Pesce Restaurant

4.5
601 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Seafood
For over twenty years, Pesce has been a favorite among Washingtonian diners for its fresh seafood and creative bistro entrees. We discover the freshest seasonal ingredients from local markets and the regional countryside, and select only the highest quality seafood from our fishmongers…and we do so daily.

Because of this obsessive pursuit of quality, our menus are hand-written each day and presented to your tableside on chalk boards. Our recipes, innovative yet rooted in classic technique, are intended to evoke a sense of pure bliss.

Have a glass of wine and bite to eat at the bar and you may feel you’ve been transported to a Parisian bistro. A relaxed environment, Pesce can host anything from a business lunch to an intimate dinner, or even a semi-private event complete with the option of a personalized menu.

Pesce, the best seafood destination in Dupont for 20 years and counting!


Regine Palladin, Owner
What 601 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.2
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on July 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

A DuPont Circle Gem! This is a quality neighborhood restaurant. The food was excellent and very well prepared. I had bronzini and sauted snow peas. My wife had a crab cake and a salad. The food was delicious. The ambience is casual and the is dress nice casual. Definitely worth a dinner date.

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l
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on July 9, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Our party of 4 picked Pesce because we love the seafood and usually it's pretty quiet. On this night, the food was excellent, especially the stone bass, and the service was very attentive. And the room started out quiet but quickly got very noisy, unfortunately, making it hard for some of us to hear. I'll definitely be back, but I wish there was a way to make it quieter.

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M
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My favorite fish restaurant in dc. Yummy food and lovely service.

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LT
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I had not visited Pesce for a long, long time, mostly because there are SO MANY new restaurants opening on an almost weekly basis in the DC area. But our lunch was a great reminder that this seafood restaurant has really stood the test of time.

I ordered 3 appetizers rather than an appetizer and an entrée. The 3 dishes were grilled sardines, grilled calamari and fried soft shell crabs. All 3 dishes were delicious! Fresh sardines don't appear on menus often but, whenever I see them, I will always order. The calamari, with (most of) the membrane removed, were small, snow white slices against the dark (ink?) sauce. There were several pieces of tentacles, the part I enjoy most, which frequently don't appear in a calamari dish at all. The soft shell crab (one) was just the right degree of crunchiness and served atop Thai papaya salad. I love papaya salad and wish the kitchen would have prepared it with more of its traditional hot/sour flavor. But, all in all, it was a great lunch. I washed it all down with an Albarino. What's better on a hot DC summer day?

Will be going back for another meal in 3-4 weeks when my West Coast niece visits from out of town.

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S
New York Area
32 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good food but a bit overpriced. Wine list way too expensive. Should have more reasonable wine priced list

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JM
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I think there is no better place for fish in the city. Variety, preparation, innovation -- all amazing. There is also a clever mix of cocktails and other beverages, including a grapefruit cider that was perfectly refreshing on a hot day paired with walnut-crusted walleye (which took me back to my days fishing in Wisconsin). Desserts -- especially the chocolate torte and the cinnamon ice cream -- are worth every calorie. If I have any complaint, it is how expensive it is. This is a restaurant I have to reserve for special occasions, though I would eat here much more often if I could afford it.

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JP
London
2 reviews
Dined on June 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Shrimp appetizer was amazing... As was the lobster risotti... I thought the wines by the glass could have had more value for how pricy they were but it is a classy place where you can have good conversation

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AL
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 5

The ambiance was nice and the owner (I think) was very friendly and welcoming. The food, however, was disappointing. We ordered the lobster special - the bisque soup didn't have any chunks of lobster, the beet salad was awful (unless you like cold yams, beets and squishy lobster), the lobster lacked quality meat. Our daughter ordered the halibut - it was too spicy. I didn't like it either. The server went through the menu too fast and didn't check back, except to see if we liked the appetizer, which I didn't. We had to ask for more bread. It was pricey and we weren't satisfied. I would have been happy with the lentil soup, bread and dessert - no seafood - which is why we went there.

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SF
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Calamari oustanding. And we could hear each other talk! L9ve this place and will return.

