Al Dente

4.4
931 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Al Dente is serving Italian Cuisine by Chef Roberto Donna near American University.
What 931 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.1
service
4.1
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
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DB
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on May 8, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 3ambience 3

Our waitress was lovely but the food was not it's usual quality.

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ML
Detroit
18 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

The wine dinner was fun. Food was terrific and all enjoyed the meal. Service was slow but friendly. My favorite wine was the Prosecco.

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AW
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

A group of family from Rome - Al Dente is the only place in DC where I can be sure of getting genuine Italian food. Viva Roberto Donna!

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JB
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

I don’t know what has happened but this used to be a great place. Tonight pasta was clearly leftover from another service, veal sauce was watered down. Out of wine we wanted & server came to ask in mid-meal if she could retrieve the glass on our table with lemons/limes because they needed it for the bar. Don’t know if these things are signs of possible closing for this restaurant. But used to be high quality. Tonite, it was really bad

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LW
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Really excellent family style dinner with great selection of genuinely Italian dishes.

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DC
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 3

Although the tasting menu was pretty good, the waitress, at first could only tell us that the main course selection was meat or fish. She had to go and find out that the fish was scallops, and that the meat was rib-eye steak. The Barbera wine we wanted was out of stock, and the second choice was there...but we couldn’t order a second bottle. In a word, the dinner was marred by a waitress who was clueless.

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BR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 3

The food was tasty. The service was unbelievably slow. We were told the gluten free pasta was the reason for the delay. It was hard to believe that it took over an hour to boil one serving of gluten free pasta.

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KT
Cleveland
6 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We had oven fired pizzas which were delicious. The staff was nice and accommodating, and the ambiance was fun and lively. They had a nice outdoor eating area. The service was a little slow, but maybe because the pizzas take some time. Overall I would recommend.

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MB
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Birthday dinner with friends, highly recommend the family style and let the chef pick everything. Everything was delicious.

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H
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food & service very good. Al Dente is one of our go to places for a nice meal @ fair prices.

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e
New England
1 review
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Unusually good food; family style restaurant; I'd definitely recommend it.

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PJ
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

This is usually a pleasant dining experience. A great friends’ get together place. However, our service was below par. I have mentioned this before in my reviews on this restaurant, they need to train their wait staff better. Some servers are truly excellent and some below par. Our server tonight lacked the skills to make this a more pleasant dining evening . We had to ask for bread , more water , etc. She also did not appear to know the menu well. Although the food is good and often excellent, more emphasis has to be put on the training of wait staff.

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EK
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We both had the 4 course pre-fix and enjoyed it. Pasta is excellent

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

valentines day

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OB
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I’ve never had a meal this good ( salmon) and been treated with such service and respect.

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t
Washington DC
44 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 2

Such slow service. Our waiter was busy doing everything except visiting our table. We have no idea what he was really doing at all. Asked the manager if he could please take our order and so he did with no apology nor any from the waiter either. 1 hour and 5 mins after we had been seated.
Food was good, but two dinners, two drinks and a salad was $170 plus tip. Very expensive for posing as a neighborhood spot with cafeteria aesthetics and untrained staff.
Don’t go!

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L
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

The kids loved the pizza

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OT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Al Dente is reliably superb

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D
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food! I most enjoy the capriciosa pizza, arugula salad, pasta, and yummy desserts. If they made Ribolitta (soup) it is a bonus.

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G
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice and affordable. Service was great and guests loved the pasta — hot until the last bite. Fish was delicious too.

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N
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything we ordered was well prepared and delicious! The service is great! Friendly atmosphere - happy patrons!

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s
Washington DC
33 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 2

Go for the tasty pasta, casual atmosphere and and the wine/beer list, which make it a nice neighborhood option. Just don't expect smooth operations. Something is always a challenge. On this night we had a table for 7 and experienced a hiccup where the pizzas came out at least 10 minutes later than the pasta, which is always really unpleasant. Unless specified otherwise, a table should be served all at once or not at all. Staff is friendly and tries to make up for glitches. We appreciate the effort.

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JS
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Roberto Donna's kitchen continues to delight. We had a terrific rockfish with a tomato-based sauce, and a fabulous braised beef. Just a unique combination of flavors, perfectly executed. Comfortable, spacious, attractive room, more relaxed than the usual down-town spot.

