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“What a treat! Al Dente is a find!!”
Review of Al Dente

Al Dente
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Ranked #543 of 3,382 Restaurants in Washington DC
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Reviewed March 24, 2013

Today we had lunch at Al Dente on NM Av. The place is stunning. Roberto Donna, the Grande Chef, is friendly and delightful, Giovanni, our waiter became a friend, and we ate wonderful food, as you will shortly see by the photos included. We had been here several times before, but this time was the best. Good friends, terrific food, and one feels quite at home. The dessert, by the way, was the best Tiramisu I've ever eaten! Pizza, well, we'll be shortly back to eat great pizza like it is my husband's native Italy, where we live about half time the year.

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1  Thank soncijo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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99 - 103 of 109 reviews

Reviewed March 18, 2013

Traveling from downtown out to the AU area where Al Dente is located is worth the time and cost of a cab, without a doubt. We were in town for a weekend meeting, and read a wonderful review in the Washingtonian magazine so thought we'd try it. We had 7 people and every person was delighted with their dinner. However, the shining stars were the appetizers. We had the waiter make suggestions and the most delicious dishes appeared on our table. A farrow salad was crunchy, savory, and delicious. The white sardines were to die for--I haven't had them since a trip to Spain and I can honestly say that these were better. And the beet salad was unreal. I had local rock fish for my entree that was in the most wonderful tomato sauce--so fresh and perfect I ate every drop. And the fried apples with ice cream for dessert were worth stuffing myself. I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed our dinner and cheers go to Roberto Donna for another amazing dining experience.

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1  Thank FoodieMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2013

I went with friends to this restaurant on a Friday night. We went early because we had a small child with us, and wanted a place that could meet his needs. Turned out we weren't the only ones. The placed was packed with two different groups: twenty-somethings at the bar who were well into their weekend celebrations, and making a lot of noise, and families with little kids, who were making a lot of noise. Jolly atmosphere, or borderline chaos, depending on your point of view. The ambiance is Euro-modern cafeteria bistro. The orange plastic chairs and bare floors do nothing to absorb the racket. I had basically a Caesar salad for an appetizer: it was gigantic, served in a long oval plate, full of romaine, a little bit of dressing, and four anchovies. It easily could have fed three and the appetizers my friends ordered were equally as gargantuan. For a main course, I had the swordfish, served with artichoke hearts and lots of capers. Very tasty. My friends had various pasta dishes, all gargantuan servings. From what I tasted, more quantity than quality, but all pretty good. The deserts seemed to be the highlights. I had the pear poached in some kind of wine, that came with a nice large dollop of whipped cream and a little chocolate pudding. All very good. So - this place has pretty good Italian food. You can easily order one appetizer and one main course for two people. But do not expect a romantic night out.

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Thank DCvagabond1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2013

I could not have been more excited about our reservation at Al Dente to enjoy the work of famous DC chef Roberto Donna. I had even taken a cooking course at the chef's home in 2011, and I found him to be totally charming and a great teacher. It was also the Saturday night right before my birthday, so I absolutely could not wait to go.

It took us an hour to get there but the hostess greeted us warmly and took us right to our table. People were packed in tightly but that seems to be so common these days. The waiter took our drink order and disappeared for a long time. This was to be a recurring theme. When he came back he took our food order but did not have our drinks. Hmm. When my mojito finally arrived, it was a watery concoction with no hints of fresh lime juice or sugar. My wife had a large glass of moscato, but we were sure he had brought her a small glass, since it was such a meager pour. He informed us it was not.

The highlight of the night was my appetizer: prosciutto-wrapped dates stuffed with gorgonzola. WOW! They were salty and sweet with a creamy tang from the cheese. One of the best apps I've ever had. Here was the genius of Roberto Donna! However, my wife's spinach salad was "just OK." Then came the entrees. My wife had the Veal Scallopini, which she thought was chewy and no better than a TV dinner. I ordered the risotto with a whole lobster. The risotto had a good flavor, but there was NO MEAT inside the lobster shells! I kept looking for the waiter to tell this to him but he was nowhere to be found. When he finally appeared, he said he would have the manager come over right away. After another interminable wait, the manager finally appeared ... just as they were putting our desserts on the table, while I still had my mostly uneaten entree in front of me. The manager offered to substitute anything else, but by this time I was so disgusted by their lack of concern that I just wanted the check and leave. No one there ever apologized for any of their major errors. Oh well. It might have been an off night, but we won't be going back.

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2  Thank EC_Bill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

The decor is cheesy orange plastic accented by fluorescent lighting, so the setting doesn't enhance the palette. Too noisy to talk unless you get one of the back tables. Their wood burning oven lured me into trying pizza, but it was soggy in the center, with wide crust showing where they don't bother to put sauce or topping. Not impressed. Waiters seemed over extended, and not very friendly. This should be a warm cozy neighborhood joint, but I found it unapoealing and not worth re- visiting.

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

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