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“Don't judge a book by its cover... or this restaurant by its location”
Review of El Manantial Restaurant - CLOSED

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El Manantial Restaurant
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Wiehle Ave.
Description: El Manatial is a family operated restaurant, featuring European Fusion Cuisine. We offer Italian, French and Spanish specialties, including a Tapas bar.
Falls Church, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Don't judge a book by its cover... or this restaurant by its location”
Reviewed August 16, 2012

I had heard of this place through email, and when my office moved to Reston I drove past it out of curiosity. The location left me very unimpressed - it was a half-vacant strip mall with few cars in the parking lot. However, I had read very good reviews, & wanted a change from Reston Town Center, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did!

The ambience is lovely - as soon as you get inside, you feel like you're elsewhere. White tablecloths & stemware are always pretty nice, but the arches and the mural covering the entire wall were unique and beautiful. It was surprising to see that the restaurant was busy and bustling. I was greeted right away, and our reservation was easily found.

I was there to catch up with a professional mentor over lunch. We both got the crab & avocado salad, which was creamy & flavorful. She mentioned that she'd ordered the same dish from another well-known restaurant in Tyson's Corner the previous week, but this one was much better. She also enjoyed the gazpacho, & I enjoyed the ice tea & coffee. Service was very good as well - attentive without being intrusive.

Apparently they can accommodate larger groups as well. There were plenty of tables with just two guests - but at one point, I heard applause break out from the other side of the restaurant near the bar, and noticed that there were tables lined up for a group of perhaps 15 or 20.

El Manantial is a "hidden gem" that was a nice break from the work day. Don't let the location fool you, & give it a try!

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

74 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    34
    27
    6
    2
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Vienna, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
149 reviews
99 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Another delicious dinner here!”
Reviewed August 5, 2012

We were greeted warmly as we entered the restaurant by the owner/manager, who showed us to a table of our choice. He stopped by occasionally during the evening to be sure everything was okay. My mushroom ravioli appetizer was delicious. My husband loved his frog legs appetizer. He also loved his veal chop, and my barramundi was cooked just right and was very flavorful. We split the hot apple tart which had a light flaky crust, and it was good. The glass of red wine and white wine our waiter recommended were quite good and went well with our meal. All in all, it was a very good dinner in a nice atmosphere with good service, but somewhat expensive. We have eaten here several times, and it's always been very good. The location is in a somewhat deserted shopping center, but one inside, the restaurant is very pretty.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank lylac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Herndon, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Good Food, Good Atmosphere, Friendly Staff”
Reviewed August 2, 2012

I have been going here for years, every chance I get to bring new customers to the restaurant I do. The location does not do the restaurant justice. The food is great, I love the brick oven pizza...

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Gwen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Good but nothing special”
Reviewed July 28, 2012

Unfortunately the location in a "has been" shopping center creates a mind-set of what to expect. Reception was friendly however our anniversary mentioned in the our reservation was never acknowledged. The Shrimp of your Choice with tomato recommended by the waiter was a standout winner. Highlight of the evening. Blackened tilapia entree was a disappointment. Pan-fried to a perfect doneness was an accomplishment howerver there was little spice flavor to the serving. It was accompanied by a selection of mixed vegetable pieces that although appearing fresh were boring...carrots, beans, etc. what you'd expect at a diner or a Bird's Eye frozen selection.. Tilapia was tasty but...nothing special. We passed on desserts. . As a neighborhood casual restaurant for locals, it's comfortable and adequate. However we'd love to see this place succeed in the Northern VA great dining market however the kitchen needs to take some chances and serve "wow" presentations...new flavors and new sides. Service was professional and attentive but now overly friendly. Seemed somewhat put-off by our desire to share appetizers and entree. Dinner for 2 with shared entree & appetizer and a bottle of Thos. Henry chardonney ($34) was reasonably priced at $70. Restaurant has great potential but...until they reach it, we won't be back.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank New_Month_New_Trip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reston, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
99 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“Great for a Special Occasion”
Reviewed July 19, 2012

We dined here on the recommendation of a friend. This restaurant turned out to be a nice surprise! It is located in an obscure strip mall and looks very average from the outside. However, once you go inside, the ambience is very impressive. The service was attentive and friendly and very professional. And, most important, our food and drinks were excellent - this was easily one of the best meals we have had in Reston! The prices are more than one might expect, but the high-quality food is worth it. This is a great place to take that special someone for a special occasion!

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

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