Penn Quarter GemAn absolute gem of a restaurant. Elegant, exquisite cooking at reasonable prices and a menu that allows you to eat small plates or full plates. A terrific wine list. Service that rivals any--someone even refolds your napkin when you go off to the rest room--but all this without the snootiness and with a friendly staff, each and every one well-trained, knowledgeable and have been with Chef Enzo Fargione when the restaurant was all white table cloths and more perhaps for the expense account folks. I live in the Penn Quarter and this is now my favorite restaurant. If you go to the E Street Cinema, Osteria Elisir is a half block south. The joy at Osteria Elisir is exquisite food and an open kitchen where you may watch the food being prepared.6/15/2013 12:00:00 AMUnpretentious and deliciousI chose this place for a big birthday celebration for my husband -- for us and our 2 teenagers. I wanted great, interesting food that would please everyone and a warm environment, with no formal attire required. Elisir could not have been more perfect. All 4 of us wanted to try almost everything on the menu. The choices are classic but not common. We opted for a wide range of items, and loved everything. They know what they are doing in the kitchen, and prepare everything with a light touch that lets the food shine. Truly delicious! On top of that, our server was terrific -- the right combination of professional and warm. He took his time, and made everyone feel welcome. This could not have been a better fit for this celebration.6/13/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat lunchI had read a favorable review in the Post and was anxious to try it. Near as I can tell the menu for lunch and dinner is the same, but there is plenty of variety. The caponata was a great way to start, and my rigatoni was excellent. Good selection of wine by the glass as well. Noise level is important to me -- I hate having to strain to hear my dining companions -- but even with a full lunch crowd, we never had to raise our voices. A touch on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for.6/10/2013 12:00:00 AMThe menu is terrific -- aThe menu is terrific -- a bit weaker among the appetizers, but the pastas and mains more than make up for them. The selection of pastas is one of the best I've ever seen! Hard to choose. All great.6/8/2013 12:00:00 AMThe food was outstanding.The food was outstanding. This is a great place to have a wonderful Italian meal.6/6/2013 12:00:00 AMLovely eveningOur first time at this restaurant, a small group of us had a lovely dinner with delicious wine and were actually able to hold a conversation at a comfortable voice level! A thoroughly enjoyable evening... I will recommend it highly to friends...6/4/2013 12:00:00 AMThis was our first visit toThis was our first visit to Osteria Elisir but it will not be our last. The menu offers a wide range of Italian cuisine. Our table shared appetizers of the grilled octopus, stuffed squid and the portobello mushroom. All were very tasty. We also shared our main entre -- the Sicilian seafood grill, which included ample portions of deliciously grilled lobster, diver scallops, shrimp, squid, and octopus, served with oven roasted potatoes, asparagus, and a bed of arugula/greens mix. Dessert was a tiramisu, which was "to die for." I would also mention that their cocktails were nicely sized and the wine list featured an array of well-priced vintages. We enjoyed the atmosphere as well as the food and are looking forward to our next visit.6/3/2013 12:00:00 AMPasta HeavenWe had dinner at Osteria Elisir based on a glowing review in The Washington Post and we were not disappointed. Everything from our walk through the door to the amazing (homemade!) dessert was fantastic. Our server was friendly and familiar with the menu. It was hard to pick just a few things from all the delicious-looking offerings. The olive oil and sea salt tasting suggested to us was a terrific start, we knew then that we were in the right place. Our appetizers and salads were distinctive and delicious. Then came our pasta dishes, I don't have the words to describe the lamb ragu and duck. I think these were the best pasta dishes we've ever had.
