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“The epitome of "Special Occasion"”

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: Romantic, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, 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.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“The epitome of "Special Occasion"”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

I posted a review for the Inn as a hotel, then I realized that most of my review was actually about the restaurant, so I'm copying much of that same text here:

We just made our third trip to the Inn at Little Washington, to celebrate my 50th birthday. The last time was 10 years ago, for my 40th, and before that, we visited in the early 1990s. I wondered this time if it would live up to my memories and therefore to my heightened expectations. It did. It's amazing just how fabulous this place is, and how it has managed to remain so over a 20 year period (and by all reports, over its entire 35-year lifetime), without slacking off and resting on its laurels. While its steep price really makes it a special-occasion place, it certainly succeeds in providing the epitome of a special-occasion experience, where every single detail has been designed to come as close to perfection as possible.

We did stay overnight in Room 5, overlooking the garden, and both the amenities and the service associated with the lodging are exquisite. But of course the reason for the visit was really the mind-blowing dinner, which for my husband and me was about three and a half hours of bliss. It was especially delightful to find that the whole experience, despite all the elements of elegance, was not in the least intimidating or uptight or haughty. In fact, there were touches of humor and whimsy and joy at every turn, from the adorable little amuse-bouches that arrived first to the extremely entertaining (and equally knowledgeable) gentleman who presented the cheese cart. How wonderful to enjoy serious food without the serious attitude. And the food IS just insanely good -- absolutely delicious, imaginative and beautifully presented without being overly precious. (Don't believe those reviews that say that the courses are so tiny they can't be shared. It's hard to imagine how anyone can say that they felt like there wasn't enough food... )

It must be noted that dining here is very expensive: dinner for 2 starts at $336, and that's before cocktails, wine, tax and gratuity. We ended up at just under $600. However, this is truly a memorable experience for anyone who appreciates food and revels in watching artisans strive for perfection. We're already looking forward to our next visit. I hope we won't wait another 10 years!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank suburban-gourmande
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
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York
Level 6 Contributor
403 reviews
275 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
“Very good food; Not such a great value”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

This is a difficult restaurant to rate, and also a tough review to write. Let's just say that we loved the food. It wasn't the best we've ever had, but it was very good and we had a wonderful evening. Plus the service was attentive (although not perfect since one member of our party had something other than expected served and they didn't instantly volunteer to replace it). And yes, the atmosphere is a bit eclectic. But the prices are astronomical in comparison with other great restaurants around the country and around the world. I've given it three start because I couldn't bring myself to consider something exceptional at any cost. In my humble opinion, ultimate greatness involves some balance between quality and cost. This was way off the mark. If you want to be seen or impress others with the price tag, then this is your place. Otherwise, at perhaps $500 per person with wine, not so sure...

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank skgbos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
176 reviews
116 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
“Another Wonderful Meal”
Reviewed September 3, 2013 via mobile

Recently returned for a birthday dinner, and the experience was as special as I remembered. The food, service, presentation, and ambiance were perfect.

Although all the staff members are superb, I was especially impressed with the Inn's sommelier. She listens so well to what diners prefer, and makes excellent suggestions, whether she's dealing with an oenophile or a wine novice.

I was also impressed by the vegetarian tasting menu. Though I'm not a vegetarian, this is the first time I've seen a fine-dining restaurant offer a tasting menu specifically for vegetarians. Impressive.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank DCtravler244
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
“Another Wonderful Experience”
Reviewed August 14, 2013

They never disappoint. Just when you thought you've enjoyed your evening to the fullest, they surprise you with more goodies. Farah the cow is a hoot, and Cameron the cheesemonger, I mean fromagier, was the hit of the night. Can't wait to go back.

Visited July 2013
Thank Jacki N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
164 reviews
85 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
“A nice place for a special occasion”
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We enjoyed our meal at the Inn at Little Washington. Prior to eating, we toured the gift shop across the street and the helpful attendant pointed us out back to view the llamas, sheep, chickens and garden (all adjacent to the chef's house).

We stayed down the street - a bit too far to walk to dinner, so we drove and due to it being such a small town, there was nowhere to park, so we used the valet who asked the name our reservation number was under and didn't give us a ticket (nice touch -relying on memory).

We ordered from the a la carte menu - we had the caviar, tuna, scallop, macaroni and cheese, the lobster and the beef loin - all very good. They started with an amuse-bouche of a radish and an onion-based nibble, the bread was good, and for dessert, we had the butter pecan ice cream and Faira the cow visited us with the cheese selection. The gentleman who served us the cheese was funny and gave us exactly what we wanted - it came with honey, figs and olive-oil pecans.

Of note, we asked for wine pairings and they gave us a full glass for each course - which was too much for me, so I would suggest picking a favorite wine and going with that if you don't normally have several glasses of wine with dinner.

The flowers in the room were beautiful and abundant - quite a display. Our waiter was attentive and pleasant.

The drive was not too far for us, so it was a nice trip. I recommend the restaurant, but know you can find this level of food easily in DC or Philadelphia or NYC.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank FuninPhx71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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