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T
Washington DC
112 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

This review is relatively easy to write. First, only make a reservation if you plan on using public transportation, a car service or walking to the restaurant -- unless you have at least 30 minutes to finding parking. There is virtually no street parking and any garage is blocks away. Ugh! The food is very good, and the service is adequate although somewhat understaffed. Given the very high prices, one would expect that the portion sizes would be robust. The emphatic answer is "no." As I said from the perspective of my wife and me, there was little "gray" area in our experience at Pesce.

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WE
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

The restaurant is well located and really charming on the inside. We only wished the service was a cozy and charming as the decorative atmosphere; it seemed brisk, cold and administered with forced friendliness.

As for the food, the dishes were nice portions, delicious and fresh; the small menu changes daily. Unfortunately by only 6:30 pm, a few of the more alluring dishes were "sold out", which we found curious being as it was so early in the evening on a non-weekend day.

Overall, I would certainly go back and try new dishes -- and hopefully experience different waitstaff.

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PC
Washington DC
109 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We went for soft shell crabs at 6:30 PM. Unfortunately, they were sold out already. We had lobster instead. It was very good but we really wanted soft shells.

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JZ
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Great to find a full menu sea food establishment. Some additional fresh water offerings would be welcome.

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O
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The service was outstanding. The food very good. Beware - valet parking is no longer available! Parking in the area is very difficult.

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SE
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great time and thank you for the prosecco at the end. My wife and I had a great experience and will be back.

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DB
Richmond
4 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

The dinner started out well with a large servings of mussels and provided bread. However when dinner came it was about 2-3 oz piece of fish on top of 1 mushroom and 2 vegetables. It was absurd how small the portions were and the fish and sauce was pretty bland and not anything to write home about. I dont mind smaller portions when they are stated and actually have great flavor. Overall no point in coming here when such better options for quality of food as well as quantity and price.

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HS
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fresh seafood, well cooked. A big favorite of ours.

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OT
Los Angeles
83 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Good seafood, pleasant service

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AD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Our party of three was seated promptly with no waiting at the time of our reservation. We all found our dishes to be fantastic. I had tuna - the best tuna I have ever had! It was very tender, flavorful, and paired with a highly interesting sauce that complemented the rare tuna and did not compete with it. I also had the grilled sardines, which reminded me of the wonderful grilled sardines in Spain or Italy. The wine list is not extensive, but it has obviously been chosen carefully to select wines that pair with the seafood dishes on the menu.

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W
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Did not like butterscotch pot du creme
Lobster in risotto tasted leftover
Somewhat disappointed for my 65th birthday dinner ☹️

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E
Washington DC
42 reviews
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Fresh, fresh fish, but noise level will keep us from coming back for awhile.

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KL
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Fish was absolutely delcious - server recommendation was spot on!

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DN
Kent
14 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Nice restaurant and friendly service but the Tautog was a little over cooked and dry, and the sauce also dried

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j
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Imaginative and careful preparation of both shellfish and whitefish starters and main courses. Daily menu, so no point in dwelling on particulars. We went mid-week when it was very quiet.

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N
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had seen this restaurant earlier in the day and decided to go for an early dinner before a DC by Night Tour.
Booked a table online and walked straight there. Explained we only had about 45 mins which they said was totally doable. It was 6pm on a weekday so the restaurant was pretty quiet.
We ordered the clam linguini which my husband said was amazing. I ordered the whole Branzino which was stuffed with rosemary and was deliciously moist. Served
With snow peas and I ordered a side of roasted potatoes.
Food was so timely that we ordered a second glass of wine and a dessert. By the time we left the restaurant was busy.
Lucky find. Highly recommend.

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s
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing place. Great service. Great chef. Must try house made anchovies on you salad.

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CP
Washington DC
36 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

A group of three colleagues had a post-meeting dinner. Our table was waiting for us on a crowded Wednesday night - nice buzz in the room. The regular wine list was being restocked, so we contented ourselves with a Sauvignon Blanc from the shorter list. Nice,?crisp wine, with good advice from our server. First course was the sardines, the grilled calamari, and the Caesar salad with good anchovies. Our main were the grilled salmon, the grilled Tautog (also called blackfish or chub), and the tuna. Each person enjoyed their choice. At the end we had a digestivo. Attentive service throughout. We’ll be back!