Dessert was a perfect tray of cookies with some pistachio zabaglione. Yum.5/30/2013 12:00:00 AMIt was great!Had dinner there for a friend's birthday. Everything was perfect. He had the octopus and I had the ribeye. Byrondid a great job taking care of us.5/20/2013 12:00:00 AMExcellent!Loved the food.........innovative Italian downtown. Nice variety on the menu. I've been twice and loved everything brought to the table. The pastas are very large portions, so maybe share these as they don't offer 1/2 portions.5/20/2013 12:00:00 AMLarge portions, attentive serviceThe food was delicious. The portions left us comfortably stuffed, with the help of the bottomless bread basket. The service was almost too attentive, we got there somewhat early expecting to catch a show afterwords and since the restaurant was nearly empty at the start of our dinner we were getting attention from two waiters.5/17/2013 12:00:00 AMTrying the New FormatOrdered a variety of appetizers and main courses. Last dined here before the change to new format. Food remains uniformly high quality and savory. Caponata was real thing. Grilled octopus had an almost poached interior texture with crunch and flavor of the grill on the outside. Venison carpaccio less "gamey" than expected. Paccheri were perfectly cooked and delicious. Porchetta had such zing from the black pepper and fennel seed stuffing. A well-chosen wine list with good wines at several price levels. Excellent service throughout the meal until a mixup with bill that was quickly remedied as soon as the error was pointed out. So the new Osteria format definitely seems to be a success in terms of flavor and value. Will be back oftener!5/16/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat Discovery!So glad Osteria was recommended to me. The food was fantastic and I will definitely be back!5/16/2013 12:00:00 AMThe best Italian restaurantThe best Italian restaurant to open in Washington since Roberto Donno in the 70s! Forget the decor. It's all about the food and it is beautiful and well as fabulous! Don't miss the crostinis...or the pastas....and those cookies!5/15/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat Find downtownThe food was very good,.. the wine list was nicely priced and varied and the service was excellent. Our server from Philly had an infectious smile and wonderful additude. Will definately return.5/14/2013 12:00:00 AMThe food and service at OsteriaThe food and service at Osteria Elisir were simply fabulous. I take my very favorite clients there.5/13/2013 12:00:00 AMFantastic Evening all aroundWe were so impressed with Osteria Elisir. From the reading glasses available should you need them to the great valet guys to the fantastic, unintrusive service... we couldn't ask for a better experience for our first visit to this restaurant. We tried all the offerings from their unusual cocktails to their wine, from their appetizers to the crostini, to the specialities to the main stay, and topped it all off with dessert and espresso. Everything was wonderful and eveyone in our party was quick to share their dishes as they were all just so good. Fantastic location as well... we strolled to the LIncoln and back after such a filling and fun dining expereince. We will be back!5/11/2013 12:00:00 AMSuperbly prepared ffood, robustSuperbly prepared ffood, robust flavors and very tasty. The braised ribs were excellent as was the trout and pasta with meat balls. Very worthwhile and deserving of a full night.5/9/2013 12:00:00 AMBeautifully plated!Everything was visually beautiful in plain white plates. Everything except the desserts were very good. The two desserts were almond cake and chocolate covered Tiramisu. They were both kind of dry.5/9/2013 12:00:00 AMExcellent dinnerWent on a Saturday night with party of 6 to the "new" version. Bread, crostini, salads, and meat / cheese appetizers, pasta, octopus, steak, and sausage for mains and cookies for dessert. All of the food was excellent, as was the service (friendly and helpful with humor). Will definitely return.5/4/2013 12:00:00 AMWelcome AdditionElisir is a welcome addition to the City's restaurant scene. The pastas, in particular, were a highlight for our group. The wait staff was very knowledgeable on both the menu and the wine list. We were a party of four. We each split a main course special designed for two: whole fish and grilled steak. Both were super: simple and rustic. The oil and salt combos offered with bread displayed the chef's desire to showcase the different regions of Italy. Dessert was very good. The small cookies were wonderful - typical Italian - not too sweet and combined with another flavor (pistacio for example). The tisamisu covered in cocoa was a beautifiul presentation and a crowd pleaser. With tip, we were on our way home for $200 per couple. Well Done!5/4/2013 12:00:00 AMTerrific comfortable restaurantWe were looking for an informal yet wonderful meal for a family birthday.
