Masala Art - SW Waterfront

4.8
840 Reviews
$30 and under
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.
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What 840 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.9
food
4.7
service
4.7
ambience
4.7
value
Noise · Moderate
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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vipTimothyR
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic food - the channa masala was rich and tasty, and the butter chicken was so good too. My parents had not had Indian food before, and while trepidatious at first, they loved everything that they tried, and in fact want to go back tomorrow! I particularly like the laal maans (very spicy goat curry).

OT
OpenTable Diner
Baltimore
4 reviews
Dined on June 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The owner was very attentive and accommodating.He was really nice. The food was outstanding and prices were great for a DC restaurant.

KK
KimK
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on June 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great tasting food, good service, and good price.

BG
vipBirthdayGirl
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Food is always great with large portions!

GJ
GJDC
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

For excellent Indian food in Southwest, Masala Art has never disappointed. I've enjoyed takeout during the pandemic, and this was the first time to dine in with a couple of friends post-vaccination. Cocktails were unique and a great start, along with a very tasty appetizer of the broccoli and pea patties. Each of our vegetarian entrees was excellent, served with a generous side of rice. The roti was also exactly what you'd expect from a good Indian restaurant. The only challenge was for the single server who was staffing both the dining room and take-out service, so service was on the slow side. But I expect this will be back to normal as things continue to open up. No, Masala Art doesn't have the views (or the prices) of the Wharf restaurants, but the food is excellent and that's what it's about. The restaurant is close to Metro and Arena Stage, and it's an easy walk to the Wharf, Nationals Park, and the Mall, so what's not to like?

DM
DeepM
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The food was great and decently priced. They were also very generous in allowing us to move to a bigger table. There was some miscommunication in our order, but the waiter was very happy to accommodate us with what we wanted to eat.

b
vipbeyou73
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on May 22, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Highly recommend Masala Art - SW. All around great dining experience.

BS
BrendaS
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was excellent, and service without a halt! It's always a good place to go before a show at Arena.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food . Great service. Live music from the bar area was a little loud. Other than that, a great evening.

AH
vipAndrewH
New York Area
20 reviews
Dined on February 29, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Truly some of the tastiest and refreshing Indian food I have ever had. And the naan was to dies for!

QE
vipQED1
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2020
Overall3food4service1ambience4

Second time in a row that we couldn’t get food in time to eat it and wrong food item brought to us. In the past we never had trouble here so we’re confused as to what’s happening. We didn’t recognize the staff. Has there been a turnover in personnel or ownership?

C
vipCanada
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience4

We having been coming to Marsala Art ever since they opened the 4th Street location. We go before plays at Arena Stage on Sunday night. This time we had tickets for Saturday night. Made a reservation for 6:30. When we arrived it was very busy. Did not get seated for 12 minutes. We quickly made our food decision and orders around 6:50. At 7:20 no food. Spoke to our waiter and he said he would check. At 7:30 with still no food and waiter not getting back to us we left. What I don't understand is a restaurant allowing itself getting so overwhelmed you cannot handle customer's orders. Don't allow reservations to be made after as many as the kitchen can handle. We will not let this one incident stop us from going back but if it happens again will have to rethink.

k
vipkarensdogs
Washington DC
39 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall3food3service3ambience3

It was very busy at dinner time. Our server was so overwhelmed, he forgot to order one dish. Another dish came out without the main ingredient, the shrimp.

FX
FX22032
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Pre-theater (Arena Stage) lunch buffet on Saturday. Perfect! And Masala Art discounts by 10% for Arena patrons!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall3food3service2ambience5

Food was mediocre and the server was in a hurry.