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v
1 review
Dined on May 21, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

The food was great and ambience was good. The server was very helpful and friendly

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L
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great restaurant: wonderful food, good service, quiet and cozy, and the prices are not too crazy. Highly recommended.

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M
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Average food and indifferent to openly hostile service. Perhaps they were understaffed the night we were there. So disappointing.

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B
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

I went to Pesce because of Tom Sietsema's recent rave review pointing out the soft shell crabs "Fried soft-shell crabs with a salad as sharp as anything I’ve encountered in Southeast Asia." The waiter answered that entree comes with one so I ordered a second for entree price of $50. But I didn't like Pesce's soft shell crabs at all, and I have loved them for over 35 years in DC. I realized I had never had fried; in the past, all restaurants I went to sautéed them, sometimes with butter & slivered almonds. At Pesce, the problem with the soft shell crabs is that they were tasteless. The coating for the frying had no flavor yet covered up the flavor of the crab. I couldn't taste the crab flavor at all. $50 for no flavor - I won't be back. Also, I din't like at all the "salad" soft shells were served on. It was bitter. It looked like julienned celery root but was bitter whereas celery root is not. Interestingly, since then, I have been looking for soft shell crabs at other restaurants since having this experience and the only ones I have found all have "fried soft shell crab" on their menus! No sautéing!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Great service.

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CA
Washington DC
86 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

We've been loyal customers of Pesce for years through changes of chefs and management. Last week's dinner was the worst we've had in memory. First, our waiter tried to push a very expensive bottle of wine on us. Second, the food was not as good as it used to be. Lastly, our food took a very long time to make it to our table. When we asked the waiter why the long wait, he said he didn't think it was, trying to cover up for the kitchen's tardiness.

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CH
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My friend and I had a fantastic evening at Le Pesce in Washington, DC. We had drinks at the quaint bar before dinner - interesting choices and the standards. The meal - selections from a blackboard - was interesting and mouthwatering to read. Funny the waitstaff although local, were very Parisian in their approach. They were available, helpful if asked, but had the confidence that all of the food would be excellent - no need for questions! Everything from the bread through to the dessert (Goat Cheesecake) were simply out of this world. Wine selections by the glass or the bottle while not a huge selection were obviously well chosen for the types of entrees served at Le Pesce. Best table is a 4 top in the window - that requires a bit of an advance reservation - the coveted table with the most intimacy in the room! A small but fantastic restaurant that I would recommend to even the most well-traveled foodies! Highly recommended. I will definitely go there again and again.

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DD
1 review
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We were in DC for 5 nights and came here for dinner twice as our first visit was terrific. The menu offers a wide selection of appetizers and entres. The fish is very fresh and cooked perfectly. We ate black sea bass that was seasoned simply but deliciously, salmon with wasabi, skate wing with citrus and red drum - a new fish for us but another delight. Deserts were also very good - chocolate tart, plum sorbet the first evening and creme brule and rhubarb crumble the next. Service was very attentive. Our table the second night was a little close to a talkative couple who spoke a bit loudly. And, the bill with tip and one glass of wine each was close to $200 each night - a little pricey, but fair for DC.

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R
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

We went to dinner for Lobster Night. We were served lobster bisque, lobster beet salad, and a 1lb main lobster. The lobster bisque was terrible, there was no lobster pieces. The bisque was bland and tasted like it came straight from a can. The lobster salad was decent. Finally, the Maine lobster was good. However, the way that it was cut up made it more difficult to crack open. They had a poor selection of wine. Never going back.

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s
Washington DC
41 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

The noise level was overwhelming...........will not go there again.

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BB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was the third time I had dinner in Pesce. The food is excellent, the atmosphere is great and the staff is wonderful

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AF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had dinner there this week, the Sheepshead and Tuna entrees were excellent, the scallops/oxtail entree not so much. Somewhat overpriced for what you get, though the service was excellent.

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PG
New England
7 reviews
Dined on April 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food, with very personable staff. Nice wine list. Small and intimate setting in front that opens up a bit in back. If you love seafood this is a must when in DC!

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