This absolutely fit the bill!!5/2/2013 12:00:00 AMA great option in downtown D.C.The transformation from Elisir to Osteria Elisir was a big win for D.C. diners! A great menu that is well-executed. The menu has some great options. I am looking forward working may way through it!5/2/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat Food, Slow ServiceThe food at Osteria was amazing. My girlfriend had black spaghettini and I had the veal/polenta dish. We also had stuffed squid for an appetizer. As for the service, we were sat 30 minutes after our reservation time, and we received the appetizer 30 minutes after that. We also had to track down the waiter to get a second drink. All in all the dinner took close to 2 hours and the restaurant wasn’t that busy. We didn't have anything else planned that night so it didn't ruin any plans. I would just note that if you are going to dine there. We did however go elsewhere for an after dinner drink because of the wait time.4/30/2013 12:00:00 AMAdd Elisir to your list of bests!I picked Osteria Elisir for a birthday dinner with my wife, after reading some very flattering reviews. And, it lived up to our expectations. We started with a drink at the bar, and the barternder even impressed us. The tomato-bread soup was extraordinary as was the Porchetta. My wife had pasta and said it was one of the best she'd ever had. The service was excellent, attentive but not at all rushed, in fact our waiter made sure the meal was served at a relaxed pace. One of the best meals in recent memory. It's on our list.4/27/2013 12:00:00 AMexcellent food, presentation,excellent food, presentation, ambiencesome of the best food we've eaten in dcsquid appetizer especially outstanding4/27/2013 12:00:00 AMI enjoyed the food very much,I enjoyed the food very much, however I was misled by the ranking given the restaurant by Yelp which gave it 2 dollar signs for cost. If $14 a glass for wine, and a final bill of $200 for two people is two dollar signs, I can't imagine what four dollar signs would be. Anyway, the food was good, the portions somewhat small (but expected), and the waiter very nice.4/26/2013 12:00:00 AMVery impressed with the qualityVery impressed with the quality and variety of food. We will be back.4/24/2013 12:00:00 AMOverall Great DiningOnly complaint was four small artichoke HALVES for carciodi alla Romana for $11! Porchetta was perfection though!4/24/2013 12:00:00 AMThe appetizers were exceptional.The appetizers were exceptional. And the drinks were worth every penny. Best I've had since Manhattan!4/22/2013 12:00:00 AMFood and drinks were outstanding,Food and drinks were outstanding, would definitely eat here again.4/20/2013 12:00:00 AMExcellent food, missing serviceAll agree in our party that the food was excellent and well prepared. The wine list is a little pricey for a $$ restaurant. We were stuck behind a pillar at the back of the restaurant and I was worried about being forgotten. We were: not only because of the pillar but because our waiter did not attend to us very well at all. And it took him 3 times to get the check right! He needs to be attentive to his self-presentation (unkempt) and other-attentiveness. I would go back for the food.4/20/2013 12:00:00 AMSmall restaurant with an excellentSmall restaurant with an excellent view of the kitchen. Outstanding food with attentive but not overbearing service. If you like real Italian food cooked by a real italian chef, this would be the place to try.4/19/2013 12:00:00 AMOne of the top 5 restaurants in DC!This is by far one of the best restaurants in DC. If you like amazing, inventive food presented spectacularly on your plate by a staff with a PhD in service then this is your restaurant. I have been to most of the "best" restaurants in DC and after going to Elisir a few times it has won a top spot in my heart. I tell my friends that if they go there and don't like their meal I will pay for it. Dining here is an experience that has got to be shared. You will not be disappointed...go there, enjoy and applaud the chef in the open kitchen on your way out.4/19/2013 12:00:00 AMGREAT place for a romantic dinnerElisir was GREAT. I took my gf for a birthday celebration, and it delivered perfectly. I ended up having to move my reservations back to 9:45pm because of working late - this ended up being 15 min before the kitchen closed for the night (Wed night). Despite this, the staff at Elisir did NOT let this impact our dining experience. They pulled out all the stops still, from appetizers to dessert. I thought this was even more noteworthy because since it was a random Wed night at almost 10pm, we were the only remaining customers in the restaurant. Even still, the wait staff and chefs didn't make us feel like a hinderance, or that they were annoyed we were there...quite the opposite! The food was AMAZING. Perfect portions, and a wide selection.4/17/2013 12:00:00 AMAffordable Authentic ItalianI really like the new concept at Elisir. It is the same high quality of authentic Italian food at more affordable prices than the original concept. I'm so glad they kept some of the old menu items like the olive oil and sea salt tasting and the cigar box branzino. The new menu items are great from what I tasted with my husband and parents on Friday night. I especially liked the two dishes I ordered - the Portobello and the Tagliolini with porchetta. We will definitely