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“Great secret spot tucked away in Chevy Chase” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Manoli Canoli Restaurant

Manoli Canoli Restaurant
8540 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
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Ranked #2 of 32 Restaurants in Chevy Chase
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $5 - $18
Cuisines: Italian, Greek
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Home Style
Cross street: TW PERRY
Transit: Yes. Bus stop directly across the street from the restaurant.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
69 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Great secret spot tucked away in Chevy Chase”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

Years ago, this little spot, with a dozen indoor and a few outdoor tables next to Connecticut Avenue, was called Marcella's and run by the family of an Italian soldier turned comedian and his feathered helmet sat high on a shelf collecting dust. They had great pizza and pasta and the family photos and newspaper clippings were fun to explore. About 4 years ago, the place experienced a renaissance and emerged with a leaner/cleaner interior to rival nearby Starbucks and a menu that straddles Greek and Italian food beautifully. The pizza is still great and in addition to the home made sauces (like Pesto and Walnut) and pasta you can take home from the freezer, you can take home some of the family made/imported olive oil from the Greek co-owner's family. The menu is bipolar, with many Italian and Greek standards and I've never had a bad meal. Its not the kind of place where you'll roll out stuffed - the portions are appropriate but not overbearing. On our recent visit, we had Super Salads and a Greek Salad followed by the white pizza. The pizza crust is home made and on the thin side, though not paper thin. The sauce was homemade and perfectly seasoned. The highlight is the homemade mozzarella that was on my Super Salad and the pizza. Just perfect. You can take home some of the homemade mozzarella too. We finished up our meal with canoli. They were out of the "regular" size, so we enjoyed 2 each of the smaller finger size, perfect filling, drizzled with raspberry sauce and sprinkled with miniature chocolate chips. Food was excellent! On a Saturday afternoon, the service was attentive, but gave a moment's humor. When the pizza arrived, one of us asked for grated cheese - thinking of the hand-grated Parmesan we have gotten in the past. Instead our young server misunderstood and brought us a plate of sliced mozzarella. We went with flow and layered on the mozzarella - yum. Although we stuck with the homemade iced tea, you can enjoy a glass of wine with your meal as well. During our Saturday afternoon, we shared the restaurant with a family with kids, a few neighborhood folks and a few couples. No blaring music, no jockeying for a chair or wifi, just quiet hum of conversation. The old pics and newspaper clippings are still hanging on the back hall, along with some pics of new family members - great blend of old and new.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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57 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“comfort food en route”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2012

This restaurant ought to be available all over! "Pasta con Melanzane...Penne pasta with eggplant, garlic, basil, their famous homemade mozarella cheese, "...and the tomatoe sauce tasted like a special inhouse recipe as well...everything done to perfection...our car overheated and we left it to cool at a gas station across the street from Manoli Canoli's, on the way home from Fort Lauderdale and onwards to Canada...the food soothed the nerves and is a spot from Italian food heaven, I Love Greek food as well, so now we have to go back!

  • Visited June 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012 via mobile

Soggy pasta, burned sauce and weak tzatski sauce. Won't return.

    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Level Contributor
54 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Authentic Greek and Italian in Casual Setting”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2012

This family-run restaurant is a great place for lunch or family dinner. The food is top quality, authentic Greek and Italian. Much of the menu incorporates olive oil from the owner's father's grove in Greece. Great Greek dishes include the chicken souvlaki and the horiatiki salad (which can be ordered large/small and with or without chicken/shrimp/gyro). Great Italian dishes include the pizza, pasta melanzano, and cold cut subs made with real Italian cold cuts that friends say taste just the way they do in Italy. Free parking in back (it's in a strip mall about 1/2 mile from the Connecticut Avenue exit of the beltway). Tiramisu and Greek desserts. Full bar. Side of broccoli can be ordered, and it is very nicely steamed in a plain and healthy manner. Starbucks next door--and gas stations too--so you can stop here on your way through the area if you're on a road trip.

Visited May 2012
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East Windsor, NJ
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Delicious Greek and Italian Food in One Place? What More Could A Girl Ask For?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2011

(Warning- This is a very long review.) Manoli Canoli is a delightful Greek Italian restaurant. Six of us went for lunch for my birthday. We arrived at 1:30pm on a Monday. I had read the reviews on various sites including this one and they were very positive. The location is easily accessible as it is directly on Connecticut Ave. There is parking in the rear of the building. You can enter the restaurant from that parking lot but we walked around the front. As we entered we were slightly taken aback by the size of the place. It was quaint. We thought it would be larger. (Pictures of the interior are on their website under the contact us link- http://manolicanoli.com/contactus.aspx . I had not looked at that section of the site before we went.) With the way the tables were arranged it did not feel crowded. The front is all glass so the interior was flooded with light.

