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“Get the mussels”
Review of Marvin

Ranked #660 of 3,283 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: U Street Corridor
Transit: Walking distance from the U Street/Cardozo metro on the green line
Reviewed April 6, 2013

Went here with friends and the atmosphere is fun and intimate, but kind of close quarters, so be prepared to hear your neighbors conversation. The mussels and frites are the best thing on the menu so be sure to get them. Fairly small menu but it does change seasonaly. The shrimp and grits were also good, but the short ribs were a bit too fatty for my taste. Fun place to eat with friends.

    • Value
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    • Service
    • Food
Thank ags35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (143)
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85 - 89 of 143 reviews

Reviewed April 6, 2013

We've been going to Marvin for years now - ever since it opened in what had been a dreary segment of 14th Street, NW. We go for dinner probably 4-6 times each year. Today, it is time for my review.

Last night was a typical night at Marvin for my spouse and our three guests. We arrived for our 8:30pm reservation and we were seated promptly. A lively atmosphere greeted us in both the bar and the restaurant on the main floor. Being a Friday night, we expected to see a crowd consisting of both locals and Friday night visitors making their first stop along the festive U Street corridor.

We frequently complain about the poor service in DC restaurants. For whatever reason, the current level of competition among DC restaurants has never obviously prompted owners to ramp up customer service during service hours. Most New York City restaurants (at any/all price points) would annihilate DC restaurants with respect to service.

Marvin is an exception to this observation, and it could go head to head with most New York restaurants. The service is prompt, friendly, attentive, and knowledgable. You'd be hard-pressed to find a restaurant, particularly at this price point, that offers better customer care.

The menu is Belgian cuisine. The food is solid, and the menu is simple. Unlike many DC establishments, the menu is manageable in size and, as a result, each and every offering is thoughtfully and deliberately prepared. The ingredients are always fresh and presentations are attractive. I highly recommend the fired chicken and waffles. Always succulent and delicious. The burger is tasty as it should be in a Belgian restaurant, as are the 4-6 varieties of moules frites.

A French friend observed that American chefs are so lazy they can't even be bothered to peel their potatoes when cooking french fries. Peel-clad frites re common in DC, and Marvin plays along in this game. Nonetheless, I find the Marvin frites to be tasty.

Marvin is not the place for a romantic dinner for two. As I mentioned earlier, the atmosphere is lively and, frequently, downright noisy. The festive crown coupled with the lack of sound-absorbing surfaces in the dining room combine to make a room where only raised voices are audible. If you have tinnitus then you will miss a lot of the conversation.

Finally, the bar is pretty darn good. It is well stocked with European ingredients from Pernod to Campari so it is easy to have a proper cocktail before or during dinner. The wine list is manageable and well-sized to match the menu and virtually any taste. Price points are reasonable.

DC could use more restaurants of Marvin's quality - by all measures. I look forward to our next visit.

Thank Randall K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Marvin is a very nice place for dining in D.C., the food is lovely and the service very helpful and attentive. The onion soup was absolutely delicious! The restaurant is very well attended, it's therefore highly recommended to book the table in advance. Like most of the popular restaurants, the place is quite noisy - may be not the best place for a romantic dinner but perfect for an evening with friends.

Thank Lolo-to-be
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2013

I loved this cozy little bar/bistro named after Marvin Gaye. The staff and clientele were mostly young and hip. The food was really good. Do not miss the shrimp and grits with tazzo. Unusual and delicious. Our main courses were very nice. We loved the Marvin burger and the short ribs with root vegetables. For dessert we shared the warm toffee cake. Again a unique taste. Small but big enough to share. If you want a restaurant with a mix of African American and Belgium food, one with a hip young crowd and scores of Belgium beers, Marvin is the place to be. The staff was gracious, quite good looking and offered wonderful service. We spent under a hundred dollars with drinks. Not bad!

Thank Pat_R2050
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2013 via mobile

the restaurant is very nice. kind of european style bistro. the onion soup was pretty heavy but very delicious and the chicken with waffles was also very good. my friends had fush and beef and were also very staisfied. the waiter took good care about us.

    • Value
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    • Service
    • Food
Thank Manu987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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