Al Dente

Al Dente

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.aldentedc.com/
  • Phone: (202) 244-2223
  • 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.
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Al Dente reviews from OpenTable diners
75 reviews since July 29, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service3.8
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelModerate
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (54)fit for foodies (42)great for outdoor dining (35)great for lunch (25)kid-friendly (16)notable wine list (14)great for brunch (14)good for groups (13)special occasion (12)hot spot (4)vibrant bar scene (3)romantic (1)late-night find (1)scenic view (1)Show More
  • Good neighborhood fancy
    TDunkVIP
    Dined on 11/22/2014
    Love Al Dente and Roberto Donna is there cooking and interacting with customers. Really good food and weary to deal with parking etc.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Stellar meeing place for lunch
    GandK
    Dined on 11/21/2014
    Impeccable service in an unhurried atmosphere at lunch time, whose foundation is Maestro Roberto Donna's fare - could it get any better? Pizzas as always a mainstay in a dozen varietals or more, from multiple cheeses adding meat (pancetta, sausage, proscuittto) to vegetarian. Quattro Stagione and Salsiccia et Rapini pizzas are crowd pleasers and if needed, take one home for later, they keep well and reheat beautifully. If not pizzas then don't miss the paninis, calzoni or pastas, the same gifted hands create these delights as well. The way the paninis are presented makes them a visual delight that's a harbinger of the taste of earthly delights therein. Pastas from Bolognese to Calamarata are the next best thing to being in Italy, while desserts are irresistible; tiramisu and the bread pudding (if available) top the 'you should try' list. A great place to meet up with friends, clients or loved ones - enjoy now!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Live in the neighborhood
    GoodFood
    Dined on 11/3/2014
    This resataurant serves good food. The service leaves a little to be desired, but overall it's worth checking out. Grab the meatballs and the spinach/pear/prosciutto salad to start. Go for pasta in the main course. Or at least that's what I do.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food. That's it.
    Noovationthistime
    Dined on 10/23/2014
    It's too noisy for quiet conversation, and the informal ambience is more like eating at your breakfast room table (plastic chairs and all) than a fine restaurant. But with Robero behind the counter (as he was last evening) you know the food will be great. We are trying to limit our carbs these days so we denied ourselves the pleasures of the tempting pastas and enjoyed two fresh fish dishes instead. Both were outstanding. The tab was reasonable. Service was okay (no more). I'll be back. Not for the ambience, or service, but for good food and value in a pleasant neighborhood Italian restaurant where you can enjoy the handiwork of one of the best chefs in DC without the frills and
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic Lunch / Brunch
    LhagVIP
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    Fantastic pancakes at brunch! Food was great. The service was excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • No need to look past pizza
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    My daughters and I just had pizza and they did not disappoint. One had plain, one had vegetarian, and I had the melanzanne. Definitely the best brick oven pizza we've ever had!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Allie
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    There was an interesting offering of dishes. We enjoyed our food and if we lived in the neighborhood would go frequently. The service was outstanding from the greeting at the door to the greeting OUT the door. Our server was knowledgeable and believable (not scripted) when describing the menu items...I think he actually had tasted the food. The wine we selected was out and they recommended an even better one.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My music
    bassodicornetto
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Since I am an inveterate music-lover I find it easiest to compare my favourite luncheon -- sea food platter -- to a Vivaldi opera, preferably Orlando. That dish, chock-full of clams, mussels and shrimps never fails to satisfy. Liike Orlando, one can taste (hear) it and taste (hear) it again and again. It calls for what composers know as 'da capo'........... hraymont@gmail.com
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • So much potential yet a disappoint
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 9/23/2014
    Food was average, nothing to write home about, service was the worst! Stay away.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    liked the brunch menu. Bloody mary or juice, salad, and carbonara. Perfect. $20 per person. Just right. Waiter could have passed around more romano with the pasta. The salmonburger was also good, as was the frittata.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Classic Italian
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    No one beats Donna's Pasta! Also try the specials.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Outstanding Rockfish Fillet
    Elan
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    The fish is beautifully prepared and has just the right touch of grilling to it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Vibrant flavors, good pizza
    NClPkEater
    Dined on 9/7/2014
    Some adventuresome flavor combinations, good appetizers and specials, pizza worth the trip. Pasta (gnocchi) was a little bland - a bit of an outrage considering the price. Dessert pizza is a fun idea but a little haphazard in execution.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too noisy to hear and fair food
    jgoodman888VIP
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    The main fish dishes were very good though $29 was a bit steep. Avoid the eggplant Parmesan - there was no eggplant that we could find in it all cheese and sauce. The pasta dishes were relatively bland - need more use of garlic and spices. The noise in the back was so loud we had to shout to be heard - would not go back until they added some soundproofing. The open table scale on noise is misleading - energetic means you have to shout which is not a positive. I wish they would change it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Surprisingly Good!
    SusanneVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    The quality of the food and surprising flavors was a wonderful surprise at this neighborhood restaurant. It was pleasant with good service and delicious food. We will go back, and soon --
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 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
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 49 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 29, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.4
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 527 reviews are from the Al Dente reviews archive.
  • 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
  • ericVIP
    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