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The Inn at Phillips Mill, New Hope - has anyone been?

I can't find any posts on this - has anyone been to this restaurant and is it any good? A friend and I were driving past it the other night - as we have done a thousand times before. We never realized there was a restaurant there! (Usually we're passing by during the day - we had thought it was just a house.)

I found their Web site online, but I haven't seen anything from any chowhounders. Has anyone eaten there?

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  1. Have been dinning at the romantic and iconic Phillips Mill off and on for perhaps 40 years or more.The cuisine has generally had a French slant and has always been delightful.The interior
    is superb and has appeared as background for various fashion shoots over the years,it's a delight for the eyes as well.
    Their chefs
    have been numerous but the inns standards have always been maintained.
    Had lunch in Provence the other day with my London friend who had recently rushed to the inn
    upon arriving for a brief visit in Bucks.
    It's the most romantic of the Bucks restaurants so stop in and have a look at the menu --and the interior and terrace.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Franco American

      It DOES look romantic. To bad there are no dates on my horizon.... Sigh.

      :) Thanks for the insights, though. Definitely looks like a place I would want to try!

    2. That place is hard to find, even when you know where it is. I love the Inn at Phillips Mill -- the food, the service, the outdoor dining area... and the fact that it's BYO. The reason you haven't seen anything posted here is probably because it's more likely to be written up on the Philadelphia board. Bucks County is a Philly suburb.

      1. Where is the location of Phillips Mill,? Address please.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gwendolen

          Gwendolen, all their information is right here: http://theinnatphillipsmill.com/

          They're on 32, just north of New Hope, at that little cluster of stone buildings around the sharp bend in the road.

        2. I've eaten there many times over the last 30+ years and never had a complaint. Good food, nice atmosphere (especially the patio in summer), and BYO. Beats most anything else in New Hope that I'm aware of!

          1. I'm surprised to see so many positive reviews of the food here. We've dined at this restaurant (and stayed upstairs at the B&B) many times over the years and the food, in our opinion, has gone downhill from what it once was. BUT--the place is so romantic that, knowing we'd only get so-so food, we still went back to celebrate our 25th anniversary in October! And we were right--the food was okay, but the romantic, charming, Bucks County atmosphere was still there! Outdoor dining in the warmer months can't be topped. Careful when you step out the front door, though, because 2 steps will put you in the middle of the road!

            1 Reply
            1. re: crazyjane

              I never heard of this place before. I'm going to have to go just for the ambiance.

            2. Let me join the chorus of long-time Phillips Mill diners. We've been going there for at least 25 years. At one point, the Inn at Phillips Mill was pretty much the only choice for fine dining in the area. But, like Crazyjane, we've noticed that it has lost its cutting edge quality in recent years.
              That is not to say the food is bad, it's just to say you don't go to the Inn at Phillips Mill just for the food. Really, the cuisine is rooted in the Seventies. It is decent French bistro food. There's nothing unique or innovative about it. The servers, many of whom have been there for many years, will recite the specials with that magic phrase "finished with" when describing a dish. The portions are generous, the ingredients fresh, the prices quite fair. But, it's the ambiance that makes the place a destination. You may be seated in one of four rooms (or on the terrace in good weather), each of which has its own character (I, personally, don't like the second floor seating). You will never be rushed through your meal. It is BYO, so you can spend a bit extra and bring a fine bottle of wine. For fine bistro cooking, there are a few better choices in the area. But, for a quiet, romantic meal, Phillips Mill remains hard to beat.

              1. I agree with many of you who feel that the restaurant has gone downhill. It is good, but not as good as it used to be. When we were there last month, the service was particularly bad. We had to wait for 1/2 hour even with reservations, waited for 20 minutes for menus, and each course was delayed.
                But the setting and rooms are very romantic, and that is the big draw.
                Hotel du Village is another similar restaurant in the area. Haven't been there in years. Would welcome opinions about that one.

                1. My husband used to be the sous chef there a couple of years ago. I love this place and we try and go back at least once a year for special occasions! The ambiance can not be beat and I have personally never had a bad meal there. We remain friends with the head chef and he usually makes us something special when we come. I just checked their website and the prices don't look like they've changed much since he worked there. The $ for the food is an amazing deal, but remember they are a cash/check only place. Well they were the last time we went.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Jessica39

                    Just wanted to report on a recent visit to the Inn at Phillips Mill and a surprisingly excellent meal.
                    As I said above, we have been going to the Inn for more than 25 years and enjoy the ambiance more than the food. To reiterate what I said before, you get solid French bistro food here. I always compare it to a fine French restaurant in NYC in the late Seventies/early Eighties. Nothing cutting edge, just good.

                    On a recent visit, however, we were served a codfish main course that was fresh, perfectly done, striking a perfect balance with the herbal mixture in which it was poached. Accompanying the cod was a generous and dizzying assortment of fresh, seasonal vegetables, including potatoes, spaghetti squash, a tomato, some greens and even one or two more items I didn't commit to memory.

