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Washington, D.C. Restaurants

Palena

  • 3529 Connecticut Ave. NW Map It

Updated 05/23/2014

Fodor's Review

Chef Frank Ruta opened this French- and Italian-influenced local legend after working in the White House kitchens under both GOP and Democratic administrations. Among his can't-miss presentations are squash agnolotti with rock shrimp and grilled duck with turnips. Comforting desserts such as a rich maple ginger cake or a dark chocolate torte are a perfect match for the earthy cooking. Four- or six-course tasting menus are available. Reservations are not accepted for the

equally fabulous café, where the inexpensive menu includes a cheeseburger with truffles, foie-gras terrine, and an extravagant fritto misto platter of vegetables, halibut, and paper-thin fried lemon slices.

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Restaurant Information

Address:

3529 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, District of Columbia, 20008, United States

Map It

Phone:

202-537–9250

Restaurant Details:

  • Restaurant closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch (except in café, weekend brunch only)
  • Reservations essential

Updated 05/23/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By jay

  • Service

  • Food

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  • Value

Jul 26, 2006

Outstanding Multi-Course Dinner

We had a terrific dinner at the upscale back room. The courses were creative, delicious, and appropriately portioned. The desserts were amazing. And the wine list was well-chosen and reasonably priced. The room is pleasant and not too stuffy. All in all, an outstanding dining experienced.

By Jill

  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

May 24, 2004

Worth a Trip, and Then Some

It ain't cheap, but it's the best food in DC. Try the cafe seating in the front if you're price-conscious -- entrees there are $9. Even the hamburger and the hot dog (really a sausage) are incredible. Otherwise, sit in the back, put yourself in the care of a waiter like Justin, start with the antipasto plate, and you can't go wrong. You might spend $100 per person but you won't be sorry.

By Craig

  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Apr 3, 2004

Top Five in DC

Palena is a very fine restaurant that manages to get better with time. The food is creative and high quality. We have had dozens of meals there and I can't remember a bad one. The front of the restaurant is a special bargain. The cafe menu is a real steal and worth considering. I would especially recommend the roast chicken which unlike any other roasted chicken in my memory. Desserts are always great. The Napoleon is a special favorite.

By Jackie

  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Oct 30, 2003

Lovely!

I've been three times since early '02 to celebrate my birthday, my engagement and my fiance's birthday (respectively). Definitely our fav special-occasion restaurant in the District. Serene atmosphere, creative presentation (of French and Italian dishes), and high-quality ingredients make this a wonderful place. Also, they now have a more moderately-priced "bistro"-type menu for the front room....haven't tried it, but has gotten raves in the DC

press.

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