Alison At Blue Bell

★★★★☆
  • 721 Skippack Pike

    Blue Bell, PA 19422

    Map & Directions
  • 215-641-2660

Food

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too expensive, too noisy, too crowded, food was good
there were six of us and we felt that we could eat off our neighbors table, being so close and we could not hear each other talk for the noise. I know it was a Saturday night and they all pack in as many as possible but we will not be back.

2
★★☆☆☆

too expensive, too noisy, too crowded, food was good
there were six of us and we felt that we could eat off our neighbors table, being so close and we could not hear each other talk for the noise. I know it was a Saturday night and they all pack in as many as possible but we will not be back.

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I moved to Blue Bell recently from Boston and heard it is real good and was told it is closed as well as the Alison Two in Fort Washington. Is it closed? Any other similar places any of you can recommend?

1
★★★☆☆

I moved to Blue Bell recently from Boston and heard it is real good and was told it is closed as well as the Alison Two in Fort Washington. Is it closed? Any other similar places any of you can recommend?

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Wonderful anniversary dinner on "re-opening" evening (02/05/2009). Best Caesar salad I have ever eaten. Husband had Hake and I had a penne pasta dish. Both delicious. Dessert - Warm cappuccino chocolate cake with whipped cream. Yum! Still BYOB with no corking fee until liquor license goes into effect. Very professional waitstaff. Both my husband and I were presented with gift cards to Alison 2 for attending the "re-opening" on opening night. What a nice surprise! Can't wait to return to Alison at Blue Bell and try Alison 2.

2
★★★★★

Wonderful anniversary dinner on "re-opening" evening (02/05/2009). Best Caesar salad I have ever eaten. Husband had Hake and I had a penne pasta dish. Both delicious. Dessert - Warm cappuccino chocolate cake with whipped cream. Yum! Still BYOB with no corking fee until liquor license goes into effect. Very professional waitstaff. Both my husband and I were presented with gift cards to Alison 2 for attending the "re-opening" on opening night. What a nice surprise! Can't wait to return to Alison at Blue Bell and try Alison 2.

Pros: Delicious, fair price , excellent waitstaff.

Cons: NONE

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When I visit Alison at Blue Bell it is normally to mark some special occasion in life. When I make my reservation and walk into this "other world" I feel like a queen. The staff is obliging and informed on their current menu for the day as well as some delicious wine recommendations that complement each dish perfectly. To date, their recommendations have been right on target. On my last visit I enjoyed the skate with the most light and crispy crust I could imagine. I have been talking about it for months. If you appreciate delicious food made from scratch and perhaps you may even be celebrating some special event in your life,make a visit to Alison at Blue Bell. Of course, since they're closed for expansion and renovation, you'll have to wait a few months but I am certain the wait will be worth it. I've also tried Alison two since it has opened and the addition of a bar, happy hour and larger facilities expands the opportunity for me for business meetings and joining friends for a quick drink at happy hour. Food is out of this world!

2
★★★★★

When I visit Alison at Blue Bell it is normally to mark some special occasion in life. When I make my reservation and walk into this "other world" I feel like a queen. The staff is obliging and informed on their current menu for the day as well as some delicious wine recommendations that complement each dish perfectly. To date, their recommendations have been right on target. On my last visit I enjoyed the skate with the most light and crispy crust I could imagine. I have been talking about it for months. If you appreciate delicious food made from scratch and perhaps you may even be celebrating some special event in your life,make a visit to Alison at Blue Bell. Of course, since they're closed for expansion and renovation, you'll have to wait a few months but I am certain the wait will be worth it. I've also tried Alison two since it has opened and the addition of a bar, happy hour and larger facilities expands the opportunity for me for business meetings and joining friends for a quick drink at happy hour. Food is out of this world!

Pros: Menu, parking, service

Cons: tables too close

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Alison at Blue Bell is one of my favorite restaurants. The food is consistently so good that I have to restrain myself from licking the plate. Freshest fish! I trust the restaurant enough to order things I've never tried and I'm rarely disappointed. I always thought I hated brussels sprouts until I tried them here. Now I order them every time they're on the menu. Whenever we go, the staff remembers us and greets us warmly. Can't wait for the restaurant to finish renovation and re-open. I miss it!!!!

