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In The Spotlight: Mystery Diner

Welcome to the NorthernNeck.Com Mystery Diner Reviews. We will be touring the Northern Neck eateries listed in our
Restaurant Guide, plus a few establishments we believe merit your interest even though they may lay beyond the Neck.   In response to the outpouring of interest in the Mystery Diner's qualifications to comment on area fare, here are a few credentials:  Our Mystery Diner is considered a gourmet cook in their own right as well as a connoisseur of fine wines.  The Mystery Diner is an experienced world traveler and has broad gastronomical experience on which to base assessments. If you have comments or suggested places the Mystery Diner should review, please send an email with your recommendations to the MYSTERY DINER.

You can view the Mystery Diner Archives HERE

The Mystery Diner is a gourmet cook in his own right.  Check out his favorite recipes and wine selections HERE.


Horn Harbor Seafood Restaurant


836 Horn Harbor Rd

Burgess, Va. 22432


(804) 453-3351


October 30, 2008



Having lived in the area for many years, we were very familiar with Horn Harbor.  It has been an icon in the Northern Neck for so long.  I’m sure you’ve spent at least one night waiting on the front porch for seating.  It always seemed remote to me …being so far off the beaten path, but people nevertheless find it in droves.  Located on the Great Wicomico River, with a small marina and camp ground, it is very picturesque.  Our friends and neighbors have been talking about the new ownership of this old favorite and how good it is. So on this Halloween eve, wanting an excuse not to cook, we decided to give these new comers a try.   As our evening progressed, we asked about the new owners to learn they are sisters and no rookies to the restaurant business or this area. 


The interior seems much the same, with a large open dining room on the main level and a smaller more intimate dining area down stairs in the lounge area.  Unlike before, the same menu is served upstairs and downstairs.  There is also al fresco dining overlooking the marina, but this evening was a bit too cool for that.  We’ll enjoy outside, but probably not until the spring, unfortunately.  Since I personally think that ambiance is a large part of the dining experience, we chose a cozy table in the lounge area overlooking the river and watched the sunset as we enjoyed our meal.


Our waitress was very knowledgeable and extremely friendly.  She was there for us all night without hovering.  Her bright and cheerful personality just added the finishing touch to a lovely evening.  As we enjoyed our cocktails and Calamari appetizer, she went through the “specials” of the evening.  When she got to soft shell crab, I was hooked (no pun intended). The menu is more creative than most seafood restaurants in the area, and we found some old favorites we haven’t seen in a while …like Seafood Au Gratin.   My husband was unsure what he was in the mood for and asked several questions about the menu selections and their preparation.   With some gentle nudging from our waitress, he finally settled on Seafood Norfolk Style with scallops, crabmeat and shrimp.   Our meal came with a salad that was cold, fresh and crisp.   We found the food to be prepared just right and the portions large …less than half way through our meal we were more than full.


All in all, it was a delightful experience and we highly recommend you give the new Horn Harbor a try.  Just remember to come hungry, expect to wait for a table on the weekends, and know you will take home a doggie bag. 


Bon Appetite!




Our rating, out of a possible 10, is:  8    (in the casual dining category)

Our ratings are based on the entire dining experience – ambience, service, and food


Cost:  $$$  (possible $$$$)



To view the restaurants menu, click HERE



Note to our readers:


Restaurant reviews represent the views of the reviewers only.  We base our reviews on the whole dining experience including ambience (décor, seating comfort and layout, overall feel), service (wait staff appearance, demeanor, knowledge of the menu – including wine list, knowledge about preparation techniques of menu items) and food (taste, presentation, quality, quantity, originality).  Please do not compare ratings across categories.  Ratings represent a comparison to restaurants in the local area within the same category.  While we try to be as objective as possible, by their very nature there is a large subjective component. 

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