Masala Art - SW Waterfront

4.0
753 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary Indian
At long last, I have a good answer for theatergoers hoping to catch dinner near Arena Stage on the Southwest Waterfront. It’s called Masala Art and it’s a spinoff of the Indian restaurant of the same name in Tenleytown.

Since mid-July, when the second restaurant made its debut, loyalists have had rich reasons to dine closer to home. One is chicken tikka, its moist nuggets elevated with basil and lime leaves. Another is a south Indian fish curry that gathers chunks of cobia in a turmeric-tinted coconut milk gravy. (The dark purple rind in the bowl is kokum, a fruit that imparts a pleasant sweet-sour note.) Tender baby eggplant draped in a thick cloak of pureed peanuts, sesame seeds and tamarind makes for a meaty vegetarian meal.
1101 Fourth St. SW. 202-554-1101. masalaartdc.com.
WashingtonPost.com,
What 753 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.0based on recent ratings
4.2
food
3.6
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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BA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Much better than expected and this is coming from a foodie. We chose the tasting menu which meant five courses to include an Amuse and each course had its own wine pairing. Only issue I had was that the wine tasted cheap and the wines were not transitioned out to match the course, it was a choice between one red or one white which didn't match what was on the menu. The wine options were not as advertised for the tasting menu.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good food, great service, moderate price ez walk to Arena Stage, I recommend it!

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w
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Server was outstanding. Very helpful, pleasant attitude and attentive. Made celebrating one of our guests birthday a very special occasion.

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

Great Indian food. Went two nights in a row for an encore dining experience.

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M
New York Area
107 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

We had the $45 tasting menu. It is a lot to eat, but gives you a variety of dishes. The food was all very good. Our server Leo was very attentive, but not overbearing. It was nice to find a quiet place to eat in DC, especially in the Wharf District. I thought the tasting menu was a very good value for all the food you received. We could not finish it all.

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A
Washington DC
39 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 3

The food is very good, but the service is much less so. They always seem to be short-staffed. Our waiter was pleasant, but not especially attentive, e.g., he took orders from a table that came in after us. It wasn't his fault that they had no idea what they wanted and required a lot of time and explanations (10 minutes with them!), but it was frustrating to listen to their exchanges. We also saw our drinks, waiting on a side table for several minutes, while our waiter talked with another server. We asked someone else on staff to bring our drinks to the table. All of that detracted from our experience.

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B
Washington DC
33 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is our staple pre-theater dinner. We are never disappointed by the food, the flavors are always fantastic. And they have a rather eclectic wine list that really compliments the spices in the food.

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c
Washington DC
73 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A great place for dinner before Area Stage or any time. Our only problem is over eating. It does seem that the menu choices have been reduced, but there are still many choices that are delicious and interesting.

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d
Washington DC
31 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Wonderful Indian Food [and I have Indian "honorary relatives"]
A friend & I come every time we have Arena Tickets--and everything we have ever ordered was wonderful. Tasty, nice size portions so you can have more than one thing ["nice size" is not code for "too small" -- more like "appropriate"]
one main dish & 2 1/2 portions or sides is more than enough

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MK
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Masala Art - SW Waterfront has the best Indian food I've ever eaten. It is not your standard fare. The flavors are unique and complex. This is my go-to place for Indian cuisine.

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M
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great pre-theatre dinner

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SW
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We enjoyed everything except the onion rings. We will definitely go again.

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S
Jacksonville
8 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

My daughter and I seated with only a small delay-a nice seat in an otherwise nearly empty restaurant
our pre-dinner drink request was simple and almost well-handled, server poured water over the table and noticed only after we advised, promptly and apologetically cleaned
the chicken appetizer was tastier than expected, one veg, one lamb entree good, stingy on rice
dessert coffees surprised server who must have been new-very kind but hovered too much

will likely return, maybe even in 2019, but will almost certainly sit, eat, and drink in the bar area.

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CS
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Good food but service was spotty.

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CS
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Our otherwise cheerful server never introduced himself, which seemed odd. We appreciated that he answered our numerous questions about the menu, but after we ordered our food, he never came back to check on us, or to find out if we needed anything else, even though we had mentioned we might order something else.

The food overall was well seasoned. We especially enjoyed the chicken tikka appetizer, the chickpea biryani, and the goat-cheese-stuffed bread. Delicious! And we didn’t have to wait long for the food.

I would go back again despite the odd service.

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WA
Baltimore
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was excellent and tastefully prepared. Seasoning was to all four members of our dinner party. The service was impeccable our waiter was very patient and explained any dish we had questions about. I will be returning .

