Restaurant Review: Bristol Harbour Lodge and Golf Club (Canandaigua, NY)


cJjwLKDj_400x400You might know that Bristol Harbour is a golf club and a lodge, but did you know that they also have several dining venues within the resort? In addition to a casual eatery with a few gifts and trinkets available for purchase, they also feature a full-service dining room with both indoor and outdoor seating.  The spectacular views from the covered, outdoor patio will take your breath away.

Owners Todd and Laura Cook, purchased the resort for $9.6 million in January, 2016.  It includes an 18-hole championship golf course and marina, a 31-room hotel, a full-service restaurant and banquet facilities.  Since purchasing the property, they made widespread changes in staffing and completed a myriad of improvements to the facilities, in hopes of regaining the quality reputation the Ontario-county resort once enjoyed. I have visited the property twice – this review focuses on a Saturday afternoon visit for lunch in mid-July.

Surroundings

Located southeast of Rochester in Canandaigua, New York, Bristol Harbour is nestled in Bristol Hills.  Away from both the busy city and small town responsibilities, this gem is a hidden sanctuary for those who want to get away, but not too far away.  A substantial but not overly grand sign adorns the driveway entrance to this resort.  Visitors are treated to plenty of free and accessible parking,  just steps from the front door. The lodge is flanked by beautiful surroundings, with quaint cottages on one side and rolling golf-course greens on the other side.

Bristol Harbour Lodge, Courtesy: Bristol Harbour Laodge Facebook page
Bristol Harbour Lodge, Courtesy: Bristol Harbour Lodge Facebook page

I noticed a few golfers crossing the parking lot in their golf carts, as well as a few staff tending to golfers’ needs. There was no sign of valet parking, but I don’t think it was needed with such convenient spots available. The course didn’t look crowded, but that was no surprise in light of the 90+ degree day.

We parked and walked up to the lodge, built of wood with a history, no doubt. The entrance was outfitted with a long and narrow wooden roof with open sides, inviting visitors to come in.

Atmosphere

Upon entering the Bristol Harbour Lodge and Golf Club through two large sets of double doors, I noticed a small front desk to the left for check in/out, a small, casual eatery to the right, and the main restaurant straight ahead.  I liked the cultured yet informal feel of this lodge.  We were led through the dark indoor section of the restaurant through a set of glass doors, to get to the dining section on the terrace. With capacity for up to 80 people, this seating area was large and roomy. Although covered from direct sunlight and open to beautiful breezes, the heat of the day wafted through this open dining space. This outdoor space, and the adjacent Bristol Room, are perfect for celebrations, with a magnificent view of beautiful Canandaigua Lake.

Bristol Harbour View from Patio, overlooking wedding arch, Courtesy: Bristol Harbour Facebook page
Bristol Harbour View from Patio, Overlooking Wedding Arch, Courtesy: Bristol Harbour Facebook page
View from Bristol Harbour Outdoor Dining Patio, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
View from Bristol Harbour Outdoor Dining Patio, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

Considered not only a golf resort, but also a place for special celebrations, we noticed a large group celebrating a birthday, while staff readied the adjoining room for a wedding. What appeared to be a golf foursome enjoyed lunch after their round.

Bristol Harbour Wedding Space, Courtesy: Bristol Harbour Facebook page
Bristol Harbour Outdoor Wedding Venue, Courtesy: Bristol Harbour Facebook page

From inside the terrace, you can see the gazebo.  Rows of white chairs awaited guests who would soon celebrate the bride and groom’s special day.  Look at that view – what a great venue!

The photo below is a snip from the live camera feed on the Bristol Harbour web site.  They describe it as follows:

“The camera overlooks Canandaigua Lake and the back lawn area of our property. This is the view guests will see when dining in our restaurant, during meetings hosted at Bristol Harbour, and during weddings and special events.”

Bristol Harbour Back Lawn View, Courtesy: www.bristolharbour.com/camera
Bristol Harbour Back Lawn View, Courtesy: http://www.bristolharbour.com/camera
Bristol Harbour Path to Gazebo, Courtesy: www.bristolharbour.com
Bristol Harbour Path to Gazebo, Courtesy: http://www.bristolharbour.com

Menu

The Bristol Harbour restaurant offers separate menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and wine. On this visit, we chose from the Lunch Menu, which featured soups, salads, deli sandwiches, wraps and a few hot “classics.”  Salads ranged from $7-$13, with the option to add chicken (+$7), salmon (+$9) or shrimp (+$9).  Variations included a Lodge Garden Salad, Wedge Salad, Roasted Beet Salad, Caesar Salad, Kale Salad and Cobb Salad.  Patrons can choose from a bowl ($5) or cup ($3) of the Soup of the Day or choose Lobster Bisque ($5 cup, $9 bowl) or French Onion Soup ($8 crock).  On this visit, the Soup of the Day was a White Bean and Tomato broth-based soup.

The lunch menu also featured a “Make Your Own” deli sandwich section, where you customize your sandwich with the meat, cheese, vegetables, sauce/condiments, and bread of your choice.  Variations included a Full Sandwich with choice of side ($9.50) or a Half Sandwich with a choice of either salad or soup ($9.50).  Other menu options included a variety of sandwiches and wraps, ranging in price from $10-$13, and served with chips or French fries.  I was happy to see that they also offered gluten-free bread, rolls and wraps.

I noted that the Breakfast Menu included a range of items from a-la-carte choices ($2.25 – $7.50 each) to plates, sandwiches and omelettes ($8-$16). The Dinner Menu was much more extensive (and expensive) and included soups, starters and tavern fare similar to the lunch menu, as well as entrees ranging in price from $20-$36, such as Filet Mignon, Strip Steak, Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops, Grilled Pork Chop, Pan Seared Chicken Breast.  The Dessert Menu included a selection of classics such as Creme Brulee, Chocolate Torte, Sundae, and Cheesecake, as well as specialty coffees and swanky after dinner drinks. The Wine Menu offered a dozen or so each of red and white wines by the glass or bottle, ranging from $6.50 per glass-$45 per bottle.

