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“Exceeded our high expectations”

Inn at Little Washington
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Ranked #1 of 9 Restaurants in Washington
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $218 - $218
Cuisines: American, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: A Michelin Two Star, Forbes 5 Star, AAA 5 Diamond country house hotel retreat, The Inn at Little Washington presents exquisite American Cuisine with a French influence in a charming and sophisticated dining room. The sumptuous award-winning cuisine is accompanied by a Wine Spectator Grand Award wine cellar with over 2,500 selections.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Exceeded our high expectations”
Reviewed April 2, 2013

Given all of the hype and the high acclaim this restaurant has received over the years, I had very high expectations of this restaurant, which typically would set one up for disappointment. However, my high expectations were exceeded. It is no wonder that this restaurant is voted number one on so many different reviews in the DC area and the country. We have been to some of the best 3 Michelin starred restaurants around (French Laundry, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, to name a few) -- and I must say that the Inn at Little Washington provides an equally exquisite experience from beginning to end. If you have a special occasion to celebrate and have the opportunity to celebrate it here, do go!

The servers are gracious, attentive but not overbearing, and they help create a wonderful experience. The dining room is elegant but cozy at the same time. We celebrated NYE here, and Chef Patrick created the most celebratory ambience with musicians, an Italian Venitian theme, ceilings covered with gold baloons, a jester -- and somehow managed to do it in a non-overbearing balanced way which didn't distract from his beautifully presented food. The food was still the star of the evening.

The dinner started out with an amuse of truffle popcorn presented whimsically in a theatre popcorn box, with fresh black truffle shaved over the popcorn at your table. It set the tone of how amazing the meal was going to be. Even a white bean soup starter that seems so simple was sophisticated and complex. We were spoiled by the "tin of sin" entree which was osetra caviar over pekeytoe crab presented in a caviar tin, and you'll see truffles show up again in later entrees. Chef Patrick O'Connell came out after dinner to greet each patron and wish us a happy New Year. He really knows how to make his patrons feel welcomed.

This place is obviously over-the-top and a major splurge, but if you want to create a very memorable experience for a special occasion -- the Inn at Little Washington will definitely make your occasion all the more special.

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

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Arlington, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
306 reviews
105 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“For that Very Special Celebration”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

I love special occasion places and am sometimes disappointed. I love fine dining and am often disappointed. My husband surprised me with dinner and an overnight in this well-known special occasion place and neither the place nor the food disappointed.

The special touches made us feel incredibly welcome. Among others, we were greeted with a cocktail when we arrived, there was a note from the owner-chef in our room, and they left water and candies in our car as we left. The public areas and the room itself are beautifully decorated in Colonial style, yet very comfortable.

But, of course, one goes to the Inn for the food, and it was fabulous. We choose the Gastranaut's Menu, and each course surpassed the previous one. As I re-read the menu, I can taste some of them including the lemon-lime lobster largesse - beautifully cooked piece of lobster -- and the pan seared duck breast. Even the opening -- truffle-dusted popcorn -- which I didn't enjoy as much then, leaves an impression on me now.

We chose the wine pairings, which were more than generous. In retrospect, we wouldn't do that again. Not because the wine wasn't great or didn't match the food, which it did, but because it was just a bit too much for us.

Breakfast was fabulous with tasty and unusual juices, homemade jams, and beautiful breads. We had time before we left to wander around Little Washington and see more of the "campus" that Patrick has built. A peaceful ending to a wonderful celebration.

This is a very pricey experience, but I wouldn't like to think of it as once in a lifetime. We have hopes to try each season's scenery and menu.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Eclipsegroupie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Really???”
Reviewed March 22, 2013

Well now I can say I've been there and done that - twice - and spent way too much money to do it. Enough said.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank NNWWHH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
173 reviews
104 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Charming and full of character”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

My husband and I have had the Inn at Little Washington on our "to do" list for ages, so it was a lovely surprise when he booked a special dinner in celebration of my birthday recently. We wound our way from DC to the eatery, marveling at how many fine dining restaurants are nestled into unassuming towns in the foothills. It must have something to do with the lovely scenery.

We arrived on the early side, and entertained ourselves by driving through the tiny town of Washington taking in the sights. We would have explored by foot, but a late-season snow (in March!) was falling, so we randomly explored nearby streets from the comfort of the car before shopping briefly at some local galleries. We recommend adventuring off the beaten track to take in some lovely sights, if you have the time.

As our reservation hour arrived, we turned back to find the restaurant. While the Inn is the dominant feature in Washington, the parking situation was a bit confusing. Luckily, we found a nearby lot less than a block away. We speculated (correctly, we found after our meal) that the restaurant offers valet parking for those less inclined to "self serve."

We were greeted at the door by a smartly dressed doorman who ushered us in and introduced us to the maitre d', setting the stage for an evening of exemplary service. We warmed ourselves briefly by the fire as our table was prepared, checked our coats and entered the dining area. The online photos had me prepared for a dated interior - I was expecting full-on 80s for some reason - but the setting was cozy and warm, and only slightly dated.

The menu we were presented had a custom header wishing me a happy birthday, and we were presented the paper menus at the end of the meal as a keepsake, reminding us of our dinner at another fine dining establishment in the woods whose name escapes us. True to form, the Inn offers an outstanding array of wines to accompany your meal, and the sommelier was unobtrusively helpful as she approached tables asking if diners would like assistance.

We selected our courses (lobster, cod, scallops and tuna tartar were our primary choices) and settled in. We were seated in a small enclosed patio with three other couples, with a lovely view of the outdoor setting. (We enjoyed watching the snow fall as we ate.) The koi in the outdoor pond were active, and it was easy to imagine the scene in its full spring and summer glory. You will, if seated in this small patio area, easily overhear the conversations of the diners around you. Depending on your personality, this may make for extra merriment, as it did for us.

Chef began the meal with an amuse-bouche of house-made "chips and dip" with caviar and an apple and pork bite. It's testament to the chef's talent that both my husband and I, regularly not big fans of pork, enjoyed both bites. We were also treated to a special potato soup concoction in honor of St. Patrick's Day, which was equally savory.

Servers presented each course elegantly, and made regular visits through the meal to ensure our satisfaction. When we asked about the restrooms, my husband was personally escorted and given directions ("Look for the monkey through the red velvet curtains" was my favorite phrase of the evening.), which might make anxious diners a bit self-conscious. I was pleased to see that the serving staff appeared to customize their service to each table; my husband and I, less formal than most, were made to feel comfortable in our surroundings. The diners next to us requested a customized meal, with elements from both available menus, and chef accommodated them by adjusting the size of the portions appropriately.

The dessert course, accompanied by coffee, was delightful. If you've got greedy eyes, definitely go for the dessert flight, which offers a taste of almost everything the dessert menu offers. My husband wisely chose the apple tart, which was generously portioned and sublime, with buttermilk ice cream. The only thing that seemed slightly out of place was the waist-high cow on wheels that wheezes out a "mooo" as it's pushed through the dining area when a diner is served the cheese course. We stifled our giggles, but were relieved when others in our small dining area also found the cow spectacle amusing.

Overall, this was a lovely evening and meal. The price is high, so save this for a special occasion and enjoy the time you spend here. You won't be rushed, and you can spare the time to savor both the tastes and the experience.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Qlever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Years at the Top”
Reviewed March 15, 2013

This is consistently one of America's best. Patrick never fails to amaze with his culinary phenomena. Nothing is hurried and your enjoyment of the experience is assured by an attentive but not intrusive staff. Don't fail to take advantage of the sommeliers massive knowledge and expertise and their suggestions. This restaurant is hard to beat.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank WAW99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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