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B
Frankfurt Area
7 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I was disappointed, probably because a couple of friends told me it was great.
The starter we shared(fried zucchini), was small but really tasty.
The pizza was fine, but not as amazing as described. For us it would not be worth the drive. I cannot judge besides this as we had only starter and pizza.
The service was fine and friendly.

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JS
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Never disappointed. Pasta is always the best, especially the pappardelle. Attentive service. Good wine selection. Pizza excellent too. Done miss meatball appetizer or zucchini flowers.

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g
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Always good food and good service. Our neighborhood default restaurant. Never disappointed!

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m
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Roberto Donna is fantastic. Every dish, whether main, appetizer, side, or dessert, has been delicious. Very, very few restaurants anywhere produce food at this level. A gem.

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PN
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I have checked a lot of items on the list that characterize Al Dente. It works well as a neighborhood pizza joint for the AU students. It’s good for those looking for Italian beyond pizza. For some it’s an amazing find. Roberto Donna has been plying his trade at the top of ratings for 40 or so years and he’s quietly here under the radar. If he’s not good for a Michelin star or two he ought to be good for a few James Beard awards. The restaurant is a real find.

We were here for the Christmas season seven fishes traditional Italian dinner and again for the New Year’s Eve dinner, both fixed menu. Amazing tastes, some of them new experiences. Cotechino sausage, homemade there, was exceptional and nearly an afterthought on the menu. Branzino, on both menus, was a real highlight. And don’t ignore the desserts, take them home (you’ll be full from the fixed menu) and enjoy after a proper waiting period. They’re worth the wait.

We visit four or five times a year and Al Dente is always great.

Paul Nelson

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BQ
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My birthday dinner was delicious and relaxed

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e
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Almost empty at lunchtime, but a pleasant neighborhood spot. We began with a pizza - a bit underdone, but it quickly disappeared between the 3 of us - 1 child, 2 adults. My Al Dente burger and lentil soup were delicious. Both rich with cheese. Burger cooked to order. Friend had the branzino, which looked good but didn't get raves. Child also had the Al Dente burger with fries. Service okay - we may have been too busy eating to even notice our waiter. We shared a chef's dessert. Surprise is nice, but these complex desserts are a mess when divided up for sharing.

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MP
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

While they were pretty behind on reservations, the food was definitely worth the wait. We had the seven fishes dinner and every course was fabulous! Not too much food and not too little either. I definitely plan on going back soon!

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WD
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 3

Christmas Eve, they overbooked. Total chaos. Very unpleasant experience

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R
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

I like this place. The food, wine and the wait staff are all very good though I have been there on very busy nights and watched the waiters scramble to try and keep up. The restaurant features a woodfired oven in the middle of the place which lends great ambiance. They feature pizza but to be honest I stopped ordering that because the crust tends to be a bit on the limp side which is surprising given the equipment they have to work with. Besides, there are several delicious choices on the menu. Yes, I will be going again.

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OT
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Fantastic Christmas Eve 7 fishes dinner. Food was outstanding, service friendly under stain of crowded conditions, food personally overseen by Chef Donna. Beautiful experience.

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d
Washington DC
19 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Feast of Seven Fishes was a huge success. Roberto Donna is an elite, elite chef making amazing food in a neighborhood retail center. I wish I had Al Dente in Old Town, I would go very week. Back to Feast...we saw a post on Eater about Feast of Seven Fishes so we booked a table. Every single course was the best thing I had ever eaten...everything. Excellent affordable wine selection. I will be back for sure.

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

They lost our reservation in the system and even after showing them our open table confirmation acted like they were doing us a favor by seating us.

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S
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Feast of Seven Fishes was beyond our wildest expectations. Bravo!

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F
New Orleans
17 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We went for the annual Christmas Feast of Seven Fishes. It was our second time and this time we brought a friend. All the food was excellent. The chardonnay we chose was out of stock, but the restaurant sold us a pricier one and charged us the lower price of the one we had selected. Service was impeccable, and every dish was delicious.

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 1

We had the Feast of the 7 Fishes, which was delicious and the service was excellent.

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PN
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

It's nice to have one of the country's top chefs at the helm of what most would think is just a neighborhood restaurant. The American University students may view it as a pizza joint, but it's far better than that. We most enjoy it when Roberto Donna fires up for one of his prix fixe meals (often around holidays) featuring some wonderfully creative dishes. The most recent of these was the Christmas season menu, the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Al Dente is definitely worth a visit.

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