2
★★★★☆

Alison at Blue Bell is one of my favorite restaurants. The food is consistently so good that I have to restrain myself from licking the plate. Freshest fish! I trust the restaurant enough to order things I've never tried and I'm rarely disappointed. I always thought I hated brussels sprouts until I tried them here. Now I order them every time they're on the menu. Whenever we go, the staff remembers us and greets us warmly. Can't wait for the restaurant to finish renovation and re-open. I miss it!!!!

Pros: food, friendly service, free parking

Cons: too small

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My wife and kids and I have been to Alison'sthree or four times a year over the last 5 or so years and have always had great meals. The food is always fresh, the flavors distinct and savory and the dishes are presented in interesting ways. We have loved the BYOB aspect to Alison's and wish Alison Too kept that but so it goes. We have always found the staff accomodating to special needs as my daughter is a vegetarian and despite limited choices on the menu, she always leaves very satisfied and delighted. The staff has been interested in feedback. It remains my favorite BYOB.

2
★★★★☆

My wife and kids and I have been to Alison'sthree or four times a year over the last 5 or so years and have always had great meals. The food is always fresh, the flavors distinct and savory and the dishes are presented in interesting ways. We have loved the BYOB aspect to Alison's and wish Alison Too kept that but so it goes. We have always found the staff accomodating to special needs as my daughter is a vegetarian and despite limited choices on the menu, she always leaves very satisfied and delighted. The staff has been interested in feedback. It remains my favorite BYOB.

Pros: BYOB. Top quality food. Casual but excellent service.

Cons: Fewer vegetarian options. Can be a bit rushed.

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Alison at Blue Bell is located in a store front space in a small office center with free parking. It's BYO although they have a wine list too & cash only but soon will begin accepting credit cards. Tables are a bit close together & noise is high but not the din you associate with Melograno or to some extent Django. Further, the plus to the closely placed tables is that invariably we end up conversing with the people next to us. Decor is minimalist with navy curtains separating certain areas like the rest rooms & the entrance. Tables are rustic wood & unclothed. Alison is very much on the premises & although not in the kitchen, greets most diners, spending time conversing with them at their tables. It's a personal touch that's appreciated. She will be opening at a second location shortly, 15 minutes away, named Alison2 and Alison at Blue Bell will be getting an interior update.

The emphasis here is on fish, with a good 60-70% of the menu devoted to it. That menu changes nightly, although I'm sure there are proven hits such as the fried squid with ginger wasabi mayonnaise or the crab cakes, or the luscious scallops & gnocchi that remain permanent fixtures.

We were a party of four. Two of us ordered chopped greek salads (loaded with beets, which I painstakingly picked out). Aside from the beets, which the waitress had mentioned, so I was forewarned, it was ample & very tasty. There was a beet salad with goat cheese that was ordered by another. She wasn't thrilled, but her husband, who finished it, had no complaints. My husband had duck tacos with a tomato salsa. They actually were a creative take on mooshu duck & he raved about the choice, which was oaded with cilantro.

My husband & one of our friends had entrees of scallops, soba noodles, carrots, & something else that escapes me. I tasted the scallops which were absolute perfection, just wonderful! That's the dish for me the next time. I had pepper-encrusted tuna that came in a bowl containing an asian-inspired broth with spinach under the tuna. Topping it was a pile of frites. My only reservation is that it's difficult to eat these tiny frites without finding them falling into the broth, thus rendering them soft, not crispy. Other than that & the fact that a real abundance of peppercorns adorn that tuna, it was excellent. The last entree was a wild salmon fillet with swiss chard & mashed potatoes. What can you say? It wasn't cutting edge, but the person who ordered it isn't a cutting edge kind of guy. He always orders salmon, no sauce.

Desserts read & looked wonderful and an awful lot of them were being eaten. There's more of an emphasis on homespun desserts rather than exquisite photographic creations. We were too full to partake though, opting for coffee/cappuccino, which was the excellent La Colombe brand. The bill with tip came to $80 a couple.

We've been to Alison at Blue Bell many, many times since the meal reviewed above, the latest being two nights ago. Our meal was perfection. We were welcomed by name by the hostess as we entered the restaurant, and the service from beginning to end was wonderful. It's my favorite restaurant in the suburbs.