A large party was leaving so we only had to wait a few minutes to get a table. Once seated the gentleman (who I swear seemed like the co-owner) came over quickly and took our drink order. The menu has something for everyone. Not only do they have Greek and Italian favorites such as Mousaka, Pastitsio, Lasagna, and Ravioli; there were pizza, subs, salads, burgers, chicken, fish, lamb etc. We ordered the following entrees:

2 orders Grilled Baby Lamb Chops with Hand Cut French Fries and Green Beans that were simmered in a tomato sauce that contained onions and bay leaves. $19.95 each
2 orders Mousaka with Green Beans $13.75 each
1 small Horiatiki Salada (Greek Salad) $5.50
1 small 10” Pepperoni Pizza $10.75
1 order Cheese Ravioli in Alfredo Sauce $11.00

Five to ten minutes after placing our orders. A basket of bread and my husband's and my salad were brought to the table. Appetizers were not ordered by the other four in my party. The salad contained chunks of cucumbers and tomatoes, slices of green pepper and red onion (we had it on the side), flat cubes of feta, kalamata olives (unpitted, which was fine for me but not my husband) and capers. The salad was drizzled with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), vinegar and I believe oregano. It was served with lightly toasted pita bread. The salad was flavorful and not overly salty (capers, olives, and feta can make a salad salty). My only complaint was there was not enough feta. A few more cubes would have been perfect. The bread in the bread basket was nothing special. It was a loaf of homemade white bread that was mild in flavor. It was served with butter. If this bread was served with a dish of flavored EVOO and a few olives it would have enhanced the flavor.

Our entrees came out less than 10 minutes later. Everyone enjoyed their food but since I only tried a few things I will comment on those. I had Mousaka. The portion was very generous. It had a thick layer of potatoes on the bottom, eggplant and meat mixture next, and topped with a very thick béchamel sauce. Many of the Mousaka I previously have eaten contained more moisture/sauce. The thick layer of potatoes made this dish drier than which I am accustomed. However, this did not stop me from eating. The béchamel was creamy, smooth, and flavored nicely with nutmeg. The eggplant was chopped very fine and mixed well the ground meat. The slight juices from the mixture was absorbed by the tender chunks of potatoes. The green beans as described above were a nice contrast and helped with the dryness of the Mousaka.

Mother had the Grilled Baby Lamb Chops that she initially wanted to eat with rice but found out the fries were hand cut so she changed her mind. Yes the fries were hand cut. They had a slightly sweet taste which I found pleasant. This could have been due to not soaking the cut fries in cold water for a long time before frying. They were limp but again this did not bother me. (Usually I like my fries crispy but since the flavor was good I could overlook this.) The interesting thing is although they were limp they did not taste greasy.

My Brother-in-law had pepperoni pizza. He let me have a slice. Let me tell you, I am not a fan of pepperoni pizza but I really enjoyed this one. It had a thin and chewy crust that tasted very fresh. It was kissed with tomato sauce (very thin layer), covered with creamy shredded mozzarella cheese (most likely whole milk), and almost paper thin slices of pepperoni (slightly salty, peppery). I live in NJ where there are pizza places on almost every other corner but I would definitely come back to Manoli Canoli to have their pizza.

We finished eating in under an hour and were pondering dessert. Everyone was too full to think about eating dessert but I, of course, couldn’t resist. Who said I had to eat it there? I saw in the refrigerated wine/ dessert display case they had my weakness- Key Lime Pie. So I asked the gentleman who was our server if it was very tart (my test for a true Key Lime Pie) and he answered yes. That sold me. He came over and to our table to make sure no one else wanted anything and that was when Mother informed him it was my Birthday. He gave me the dessert on the house. That was very nice. I got home and opened the box. The piece looked smaller than what I usually have seen (I really should have measured so you would know). I thought to myself it must be bursting with flavor. Boy was I right! It was very tart, very smooth and creamy, with slight bits of lime zest. The crust, which consisted of coarse crumbles of graham crackers (?), was sweet which did impact the flavor of the filling towards the end. To explain, the bottom crust was thinner than the filling so you tasted the tartness perfectly. The edge of the slice contained a much thicker crust and the filling was less so the tartness was impacted.

When we left the gentleman thanked us for coming and wished me Happy Birthday. In conclusion, my family and I would definitely return to Manoli Canoli. The food was very well prepared. The people were friendly and service was prompt. I also felt the prices were reasonable.

  • Visited December 2011
    • 5 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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