                    Service was friendly and attentive. A shared appetizer, a shared salad, two mains and a shared dessert for just a whisker over $70 made for a perfect evening. Remember: cash or check only (no credit cards) and BYO. Don't know whether there's someone new in the kitchen or if we just hit the right dish on the right night, but the cod at IPM sticks out in my mind as one of the better meals I've had of late.

                    1. re: famdoc

                      We made our approximately once-a-year visit to The Inn at Phillips Mill this past Saturday and wanted to report that the cod dish is still on the menu and still one of the best things to order there. The cod was generously sized, again perfectly done and again presented with an array of veggies. Prices haven't changed much, so $80, including tip, bought a salad, an app and two mains (a pint of fresh Bucks County strawberries awaited us at home, so we skipped dessert).

                      The only complaint I had was that there was a bit of a logjam at the front door with five parties with reservations at the same hour and only one hostess doing the welcoming and seating. It took nearly twenty minutes for the logjam to clear, with not every table cleared in time to seat each party.

                      IPM is a pleasant dining destination and remains an artifact of days gone by, a French bistro from the Seventies. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                  2. This place has been a Bucks County favorite of mine for many years. Last night changed that for me.

                    My husband and I decided to spend the day -- my birthday -- poking around Bucks county, capping it off with dinner at the Inn at Phillips Mill. We were seated on the patio, as requested. As soon as the bread basket arrived, so did the flies. MANY flies. I've dined at a number of outdoor venues, and maybe an insect or two is to be expected, but this was beyond annoying.

                    Our apps were okay -- I had the trio of smoked seafood and my husband had the escargot. For my entree, I ordered the scallops in sauce bercy. What I got was scallops swimming in what looked and tasted like plain melted butter. I've made sauce bercy on a couple of occasions. The ingredients I've used included a rich fish stock, wine, shallots and herbs. The sauce I was served last night didn't appear to incorporate any of that. My husband ordered the sesame-crusted tuna, and asked for it to be rare. What he was served would be better described as medium-well. When he brought this to the server's attention, the server removed the plate. It was at least ten minutes before the new plate was served (how long does it take to sear a piece of tuna to rare?), so there I sat, picking at the food on my plate, swatting flies, waiting for his food to arrive. When his new plate arrived, the tuna was cooked to a perfect medium! He decided to keep it, giving up on the kitchen's ability to prepare it to his liking.

                    Then dessert -- I'm not a big dessert fan, but hey, it was my birthday, so we decided to share the creme brulee. Every time I've had creme brulee, whether I've made it myself or ordered it out, the layer of caramel on the top had been hard -- crusty -- you know, tap it with the back of your spoon and it shatters. The dessert we were served had a layer of caramel that molded with the back of the spoon. It was soft, not crunchy. It didn't taste bad; it just wasn't what we were expecting. Oh, and it was an awfully small portion for $8.00.

                    Our conclusion...? We don't have to travel 90 minutes for a less-than-wonderful meal. Too bad. We really have enjoyed this place in the past. Maybe it was just an off-night, but for us, given that we live in southern Chester County, the Inn at Phillips Mill has been a destination restaurant. I'd have to see some really wonderful new reviews here on CH before we decide to go back.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: CindyJ

                      I'm sorry you had such a disappointing dinner, especially on your birthday. While I've never found the food at IOPM to be outstanding, it has always been better than what you experienced. That sounds awful. The last time we were there was with another couple at the end of June. The food was pretty good. We sat on the patio and found the atmosphere lovely. No flies. Btw, I realize it is a pretty drive up River Rd. But if I lived in your neck of the woods I would find it hard to go anywhere but Birchrunville!

                      1. re: JanR

                        I love Birchrunville, and I've celebrated MANY birthdays there. The problem is getting a reservation. I don't usually plan dinners months in advance. When we go there, it's most often because we've grabbed a last-minute cancellation.

                        1. re: CindyJ

                          Since we retired, we're able to go on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Much easier to get a reservation.

                      2. re: CindyJ

                        Reading back over the Zombie thread it seems that besides the physical location the other consistent is the inconsistency of the kitchen. My dinners there over the years have ranged from good to poor. Damn shame as it is a lovely venue. And for those on horseback a stable on the property for a rest for the horses while you have drinks and dinner; quite civilized indeed.

                      3. We recently made our annual visit to the Inn at Phillips Mill. To summarize:
                        food: 8, service 2. The pureed watercress soup was delightful. The Caesar salad was generous and perfectly dressed (the anchovy taste was well-balanced, a characteristic missing from many restaurant Caesar salads) and the cod, again, was generous, with a great assortment of fresh vegetable surrounding a sizable piece of fish, at just the right doneness.

                        However, the service was woeful. As I've commented before, there is frequently a bottleneck at the entrance, where the hostess was absent for the first five minutes of our arrival (and the arrival of another party). Once she arrived, she couldn't quite figure out where to seat us. Our server, a very pleasant woman, was unable to pronounce several menu items (arugula and terrine). Our mains were brought out before our salads (the problem was quickly remedied, to the credit of the staff and kitchen).

