We used to eat here when it was first opened, 11 years ago. There fish was always outstanding, but I grew tired the same uninspiring veggies and wine list. I am SO happy we returned. (Actually, have tried for a while, but it's a small room and tough to get a reservation.) The fish is some of the best in the area (including downtown DC). The veggies have been reinvented, and delicious, and the wine list has been expanded.
The servers make you feel like you are in their home. The owner's wife is among them. The chef is the owner as well. What a great local place with exceptional food. I ventured to the pastas yet. I'm "hooked" on the fish!
Amazingly this restaurant was rated 4.3 stars, which is as good as it gets in Olney, so we celebrated our anniversary there - and still regret it. The other 3 guests had pasta, which was worse than nearby Momma Lucia, itself a place we have abandoned. I ordered a pork dish, which was merely a few pieces of unidentifiable tough meat - I guess it was pork - with a lot of peas piled on top, likely from a can. My lentil soup was overwhelmed with tomato sauce. So how did it get 4.3 stars? Beats me. I infer that many people have no taste buds, or maybe the owner rated himself a few times. The restaurant was in a basement, which we knew - but the cement floor needs a cover of some kind - even a coat of paint - and the solid wood seats need at least a pillow (or some more gentle type of seats). The owner/chef was personally gracious, visiting all tables, but the restaurant and its food was far from the ambiance I have enjoyed in Italy.
Best deserts in the area.
We ate here before going to the Olney Theatre and we gave ourselves plenty of time (two-and-a-half hours) for a leisurely meal. All of the staff was very accommodating and friendly, and we appreciated them keeping an eye on the clock for us. We started with one of their salad specials - two people for each salad - and then had separate entrees. I had the swordfish special. My hubby had a filet, and our friends had pasta dishes. Everyone was thrilled with their choices. Then, the four of us shared two desserts - yum. The wine list was good, and we shared a couple of bottles of chianti. Overall, it was a wonderful meal, and we all agreed that this was a place to return to again and again. (Do not be concerned about the exterior of the business. It shares a building with Dominos Pizza, but it is NOT Dominos.)
Fantastic & delicious as always! So glad I left room for dessert! Wonderful all around experience with personal touch! Highly recommend!
Another delightful meal , with great hosts . Beautifully cooked , and presented , and save room for the stunning deserts .
Only comment I would say it can be a little cold in the dining room , but other than that , we love it
As far as i know, Darwin was not a restaurant critic but his 'Survival of the Fittest' theory could be applied to the business. Al Sospiro in Olney is a survivor because it's constant and fit for foodies. The menu doesn't change much except for the deserts which are made daily in house by the hostess, co-owner, artistic decorator and wife of the chef , -the other co-owner. Change is inevitable. Let's hope it doesn't come too soon for this great Italian restaurant in the basement, next to the pizza joint in Olney.
This little hole-in-the-wall restaurant was a pleasant surprise. The main dining area is downstairs, and is small and cozy. Our server was fantastic - very down-to-earth, personable, and attentive. It took a bit of time for the food to come out, but everyone was very happy with their meal, and it was all served at once, which is always appreciated. The pasta was excellent, and tasted homemade.
Wonderful dinner, again. We have come here for numerous life celebrations over the last 10 years, and need to come more frequently! Spinach/red beets salad was awesome, and the specials were excellent! Highly recommend this restaurant!
Great service but found the menu to be a bit meat heavy. Would like to have had a few more vegetarian entrees to choose from. Ended up ordering an appetizer and salad instead. Both were very good but would like to have had a hot entree.
As always the food was delicious and beautifully presented. The service was very good and we had a relaxed time with friends.
The venue had a true Italian trattoria feel, limited seating for a more intimate experience. A well balanced menu had numerous fish, pasta, veal and lamb choices. Soups and salads are also not run of the mill - different and very tasty.
This neighborhood gem serves authentic, fresh, delicious Italian food. So glad it's in my neighborhood!
We were a group of 7 and had an enjoyable experience. The restaurant is small which was a really good thing on the night we were there. Some of the “help” did not come in that evening, leaving one server to handle everything, including making drinks! She did an awesome job, keeping everyone happy and she did it with a great attitude. I wish we had gotten her name. Our food was outstanding, although the baby octopus was a bit tough, and the gnocchi was a bit doughy. Everything else was perfect. We’ll definitely return and highly recommend to others!
1) served stale bread 2) took at least 30 mins. to get entrees 3) table not bussed in timely manner 4)grilled veal scalloping was tough and tasteless.
We booked a table for dinner before seeing a play at the nearby Olney Theater, and allowed about 75 mins. for our meal so that we would have ample time to drive to the play. We informed our server of the need for prompt service and she assured us there would not be a problem. Our drinks and appetizers arrived in a timely manner. However, we waited over 30 mins for our entrees, and conveyed our concern several times to the server, who assured us the meal would be coming "soon". It was served 10 mins prior to our departure time, requiring us to rush through the meal. The food was quite good and in other circumstances we would have enjoyed it thoroughly. But we were severely disappointed by the lack of attention to our timetable. There was no attempt to compensate for the delay by any type of discount on our bill.
Excellent food, excellent ambience, excellent service. My favorite spot to eat Italian!!!
It's a place that is non-pretentious, like a small neighborhood Trattoria, but happens to have an amazing Chef that flexibly caters to your choices.
I can only recommend it emphatically...
This is our favorite restaurant in Olney when we feel like having a truly delicious meal in lovely surroundings without traveling far! It's a hidden gem!
