Al Dente

Al Dente

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.aldentedc.com/
  • Phone: 2022442223
  • Hours of Operation:
    11:30AM to 10:00PM Daily
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Roberto Donna
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: Free Parking weeknights from 5:00PM and all day Saturday & Sunday.
    50% OFF weekdays before 5:00PM.

A word from Al Dente
Al Dente is serving Italian Cuisine by Chef Roberto Donna near American University.
Continued
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Al Dente reviews from OpenTable diners
93 reviews since May 1, 2014
Overall Rating3.8
  • Food4
    Service3.5
  • Ambiance3.7
    Noise LevelModerate
85% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (56)great for outdoor dining (43)fit for foodies (40)great for lunch (23)kid-friendly (15)notable wine list (15)special occasion (12)great for brunch (11)good for groups (8)romantic (6)hot spot (3)late-night find (3)vibrant bar scene (3)scenic view (1)Show More
  • Excellent and reasonably priced
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    We've eaten at Al Dente a dozen or so times on nearly every day of the week. In the summers the outdoor dining is very nice, in the winter we prefer seats at the bar near the wood burning oven. Most of the pasta is house made and is excellent. The pizzas are good as well. Wines and cocktails are reasonable priced. The service is generally good and well paced.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loud, slow but good
    LWinDCVIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    A great neighborhood spot. Food very good; great wine and draft beer choices. Very noisy inside on a Friday night. Service, as always, a bit slow and erratic, but worth it.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Al Dente
    ElaineVIP
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    Al Dente is now my favorite restaurant in DC. Everything is excellent and being on Open Table is a plus.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    As always good food, some dishes outstanding. The service was awful which has not been our experience before. Dishes for the party were served randomly. One pizza was not started by the time others were served. It was stated that the mozzerella had not been ready. Strange for a basic ingredient.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OMG it's slow
    TampopoVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    They forgot one of our appetizers and one of our desserts. At least with the desserts, the other two were brought out ahead of the forgotten one. The other two appetizers sat, one under the heat lamp and the other on a table in the dining area of the bar, while the cooks fired the forgotten appetizer. Took nearly an hour for our appetizers to come out after we sat down. Entrees were the only thing they got right. Took over 2 1/2 hours to complete dinner. Other tables sat down after us and left before us.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Al Dente is wonderful
    ElaineVIP
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    We were treating friends and Al Dente during restaurant week made us proud. Everything was perfect!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Meal
    FCRobVIP
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    The food was fresh, delicious and very creative. Lobster Risotto served with a whole grilled lobster. Wine was excellent and servers were focused and service oriented.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another Great Meal at Al Dente
    FrankinDC
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    This time the great meal came during DC Summer Restaurant Week. The entire imaginative menu was available to us at the special discounted price. Can't beat that deal, and it is by far the best dining in the AU/Tenleytown neighborhood.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What went wrong?
    Ballet007VIP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    A return visit fell far short of an earlier one where two of us shared the whole lobster with risotto. It was plenty for two, a half lobster each. This time my friend ordered the lobster dish. To our chagrin the lobster was served out of the shell and had only two small chunks of meat. People at the next table were savoring the whole lobster in the shell. The waiter could not explain why we got shortchanged. We expected some sort of apology, some offer of adjustment. He said he had no authority to adjust and there was no manager on duty. Surely Al Dente's waiters should have some flexibly in a situation like this. The next day the manager called my friend and invited her to have a free lobster dish on another occasion.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great Neighborhood Place
    MarginallyUsefulVIP
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    The food is much better than the venue. The kitchen reliably turns out excellent pastas and fish dishes; the pizzas are a little underwhelming and not hearty (in quantity or taste) for me but if you like a light pizza they are OK. Service is usually quite good. But it's a small, informal restaurant with somewhat uncomfortable chairs - you certainly wouldn't want to linger for a leisurely evening. But if you are in the upper NW area and want an enjoyable Italian meal, this is a good and reasonably-priced choice.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • DCvisitor
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    Food was top-notch! You won't be disappointed dining here.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed
    BCS1
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Five of us went on a Friday night, and we were pleased that we were able to be seated outside on a very pleasant evening. Our server was very professional and helpful, but the kitchen must have been having trouble. Our antipasti arrived one by one, with the last person being served as the first person had finished. The same thing happened with the entrees, the two pasta dishes being served when the rest of us were nearly finished. Our server was very apologetic and the manager also apologized and comped us three desserts, which were the best part of the meal. The food itself was good but not great - - not what I expected from Roberto Donna and not worth the high price point.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pushy waitress
    ColFrogVIP
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    The food was delicious and very reasonably priced. The menu is diverse and the tasting menu really is a great value. The only negative for our meal was a pushy waitress who kept trying to upsell us. It was annoying.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Enjoyable lunch
    friendofGus
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    This was my third visit to Al Dente. My first was for dinner and the food was very good. Last time for lunch and the beet salad was wonderful. This time I just had a light salad which was good, but not as impressive as before. not sure how to recommend this place. My big complaint was that the cappuccino was terribly weak and I like good coffee!!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too noisy!
    SensitiveVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    The delicious food and good service are cancelled out by the unremitting racket.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great neighborhood restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2001VIP
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Great food, service was lacking. Homemade pasta with wild bore great, pizza great!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Just Fantastatic
    TallOaks
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    Every time we dine at Al-Dente we are more and more amazed by the quality of food it serves. Our guests are always impressed. Chef Roberto Donna, you've done it, again. Keep it up. The service is now impeccable too!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Gem
    SharonVIP
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    Best Pizza, just like you're in Italy. Fresh items, authentic , delicious food.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Beautiful Summer Evening
    marjorielane
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    Great place to dine inside or outside. Extensive and varied menu and reasonable wine list! And Roberto Donna is at the helm!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed this visit
    JoyGVIP
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    We have been here many times and we really have loved the restaurant. On one visit we had a waiter who was not very nice and I told the manager and she really filled in the blanks. She sent over an appetizer and said the deserts were on the house. Well this past Sat. night we again had a non attentive waitress. When you are paying over $200 for dinner for 4 people I expect to get good service. The waitress took 15 min. to bring my friend her wine with repeated requests. Then when I asked for parmesan for my salad after 10 minutes I had to go tell the hostesses that I wanted to speak to the manager. I told him the story and he brought the parmesan himself. They also stopped making my favorite bread that was like pizza dough:(
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • eric
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    pizza ok. But small plates are much better. Roberto Donna still shines, when he is cooking.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Some Improvement Needed
    got2tellthetruthVIP
    Dined on 6/4/2014
    My friend and I had an enjoyable lunch, and everything looked, and tasted, delicious, although my beautiful arugula salad with artichoke hearts was much too-heavily dressed! Another issue for me was the noise--mainly the piped-in music that was not only too loud but actually annoying and definitely detracted from the otherwise pleasant indoor ambience. On a positive note, our server was superb--pleasant and very efficient; however, since I am the one who recommended to my friend that we go to Al Dente for lunch, I was really disappointed this experience wasn't as positive as the most recent visit with my husband when we sat outside for dinner.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 6/1/2014
    Wonderful food and the 4 course for $35 menu is a bargain and a great way to taste Donna's art. The waiters were friendly. Despite being a slow night (Sunday), the service was a bit spotty. They brought some food late/out of order and provided the table with an additional dish for the trouble, very nice gesture. Wine list is fun and waiter readily offered a taste of one before we bought a bottle.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food good, service spotty
    Chipper2VIP
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    A recent visit to Al Dente was notable for an interesting tasting menu, an unusual and satisfying selection of wines, and tasty cocktails, all at reasonably prices. The service, while earnest, was rough around the edges. The waiter needed assistance in opening our bottle of wine, was unable to find out anything about the grape variety of the wine, and generally tried to hard. He was obviously new at the job. The bus boys swept in at one point like a swat team, with three or four of them whisking our dishes away a tad too aggressively. But these were sins of trying too hard rather than too little, so we will definitely be back. Diners should be forewarned that the tasting entrees are small.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good neighborhood place
    LWinDCVIP
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    Went on a Fridayu; no problems, seated outdoors immediately. Nice to be off the street and in a patio like area. Food was very good; excellent beer and wine selection. Service seemed to be in 'learning curve' mode. Server seemed a little befuddled; flubbed one drink order. Assume she was recent grad and this may have been first job.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wet, Wet, Wet
    NonicknameVIP
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    Have been to Al Dente twice in about 30 days for dinner. The first visit with three other female friends was delectable--particularly the octopus appetizer. But on the second visit with one other lady, oh my what a bad Thursday night the place was having 29 May 2014. This time it looked like it had rained on the octopus plate. The pasta too was soupy. The rockfish filet had a bone (although my companion was forgiving on this point), wet skin and was served with tiny,wet green potato pieces with what was either green beans or asparagus chopped up. The waiter periodically explained that the kitchen was having a "bad night." Both times the dessert was stellar, and as my 2nd friend put it, the coffee was hot. Had to ask for water refills!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best kept secret
    CostisVIP
    Dined on 5/26/2014
    I have no idea why more people have not discovered Al Dente for what it is: astoundingly good taste at reasonable prices in a very accessible location. Everyone is friendly and tries hard to please, and the dishes are memorable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A real gem
    pauper
    Dined on 5/22/2014
    We had a great dinner at Al Dente which has a combination of sophistication and family atmosphere. I loved watching the kitchen and the chef lovingly preparing various dishes that are presented well and absolutely delicious. But the winners were the deserts which reminded me of some old family recipes , one of kind. A great place to relax and eat well with a great family atmosphere.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Spot