Food

A nice salad seemed like a great way to start this Saturday afternoon lunch. I ordered a Lodge Salad with my meal, but the waitress kindly advised that I could get a smaller side salad if desired, rather than ordering a full-size salad as a side. I thought that was a nice suggestion, so I ordered a Side Salad ($3.50) to accompany the Turkey Ciabatta Sandwich ($11).

Bristol Harbour Side Salad, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Bristol Harbour Side Salad, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

The Side Salad was fresh and cold, just how I like my salads.  It was served with a variety of vegetables including romaine lettuce, cucumber wedges, sliced black olives, halved cherry tomatoes, slices of red onions and sliced mushrooms.  The only missing vegetable was a pepperoncini, but that is a forgivable offense.  The Italian dressing was tasty and not overly seasoned.  All in all, it was a pleasing side salad.

My Turkey Ciabatta Sandwich came with a side of French Fries and a fancy, white mini-bowl of ketchup. This was one of the more hearty sandwiches on the limited lunch menu.  It was served on a fresh ciabatta roll with sliced deli turkey, provolone cheese, crispy prosciutto, roasted red pepper pesto, and a slice of tomato and some lettuce (more for color than taste).  Foil-tipped tooth picks held it all together – yet another fancy touch.

Bristol Harbour Turkey Ciabatta Sandwich, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Bristol Harbour Turkey Ciabatta Sandwich, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

My turkey sandwich tasted great. The ciabatta roll was rustic, yet tasty. I liked the crunch and texture it added.  I also liked that the provolone cheese melted nicely over the turkey and prosciutto.  The roasted rep pepper pesto was a wonderful addition, not too overpowering as I thought it could be. This sandwich was larger and more hearty than I expected and required a fork and knife to eat.   The chef did a great job with preparing the crispy, yet light French fries – they were just right.

My lunch companion ordered a Turkey Reuben ($10), requesting a substitution of turkey for the usual Corned Beef; our server graciously accommodated the request. Like my sandwich, hers was also served with large French fries and a fancy mini-bowl of ketchup on the side. Hers however, lacked the swanky toothpicks that mine had.  This sandwich was served hot, on grilled rye bread with sliced deli turkey and Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing.

Bristol Harbour Corned Beef Reuben, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Bristol Harbour Corned Beef Reuben, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

She commented that she really liked the taste of this sandwich and that the ratio of sauerkraut to meat was perfect. Although it tasted good, she remarked that the turkey was sliced deli meat, and not carved turkey breast which she was expecting. After she said that, I realized that my sandwich also consisted of deli meat.  I agreed that a higher quality, carved turkey would have been more in line with the lofty reputation and ample prices of this restaurant. She also very much enjoyed the French fries.  We agreed that they were cooked just right, with a little crunch on the outside and creamy on the inside, and just the right golden color.

Service

I was happy with the courteous, friendly and accommodating service we received at Bristol Harbour. The hostess greeted us warmly and inquired about our seating preference.  Once seated, our server quickly arrived, introduced herself and took our drink order. She returned with our drinks to take our lunch order, also telling us about the soup of the day. She was knowledgeable about menu items and she graciously accommodated menu substitutions. I liked that she checked back on us throughout our meal and kindly provided separate checks. Speaking of checks – note that Bristol Harbour is a cashless venue, accepting only credit cards. There are reminders of this sprinkled throughout the menu, posted on various signage, and the website, although our server didn’t mention it specifically.

Overall Experience

This was my second visit to Bristol Harbour.  I visited for dinner a few years ago, before the new owners took over. While that visit was somewhat disappointing due to a lack of staff during a busy Saturday night, this visit was much more enjoyable.  Our lunch was tasty, (although not exceptional) and the service was quite nice.  It’s the view that really impressed me though. From the covered outside patio, you can enjoy your meal while gazing down the rolling hills and across the water for miles. If the weather is even the least bit cooperative, I urge you to sit outside to enjoy the sweeping views of this beautiful venue.  Bring your credit card though, because as mentioned, they are a cashless venue.

If You Go…

Bristol Harbour Lodge and Golf Club
5410 Seneca Point Road
Canandaigua, NY 14424
(located inside the Bristol Harbour Lodge and Golf Club)
Phone: 585-396-2200
Website: https://www.bristolharbour.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BristolHarbourLodgeGolfClub/
Instagram:  bh_resort
Twitter:  @BristolHarbourLodgeGolfClub, @BHarbourResort

Details:
Restaurant hours:

  • BreakfastMon-Fri: 7am–11am (8am–11am, Oct 27–Apr 19th), Sat & Sun: 7am-11am
  • Lunch: Mon-Sat: 11am–5pm, Sun: 11am–4pm
  • Dinner: Mon-Thurs: 5pm–9pm, Fri-Sat: 5pm–10pm, Sun: 4pm–9pm

Cuisine:                          American
Alcoholic Beverages:   Yes
Children’s Menu:         No
Accepts Credit Cards:  Yes (CASHLESS VENUE)
Handicap Accessible:  Yes
Attire: golf course appropriate, casual
Requires Reservations: Accepted but not required
Table Service:               Yes
Outdoor Seating:         Yes
Parking:  Free and plentiful in private lot
Valet Service:              No
Bar Seating:                Yes
Coat Check:                 Yes
Date opened: January, 2016 under new ownership
Date visited:  Saturday, August 13, 2016 for lunch

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