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JF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Restaurant wasn’t open at that time.
Was ridiculous that you could make a booking.

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e
Washington DC
29 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Pres fixe vegan meal full of lovely surprises and great value. Attentive and kind waiter. Will do that again

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PO
Denver
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We arrived at 5:00 PM on a rainy Sunday and had the place to ourselves. Our waiter was responsive, the food very good. I recommend the rock salt naan and the chili garlic naan. The place filled up by 7:00.

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S
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food, great atmosphere! Among the best Indian food in DC.

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MG
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very very good! My sister and I had the tasting menu which gave a very good selection of the restaurants’ food. Even though our waiter was new, he was very thoughtful and attentive. Good prices, excellent service and pleasant atmosphere. Will definitely be back!

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KM
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on April 29, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

We had lunch reservations. Promptly seated but took at least 20 minutes before wait staff appeared. Restaurant was not busy. Food was very good but again probably 20 minutes before it arrived. Pace was just a bit too leisurely.

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N
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 2ambience 3

The food was good, but the restaurant was clearly overwhelmed by the combination of a birthday party and a rush of pre-theater diners. We did make our 7:30 curtain, but the slow service created tension that detracted from the enjoyment of the experience.

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LK
Las Vegas
9 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent as always

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SQ
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

The restaurant is OK but the service is incredibly slow and anxious making for theater goers. We had to ask multiple times for drinks, some food items and bill. They need to hire more waiters.

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

We were there and fabulous. The food was awesome but an extra waiter or two would have helped the waiter to table ratio for service levels.

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KB
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

A wonderful surprise. My friend and I had the Tasting Menu. It truly provided an excellent assortment of all the different flavors available, and everything was delicious. Like other reviews I will say the service was a little off, but I think ours may have been due to the waiter being new. As other staff noticed, they pitched in to help, and genuinely showed an effort to be attentive and accommodating. Overall the experience was very satisfying and I believe that if notified of theater tickets or other scheduling issues up front, Masala staff would ensure the service was as prompt as possible. Highly recommend.

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A
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Best things about the restaurant: ambience! (it is not too loud) and the food was excellent. The service was slow. Admittedly we did not adequately alert the waiter about our theater tickets until we realized that dinner was taking a really long time to appear, so don't make that mistake if you go. It was about 45 minutes from ordering to having food on the table on a Friday night at 6:30. Once the food arrived, we were really happy because it was very delicious!

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GB
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on April 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My wife and I went to Masala Art for dinner before going to see a play at the Area Theatre. The food was extremely tasty, both the appetizer and dessert, both of which we split, and our entrees. The delivery of our food was timed almost perfectly, and the waitstaff were extremely attentive without being intrusive. We both enjoyed it very much.

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JL
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on April 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food and great service!

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k
New York Area
30 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 3

The food was great, no doubt there but the service was a bit slow and our waitress was not very hygenic handling the food, her fingers dipped into the food while she was placing the dishes on the table. I think she definitely needs to be re-trained. The manager and the hostess were great and made us feel welcome.

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d
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on April 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place! Their food is always delicious, service gracious and efficient, lovely atmosphere, not too noisy, convenient for a pre-theater dinner.

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MA
Washington DC
63 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

The food was excellent. It's my favorite Indian restaurant. Lots of really nice options on the menu. Love the spicy Tandoori Prawns!

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KK
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The brunch is a great deal. Good food at a good price!

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BC
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

We were happily surprised at our experience. We did pre-theater dinner for Arena Stage and it worked beautifully. The food was interesting and good. It was all very pleasant.

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o
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

This is probably the 5th or 6th time I’ve eaten here before a show, and this time the service was terrible and the food was barely okay. We showed up at 6:30 for a 7:30 show. We ordered the prix fixe menu so we could have a faster meal. We let the server know we had to leave by 7:15 for the show, and he assured us we would receive our meal in plenty of time. We didn’t receive our drinks until the second course, and our meal took so long that we couldn’t eat the last course. We didn’t have time to box up our leftovers, and our water was not filled the entire time.

I wish this was a better option for dinner before seeing a show at Arena Stage. The service and value were abysmal and the restaurants was not that busy. I won’t be going back after this experience.

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

When going to Arena Stage, going to Masala Art -SW Waterfront is an added treat and the menu has lots of variety.

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M
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Pre-theatre Dinner

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D
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place, very tasty food and good service. The food is amazing, a lot of new things and a very good price.

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WB
1 review
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good food, reasonable portions and prices and music (soprano sax with recorded backing tracks- top notch musicianship)

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