be back to dine there in the future!4/12/2013 12:00:00 AMOverall, our experience atOverall, our experience at Osteria Elisir was excellent. The venison taster was absolutely heavenly. The sauce and seafood in the spicy seafood pasta dish was excellent, but I would recommend pairing it with slightly more firm pasta. I suggest this because seafood is already squishy, and mushy,doughy pasta does not pair as a nice opposite to that. One waiter on the waitstaff talked to his tables loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear, which was not very pleasant so you might encourage your waitstaff to use an indoor voice. Our waiter, while mainly excellent, would frequently show up and move our plates around to fit more plates on our table while we were trying to eat the courses we had. Slow down the pace of plates coming to us.4/6/2013 12:00:00 AMWe thoroughly enjoyed ourWe thoroughly enjoyed our meals! The food was creative and delicious. There were 6 of us and not a single complaint from anyone.4/6/2013 12:00:00 AMA Great ExperienceFood delicious and service superb. I had the Octopus steak which was superbly cooked. I shared in the roasted chicken, it was so juicy and moist and full of flavor. The arugula salad was so light and tasty. I strongly recommend it.4/5/2013 12:00:00 AMGreat place to have lunchGreat place to have lunch meetings or a romantic dinner. Nice layout and great food. Ce4/2/2013 12:00:00 AMMy dining companion and IMy dining companion and I could not have been happier. The changes have brought new life to the restuarant, and the feel is most welcoming. The new price point extends an invitation for frequent return visits. I plan to "run" the list of pastas.4/2/2013 12:00:00 AMWe had a quick dinner at OsteriaWe had a quick dinner at Osteria Elisir before a movie at E Street Cinema last week (the restaurant is just half a block from the theatre), and it was outstanding. We started with crostini with gorgonzola and candied celery - I would never have guessed the flavors would have worked so well together, but it as fabulous. The made-in-house pasta was fabulous, too. The bar features several very innovative cocktails; we each had one, and both of them were delicious. Service was among the most attentive and friendly I've experienced in my years in DC.3/30/2013 12:00:00 AMSpecial Flavor - Great Tasting MealI think this is a great location for a romantic lunch or dinner. Spend time with someone special or just to sit with a friend or a few people and have a fantastic meal and some great conversation. Also a good location to grab a dinner before going out for the evening. The food had a very nice flavor with what I believe is a unique seasoning blend for a really great taste.3/30/2013 12:00:00 AMMake sure you ask for oliveMake sure you ask for olive oil/salt presentation along with bread service. it is simply OUTSTANDING!3/28/2013 12:00:00 AMDefinitely Give Elisir a Try!Osteria is very aware that they have just reopened with their new more "rustic" Italian concept: skip the white tablecloths elsewhere and pop in here for a delectable dinner! My friend and I shared the buratta set on yummy pesto with prosciutto and frisee. I absolutely LOVE buratta so I'll generally order it anywhere but Elisir really added zip by setting it on just the right amount of pesto. I had the lamb rague over rigatoni and she had linquine and clams. Both pastas were delicious and came with portions appropriate to the price tag. My only complaint was the bread. For the price tag and location of other higher end restaurants I would hope for really good / approaching steller bread at such a restaurant; Elisir's was sadly tasteless.3/28/2013 12:00:00 AMthe new elisar is a homerunthe new elisar is a homerun get there before everyone finds out italian cooking at its best3/27/2013 12:00:00 AMChef Fargione changed hisChef Fargione changed his concept a little, but he kept the class and the high standard and quality of his cuisine. What's next? Iron Chef? Congratulazioni!3/21/2013 12:00:00 AMThe new format is a winner.The new format is a winner. Though I couldn't pass up the octopus steak, which was terrific. Ther are a number of other menu items I am anxious to try.3/16/2013 12:00:00 AMJust delighted with our firstJust delighted with our first visit to the Osteria version of Elisir!! Had dined at Elisir several times before the metamorphosis, and enjoyed it very much, though realized that it was very pricey, and in difficult competition with its near-neighbors Tosca and Fiola.
The makeover is, in our opinion, a huge success, and we'll be back many, many times!!
Bravi!!3/16/2013 12:00:00 AMMove over Volt and Cafe AtlanticoThe flavors, textures, fine quality, and care in the gourmet food at Elisir truly made the food a gem. March 2 was the last day, Elisir was going to be open and then it would close until March 15 to re-open as Elisir Osteria with a more casual dining experience. I had the 5 course tasting dinner at Elisir while my husband ordered the endive salad with chocolate shavings and Bronzini (seabass) ala carte. He enjoyed both. For my 5 courses, I had venison carpaccio with microgreens and truffles, butternut squash ravioli with port wine, bronzini, and rabbit, and choc. mousse and pistachio gelato. The 5 types of fresh bread and 3 types of olive oil (comes with the tasting) was fun. Service by Badger was top-notch!3/2/2013 12:00:00 AM