Hands down one of the best restaurants in the Olney area
The authentic cuisine served at this cozy Italian restaurant is outstanding, from the crusty bread with olive oil dip to the tasty dessert: mud cake served with vanilla ice cream. (Other dessert options were also tempting.) The menu and specials provide ample options for diners. The excellent entrees we ordered were served in generous portions: pan-seared tuna over grilled eggplant (at my request, the chef—who is also the owner—willingly substituted eggplant—or a choice of several other vegetables—for zucchini) and an unusual and well-prepared scaloppini featuring pork instead of veal. Individual glasses of wine were also generous (a $10 glass of Montepulciano, served in a small carafe, amounted to 1/3 of a bottle of wine). Service was attentive, friendly, and prompt. Al Sospiro was an all-around satisfying dining experience. My husband and I will certainly return to this restaurant, which is well-located for a pre-theater meal before attending a production at the Olney Theatre, 1 1/2 miles away.
Hidden, literally in the basement, community gem. Anxious to go back.
Al Sospiro is one of my most favorite restaurants. The food never fails to amaze. I had the tuna and my friend had pasta with spinach. We both had the romaine grilled salad, which I dream about. Run, don't walk, this is a gem of a restaurant!
It was 6P on a weeknight, nearly empty; good for me but hard to understand. Great pre-show choice for Olney Theater. The welcome was warm, the service was friendly, helpful, attentive. The food was genuine, tasty, and relatively quick. Wine list was nice and fairly priced. Excellent dinner and a great find!
Met the owner as it was a quiet evening and he was covering tables even though he usually cooks. His food is authentic and fantastic. He is a great guy too. He treated us like gold and of course we will be back. We have brought the family there in the past and it's always great. They don't have a bad day.
We arrived on time for our 5:30 reservation and didn't leave until 9:10! Service was to the point of being ridiculous! Food is good but don't go if you're in a hurry.
Food was good Again! Seafood combo (fruit de Mer) wonderful as was the Beef Tenderloin. Cozy place to eat with friendly service.
Made Valentine's Day reservations and was seated immediately. The restaurant is in the basement of an old blacksmith's shop. Nice atmosphere, decor and ambiance. The food was superb and presented well. Service was nicely attentive, given that it was a special evening and the restaurant was full to overflowing. We will definitely return soon.
We had heard this restaurant was pricey, the food salty, and the room rather noisy but we found NONE of this to be true! Excellent meal! The food was of good value. We could easily carry on our conversation throughout dinner. We will definitely be coming back and enjoying dinner here again. Maybe even just drop by for dessert!
Excellent personal service by lady propriator. Charming presentation of options. Squisito cibo romano. Will return with friends at least once a month
excellent dinner meal...great selection of specials. great advice from our waitress on our meal choices
Unfortunately we had to take our meal to go because our toddler was too loud for the quiet dining room and it had already been 40 minutes waiting for food. It's nice when restaurants don't rush you, but in this particular case I asked if we could get the order in right away since we don't have the luxury of taking our time to eat. Now I do realize food takes time to make and they don't have things pre-prepared but it still seemed longer than it should have been. (I've had the experience of working in nicer restaurants to be aware of what goes on in kitchens.) They were very nice to pack it up. Four person in agreement that the food was VERY salty. Even our beet salad was salty, beyond the pecorino cheese it seemed as if salt was added to it. Something in the plain side pasta lit our mouths on fire...possibly a pepper got mixed in there...? Overall, it was just OK and I don't think we'll be going back with or without a toddler.
Delicious food, nice atmosphere, nice waitress. Very convenient to the Olney Theatre. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone seeking fine dining in the Olney area.
We were looking for a new place (for us) to celebrate a milestone birthday. Friends recommended Al Sospiro and we are really glad we went. Such a tiny, unassuming place but it had tremendously competent and friendly service by one woman who did it all. The food was great. We tried the house crostini and the basil oil over the romano made an outstanding start. I followed with the grilled romaine and my husband had the spinach salad; while neither is uncommon on menus, the quality of the prep was wonderful. Then we split an order of gorgonzola gnocchi; we'll be going back again just to have this comfort food dish. Main courses were the special of swordfish and the regular menu's tuna. While other reviewer's have commented on small portions, we did not find this to be the case so our main courses ended up being lunch the next day. All in all a very satisfying experience and we'll be back soon and often.
First time visit. The food is excellent. They have a nice wine list and specialty cocktails. I rated the service as Very Good but the waitress was actually a bit inattentive and spend time with her regulars even though she could see that we were ready to pay and leave. Hopefully that's a one-off. We were delighted to discover this Olney restaurant (we live in Silver Spring) and we will be back--soon!
Restaurant is always lovely!! Staff is friendly. Food is AMAZING!!
We always love Al Sospiro's. It is one of our two favorites in Olney. Food and ambiance are great. Very homey!
If you blink you'll miss this hidden gem in Olney next to a pizza place. We took our
out of town guests and they were impressed by the food and service. The Mahi Mahi was
done to perfection. A compliment worth noting from our Tidewater friends where fresh fish is
a way of life. The Lamb Chops were delicious and my Spaghetti alla Putanesca would be appreciated in any town in Southern Italy. The deserts, all homemade, are worth the calories. A relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.
well worth the visit my only disappointment was the bread that comes with dinner a nice crusty Italian or French bread would start the dinner off better
Wonderful and authentic Italian food! We love coming here.
I got my tripe, I was a happy camper. If you like Rome style Italian food, you will love Al Sospiro.