Kingbird at The Watergate Hotel
Out on the seasonal terrace, we offer alfresco dining with a view of the Potomac. Join us on weekends for brunch or our traditional Afternoon Tea with a modern twist.
Winner of Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence 2018
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I've been an Open Table user for years, and have had a wide range of experiences ranging from extraordinary to not-very-good (or worse). Before now, I have never felt strongly enough to write a review. But my experience at Kingbird last weekend was so very, very bad, I feel compelled to do so now.
The service was beyond poor to the point of being openly insulting. It took us more than 35 minutes to get drinks (I believe it was actually longer, but want to be scrupulously fair in my account); we did not, apparently, have a server assigned to our table; the server assigned to nearby tables (who had, at first, appeared to also be assigned to us) studiously avoided eye contact as she walked back and forth by our table many, many times over the approximately two-hour experience; and ultimately we were forced to attract the attention of random staff passing by, pleading to get any assistance whatsoever. At about the midpoint of our dinner odyssey, we asked the maitre d to explain what was going on; no explanation was given, and he disappeared for the remainder of the evening. This despite our watching as nearby tables, where patrons arrived after us, apparently had perfectly normal restaurant experiences, complete with servers, timely service, etc. Quite demoralizing. The only reason we got fed at all, it seemed, was that one random (but kind) server eventually took pity on us and tried to get things moving again.
To summarize: in all my years of eating out, which has ranged from the finest dining imaginable to the kind of hole-in-the-wall that makes one fear for one's digestive safety---across three continents, and in 15 or more different countries---never have I been treated more shabbily than I was at Kingbird. It was a Red-Wedding-level deviation from ancient principles of hospitality. Bear in mind when making your dining choices.
The sea bass was probably the best dish I've had in a year -- superb. What was less than superb was calling us at 4pm for a 5:30pm reservation and telling us the 'menu' had changed and they'd only be serving a pre-fixe 3 course meal for $60. I said I noted they had a $52 pre-fixe on their website but she said this pre-fixe would include more options. What wasn't much of an option was changing a reservation to someplace else on a Saturday night before the theater with only 90 minutes notice.
High quality food. Outstanding service. Very limited gluten free options. Creativity and flavor is good. Great pre- theater option.
Overall a good experience. Service was three stars not because of our server ... he was excellent ... but because there appeared to be not enough servers covering the number of tables occupied for a busy weekend night. This is not the first time I encountered this issue. Management should hire additional staff.
The portion of the Sea Bass was incredibly small compared to other restaurants. Server was nice but slow and she seemed afraid to talk to customers. underwhelming experience overall, especially for the price.
I feel unrespectable during my dinner, especially I paid for 350 bucks. Food is not well, and waiters are so impolite to us. Never come back.
The food was terrible. The service was great.
Great. Just a little pricey at 100+ per person. BUt my lady liked it.
Great for Valentine’s Day but very expensive!
We really enjoyed our time at the Kingbird. Was expensive but a 5 course meal (included a glass of wine) and the food melted in your mouth. They also brought a red rose and had rose pedals in one of our drinks. Overall what a great experience before the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center.
A charming Valentine's Day prix fixe meal. It included Kir Royal, a fresh single stem rose and a chocolate box with truffles. The five course meal allowed three choices for three of the five courses and was dedicated to the memory of Edith Piaf. The duck foie gras mousse unfortunately lacked much taste but the purple cod (fish in a beet sauce) and the Wagyu beef were superb. In general this restaurant shines with creative cooking on all other days of the year.
Outstanding in every way! We love the new French chef. We’ve been many times but at last it had become a destination - more than just s convenient place to dine before the Kennedy Center!
While this restaurant is not cheap, I think it was worth the price, particularly as an alternative to the Kennedy Center cafeteria and venues. Service was wonderful as we had a tight schedule to make a 7:00 curtain. I will certainly go again.
Enjoyable alternative to the KC Terrace Restaurant - which I also like before a show. Server was professional and pleasant. Great cocktail - actually worth the steep price. Food was above average. That's a real compliment - not backhanded. Good to have choices. Need more in that "neighborhood."
We enjoyed a light pre-theater dinner and walked easily to the Kennedy Center. The food was delicious, the Watergate Hotel decor not so much.
The service was terrible. 45 minutes after we ordered, we still had not received or food, nor seen the waiter once during that time. We had to complain twice to the manager, because we were there for dinner before a show at the Kennedy Center and didn't have time to actually eat the food. Several other tables around us were having similar issues/complaints. Food was OK.
With a full house all scheduled to leave by 7:30 for a performance at the Kennedy Center, the kitchen literately melted down. We waited an hour after ordering for our entrees to arrive. We noticed some guests who simply left their table without eating. The serving staff did all they could to soothe the mob, but the break down is not acceptable, particularly for a venue that features a pre-theatre experience,
There is parking available under the Watergate and it is expensive. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. It was well attended and pleasant. Food choices were good. I chose the scallops and they were nicely prepared.
The staff were very pleasant and the dining room is attractive. However, this restaurant is terribly overpriced and noisy. Our bill for two burgers from the bar menu, one martini and one glass of white wine was about $100.00. Although a prix fixe pre-theater menu had been advertised on the restaurant's website, we were informed that it no longer was available. This change, plus the restaurant's 10-minute distance for a brisk walker to the Kennedy Center, makes this lovely spot a non starter for me in the future.
