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“Restaurant prices with cafe portions”
Review of Palena - CLOSED

Palena
Price range: $31 - $50
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest
Cross street: Porter St. SW
Transit: Cleveland Park Metro Stop
Reviewed October 12, 2013

An odd place where you leave annoyed despite good food and decent service. Hardly elegant, the cafe section of palena is supposed to be a relaxed environment with affordable food and drink. It misses on the latter point. Pastas were microscopic despite being over $15. How expensive is it to add a few noodles? The crude appetizer was tasty but featured very little actual fish. The best value and taste was the cheeseburger. Not a great recommendation for such an expensive place.
The small portions are obviously a conscious decision and meant to make some sort of statement-- but the message received is that the owners are simply cheap.

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1  Thank DCGUY1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (114)
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11 - 15 of 114 reviews

Reviewed October 9, 2013

Visited this place with my sister, who lives in the same neighborhood. Went for a late afternoon lunch. Ordered the cheeseburger, based on her recommendation. I was not disappointed. The flavor was excellent, and the homemade bun was also quite tasty. Recommended

Thank heyyu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

The ambiance was nice. The lighting was calming, the noise level was quite low, and people are seated far enough apart to have a private conversation. The service was quite slow, perhaps due to a private party in the restaurant (we were in the cafe area). I ordered a Lillet aperitif which was poured too short for $12.00. My appetizer was a salad with whipped artichoke under it, I believe, and a piece of fish. It was very, very sparse and not tasty. My entree was red snapper in a tomato-based broth. Again, the serving was shockingly small and only fair. It was impossible to get the attention of our waiter when we had a request for more bread or a drink. My Lillet was so skimpy that I ordered another, which in any other restaurant wold equal one serving ($24.00 for 2 small
aperitifs).

I was shocked that a restaurant with such a good reputation could so disappoint. My friends, who are also international travelers, felt the food and service did not at all live up to their expectations.
The Real Shocker was that we were charged for the bread--$6.00 for 2 small baskets, wherein only the bread sticks were commendable. I did wonder if the Emperor had clothes--and my friends agreed.

I would not return to Palena. Perhaps I chose my dishes poorly, but I was quite disappointed. We went to the yogurt store for dessert, which smacked of Paris with its bright colours, then paid the $12.00 parking fee.

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Thank Francophone2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2013

Definitely should be on your list of restaurants when visiting DC. Located in Cleveland Park it is absolutely wonderful. Service is great and the food is outstanding. It is a neighborhood spot!

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Thank Clover1646745
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2013

I enjoyed a long and leisurely dinner catching up with an old friend. Food was good, service was excellent. Price was reasonable for the meal. Then the surprise! The restaurant gives your ONE HOUR credit in the parking lot in front of the restaurant, which expires at 11pm. We left at 11:06. Our parking fee was $18, more than the tip. Be warned! Palena, you should cover more than one hour parking and tell customers the credit expires at 11pm.

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

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