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“A Feast For The Senses”

minibar, Washington, D.C.
Ranked #283 of 3,199 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Drinks, Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A Feast For The Senses”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2013

If you are looking for a unique dining experience, this is it. Booking a reservation was easily accomplished via the internet. Service was superb from the moment we entered and were provided with excellent cocktails - none of which we were familiar with, by choice. On a cold and dreary day the fireplace was a welcome surprise. The staff were knowledgeable, passionate and happy to describe how items were made. There was a sense of anticipation and excitement shared by diners and staff. Waldorf Salad and Late-Night Chicken Shawarma were some of my favourites, but most impressive was the Frozen Lake which belies description...one must experience it!! Some items I would typically not try, but the menu was filled with so many outstanding moments - there were no disappointments. This is the place to try something new. The wines paired with each item caused the food flavors to expand and linger in your mouth. The decor was modern yet enticing and perfectly reflected the 'innovativeness' of the menu. I left wanting to begin the experience all over again. Bravo, utterly enchanting. Even forgetting my raincoat and having to return the next day did not sully this memory.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank c h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    99
    17
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    8
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A MUST DO!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2013 via mobile

I had to book in FEB for JUNE :( but it was worth the wait... Unlike most of the reviews we decided to just do the MINIBAR ... IT was VERY HARD TO FIND THE DOOR, I walked passed it severL times, however the service I experiences Was OUTSTANDING... I told the bartender to give me something sweet and each drink was right on the money the food was excellent... If you love grill cheese then you will be in for a SURPRISE!!! A MUST ORDER!!! Next time we will be doing the 26 course pairing!!!

Helpful?
1 Thank GiGi R
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
555 reviews
338 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 631 helpful votes
“Fantastic in Every Way!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2013

My spouse and I dined at Minibar in late May 2013. When we checked their website, we learned that Minibar had changed its reservation process, and that customers no longer needed to wait until 30 days prior to make a reservation. Because we were booking relatively early (early March for late May), we easily received the date and time that we requested. We emailed the restaurant to make a reservation. The restaurant offered us a spot, and emailed us a confirmation form to fill out, sign, and return, and we needed to remit our credit card information, as well as our drink pairing choices. We ended up choosing one $75 wine pairing and one $45 non-alcoholic pairing, although we did not specify those choices on our reservation form; we waited until we arrived at the restaurant.

When we arrived (we were asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to our reservation time), we were seated in a lounge area fronting the restaurant, with just two 2-seater sofas and a chair and ottoman. There is a small gas fireplace in the lounge area. The door from the street to the restaurant is understated - you have to be looking for it to really notice it. Valet parking is available - the valet placard is probably what is most noticeable about the entrance to the restaurant. The restaurant space is stark, modern, and attractive. The restroom is wild - be sure to visit even if you do not need to!

Guests are seated at a counter in groups of 6. The first group arrives at 6:00 and is seated at 6:15, and the second group arrives at 6:15 and is seated at 6:30. (The process is repeated at 9:00 and 9:15.) The bar stools are quite comfortable, and they are spaced nicely apart.

The avant-garde food was phenomenal in every way! Every dish (20+ of them) was a work of art that incorporated unique ingredients, novel methods of preparation, and served them in creative ways with amazing presentation. The restaurant provides a menu of what you have eaten that you can take home with you, so there is no need to take notes or photos, although they are not forbidden like as they are in some comparable tasting restaurants. (It is easy to see why, too - no one can possibly compete with this chef or duplicate his work!) I enjoyed the non-alcoholic pairing - every drink was carefully conceived and executed to complement the dish that it accompanied, and much more effort and creativity went into designing the drink that just opening a bottle of juice. The wine pairing was also good, although my spouse felt that it detracted a bit from his meal - often, the sommelier was explaining about the wines just as the next course was arriving, and the explanation of wine and food sometimes overlapped more than he would have liked.

The staff was friendly and interactive, and really seemed to love their jobs. They were knowledgeable about all aspects of the food.

Ending the evening at barmini is a terrific idea! Your last few courses are served there, and it gives guests a chance to decompress and compare notes. Cocktails at barmini are creative (not included with the dinner price), and the list is expansive. barmini itself is something to see, even if you cannot get a reservation to dine at minibar. (Be sure to make a reservation at barmini using the City Eats on-line reservation system.)

We loved every aspect of our dinner at minibar - chef/owner Jose Garces is a genius!

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank fluffnfold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Level Contributor
24 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Barmini Cocktails”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2013

I took my wife to Barmini (the cocktails and small plates side of Minibar in DC). Right in the heart of Penn Quarter, this place is a must if you enjoy a good cocktail. Reservations for the most part are required weeks in advance. Some seats become available later in the evening it seems but primetime is usually booked. You definitely feel like you are in a nyc/la lounge and the cocktails are brilliant. A great date night, dress to impress, and enjoy some mexican right around the corner at Oyamel.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank bhickman2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great Fun”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2013

So your mad scientist friend also has a culinary degree, and invites you over for drinks and dinner. That sums up my experience at minibar. Dishes like "pine snow honey", "espardenyes w/bone marrow", and "pig tail curry panini" are not for the run-of-the-mill diner, and minibar doesn't pretend to cater to them. Its your own, personalized Food Network-esque experience, where you sit and the bar, watch your food be prepared, learn about the inspiration behind each dish, and talk it up with some pretty entertaining young culinary talent. Taste buds are challenged and puzzled. Sleek and stylish decor combined with the nominal exterior add to the "hip" quotient. Pricey, yes. Great fun....absolutely.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Doobie95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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