    crater
    Dined on 5/20/2014
    great lunch and fun local spot. menu is always appealing and service excellent. continue to support and glad you are so close
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent Food
    Stacia
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    I have been to Al Dente multiple times and their food is always excellent. The fettucine bolognese and wild boar tagliatelle are particularly special. I rarely go to a restaurant more than once because there are so many great ones in the city but this one is a regular. However, beware that a reservation does not mean that your table will be ready on time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food
    JSpro
    Dined on 5/17/2014
    All the pastas are hand made here, we tried three different and all were excellent. The pizza is cooked in a wood fired oven and is perfect. Great appetizers - especially the fried zucchini blossoms. When the weather cooperates, eat outdoors.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very Good Value, Consistent
    Dtlaw
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    This was our third dinner at Al Dente. Each time we have been very pleased with the quality of the food preparation, the service and the overall ambiance. This time my wife and I tried the 4 course tasting menu. The two appetizers were delicate and subtle. The main course, veal shoulder, was moist and delicious and the desert was first rate. The other couple with us, natives of Portugal, were equally pleased. One had the bronzini (an Atlantic fish common in Europe) and was very pleased with the preparation. We will definitely go back again, especially to try the bronzini.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Off Night because AU Graduation
    porchnapper
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    We made an 8:30 reservation through OpenTable. When we arrived there was a crowd by the door and the hostesses were pretending to help people. We ultimately sat at the bar by the pizza oven, informed the hostess we'd remain there, and she told us she'd send a waitress over. That never happened, but the bartender took good care of us and it was fun watching the pizza makers work. So, even though the restaurant appeared overwhelmed by graduation parties, it turned into a fun evening.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good overall
    Foodie84
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Enjoyed the food but the wait staff was a bit spacey.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • treatmeVIP
    Dined on 5/6/2014
    Arrived early and was seated promptly, which was their first mistake as they had far two few staff to serve a pretty full restaurant. No one spoke to us for 20 minutes. We caught the attention of a waiter (not ours) who took a drink order and 5 minutes later the bartender dropped off (so quickly and wordlessly she nearly spilled the wine) some wine. After 30 minutes no one had taken our order. After an hour no food had been served. They kept running out of bread so none was ever offered to our table. We left w/o being served which is the silver lining because the prices, especially given the service and ambiance, are pretty high. Hostess/manager did a commendable job of trying to hold it together but everything else conspired against her.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Service needs improvement
    GPVDinnerVIP
    Dined on 5/6/2014
    Service is the one thing holding this place from becoming a top level italian restaurant in the DC area.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Al Dente - Poor Service
    Winebuff25
    Dined on 5/2/2014
    I had the misfortune of dining at Al Dente the other night. While the food was passable, the service was not. The appetizer arrived with the main course and every effort was made to turn the table quickly. My glass of wine arrived after the main course. Not surprising, really, as they had turned the meal into a one course affair. Avoid this place like the plague unless you want bad service and being hustled out the door!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 56 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 1, 2014
    • Overall Rating3.8
    • Food4
    • Ambiance3.8
    • Service3.7
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 500 reviews are from the Al Dente reviews archive.
  • Enjoy the Food
    eddieVIP
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    We came for the pizza which is wonderful with good wine choices. A quiet neighborhood with available parking in the shopping mall and on the side streets.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Fit For Foodies, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • dinner at al Dente
    andreotti
    Dined on 4/22/2014
    my wife and I went with another couple. First, the wine list has quite few quality Italian bottles with prices under $50. Second, then menu has two prix fixe listings -- $35 and $45 --- which offer great value over the al la carte menu. All four of us went for the $35 prix fixe. We opened and shared a small antipasto of four marinated vegetables for $11. Just a taste, and if you haven't had it, you're in for a treat. Each of our first three courses was better than the next. There is not allot of food in each course, so one had plenty of room to savor each of them. The pasta, in this case, mezzaluna stuffed with asparagus and ricotta was sublime. How a pasta can be so light is magical. We four left with four big smiles on our faces.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Easter Sunday Prix Fixe
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    Excellent experience resulting in more great food than we could possibly want at one sitting. We ended up with a portion of everything on the menu - three appetizers, three pastas, four main courses and three desserts. They were all beautifully prepared and beautifully presented. Some dishes we would never have imagined such as: asparagus with parmagiano reggiano and poached egg; fettucine with lamb ragu; braised goat with artichokes and egg yolk and lemon sauce. It was great fun to have some of everything and not to have to make a decision when everything was so tempting.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.