If, living in a city, you find yourself driving to The Golden Pheasant Inn, you’re going to think to yourself: “why am I out in the middle of nowhere?” Then you’ll see the inn’s stunning wraparound front porch with picturesque views of the Delaware River. Around the back is an outdoor dining patio that has a luxury resort vibe, but is as comfortable as if you were sitting in someone’s backyard. That’s when you’ll know for sure that country living has some perks. And we haven’t even gotten to the food yet.
The Golden Pheasant Inn is known for more than just its charm and hospitality. The beautiful building is believed to be the longest continuously operating commercial property along the Delaware Canal. Today, the inn retains its architectural integrity and continues to be used as a lodging facility—as it has for its entire history.
Built in 1857, the Golden Pheasant Inn served as early commercial buildings constructed along the Delaware River and the Delaware Canal to serve mercantile traffic. An important gathering place, the tavern was the social hub for farmers, travelers, and later, canal men and vacationers. Now, registered on the National Registry of Historic Places, it’s a luxe lodging option for travelers and locals, as well as a farm-to-table restaurant that’s worth the trek.
When I visit restaurants entrenched in history, it’s important to me that they also feel modern and contemporary: nobody wants to eat in 1987, right? The Golden Pheasant Inn was renovated in 2012, so it’s vintage charm nicely complements a fresh decor and menu that changes seasonally. When you think of the longest continuously operating restaurant anywhere, you assume it might be stuffy, but the Golden Pheasant Inn, with spectacular service and delightful food presentation is anything but that.
I dined here with my friend Lisa, an incredible cook, who like me loves to know where her food comes from. We appreciated seeing the list of local farmers on the menu and hearing how the seafood and shellfish is flown in daily, with the majority of the meat, poultry and vegetables sourced from local farmers.
Menu highlights include the fresh oysters (probably hard to come by in landlocked Pennsylvania) and seasonal flatbread, currently with caramelized onions, goat cheese and roasted duck. The salads, fresh and seasonal, included a tomato, watermelon and feta combination that was extremely seductive, a tuscan kale and beef carpaccio salad with chorizo and fresh radishes and a romaine wedge salad dressed with dill vinaigrette, blue cheese, heirloom tomatoes and roasted pork belly, a nice twist on a steakhouse classic.
Each entree seemed to follow a pattern: simple, locally sourced protein, seasonal vegetables and a creative twist on each dish. We noticed some Asian influence on the menu, Lisa ordering seared scallops with baby carrots, celeriac, and a white wine yuzu sauce. I had roasted duck breast, something I rarely order, but its accompaniments intrigued me: soba noodles, kimchi, baby kale and a pomegranate reduction sauce.
It would be difficult to recommend anything from this menu because it changes so often, but my advice would be to look at what kind of sauces and side dishes accompany the protein that you’re craving. The menu is thoughtfully crafted and the servers take great care in explaining each dish in great detail to help guide your decision.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a pro tip. If you’re too stuffed to eat dessert? Do what we did and take it to go. By the time you drive home, change into comfy pants and (maybe..) pop a bottle of something bubbly, your sweet tooth will thank you.