5
★★★★★

Alison at Blue Bell is located in a store front space in a small office center with free parking. It's BYO although they have a wine list too & cash only but soon will begin accepting credit cards. Tables are a bit close together & noise is high but not the din you associate with Melograno or to some extent Django. Further, the plus to the closely placed tables is that invariably we end up conversing with the people next to us. Decor is minimalist with navy curtains separating certain areas like the rest rooms & the entrance. Tables are rustic wood & unclothed. Alison is very much on the premises & although not in the kitchen, greets most diners, spending time conversing with them at their tables. It's a personal touch that's appreciated. She will be opening at a second location shortly, 15 minutes away, named Alison2 and Alison at Blue Bell will be getting an interior update.

The emphasis here is on fish, with a good 60-70% of the menu devoted to it. That menu changes nightly, although I'm sure there are proven hits such as the fried squid with ginger wasabi mayonnaise or the crab cakes, or the luscious scallops & gnocchi that remain permanent fixtures.

We were a party of four. Two of us ordered chopped greek salads (loaded with beets, which I painstakingly picked out). Aside from the beets, which the waitress had mentioned, so I was forewarned, it was ample & very tasty. There was a beet salad with goat cheese that was ordered by another. She wasn't thrilled, but her husband, who finished it, had no complaints. My husband had duck tacos with a tomato salsa. They actually were a creative take on mooshu duck & he raved about the choice, which was oaded with cilantro.

My husband & one of our friends had entrees of scallops, soba noodles, carrots, & something else that escapes me. I tasted the scallops which were absolute perfection, just wonderful! That's the dish for me the next time. I had pepper-encrusted tuna that came in a bowl containing an asian-inspired broth with spinach under the tuna. Topping it was a pile of frites. My only reservation is that it's difficult to eat these tiny frites without finding them falling into the broth, thus rendering them soft, not crispy. Other than that & the fact that a real abundance of peppercorns adorn that tuna, it was excellent. The last entree was a wild salmon fillet with swiss chard & mashed potatoes. What can you say? It wasn't cutting edge, but the person who ordered it isn't a cutting edge kind of guy. He always orders salmon, no sauce.

Desserts read & looked wonderful and an awful lot of them were being eaten. There's more of an emphasis on homespun desserts rather than exquisite photographic creations. We were too full to partake though, opting for coffee/cappuccino, which was the excellent La Colombe brand. The bill with tip came to $80 a couple.

We've been to Alison at Blue Bell many, many times since the meal reviewed above, the latest being two nights ago. Our meal was perfection. We were welcomed by name by the hostess as we entered the restaurant, and the service from beginning to end was wonderful. It's my favorite restaurant in the suburbs.

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First and more importantly, the food and presentation were very very good. Both appetizers (a ginger fried squid and an oyster selection) were delicious. The halibut over a tomato risotto was light and fantastic. The pork chop with white beans and escarole was hearty and excellent. With a bottle of wine and tip, the bill came to around $140, well worth it for the quality of the food ? However, when I?m spending this much I don?t like being greeted by the Hostess as if we were at a fast food joint. ?Hi ? how are you guys tonight? just doesn?t seem appropriate at a restaurant of this caliber. We were addressed in this manner by her several times during the night ? the other staff, thankfully, not following her lead. Maybe I?m a snob, but at these prices . . . . . .
It?s cash/check only ? they do have beer and wine but you can BYO, with a $5 corkage fee.

2
★★★★☆

First and more importantly, the food and presentation were very very good. Both appetizers (a ginger fried squid and an oyster selection) were delicious. The halibut over a tomato risotto was light and fantastic. The pork chop with white beans and escarole was hearty and excellent. With a bottle of wine and tip, the bill came to around $140, well worth it for the quality of the food ? However, when I?m spending this much I don?t like being greeted by the Hostess as if we were at a fast food joint. ?Hi ? how are you guys tonight? just doesn?t seem appropriate at a restaurant of this caliber. We were addressed in this manner by her several times during the night ? the other staff, thankfully, not following her lead. Maybe I?m a snob, but at these prices . . . . . .
It?s cash/check only ? they do have beer and wine but you can BYO, with a $5 corkage fee.

Cons: A little hard to find

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My childhood friend lives nearby, so when a fellow New Yorker recommended I stop by Alison's, I jumped at the chance. My friend and I had the most wonderful meal. The tables are a bit close together (outdoor dining in nice weather helps), but the FOOD!! None of the restaurants in my 'hood (Battery Park City) serve food this divine. We enjoyed bringing our own wine, as the prices are a bit high, so that kept the cost down. (Though charging an extra dollar for an additional tiny scoop of ice cream was a bit ridiculous.) The service was quite good also.

