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“Another winner from Trip Advisor reviewers - Go!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Manantial Restaurant

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El Manantial Restaurant
12050 North Shore Drive, Reston, VA 20190
703-742-6466
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Ranked #13 of 133 Restaurants in Reston
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Tapas, International
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Wiehle Ave.
Description: El Manatial is a family operated restaurant, featuring European Fusion Cuisine. We offer Italian, French and Spanish specialties, including a Tapas bar.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Another winner from Trip Advisor reviewers - Go!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

How is this place not packed on a Saturday evening? Granted, we dined early at 6:30 but still. As we were leaving we noticed the owner warmly greeting his regulars. Quality food, nice selection, good service and a lovely, quiet restaurant where you can hear the conversation of your friends and family. We will be back. ps. the almond torte was to die for.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 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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74 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    34
    27
    6
    2
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Leesburg, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Superb Service & Excellent Food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

This is our long time NoVA go-to restaurant. In addition to frequent visits as a couple, we hold our annual company Christmas party at El Manantial to rave reviews from our appreciative staff. The service by this family-run and staffed restaurant is truly outstanding and the quality of the food lives up to the service. The wine list is also excellent, featuring Spanish and South American wines not commonly found elsewhere in this area.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern Virginia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
102 helpful votes 102 helpful votes
“Very nice Christmas office lunch”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

We had a very nice time with very good food for our first visit to El Manantial for an office Christmas lunch celebration. Although the restaurant was very busy and we did not have reservations, they fit the three of us in very quickly. A little time passed before our waiter came, but not too bad. The waiter didn't really ask us about what we might like to drink, but otherwise the service was pretty good - not exceptional, but good. Our appetizer of escargots had a bit too strong of a mushroom taste and perhaps too much liquid/sauce, overpowering the escargots. The calamari appetizer surprisingly looked very pre-fabbed and likely frozen, having almost too clean of a cut compared to other calamari servings, but they actually were quite tasty, with a nice aioli sauce underneath and good seasonings. One of us ordered grilled scallops on a bed of spinach - they were very good, but we were surprised to find it to be a cold dish. Interestingly, a good number of their dishes were offered on a bed of lettuce. I had the mixed seafood over linguini, with a nice spicy red sauce. The grilled shrimp in that dish were excellent, and the calamari very tender. The last of us ordered one of their pizzas, which also was quite good - although be aware that the pizza had very little sauce on it, almost like a white pizza, but not expressly described as such. We greatly enjoyed the decor, including specifically the painted mural along the wall, and the restaurant had a loud (but not overly so), energetic vibe. A nice contrast to the rest of the strip mall (including a presently empty grocery store space) where the restaurant is located. Overall, a nice experience and I will plan to go back.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 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.
Herndon, Virginia
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Very glad TripAdvisor reviews steered us here”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

We were looking to try someplace new and local for a small office pre-Christmas lunch, and read the reviews here. Everyone else has noted that the location would not normally draw one to this semi-abandoned shopping center, so even with positive reviews, I expected no problem with our party of three arriving without a reservation. We noticed a nearly full parking lot out front. While we were surprised to walk in the front door and see nearly every table full, we took that as an excellent sign (despite thinking we might need to wait or go elsewhere). The owner (I presume) graciously said he could find us a table, and did so promptly. The atmosphere and decor were outstanding, beyond what I expected from outward appearance-- and bustling. We had a great dining experience, with excellent service and food. We had two appetizers to share, and we also enjoyed the warm bread with olive oil. I had the blackened sea scallops over spinach (they offer the scallops either with spinach or pasta); for some reason, I expected warm spinach, but it was a cold spinach leaf salad-- still delicious, even though not what I envisioned. Others in the party had the seafood mix (reportedly excellent) and a wood-fired pizza. Honestly, I would have been happy to try almost anything on this tantalizing menu. I'm giving this restaurant a "five" rating on a relative scale of neighborhood restaurants (not to suggest it is the pinnacle of fine dining anywhere) because, after considering a "four," I really could not think of any aspect of the meal and experience that left room for improvement. You can take that as a four-and-a-half, but in any event, we all left satisfied, and I'm glad we chose El Manantial today. I will definitely be back.

  • Visited December 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.
Fairfax, Virginia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“excellent restaurant in out of the way location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

This is my "go-to" restaurant of choice for business or group lunches. The menu is diverse and food is consistently good. They are known for their pizzas, but I also adore their beef stroganoff in the winter, and their salmon spinach salad is consistently good. Service is generally friendly, and the owner is usually there to greet us on arrival. The other great thing about this restaurant is that they are in an out-of-the-way shopping center with a lot of parking, so you're not fighting the Reston Town Center traffic and parking lots. I believe they also do a monthly wine dinner that is highly rated; however, I have not been to one yet.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 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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