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“Vienna Jewel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Cafe Renaissance

Cafe Renaissance
163 Glyndon St., Vienna, VA 22180
703-938-3311
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Ranked #4 of 120 Restaurants in Vienna
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $35
Cuisines: French, International, European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Doing business, Special occasions, Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Dunn Loring, Virginia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Vienna Jewel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

Having read many of the previous reviews and choosing to trust the "positives", we decided to visit "Cafe R" on a whim....it's only a few miles from our home and it was Friday.Despite being late afternoon when I checked availability, we were able to get an 8:00 PM reservation thru "Open Table". The welcome, as described by prior reviewers, was indeed gracious. Service throughout was attentive and helpful without being intrusive. I selected the soup of the day as my appetizer...a delightful cream of mushroom with fresh ingredients. For main courses we ordered veal scallopini piccata and a a seafood medley. Both were very tasty and nicely prepared/presented. We didn't find the sauces to be overdone as some have commented, but that's clearly a matter of personal taste. Sides of fresh vegetables were complimentary to the main dishes. We went for a rather pricey bottle of chardonnay which was properly chilled and poured timely throughout the meal.. The owner and the chef visited our table a couple of times to ensure everything was to our liking. Dessert, a mixed plate of cold treats, was perfect.
All in all, this is a 4+ dining experience despite it's unlikely location (and admittedly dated decor). The owner has made the best of limited space in a very competitive locale. The focus on customer service, in my opinion, overcomes any shortcomings in menu or preparation. Prices seem to be in line with other fine dining establishments in the NoVA area. We'll go again.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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140 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    96
    22
    9
    7
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Vienna, VA
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Nice time at Cafe Renaissance”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

My husband took me here for my birthday on a Tuesday in July and it was a very special meal. Yes, a little pricey, and, yes, a little traditional, but it made my birthday into a real event-- hard to believe from this restaurant in a pretty standard strip mall in Vienna. It feels like this place is from a different time--where the meal is an event and you have all night, not to be rushed. Very friendly service-- both of us ordered a glass of wine, and they were very full glasses! The food was decent--on the heavy side, I guess (with sauces). It happened to also be the birthday of someone at the table next to mine-- and we toasted each other-- it was fun! For dessert, we all ordered berries flame (prepared table side). Again, traditional--but fun!

  • Visited July 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 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.
Reston, Virginia
Level Contributor
169 reviews
120 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Wanted to be able to say good things”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

Very friendly staff and attentive service makes you feel like you are special. Unfortunately the "let me fix you something special" turns out to have a hefty price. Dishes are pleasing to the eye and have lots to taste. Over use of sauces and small dollops of random things mar the simple dishes. Seafood came out cold and was overcooked. It's a shame because they really try to please.

    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Vienna, Virginia
Level Contributor
68 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Cafe Rennaissance continues to be one of the best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

I hesitate to write this review because it may make it difficult to get a reservation. Cafe Rennaisance is llocated in a small shopping center just off Maple Avenue in Vienna, VA. The chef, Ocean, is a second generation chef, and he takes great pride in his creations. You will not get a 2 or 3 star Michelin creation, but the food will be well conceived, prepared and presented. There are monthly wine dinners, cohosted with a local wine store. The ambiance is worthy of coat and tie, and you will often see diners celebrating a special occasion. If you do not see something on the menue that interests you, Ocean may be able to make something to your liking if he is not slammed in the kitchen. By the way, house wine by the glass is a great value - the pour is great. Enjoy!

  • Visited June 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Clifton, VA
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“A for effort - unfortunately not for the food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2012

An unlikely location for a gourmet restaurant Cafe R sits at the end of a strip mall a short distance off of main st. To be fair they did try their best to transform the appearance by placing large plants and flowers outside to make it somewhat more inviting. Once inside it is hard not to be struck by the sudden shift in ambiance. The mood of the room is dark, large paintings adorn the walls, and the walls themselves sport old-fashioned murals giving the room a mid 19th century feel. The menu is quite large with a wide range of selections including fish, poultry, meat. Equally as large were the nightly specials. However, the selections all seemed to have a common theme - and one not heard too often these days - heavy sauces with ladened with cream or butter. It seemed as though the chef made it to the "turn of the century" cooking class and stopped there.
I chose the rack of lamb for a couple of reasons. First, it was not accompanied by a heavy sauce and second a chef that could prepare dover sole in various sauces should certainly have mastered the art of cooking lamb. Apparently not... My meat was not very tasty and it seemed that the fat had been trimmed so severely prior to cooking that the meat was improperly savored leaving it with an unappealing taste. Others at my table fared better with stuffed chicken and flounder stuffed with crab meat.
As a starter I opted for the Caeser salad. It was served in a huge and quite novely shaped bowl. Sadly, the dressing had a bit too much mayonnaise for my taste and there were absolutely no overtones of anchovy or anything else of note.
For dessert we opted for the Bananas Foster. This seemed to be quite popular as they prepare it table side. It wasn't bad but it also wasn't remarkable.

This is a place I really wanted to like. The owner is charming. The wait staff are attentive. The restaurant is small but cozy. However, the food just doesn't make it I'm afraid. I'm going to be generous and give it a higher rating than I normally would after such an experience because the ambiance and attentiveness are truly unique. But, I do caution that this is not a cheap meal and if you cherish food over ambiance then there are better choices in the area.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 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.

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