2
★★★★★

My childhood friend lives nearby, so when a fellow New Yorker recommended I stop by Alison's, I jumped at the chance. My friend and I had the most wonderful meal. The tables are a bit close together (outdoor dining in nice weather helps), but the FOOD!! None of the restaurants in my 'hood (Battery Park City) serve food this divine. We enjoyed bringing our own wine, as the prices are a bit high, so that kept the cost down. (Though charging an extra dollar for an additional tiny scoop of ice cream was a bit ridiculous.) The service was quite good also.

Pros: Superb food, love the B.Y.O. policy, relaxing ambiance

Cons: It's not closer to NYC (hee hee)

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Went there on 2/15 for dinner and absolutely loved it. Everything from the salad to dessert was great. We ordered the scallops and and the crabcakes as entrees and they were delicious. The bread pudding dessert was a chocolate lovers dream. I also thought the service was wonderful...been to some nice restaurants where it seems like the servers snobby..not here...they are really nice, attentive and are more than happy to answers questions. We even got a table visit from Alison herself which was a first for us at any restaurant ever...i have worked in restaurants for ten years and never seen a chef visit tables like she did...what a great touch to an already stellar night. Just wish I would have tried Alison's sooner but I will definetly be back.

2
★★★★★

Went there on 2/15 for dinner and absolutely loved it. Everything from the salad to dessert was great. We ordered the scallops and and the crabcakes as entrees and they were delicious. The bread pudding dessert was a chocolate lovers dream. I also thought the service was wonderful...been to some nice restaurants where it seems like the servers snobby..not here...they are really nice, attentive and are more than happy to answers questions. We even got a table visit from Alison herself which was a first for us at any restaurant ever...i have worked in restaurants for ten years and never seen a chef visit tables like she did...what a great touch to an already stellar night. Just wish I would have tried Alison's sooner but I will definetly be back.

Pros: Food, Service

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With expectations high I ventured out of the city and way up to Blue Bell for what I knew would be a evening of creative dining pleasure. The dining room is sterile - tables are very small- on top of one another without linens - maybe old fashion but when I am paying these prices expect a tablecloth. Menu was impressive - food was not. The duck in the confit was dry and stringy - the lamb on the entree was so bland as to be tasteless - the ravioli had sour cream topping that tasted like it came out of the container - couldn't find a hint of any sauce on any of the plates. How very disappointing - restaurant was filled to capacity - has to be locals - with all of the great BYOB's in the city no need to travel into the outskirts of town.

0
★☆☆☆☆

With expectations high I ventured out of the city and way up to Blue Bell for what I knew would be a evening of creative dining pleasure. The dining room is sterile - tables are very small- on top of one another without linens - maybe old fashion but when I am paying these prices expect a tablecloth. Menu was impressive - food was not. The duck in the confit was dry and stringy - the lamb on the entree was so bland as to be tasteless - the ravioli had sour cream topping that tasted like it came out of the container - couldn't find a hint of any sauce on any of the plates. How very disappointing - restaurant was filled to capacity - has to be locals - with all of the great BYOB's in the city no need to travel into the outskirts of town.

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After hearing so many good things about Alison at Blue Bell, our monthy supper group, the SupperClubSix decided to give the restaurant a try.

Our party of six each ordered appetizers and an entree. The appetizers were consistantly better than the entrees across the board. My scallop entree over risotto was quite a disappointment. The scallops were gritty and the risotta lacked the richness of flavor one expects from a well-prepared risotto. Other entrees fared no better. The crabcakes contained shells, were small and lacked flavor. The monkfish was bland and the Swordfish overcooked. Six entrees ordered and six disappointed people.

The appetizers were a bit more satisfying, but for the prices Alsion is charging, the food could be a bit more inspiring and prepared with better care. With so many BYOBs in the area, there is no reason to settle for expensive and mediocre.

0
★☆☆☆☆

After hearing so many good things about Alison at Blue Bell, our monthy supper group, the SupperClubSix decided to give the restaurant a try.