                        1. What is it about Bucks County that there can't be one very good restaurant. The closest I can think of is Honey in Doylestown, but that'd be like a B in Philadlephia at best.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: dndicicco

                            Search this board for excellent choices in Bucks County. Our favorite is Maize in Perkasie. If you'll allow for a little geographic freedom, The Pass, in Rosemont, NJ (a few short miles from the Center Bridge from Solebury to Stockton), is outstanding.

                            1. re: famdoc

                              I do always find it interesting how different personal taste can be. Honey and Maize are loved on this board. I find both mediocre with Maize also being loud and slow to the point of devaluing the entire experience of the food. But as I say, obviously my opinion is not shared by many on these Buck county restaurants.

                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                Agreed. Very different. I love Maize (and the slow pace, which varies). Really did not like The Pass.

                                1. re: JanR

                                  We've only been to the Pass once so far but we didn't really like it either. I think in our case, it was a question of a less than happy match between our personal tastes and what was being served that night. We're going to try it again, paying more attention to the menu before making a decision to return.

                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                    That was likely the case with us too. I would try again, but I could never get my husband to go back.

                                2. re: Bacchus101

                                  Hey, Bacchus101, we've had this discussion before. Agree that Maize is loud. Agree that it is slow. The loudness issue can be dealt with by taking a table at 8 PM or later on weekends. The slowness is part of the experience there. Your opinion, however, has been shared by others, both here and on Yelp and Trip Adviser. The pace of the meal simply doesn't work for some people. I respect that.

                              2. re: dndicicco

                                I think Charcoal in Yardley is the best restaurant in Bucks and can hold its own with anything similar in Philly.

                                1. re: sadiefox

                                  Oooh slipped my mind!! Yes, I've been to dinner there, and if you can get over the laughable digs, the food is wonderfully inventive and delicious. It's the only Bucks restaurant, IME, that I like as much as most downtown locations.

                                  (the only exception to this is Indian...Indian Garden, also in Yardley, is my hands-down fav North Indian restaurant)

                                  1. re: dndicicco

                                    I love Indian Garden too!

                                    I don't find the decor at Charcoal to be THAT bad - and they are the only restaurant in Yardley that gives you clean silverware whenever they take your plate.

                                    1. re: sadiefox

                                      Haha, good call. I'm mostly griping about the exterior of Charcoal, where one is greeted by a dilapidated elevator, an auto-parts store, etc. in the vicinity.

                                      Any other BC restaurants you'd recommend? Indian Garden, Charcoal, Honey are the only ones I can think of whole heartedly. Newtown Farmer's Market can be fun if you like fish, the seafood is very fresh.

                                      1. re: dndicicco

                                        I like Genevieve's Kitchen, on State St. In Doylestown.

                                        1. re: dndicicco

                                          Honestly, if I'm going to drop a decent chunk of change on a meal I'd rather go to Philly... I don't get up to Doylestown much at all because in the time it takes me to drive up there I can be in Philly :) -- just my preference I guess. I work in New Hope/Lambertville so I'm pretty jaded about the restaurants up there too... aside from Sprig and Vine, nothing that I really crave.

                                          So besides Charcoal, my favorite restaurants in lower Bucks tend toward very casual/ethnic places -- I love MiRim (Korean), Jahan Kabob (Afghan), Indian Garden of course, Dog and Bull (gastropub). I don't want to get too off topic here, but my other local faves include some great ethnic places in Trenton and Hamilton too.

                                          1. re: sadiefox

                                            I never heard of Jahan Kabob, but after checking out the menu and the positive Yelp ratings (4.5 is a good omen) I'm totally stoked. Thanks so much! I'll stop hijacking this thread, but it was hard to resist since we have such a dearth of good BC discussions. :)

                                            1. re: dndicicco

                                              We should start a new BC discussion. There are a few on the board, but nothing recent as far as I can remember. Not sure if the powers that be will let us discuss Trenton/Hamilton spots on the Philly board, but seems to me those would be relevant for those of us who are actually closer to Trenton/Hamilton than to Philly!

                                              Re: Jahan Kabob, we've tried both locations and they're not bad, but we actually like Marhaba a lot better for that type of cuisine.

                                              1. re: msiangal

                                                Our favorite Bucks County restaurants (geographic license: includes river towns in Jersey):
                                                Lambertville: Hamilton Grill Room, D'Floret, Marhaba
                                                Stockton: Via Ponte
                                                Rosemont: The Pass
                                                Perkasie: Maize on Main
                                                New Hope: Sprig and Vine, Hearth

                                                1. re: famdoc

                                                  Via Ponte -- It's been several years since we've been there. We drove right by last week as we crossed the bridge and we wondered if it's worth a trip back. Have you been there lately, famdoc? How is it? Is it still BYO? It's sure convenient having that wine store right next door.

                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                    Still excellent. Still BYO. Recommend the pasta con sarde and whatever whole fish is being grilled that night. And, no meal is complete without a pizza.

                                                2. re: msiangal

                                                  I had the same thought, msiangal. There's a lot of useful info here about restaurants other than Inn at Phillips Mill, that might be difficult to find if someone wanted Bucks or nearby NJ restaurant info.