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New Hope, PA/Lambertville, NJ Weekend Vacation Getaway

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Where To Dine

To us dining is a total experience; food, ambiance and service. Miss one and it just isn’t that special. Have them all and it will be a night you’ll remember for some time. Good food is a given in our recommendations, but alone it is just not enough. Our recommendations include all three elements and hope your experience is as good as ours.

Hamilton's Grill Room  |  Anton's at the Swan
Zoubi  |  Sergeantsville Inn
Inn at Philips Mill

Hamilton's Grill Room
8 Coryell Street, Lambertville
EXCELLENT

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Make your way to the river end of Coryell Street, turn right at the Blue Raccoon and follow the tree covered alley, first to the Boathouse for cocktails. The Boathouse is open just for cocktails, no food….not even peanuts, but the setting is so comfortable and charming that you wouldn’t want to miss it. Just across the courtyard is the delightful Hamilton's Grill Room, a small, intimate Mediterranean style bistro with an open kitchen and nestled beside the flowing canal. The food is simply prepared, mostly grilled, presented in natural juices and very delicious. While seafood is their signature, they do equally well with meat and poultry.

At a recent dinner I started with North Atlantic oysters, fresh and sweet and they filled my request for a red wine and shallot vinaigrette. Jen had the sautĂ©ed crab cakes with an avocado salad….loaded with crab meat and just crispy on the outside. For my entrĂ©e I had a perfectly roasted farm chicken cooked in its own juices with a honey bourbon glaze and Jen had a grilled rack of lamb with a delicious mustard chutney. We skipped desserts, but enjoyed the rest of our wine and coffee as we watched the lights dance across the waters of the flowing canal. What a satisfying experience!

Appetizer prices range from $7-$28 for a seafood extravaganza for two., entrees from $18-$30. This is a BYOB restaurant and we suggest stopping at Welsh’s Wines on S. Union Street in Lambertville for a bottle of wine. Excellent selection and good values.

Dress is upscale casual. The restaurant is open 7 days a week and all credit cards are honored.




ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High. An outside table next to the railing and overlooking the canal is private and romantic. Tiny strung lights add sparkle to the setting. In the colder weather opt for a table in the open kitchen room.




WHAT OTHERS SAY...
Chef Mark Miller prepares “incredible” Mediterranean meats and seafood with “ingenuity, not insanity” at this “secluded” Lambertville treasure tucked “off the tourist track” near the Delaware River Canal; it’s “very popular” thanks to its “inviting” decor, “leisurely pace” and “casual outdoor seating”, and although a BYO, you can always get a drink at The Boathouse, the quirky bar across the courtyard. ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.


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Anton's at the Swan
49 South Main Street, Lambertville
EXCELLENT

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Anton’s is located on the main floor of the historic Swan Hotel, just a few blocks from the center of Lambertville. A secluded, comfortable patio (on which you can enjoy cocktails) leads to a dark and cozy two tier bar area. The lower area has intimate tables along the paned window overlooking the patio. Antiques abound, the walls are adorned with oil paintings and collectibles and you feel as if you have been transported to another time. This delightful hideaway is a wonderful choice for a romantic and delicious dinner.

Chef/owner Chris Connor bought the restaurant from its founder Anton Dodel in 2001 after working as the sous chef since 1998. With no formal training, Chris is essentially self-taught, laying the foundation for his unique style in the kitchens of some of the state’s best restaurants; Toto in Summit, Joie de Vivre in Madison, Doris and Ed’s in the Highlands and the Frenchtown Inn.

Monthly menus are developed based on the availability of seasonal ingredients. On a recent visit, I started with the crab cakes with sweet and sour cabbage and tartar sauce. A great combination of flavors and the cakes were chock full of crab. My companion had a Thai themed, grilled shrimp with coconut rice and peanut sauce. Delicious. Have to try and recreate this one at home.

As an entrée, I had the grilled swordfish, with broccoli rabe and lemon and my companion had the rack of lamb, garlic mashed potatoes and red wine sauce. Simple and not terribly creative, but expertly prepared and presented.

The homemade dessert selections ($8) change frequently and are presented by long time pastry chef Brian Scott. We passed on dessert, but the ones carried to other tables looked awfully good.

The 100 bottle wine list is excellent in its breadth of choices and value. I applaud Chef Connors for avoiding the trend of wine list gouging. There are about 20 wines by the glass with modest $5-8 prices.

Salads and appetizers range from $8-$12, entrees from $25-$30. Listen to some of these incredible values; Silver Oak Cabernet ($82), Caymus Conundrum Chardonnay ($42), Gevrey Chambertin ($45), Amarone ($60). This is the way it should be.

Dress is upscale casual. The restaurant is closed Monday, open all other days. All credit cards are accepted.


 
ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High.




WHAT OTHERS SAY...

“Tucked away” in Lambertville’s historic Swan Hotel, this “romantic” New American “charmer” also earns kudos for chef-owner Chris Connor’s “consistently good” seasonal menu in the dining room – and more “casual” offerings in the “coziest bar around”; “top-notch” service and a pretty patio seal its rep as a “special-occasion place.” ZAGAT


You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information. 


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Zoubi
5-7 West Mechanic Street, New Hope
EXCELLENT

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What a gutsy move to have a restaurant with mostly outdoor dining…to have to roll the dice with Mother Nature every day. Fortunately, Zoubi wins most of the time and when it doesn’t there are awnings for the faithful and now some indoor seating.

The entrance is a narrow passageway, past the small bar and down a few steps into a courtyard surrounded by vine covered stone walls. Cut into the walls are iron grated windows and gates and huge candles flickering in the night air. The 20 or so tables are adorned with white table cloths and candles and shimmering tableware. A very romantic scene and one very much enjoyed by the locals.

