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“Surely One of Yorkshire's Best Restaurants”
Review of van Zeller - CLOSED

van Zeller
Price range: US$32 - US$32
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Description: Van Zeller restaurant in Harrogate has a chef of rare gifts in native Yorkshireman Tom Van Zeller. Creating delicious and innovative British cuisine is the mission here, and one that has succeeded admirably. The smart dining room is both stylish and comfortable, a fine, intimate bistro-style setting for the kitchen's high ambitions. Chef Van Zeller started his career locally at the famous Betty's Tearooms and Rudding Park before learning his craft in some Michelin-starred restaurants in London, Sydney and New York. Now returning to his roots, Van Zeller won the backing of esteemed restaurateur David Moore (two Michelin starred Pied a Terre and Michelin starred l'Autre Pied) in creating Van Zeller restaurant. Almost immediately, his creative cuisine has earned Van Zeller Best Newcomer at the 2010 Northern Hospitality Awards, Best Chef at the 2010 Harrogate Hospitality & Tourism Awards and a pair of AA rosettes. Van Zeller is one of Harrogate's destination restaurants.
Yorkshire, UK
Level Contributor
52 reviews
42 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Surely One of Yorkshire's Best Restaurants”
Reviewed 17 July 2014

This was our second visit to Van Zeller and the food, service and ambience have been equally good on both occasions.

Highlights from the short menu were a fabulous, intensely flavoured dish of steak with snails, a punchy starter of mackerel, and of course the stellar puddings. Van Zeller is however the kind of place where you could pretty much pick any dish from the menu at random and be confident of getting something special.

Service is of the highly polished, correct and rather formal sort that rightly or wrongly goes inevitably with Tom Van Zeller's Michelin-starred ambitions, but the staff are also friendly and hospitable - when we pointed out that our puddings were taking rather a long time to arrive (no surprise as the restaurant was full and we had ordered one each of the four elaborate confections offered) a free refill of pudding wine was immediately offered.

I do agree with a previous reviewer that the practice of adding a service charge (well deserved, as it happens) automatically to the bill rather than leaving this entirely to the diner's discretion is an odd and not entirely appropriate one, but this really is the only off-key note in an otherwise excellent restaurant experience.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mysel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

488 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    357
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    15
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Inverness
Level Contributor
93 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“excellent!,”
Reviewed 13 July 2014 via mobile

The food and service in this lovely restaurant is second to non....... however I feel compelled to only give the place mere 4 stars (rather than 5 which the food and service would merit) for one simple reason.
I firmly believe a service charge should be at the diners discretion and should NOT be added automatically. The bizarre fact however about this, is that I would have actually have given a larger tip than the amount that was added to my bill!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank easylifeInverness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Hang on to that allotment Mr Van Zeller 'cos were coming back for more!”
Reviewed 12 July 2014

It is a rare delight to eat food that nourishes the eye and the mind as well as the body. Van Zellers Restaurant in Harrogate does all three in spades.

We have eaten at Van Zellers (both lunch and dinner) many times and have always been pleased but on a good day we have been a combination of delighted and amazed. Lunchtime on Friday 11th July we were delivered in to the delighted and amazed zone by superb food and top quality service which resulted in an uplifting experience

The food. Let’s start with the unsung heroes of the plate. The vegetables. Often unsung because in so many restaurants they don’t deserve a chorus never mind a full song. You know when you get told that the Chef has his own Veg garden (or in this case allotment) and you stifle a yawn taste the veg and wonder why they bothered? That didn’t happen here. The freshness the care the workmanship that went in to the micro herbs, the peas, the heritage tomatoes produced outstanding memorable results. Hang on to that allotment Mr Van Zeller 'cos were coming back for more!

We had starters of Quail with heritage tomatoes and a charred Mackerel dish. The Mackerel was excellent but to this diner it was the accompaniment to some outstanding (peeled) peas and Yorkshire Goats curd. It may sound ordinary in the way that the name Pele sounds ordinary but it aint. The quail served in different ways would have taken flight had it not been transformed in to something so delicious and comforting and cooked with finesse. Someone cares a lot in this kitchen

What we ate in full is shown below
Starters
Quail – Heritage Tomatoes, Jersey Royals & Hazelnut
Charred Mackerel – Peas & Yorkshire Goats Curd
Mains
Goosnargh Chicken - Cep Gnocchi, Black Pudding, Apricot & Muesli
Limousin sirloin with snails (get over it)

Shared pudding of Chocolate Delice and coffee ice cream

Amuse Bouche and Pre Pudding treats were not after thoughts. Creative refreshing and extremely well crafted. An excellent supporting cast

Finally we must mention Peter Gillespie for his attentive understated service backed up with some gentle humour. I spoke briefly to Tom Van Zeller before we left and thanked him for one of the best lunches we have ever had. As I mentioned earlier we have been many times to Van Zellers and we have yet to go there and not find Tom Van Zeller in the kitchen. He does seem to be recruiting some bright and able chefs which means he is helping to develop future stars but for now Tom remains the best chef in the UK

As is so often the case the Good Food Guide (Van Zellers were their 2013 restaurant of the year) and the AA (2 Rosettes) are more reliable guides than the Michelin who are far better tyre manufactures than food guides. They have certainly missed a star (or two) here

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Terry R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
122 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Wonderful Experience!”
Reviewed 11 July 2014 via mobile

I have been wanting to try this restaurant for some time now and as there was an offer on the seven course tasting menu (£35 pp) it seemed the perfect opportunity! Service was excellent, staff were friendly, knowledgable and genuinely seemed to enjoy their job. The food was also very impressive, we weren't sure what to expect when we saw cucumber combined with mustard or black pepper in a dessert but we thoroughly enjoyed all 7 courses and the canapés and bread which accompanied them. I don't understand why some people say they left feeling hungry, whilst not full to bursting we were certainly satisfied with what we had and didn't need more! We had the accompanying wine flight with our meal which was also very good, ad was the extensive wine list. This is an expensive restaurant and probably only one that we would go to as a treat or a special occasion but it's definitely worth it!

Helpful?
1 Thank Sarah_A_24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
172 reviews
93 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Still great”
Reviewed 10 July 2014 via mobile

I have been surprised by certain negative comments on here...and I'm shocked this restaurant isn't higher up the TripAdvisor rankings!
We chose the £50 pp starter/main/ dessert option along with a £30 wine.
The portions are small but extremely tasty. There's additional courses thrown in for fun and the whole experience is great!
I genuinely don't understand the negative staff comments. Both waiters were excellent, and remembered us from our last visit 3 months ago.
Overall, a relatively expensive taste sensation. Go there as a treat. But do go there!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Hesmo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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