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“Pretty good food; but service issues interferred” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Carlyle Grand Cafe

Carlyle Grand Cafe
4000 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206
703-931-0777
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Ranked #1 of 686 Restaurants in Arlington
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: American, French
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Bar scene, Large groups, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Description: High energy, American bistro with seasonal outside dining and year round classic fare. A perennial brunch favorite.
Washington, DC
Top Contributor
319 reviews 319 reviews
212 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 106 cities Reviews in 106 cities
106 helpful votes 106 helpful votes
“Pretty good food; but service issues interferred”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

We've eaten here several times over the years, and the food has generally been good. This visit was no exception. Salads were fresh, creative, and tasty. Main courses were good. The nonflour chocolate waffle dessert was outstanding. The four star rating is based on the food, and that's what counts the most. The bread, which was baked locally and hyped, was oddly not that good. But that's minor.

The service was sloppy and, oddly, excessive. The staff made a mistake (twice!) in meeting a stated allergy need. It wasn't that unusual a request, and two mistakes were inexcusable. Oddly, it didn't seem to be the result of the team approach to service, as each of the three or four servers knew of the special request.

Everyone was apologetic for the mistake, and the problem was fixed. But we must have had 15 or more interactions with waiters and the maitre d'. Even simple things like refilling iced tea took multiple interactions. "Want more iced tea?" and then "We're brewing it fresh; up in a minute". Better service would have produced the tea without comment. All the interactions were disruptive and wearying. It was a case of trying way too hard. Not the worst thing in the world, but unwelcome nevertheless.

In the end, we got a free dessert AND a gift card for our next visit. The dessert was sufficient pennance/compensation. The gift card (which we took and will use) was a bit over the top. And another interaction with the staff, although it's hard to complain about it.

We consider this meal to be a "bad sample" for service. A series of missteps cascaded into excess. Separately, service was a bit slow to get started, but once it did, it never stopped.

If you are a prospective dinner, I suggest you consider our experience an aberration and eat here because the food is good. And the promise of correction for flaws is generally a plus too. We just got too much of a good thing.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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389 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    229
    111
    36
    7
    6
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“EXCELLENT!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

this resatuarnt, and all those of the Great American Restaurant Company are excelllet. The sercive is great, and the food options are always delicious. go for the lobster potstickers! although there is sometimes a wait, it is worth it! if you have not been to this restaurnat, I hightly reccomned it for a great dinner experience.

Visited February 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“no happy hour?”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

really? who doesn't have happy hour? very dissapointed. nice atmosphere and the dinners being served around us looked delicious, but we went elsewhere for happy hour. Really? who doesn't have happy hour?

Visited March 2013
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Williamstown, New Jersey, USA
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“We couldn't have picked a better place!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013 via mobile

We came from out of town. We spent the night in the area. We used trip advisor and found this place. No wonder why everyone loves it. Great great service, timely food, and wonderful taste and portion sizes. Loved it!!!!

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Beltsville, Maryland
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Good time”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

Went here for a friend's birthday brunch. Service was great and the server knew it was for a birthday. His recommendations were spot-on. Most of us had the brioche French toast and it was wonderful. Big portions but not so big that you couldn't finish. Good atmosphere. And worth me coming all the way from Maryland.

Visited February 2013
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