Head chef and owner Andre Le Noble was raised in St. Tropez and grew up with the kind of Provencal food served so well at Zoubi. The meal begins with crusty bread, marinated chick peas and olives. The menu is limited, about 10 appetizers and 10 entrees, but it is delicious. The crab cakes, loaded with fresh crabmeat and huge are worth the visit alone. They have become legendary in these parts. On my last visit, I enjoyed grilled jumbo shrimp in a delightful anchovy butter. The cooks out there know that when sautéed, the anchovies disintegrate and become nutty in flavor. I followed that with perfectly cooked diver scallops in a delicate port reduction. The scallops were crispy on the outside and delicate inside and the port added a nice sweetness.

The wine list is very small, about 17 wines and 4 champagnes, but well thought out and fairly priced. The range is about $30-$50.

The delightful courtyard is the place to sit in nice weather, or ask for table #42 inside, a private oasis overlooking the street.
Dinner for two (drink, appetizer, entrée, dessert, tax and tip) about $150.

Open April-mid December. Dinner from 5pm Monday-Saturday. 5:30pm on Sunday. Dress is casual. Visa and Mastercard accepted


Romantic Quotient: High


You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.

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Sergeantsville Inn
Sergeantsville, NJ
EXCELLENT

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Just a short 8 miles from the center of New Hope or Lambertville, an evening at the Sergeantsville Inn is a step back in history.

This wonderful building has loads of charm., stone walls, beamed ceilings, clapboard floors and fireplaces. Overlay colorful artwork, crisp linens and gleaming tableware and you have a most romantic setting.

Arrive a little early for your reservation to enjoy a drink in the cozy pub. There’s a great martini menu with nearly 40 selections and some pretty creative ones like a monkey martini…Stoli vanilla and banana liquor or a fire and ice….Absolute pepper, dry vermouth, Tabasco and Old Bay Seasoning, Whew!

There are 3 dining rooms, all with fireplaces. My preference is the Library, its smaller, cozier, has a spiral staircase and an original fireplace.

There were 4 of us this night and despite the unseasonably warm November weather, Jen and I had a broccoli and cheese soup and the restaurant’s signature tomato bisque. Both were homemade and wonderfully rich. My bisque had an intense tomato base with a slightly sweet overtone.

We each picked a different entrĂ©e so we could try as many as possible and they didn’t disappoint.  A filet mignon was served with sautĂ©ed spinach, red potatoes, an asiago gratin and finished in a Bordeaux demi-glaze; a savory braised lamb shank that fell off the bone, was served with herbed spaetzle and a garlic jus; a very flavorful sliced Kobe hangar steak came with apple wood smoked bacon and stilton blue cheese mashed potatoe,s sautĂ©ed spinach and a caramelized onion demi-glaze and my pan seared pheasant, served with a mushroom risotto and a chardonnay and shallot pan gravy.

Two desserts were shared; a classic crème brulee with a perfect crust and homemade maple walnut ice cream. Yum.

This is a great wine list, both for its variety and pricing. There are about 20 ½ bottles, most priced under $20. The main list offers something from most wines regions in the world and the prices are astonishing. Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay at $27, Chateau Graville La Coste at $21, a Mondavi Cab at $38 and Dom at $195.

Our server, Heidi, was fun, knowledgeable and very competent. She made what was already a good experience even better.

Appetizers, $8-$12 plus caviar at $60/oz., entrees, $18-$30.

Closed Mondays. Open for lunch Friday and Saturday, Sunday from noon with the dinner menu.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Very romantic, sexy lighting, a warming fireplace and intimate rooms.



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“Dripping with atmosphere”, this Colonial-era structure in Sergeantsville features enough “fireplaces” and “stone walls” to lend a “rustic” feel to the swooningly “romantic” mood; the “can’t-go-wrong” American menu also includes “out-of-the-ordinary” game dishes, while the less expensive tavern has “neighborhood hangout” written all over it. ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.

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Inn at Philips Mill
2590 North River Road, New Hope
EXCELLENT

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Built in 1750 as a stone barn, the Inn at Philips Mill was purchased in 1972 by architect Brooks Kaufman and his wife Joyce and meticulously restored as an inn and restaurant. There are three dining rooms, all charming, warm and romantic. The upstairs room is lined with bookshelves and the tables are interspersed with loveseats next to the fireplace. Downstairs my favorite table is in the alcove just before the garden next to the stone archway and door. In nicer weather, the stone wall enclosed patio is magical with its flickering candles and sparkling tableware and the place to eat.

The menu is a refreshing throwback to the more formal French style cooking. It’s been some time since I have seen a menu like this, but it was like running into an old friend. Escargot Bourguignon, Belgian endive salad with blue cheese and walnuts, Steak Diane, rainbow trout with watercress butter and Coquilles St, Jacque were just some of the old favorites. Try the homemade pates with the wonderful warm, baked bread.

Appetizers and salads $6-$12.50, entrees $15-$28. BYOB. No credit cards. Dress is upscale casual. Reservations are taken after 10:30am each day.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“Dining on the patio is like being in Paris” at this “charming”, “quintessential” New Hope country French BYO housed in an antiques-filled “old stone building”, where the “wonderful” cooking “always delights”; “doting” service and a “no-rush”, “romantic” atmosphere make it “perfect” for an “anniversary or even a proposal”, and devotees declare “if your evening doesn’t end well”, it’s probably “your fault” – just don’t forget to bring your billfold (no plastic). ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.

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