Our salads arrived before the cocktails. I admonished our waiter to not bring the main course until after we had finished our salads. Once the main course arrived, the waiter didn’t check back with us quite a while. Then it took forever for the desserts to arrive. Scallops were cooked to perfection, but I find paying $24 for 3 large scallops, 3 slices of potato and sautéed leeks a bit pricey!
The experience was great. The food was delicious, especially the Sweet Potato Gnocchi!
We came for an early dinner before going to the Kennedy Center. The service was exceptional. We were given details about the items on the menu and some recommendations, some of which we accepted. The bibb lettuce salad was unusual and delicious. I want another! I had the shrimp dish (don't recall the name). The sauce on the pasta was exceptional--no tomato. My husband especially enjoyed the crudo, but found the octopus tough. The white wine he ordered was delicious. He thought the Manhattans were too sweet. We shared a parfait for desert--again, delicious. We will go again.
Great location esp if seeing a show at the Kennedy Center. Outdoors when weather permits you can eat on patio with the Potomac in the background. This was my second time eating here but food was not well received by my guests who thought it was 'just Ok. Portions were small and I left feeling not fully ratified. One of my guest ordered chicken wings to go from the bar. She stated she wished she could had had them instead of the small piece of fish. However the deserts were a delight. Now I had the 4 scallops. I know when you order scallops you expect only a few. But the first time I had them they rested atop a cauliflower puree. These were just on a plate with 4 little dime size 'potatoes? " and 3 towers of onion. I felt disappointed and told my guest i would not return. But surprisingly, they said they would. Well, we'll see.
Service great. Food served with a smile. And oh, it's was so cold inside , even the ma'trdee wore her coat. It's was about 30 degrees outside. So bring a wrap.
Lots of people were settling in when we left for the ballet at Kennedy Center (KC). We go to Kingbird whenever we can before KC event. They are very aware of keeping you on time for the curtain time.
The food is delicious and beautifully prepared. I have a food restriction, which can be difficult. They always comply with gracious hospitality. Great place to dine.
Always a great place to eat before going to the Kennedy Center.
The Kingbird restaurant at the Watergate Hotel is in our opinion the best restaurant near the Kennedy Center and we are recommending it to all of our friends and acquaintances.
The food was great and the overall dinning experience was great.
2nd time there. Food was excellent both times. Service was ok but needs some improvement. We were given one cocktail listing for 4 people. I asked for more & was given one additional listing. Once the 1st glass of wine was poured, no-one returned to pour anymore. Had to ask about side dish that did not arrive with meal.
Also, cocktails are way too expensive at $17 each !!
We went during Restaurant Week. The food was delicious and the service was great. Wines by the glass were expensive, but wonderful. Dessert was amazing.
We enjoyed our night at Kingbird before a showing at the Kennedy Center across the street. It's beautifully located inside the Watergate Hotel. We had the Restaurant Week fixed price dinner course and added an appetizer and two cocktails. The first courses were both the blue crab which was delicious. A little small, if you're expecting more meat. The second courses were the fried chicken and sea bass. Both were tasty but overall, not filling. So we ordered the gnocchi which ended up being the best dish of that night. It was topped with brussel sprout slaw. The drinks were very good but the dessert (madelines and mousse) were amazing. Service was very attentive and timely because we had to attend a show right after. However, they left off the gnocchi when we first ordered it, but it came out very fast when we spoke to the waiter again.
My husband and i were hosted in a nondescript conference room rather than the restaurant which was booked for a private event. This felt like quite a slight for an institution we would have loved to continue to frequent. We won’t be returning.
I came to this restaurant specifically to try “Restaurant Week” menu. It was totally different from what it mentioned on the website. I had to order from the regular menu. Food was Ok, nothing spectacular. Eggs Benedict were overdone. Madeline’s for desert very dry.
Fantastic time! Looking forward to going back.
The waiter rushed us through our meal. When asked if there was a particular liqueur, he first said,"no." When we asked him to check, he grudgingly consented and came back after a while and said they didn't have it. We were skeptical.
We had to ask for bread when it was evident that other people had been served some.
Our soups (not that hot) came when we were having cocktails and when we asked the waiter to slow down our entrees he said he couldn't- he had already ordered them.
We had had this waiter previously and had been pleased before. It was restaurant week and I'm not sure whether that was the problem.
No idea what was going on- we will be slow to return.
Cold food, slow service
We went for restaurant week and the food was phenomenal. Pumpkin soup, lamb shoulder and chocolate mousse were all delicious. Best Manhattan ever.
We stopped by before heading to a show at the Kennedy Center and were dazzled by the food. Unbeknownst to us it was Restaurant Week, so quite busy. We ordered from both the Restaurant Week menu and their full menu, and everything was outstanding. Highly recommend!
Excellent location for the pre-theater dinner as it's right next to the Kennedy Center. It took us 5-6 mins to walk to the Kennedy Center.
Always completely reliable. We enjoy it for dinner before Kennedy Center performances.