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Harbor View Cafe - Pepin, WI - Reviews page 1 - Judysbook
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Harbor View Cafe

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100 Main St
Pepin, WI 54759
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(715) 442-3893
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Reviews

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Best

This place is truly a gem on the Mississippi. This place won "Best Restaurant" in Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine a few years back and the restaurant isn't even in the greater metro...

Worst

This had been an annual tradition for my husband's family when we go to the cabin. Last year, after waiting for a large table to open in the 2nd dining room, the manager decided ...

Fabulous gourmet comfort food, Impressive wine list, Great down-to-earth staff, Beautiful views 9/17/2008

This place is truly a gem on the Mississippi. This place won "Best Restaurant" in Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine a few years back and the restaurant isn't even in the greater metropolitan area or even Minnesota for that matter! It has been given rave reviews from Andrew Zimmern (top food critic for MSP Magazine and host of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods), Michael and Jane Stern (James Beard award winning monthly columnists in Gourmet Magazine and food critics for Roadfood), as well as a short snippet of a review in a New York Times Travel column by the late, well-regarded columnist R.W. Apple Jr.. Although I am no food critic, I have been fortunate enough to have eaten in food meccas around the world like New York, Paris, San Francisco, Las Vegas, London and Taipei and can easily say that this place is in my top 5 favorite places to eat. So what makes this place so great? The seafood is flown in daily to ensure 100% quality and freshness, the produce and protein comes from a variety of local and organic sources (when seasonally available) and the food is prepared unpretentiously and yet with a subtle and tasteful elegance. The overall experience is consistently perfect. Those that complain of the long waits during peak season just don't get it. One of the many wonderful parts of the experience is sitting outside waiting for your table, watching the sail boats pass by over the expansive lake, seeing eagles soar above and watching the trains pass by. This isn't your ordinary restaurant. It is a piece of heaven in an unassuming picturesque setting in a small, Wisconsin town of 800 people. When you go, make sure to try the Halibut with Black Butter Caper Sauce, the Berkshire Pork Shanks with White Balsamic Glaze, Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Rosemary, Garlic and Chipotle Peppers, or the Five Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms. For dessert go for the Bittersweet Chocolate Tort or the Georgia Walnut Pie. In my 13 years of eating here, I have never been disappointed. Pros: Exceptional food, setting, down-to-earth staff, the drive to get there, Wine list Cons: Long waits at peak times during summer months, no credit cards more

Great food, lousy service 5/31/2008

The waitstaff is fine; it is the management that can truly ruin a dining experience for you at this pretentious little establishment. As a regular customer for the past dozen or so years I expected better than to be treated to a diatribe from the proprietor in response to a complaint about being made to wait for a table for 45 minutes (after being assured it would be a 10 minute wait). Many empty tables were visible in the restaurant but management refused to budge from its policy that they could not open a new section or push a couple tables together in one of the open sections to accomadate a group of 5. Inexcusable. Pros: great food Cons: arrogant proprietor more

Creative touch with the familiar 10/15/2006

The Harbor View is exceptional for its chef's interpretation of familiar food. It is no surprise to anyone that Aquavit in Minneapolis went down faster than the Lusitania. The food was too precious and done in extreme combinations - e.g.: Far Eastern Tiger Prawn in Aspirin Arugula Sauce with a dusting of Mexican Cocoa. Nothing like that is foisted upon diners at Harbor View. Their Garlic Chicken Breast is perfect. Chicken, garlic and linquine - nothing ethereal. And yet, the salmon in parchment is unusual and wonderful. There is a wonderful dish, and I'll misspell it, Frikadeller, which is essentially Danish pork and beef meatballs in a savory gravy. I'm hard pressed not to order it every time I go to Harbor View. The food is DEFINITELY worth the drive, and no (reviewer One), you will not find similar food on the way or in Twin Cities restaurants down the street. The fact that the drive is beautiful is a bonus. If the trip were through the desert, the food would be reward enough. Wishlist: Reservations (the wait is a horror show), more days and lunch hours, a website so we could see what's on the menu ahead of time and solid days and hours postings. Pros: Food and variety of it, friendliness of staff, drive down. Cons: Drive down, no reservations, limited hours and days. more

Beautiful drive, great wine list, fun stops on the way 10/6/2006

The drive down to Pepin, WI on 35 in Wisconsin is beautiful once you get south of Prescott, especially once the colors change. Small towns along the way like Stockholm are a great place to stop, stretch and shop. Once you arrive in Pepin, WI at the Harbor View Cafe, you are "greeted" by Pepin's version of Seinfeld's Soup Character (citysearch won't let you use the Na_i word). The epitome of a task master (quote: stay within earshot, I won't come looking for you or call your name twice" and "look at the menu to make sure you like it so you don't sit down, hold up a table, and then change your mind"), hosts the joint with Teutonic precision. Once seated, the friendly but fast paced waitstff (are you done with your salad so I can bring your entree?) cheerfully serves you. The food reads well on the menu and is executed in comfort food style. We didn't experience anything worth driving 2 hours for, but the food was good, the wine list was very good, and the ambiance was pretty nice. Homey, kitschy; and has a good feel (once you get past the Seinfeld Soup Na_i hostess). If you are driving only for the food from the Twin Cities...save the gas. There are plenty of options superior in food quality and service. If you want a nice drive with some fun stops along the way and aren't in a hurry, it's worth the trip. Pros: Pretty drive down, nice wine list, decent comfort food. Cons: Hostess has the personality of a drill sargent. more

Will not return 2/16/2006

This had been an annual tradition for my husband's family when we go to the cabin. Last year, after waiting for a large table to open in the 2nd dining room, the manager decided to close the 2nd dining room for the evening. We had our choice of splitting our party of 16 and sitting at smaller tables in the main dining room or leaving after waiting nearly 2 hours. We stayed, and the food was good, but the manager was so arrogant and eager for us to leave (granted, it was late, but we'd been waiting for a table), we decided we would never return again. Twice a year, 12-18 people each visit -- full meals, salads, drinks, bottles of wine. Business lost. Sure do miss the seabass, though... Pros: food, drive down, the company Cons: management is rude more

Outstanding Cuisine 4/27/2004

The Harbor Viw Cafe is one of the finest restaurants in the country. I have traveled throughout much of the world, and the Harbor View easily retains its position in my list of top ten dining establishments. The views across the majestic Mississippi River Valley are splendid and ever-changing. It is well worth the beautiful 90-mile drive from the Twin Cities. The servers and management are always most cordial, and the service is excellent. . . but get there early. Pros: Excellent food, Great views, Very friendly Cons: , No credit cards more
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Editorial

  • In Short
    Knotty pine paneling and books abound in this unassuming vintage storefront facing the mighty Mississippi. Early diners seated near the front windows catch lovely river sunsets, while candlelight keeps it cozily romantic later on. A constantly changing American menu features a little of everything. Pricey salmon baked in parchment arrives in a steamy, ginger-dill sauce, while a reasonably priced cassoulet features lamb sausage and white beans.

  • 7/6/2006 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Vary seasonally
  • Payments:

    Cash

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