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“Lively, Good Drinks, Did not like the food” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mari Vanna

Mari Vanna
1141 Connecticut Avenue Northwest, Washington DC, DC 20036
(202) 783-7777
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Ranked #289 of 2,700 Restaurants in Washington DC
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Russian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Rhode Island Ave NW and Desales Street NW
Description: http://dc.eater.com/places/mari-vanna
Top Contributor
98 reviews 98 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Lively, Good Drinks, Did not like the food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2013

This place has such a cool funk to it. Crazy decor, nice Russian staff in old outfits and even a guy who rocks out the accordion! That was the best part! The drinks were good, some better, some strange. Vibe was loud and perfect for drinks.
But... The food and dinner was so so, it was pricey and avg taste and small portions at best.
I wound not eat at Mari Vanna again but I would go for drinks.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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80 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Frederick, MD
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
“Wonderful food and drinks!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

We love the Mari Vanna in Manhattan and were happy to find that the food, drinks, and service were just as good in DC. The atmosphere is fun and the building is very cool.
Our only complaint was their "gift certificate" policy. We had been given a gift certificate as a wedding gift. Our bill was $40 short of the certificate. The policy is that you use it or lose it. It couldn't even be given to our waitress for her tip or a credit for a future visit.
We ended up ordering a couple of desserts to go, so it wasn't a huge amount that the restaurant kept, but it's still a bad policy. (Or at least one that should be made clear when they sell a gift certificate.)

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Round Hill, VA
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Mostly a Very Enjoyable Evening”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2013 via mobile

Went here for a birthday celebration. Arrived early to have drinks at the bar. The hostess tried to seat us but part of our party was not yet there (we had arrived 30 min early) and was giving us a table on the first floor when arrangements had been made earlier for the second floor. Spent some time at the bar - bar tenders were attentive and knowledgeable and my drinks were delicious. At dinner, we sat at a table on the second floor. It was extremely loud but we were boisterous so worked out fine. Our waitress was great - friendly, available for our orders and apologetic when my meal arrived 15 minutes after everyone else's. The food ... Mine was terrific. I started with a salad with a great dressing and then had a chicken patty type thing with mashed potato. Perfectly seasoned and served hot. My husband had the stroganoff - it was okay - may have been better had it been served hot. At the end of our meal, we decided to go upstairs to the "club". All the unoccupied tables had reserved for bottle service signs. We ordered drinks and stood around chatting. A table cleared, didn't have a sign so we sat down. A few minutes later, a waitress came over and told us this was reserved for bottle service. We took note, finished our drinks and got up to leave (music hadn't started yet anyway). I noticed that only 1 table had a bottle at it and it appeared to be the only non Russian speaking table in the room (after WE got up anyway). Go figure. I would return for the drinks and food but skip the club. Which is probably what they want any how.

Visited April 2013
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Rego Park, New York
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Random Russian Night Club on CT Ave?!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Our visit here was very random -- my friend who has two kids and according to her 'doesn't get out much' heard blaring house music as we parked near my hotel and we investigated. The restaurant has 3 floors, all of which looked like a photo shoot for a Laura Ashley catalog. 3rd floor = club / karaoke bar. There's a Russian mafia theme going on too... sign a confidentiality agreement (he actually wouldn't let me in without a thumbprint), do a shot of something red, notice the gun on the table, and walk into Moscow. Despite my Polish heritage I was immediately pegged as an outsider... but whatever. We danced, drank pepper cinnamon vodka, and left in 30 min. If you are 25-35 and Russian looking for other 25-35 y.o. Russians, this is apparently the place to be on Thursday night.

Visited April 2013
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Lively Atmosphere and Great Food and Drinks”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

I love food and will try anything once. I've been to most restaurants in the DC area from the hole in wall gems to the best restaurants in town. However, I had never tried Russian food. I'm telling you this because if you're looking for an authentic Russian environment and want my opinion on that, I'm not sure I'm the best person. If you want to know about the atmosphere and taste of the food, I can help.

First, I tried to book a reservation on Open Table but no reservations were available. I called the restaurant and had no problems getting a reservation for five on a Friday night at 8:30pm. When we arrived, they sat 3 of us until the other 2 arrived.

The decor is so cute and playful. I couldn't stop looking around trying to take it all in. It reminded me of my Grandmother's house with a shabby-chic flair. They even had foot stools under our table.

The atmosphere is very lively and loud. Tables are very close together. If you want a quiet romantic dinner or lots of space, then this isn't the place for you (or possibly go on an off-night). It seemed like one big dinner party and everyone really seemed to be having fun. The accordion player came around twice throughout our dinner. I think he plays once an hour. It is loud but just watching him play the chords and all of the different keys was intriguing. I think it could get annoying after the third or fourth time. This isn't because the music is bad, it is just very loud.

Our server was very good. He knew the menu well and was prompt. He also had a great personality. I wish I could remember his name though. He brought the bread, sunflower oil, scallions, and radishes quickly and explained how to eat them. He that some people just eat the bread with sunflower oil while others put the scallions on top too. The radishes can also be put on the bread or just eaten with salt and sunflower oil.

We ordered pirohzhki, beef stroganoff, borscht (russian beet soup), pelmeni (like pierogies but with a thin unleavened dough) and the Chilean sea bass (for dieting folks). Everything was excellent! I'm not sure why people are complaining about portion sizes though. Remember, I don't have knowledge of Russian food portions but I guess they are large. The portions served here are pretty typical for a nice restaurant in DC (or anywhere for that matter). However, it could be that the Owners listened to reviews and increased their portion sizes before we arrived. We did not leave hungry.

The drinks were amazing but I can't remember the spelling of them all. We had the Grusha (or Gurusha- something like that. It has peach in it), the "polenka molenka" (once again, not the correct spelling but something like that) and one more that had strawberries. All were great!!

Overall, I would highly recommend this place for a fun night out and good food!

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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