Our party of six each ordered appetizers and an entree. The appetizers were consistantly better than the entrees across the board. My scallop entree over risotto was quite a disappointment. The scallops were gritty and the risotta lacked the richness of flavor one expects from a well-prepared risotto. Other entrees fared no better. The crabcakes contained shells, were small and lacked flavor. The monkfish was bland and the Swordfish overcooked. Six entrees ordered and six disappointed people.

The appetizers were a bit more satisfying, but for the prices Alsion is charging, the food could be a bit more inspiring and prepared with better care. With so many BYOBs in the area, there is no reason to settle for expensive and mediocre.

Pros: excellent service, good parking

Cons: bland food, over-priced, no atmosphere

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We ate here last night with a group of 9. Everyone LOVED their food. Every appetizer was better than the next. The entrees were good & the desserts were FABULOUS. Make a reservation & go there soon. The best thing about going as a group was that we could try ALOT of different dishes but generally i would say a party of 6 or less would be best.

2
★★★★★

We ate here last night with a group of 9. Everyone LOVED their food. Every appetizer was better than the next. The entrees were good & the desserts were FABULOUS. Make a reservation & go there soon. The best thing about going as a group was that we could try ALOT of different dishes but generally i would say a party of 6 or less would be best.

Pros: Unique food, BYOB, outside seating

Cons: NoGreat wine glasses, Advance Reservations

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Very creative, well prepared specials every night. Try the sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon salad. You've never tasted brussel sprouts until you try this dish. Excellent fish!!! Ready to go back again.

2
★★★★★

Very creative, well prepared specials every night. Try the sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon salad. You've never tasted brussel sprouts until you try this dish. Excellent fish!!! Ready to go back again.

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I'd previously had a fantastic experience at the old, Cedars location. It was small and cozy, but the waitstaff was attentive and seemed pleased to help you in your dining journey. The new place? A little roomier (larger space, just as packed with tables), good color/wood scheme, but our waiter's heart just wasn't in it. He seemed genuinely annoyed that we had questions about the menu, and that we asked to change our table because the setting sun was totally blinding me. My tuna steak was delightful, as was a cheese-based appetizer. The pastry chef walked through later, though, and she was a delight to talk to. Overall, it was a fine experience and I would go back, but I worry for them about the snooty uptown attitude in Blue Bell.

2
★★★★☆

I'd previously had a fantastic experience at the old, Cedars location. It was small and cozy, but the waitstaff was attentive and seemed pleased to help you in your dining journey. The new place? A little roomier (larger space, just as packed with tables), good color/wood scheme, but our waiter's heart just wasn't in it. He seemed genuinely annoyed that we had questions about the menu, and that we asked to change our table because the setting sun was totally blinding me. My tuna steak was delightful, as was a cheese-based appetizer. The pastry chef walked through later, though, and she was a delight to talk to. Overall, it was a fine experience and I would go back, but I worry for them about the snooty uptown attitude in Blue Bell.

Pros: Great decor, ample parking, well designed menu

Cons: distant service, cramped space

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We were so happy that Alison opened her new restaurant right around the corner - we had previously been traveling to Alison Cafe in Skippack. Food's still awesome, from the appetizers to the dessert; however, we were disappointed with the space. Her last place was teeny-tiny, and to be honest, this didn't feel any more roomy. We were at a table for two and felt like we were dining with both tales on either side. In fact, everyone was commenting about each other's dinners! But, and this is the truth, the outstanding fish and lovely wait staff is worth the crowded quarters. I will certainly go back.

2
★★★★☆

We were so happy that Alison opened her new restaurant right around the corner - we had previously been traveling to Alison Cafe in Skippack. Food's still awesome, from the appetizers to the dessert; however, we were disappointed with the space. Her last place was teeny-tiny, and to be honest, this didn't feel any more roomy. We were at a table for two and felt like we were dining with both tales on either side. In fact, everyone was commenting about each other's dinners! But, and this is the truth, the outstanding fish and lovely wait staff is worth the crowded quarters. I will certainly go back.

Pros: great food, friendly wait staff, good parking

Cons: tight seating, noisy, a little pricey?

Editorial from

In Short
Chef Alison Barshak has been regarded as one of the region's top chefs since the prodigious redhead led the kitchen in the opening days of the legendary Striped Bass. Entrée highlights at her suburban B.Y.O.B. comeā€¦

 

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