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“Very good dinner, but pricey” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Grace's Mandarin

Grace's Mandarin
188 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745
301 839 3788
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Doing business, Special occasions, Large groups, Romantic, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dessert, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Waterman Passage
Portland, Oregon
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Very good dinner, but pricey”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2014

Ate dinner here on a Saturday night. Seating was prompt, we were early for our reservations and though busy, they had no problem seating us. The service was good and the hot towels before and after your meal was a nice touch (though be warned, they can be down right hot to sensitive fingers).

The food was very good. I had the Land Sky Sea Delight and it was delightful. Not big portions by any means but enough to satisfy. My husband had the Indonesian Fried Rice and raved about that too (though that portion looked a bit small to me). We both had dessert and it was quite tasty. Like so many other people have commented the prices are high, they surprised me and I live close by on the Beltway in the DMV. This does seem to be normal for the National Harbor area and I'm not sure why (Maybe because of tourists. Waikiki is the same way).

Overall it was a lovely evening with good food (just be prepared for the prices in the National Harbor area).

  • Visited August 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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326 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    133
    111
    55
    15
    12
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“An average time had by all...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

Setting aside the excellent view of the Potomac River from our window-side table, I would have to characterize today's luncheon for four as "average".

No problem with the Open Table reservations, and certainly wouldn't have been needed for lunch at 12:30 on Sunday --- at least this Sunday in a DC August. Seating was prompt, as was the presentation of hot towels and slightly soiled/worn menus.

Service to offer water and/or drinks was on the slow side and the server offered no commentary on seasonal/house/daily off-menu items. The table ordered 3 sushi items to split, and each piece of sushi was uninspired and served without garnish or exceptional plating.

Luncheon entree's were bare-bones, as well. Portions were of minimal size and my tofu ("large plate" dish was overly spiced and mushy. The Korean seafood soup was an expensive appetizer that contained only a few small pieces of seafood.

Service throughout the meal was less than attentive; the server had to be summoned to refill water glasses; and, sitting close to the bar, we similarly noted slow service for the 3 bar patrons. It is to be noted that there were less than 20 patrons in the dining room throughout our 1.5 hour luncheon experience.

To sum up, mediocre service and service......one could suggest that you're paying for the river view, but, even that admission price is steep. A solid "3" that could easily have been improved.
We had noted on our reservation form that it was a party member's birthday. Pleased to state that the special occasion was acknowledged --- on the way out the door --- by the host's presentation of a pair of plastic chopsticks. Really.

  • Visited August 2014
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Alexandria, Virginia
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Good, bad and very ugly”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2014

The good, the bad and the very ugly:

I will start in reverse order-THE UGLY: We went with our 3 children, 14, 19 & 20 for dinner on Saturday night. We had reservations through open table and we were seated right away (I would recommend reservations). At the end of the meal we were handed our check and it was for $305.00 and I tipped $60.00. Later I noticed a “service charge” on my bill for $55.00. I was not expecting gratuity to be added automatically, the server NEVER told me she added gratuity to the bill and the term ‘service charge’ is not as clear as seeing the words ‘gratuity added’. So I was tipping $115.00 on a tab of $250.00. I bet my server did that all night long. She adds the service charge, says nothing, it is not at all obvious and we tip twice.

I felt lied to and cheated. I called the manager the next day and he said that was standard policy and that she could have mentioned it and would talk to some of his staff about it. Happy he tried to offer me some comfort about what happened, but I was unsatisfied with his response. So buyer beware.

The bad: the noise level (we were seated upstairs) was so loud that we could not hear each other across the table. The prices are a bit high; for example we got the soft shell crab appetizer and we got one small soft shelled crab in a little basket and it was $16.00 and the appetizer calamari was $18.00. And these were starters for the meal. My son’s meal was $39.00, the beef was $29.00 and my scallops were $29.00. If I am going to pay $40.00 for an entrée I expect it to be great.

The good: the food is consistently good. I would not say the best food I have eaten, but the flavors are well-balanced. For dinner we tried the scallops, crispy beef, lamb and crab cake. The scallops were plump and in a rich brown sauce that I equate to a human sauce, salty and mildly spicy, the crispy beef was one of our favorites; tender beef strips, fried in a spicy red sauce. The crab cake was average and the lamb was tender and grilled. You can get brown rice or white which I always appreciate. For desert we ordered the chocolate cake which was dry and lacked creativity, my son ordered the fried bananas with ice cream and honey and he enjoyed it.

Overall, the food is good, but I will never go back. I can’t trust an establishment that would charge so much for their food, simply to trick their customers into paying more at the end. I wish we had spent our evening and our money somewhere else.

Pictures below

  • Visited August 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 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.
Delray Beach, Florida
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Yum!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2014

I ate here last night and it was very good! Had the National Harbor Rice with a tasty sauce. Very delicious, then for dessert had the signature dish, tempura coconut and bananas with honey drizzled over them, berries and a scoop of ice cream, oh it was out of this world!

Visited August 2014
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Raleigh, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Food great. Atmosphere loud!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

Best meal of the week. Pricey but so is everywhere else in area. Shared a plate of sushi. Very good! Everyone had something different and all liked what we had. Great view out all windows. Downside very loud. Hard to speak with guests at table. Downstairs seemed to be quieter but no views.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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