in Philadelphia. We've been waiting to try it since it opened last month. We figured we should give them a few weeks to get sorted out after launch so we could get a good feel for them. The idea of a proper English Sunday Roast seemed like an ideal reason to try it out. Unfortunately, maybe we should have waited even longer.....

We arrived at just after 4, when Sunday Roast was set to begin service. No problem getting a table as only one other was occupied along with a few people at the bar watching the phillies game. The waitress, Amanda, promptly sat us and got our drink orders (founatin soda, 3 British canned sodas and a glass of wine). When the canned soda arrived for our kids my wife and I examined the label to find it sweetened with saccharine. No diet note on the label anywhere. This might not mean much to many readers but i was sort of taken back as this is not a good ingredient for any child to be consuming and without any idea that its in the soda, i thought it a fo pa on the restaurants part. The music playing was a variety of dance and pop which seemed out of place in a traditional pub atmosphere. It was actually sort or distracting and inappropriate but not worthy of wrecking the meal.

We ordered a soup and two appetizers including the recommended Welsh Rarebit and Tikki Pizza. The soup was good but was a bit lacking in flavor. The Welsh Ratebit was fair. Not bad. Not great. Not offensive. The Tikki Pizza was good. We then waited. And waited. And waited for our dinners to arrive. If the restaurant had been busy, I would have understood but the other table left and two others showed so the 40 minute wait between the appetizers and dinner was a bit on the long side. I chalked it up to the change in service (from lunch to dinner) and left it go.

Dinner arrived. We ordered 3 Sunday Roasts (today's was beef), a fish and chips and a shepherds pie. The shepherds pie my one daughter ordered presented well. Nicely browned potato topping but a fork full revealed a fairly bland lamb and vegetable base. My Sons fish and chips (large portion) has extremely good chips (fries) if a bit heavily salted. Fantastic in fact but unfortunately cold. The fish was flakey and the batter crispy without being too greasy. It also was good but not earth shattering. My bigger issue there was for $17, the fish portion was very, very small. I'm scared to think what the small size would have been.

My youngest daughter, wife and I all ordered the Sunday Roast Beef. Presentation was excellent. It was served medium rare which is just as we like it so no problem there. The roast was accompanied by minted peas, Yorkshire pudding and duck fried potatoes. The beef was beautiful with good flavor but again, luke warm at best. I didn't want to send it back as I knew this would spell doom for the cook level. The peas were fine but frankly tasted like well seasoned supermarket frozen peas. The Yorkshire pudding was good and medium to small muffin sized. The duck fried potatoes were hot when they arrived but actually weren't nearly as tasty as the chips from my sons meal.

Even with 3 teenage children, we as a family are not huge volume eaters but we were all still hungry after dinner so we opted for desert as well. We ordered 3 sticky toffee puddings as suggested by our waitress, a bread and butter pudding and the lemon special pudding. We also ordered a scotch (MaCallen 15) and a tea. After another unusual 20 minute wait the puddings arrived. The bread and butter budding was good. The lemon pudding special was excellent. The sticky toffee pudding seemed to be of the canned variety found on your local wegmans store shelf. Fair but not up to the acclaim which had been given it.

So basically we cake away with a general "meh" feeling with service slow (we assume it was the kitchen not Amanda) and smaller serving sizes with average food until we saw the check. $220 before tip! I get that the scotch and glass of wine were $30 of that but still that seemed awfully steep for a dinner we all walked away from still hungry. After a 15% tip we had broken the $250 barrier for a meal that simply didn't leave us feeling it was anywhere nearly that special. We regularly eat at restaurants costing this much or even more but it's been a long time since I've felt so ripped off.

There were positives but not nearly enough to overcome the cons. Not that I wanted to make this a promotion for another restaurant but I couldn't help but think of The Ship Inn in Milford NJ and their similar theme which is better executed or even the Miller's Ale House chain who's Fish and Chips are as good tasting for half the price. I really wanted to like The Victoria Freehouse as I think the concept was excellent but the execution just didn't live up to the potential. I won't be going out of my way to return and unfortunately with some changes, I don't see this place lasting any longer than a few months. I hope they right the ship but I'm not hopeful.

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Thank Wallabyguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

New restaurant in Old City. Great beer selection including two on hand pump. English food such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and shepherds pie. I had the fish and chips which was very good - large white fish in batter and chips or French fries. Located just off market street on Front street it's easy to fish and there was plenty of street parking. We went on a weekday evening and walked from train which is a good idea if you want to try some of the great beer selection. The space is nice, newly renovated for the opening and the service was friendly. I will definitely go again to try something different from the menu.

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

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