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“Very Disappointed.”
Review of Palena - CLOSED

Palena
Price range: $31 - $50
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest
Cross street: Porter St. SW
Transit: Cleveland Park Metro Stop
Reviewed December 29, 2012

Very disappointing. We tried the restaurant in late December on the strength of the chef’s impressive bio and the blurbs from various reviews going back to 2000. So, we were unpleasantly surprised. The ambiance was boring. The place simply had no energy. The food was okay, but nothing special. And the portions for main course pasta dishes were ridiculously small. Keep in mind we eat small to moderate portions of food ---I’m a 150 lb. guy--- so we do not expect or want large amounts of food, but the main course portions at Palena are really appetizer portions. We eat in well-known Manhattan restaurants (such as Mario Batali’s restaurants) regularly and I’ve never seen main course portions so small. And, I was surprised that they charge for bread with dinner. And even the basket of bread was too small, and included 2 breadsticks that were so hard they were not edible. (All this was in sharp contrast to our dinner the following night at Michel Richard’s Central which had it all --- awesome food, ambiance, energy, the whole deal.) It's hard to understand all the good reviews for Palena, unless it used to be much better and the reviews are old. Whatever the case, Palena is nothing special.

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Thank Chuck S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (114)
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37 - 41 of 114 reviews

Reviewed December 25, 2012

Palena is a wonderful place to enjoy a memorable special-occasion meal. The French-Italian inspired menu changes almost nightly, showcasing local ingredients and serious kitchen talent. Guests can choose three courses plus dessert with options for each course, or put themselves in the chef's hands for a five-course tasting menu. Dietary restrictions are graciously respected. The servers are knowledgeable and professional to a fault, but not at all stuffy. And in a city where overpriced restaurants abound, here one finds true value for money. We'll be back to the restaurant, and are also eager to check out the more casual cafe and bar area in front.

Thank April L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2012

One of my friends and I got to the restaurant early and had a drink at the bar. After inquiring what we wanted the bartender then disappeared. Eventually, he returned and served us and after that the service was fine without being intrusive. We were seated when the two other friends arrived and the food was good but a bit overpriced for the small serving of pasta that I received. I would have ordered an appetizer had I known it would have been so little food. I also noticed that some other tables got bread which we didn't but apparently you have to ask for it. That would have helped although I wonder if they charged for it. Overall a nice place and I will most likely return. It's probably 3.5 stars for a rating but the system doesn't let you put halves.

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Thank whatever_atx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2012

Over-rated...Second time I've been....$16 for a bowl of mediocre lentil soup....crazy...Burger was fine...but service terrible...endless wait between courses...my friend's rabbit was undercooked, took at least 15 minutes to get it back to him. Spend your money elsewhere. The only reason I don't give it 1 star was that the setting is great and the wine was good.

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Thank adamks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2012

Palena is an excellent restaurant, but if I hadn't been there a number of times previously, this would've been my last visit. The food, as usual, was excellent. The service was the worst I've experienced in any restaurant all year. From the arrogant, harried attitude of the server to the 45 minute wait for bread- after three asks- to the 90 minute wait for the incorrect entree order, it deserves a less than zero rating.

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

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