For anyone thinking of eating at the Harp & Fiddle in York…

Dear Harp & Fiddle,

A year ago I made reservations to have Valentines Day dinner with my
wife in the Abbey at the Harp & Fiddle.  Sadly, my wife was sick that
night and we were forced to cancel.  This year we were determined to
make it, and I made sure to get our reservations in well in advance.
We’d been looking forward to it for a long time.

So last night after braving the snowy weather, we were disappointed to
discover that due to cancellations the Abbey was closed and there was
no special music.  Nonetheless we were prepared to make the best of
it.  But that wasn’t to be the only disappointment.

We ordered from the special V-day menu.  The food was fair-to-good,
but not great.  My “medium” steak was rare.  My wife’s entree was cold
in places.  The filo shell on our chocolate mousse was stale.  When my
wife ordered coffee, she got the dregs of the pot.

Our waitress was inattentive.  My wife waited ten minutes for a beer,
and I had to ask twice for a water – despite the fact that there was
hardly anyone else in the restaurant.

All in all, our meal was not worth the price we paid for it.  At above
$20 a plate I have come to expect more than merely decent food.  The
overall experience was not worth the drive out, and it certainly
wasn’t worthy of the expectations we’d had.

I can understand a restaurant having an “off” night due to the
weather.  What I don’t understand is why no one called my to let me
know that the special event that I had specifically made reservations
for had been canceled.  I left my number when I made the reservation.
I probably would have gotten a better impression of the Harp & Fiddle
if I had just stayed home last night, and come back at a time when you
were more on top of your game.

As it is, based on the experience we had last night, I will not be
recommending the Harp & Fiddle to any of my friends.


Avdi Grimm

UPDATE: Here’s the automated reply I got:

I am out of the office right now but will reply at my earliest convenience. Have you considered the Abbey for your private parties or for your office meetings. Do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to facilitate you. Contact Patricia at
Slainte (good health)!!!!!!
View All


  1. well, I wouldn’t frequent the place based on the fact that no one ever needs to use that many exclamation points.

    1. Especially if they overcook them.

      Mushy exclamation point is just gross.

      1. true. I prefer my exclamation points al dente.

  2. Sorry 🙁

    That is really disappointing and I am sorry you had such a bad experience. It’s especially a let down when you’ve been anticipating it for so long. Although I am glad you spoke up and wrote them a letter. In this day and age, a lot of people underestimate, or completely forget, the power of a letter.

    Here’s to better dining experiences in the future!

    1. Re: Sorry 🙁

      Thanks 🙂

  3. If my experience is any guide, I bet they’ll send you a rebate or a gift certificate of some sort.

    1. That would be the optimal resolution. I wouldn’t mind giving the place another shot, if I had the incentive.

  4. The instruments or the bar?

  5. I think you struck the right tone in your letter. I can’t stand it when people go off on some rampage because their meal wasn’t suitable. But you stated your disappointment in a succinct manner: your expectations, exactly what was wrong, and allowed room for them to make amends without being obnoxious. Working in the food industry has made me so much more appreciable of people who want to work out the problem in a calm manner.

  6. I’ve found the service there to be lacking in general. Restaurants seem to have a culture of good service or not. Harp and Fiddle apparantly does not.

Comments are closed.