LL
LibraryLady
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Contrary to other visits, entrees took over 30 minutes to arrive though the restaurant and the waiter had been told that we were going to Arena Stage. The food when it arrived was good and all enjoyed what they had ordered. We had to hurry to get to Arena Stage to meet the 4th person in our group and to pick up our tickets.

f
vipferna
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on February 20, 2020
Overall3food4service2ambience3

Although the food is delightful in a neighborhood short on tasty options, this restaurant continues to be challenged by service issues. On this particular night, our appetizer arrived before the drinks. After we flagged down our server, he went to check with the bar and returned with our drinks. My entree came promptly, but apparently the server never "heard" my companions entree order. Additionally, he noted that the bread was delayed. My companion's belated entree came within 5 minutes, but the bread continued to be awol, requiring another inquiry of and by the server.

AD
ArlDCDiner
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall3food5service2ambience5

Our waitress paid no attention to us. Wine came after the food and we had to remind her. We told her we were sharing the food and we got no serving spoons, etc. The food however, was as great as ever.

L
vipLadyshrink
Washington DC
115 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2020
Overall3food3service2ambience4

I have gone a number of times to this restaurant before attending performances at Arena Stage. This is the first time I have not been wholly satisfied. While my appetizer was quite wonderful (I don't know the name; it was the second one), the lamb shanks did not strike me as having a complex flavor, though the sauce had some. Also, one of my dinner companions did not receive his entree until at least 5 minutes after the rest of us; it was not a complex one.
I am hoping this was a "off" night and I will try them again, but it was disappointing.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall2food3service4ambience2

We had a reservation, but when we arrived we were not able to sit in the main dining area. I was disappointed that we had been given a reservation that the restaurant was not able to accommodate. The food was fine and the service lovely, but the miscommunication at the start soured the experience.

NH
vipNotHomeTonight
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Expertly executed, delicious food. Familiar dishes (think Lamb Korma or Baijan Bharta) and novel offerings (Goat-Cheese Dumplings in a golden sauce or Pani Poori, tiny appetizer dumplings prettily served on a porcelain spoon). Very attractive place, nicely lighted and not too loud. Convenient to Arena Stage, perfect for theater night. The only small issue was that our guests arrived after we had been seated, and the hostess unfortunately told them that we hadn't checked in yet. It all worked out, but it was an inauspicious beginning. Still, all in all, an excellent experience. Highly recommended!

SP
vipSPAL
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on February 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A delightful dinner with a professional colleague. The prawns peri peri - a go-to favorite of mine - has its usual outstanding flavor although the size of the prawns has grown considerably over the years. The lamb Veruval was tender and moist, melting in the mouth with its delicious sauce, all of this accompanied by the rock and cilantro naan, the best naan in Washington, DC. Masala Art has the best Indian food in DC. The flavors are deeply embedded in the food. Each bite brings a consistently delicious flavor and leaves me in a great mood after I’ve finished.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall3food5service1ambience4

First, the food in fantastic. So good that I am willing to ignore that poor service and give the restaurant a second chance. It took over 20 minutes to take or order and I had to ask the manager about our food before it came out. Overall it took almost an hour to get our food. Once the food came out we loved everything served. Their version of chicken tiki Masala (can’t remember the specific name on the menu) was very well prepared and very tasty, the lamb shanks was delicious, and the vegetable sides were very good and nicely spiced. We had to rush through dinner because we had somewhere to be.

B
vipBrenna
Washington DC
49 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall3food5service4ambience4

Food took much longer than normal tonight, and we didn't get our order of naan, but it still ended up on the bill, so when we were already in a hurry to leave to get to Arena Stage, we had to wait to have the check adjusted. The server was very nice, but we sat for way too long waiting for our food--we almost finished a full bottle of wine while waiting.

L
vipLuvyoga11
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall3food3service1ambience5

The food was so-so. The service was horrific. My drink came after the appetizers had been out for a bit. I ordered the pre theater menu. I won’t be back.

M
vipMaggie
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience5

The food, ambiance and prices are all good. Service this time was not great. We had theatre tickets and had informed our server but it took so long to get our food that we had to gobble it down. And the server forgot one item.

JD
vipJimDLS
Washington DC
39 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great, go to restaurant for Pre- Arena Stage Theater. Tasty food and good service and quiet enough to have an intimate conversation while still feeling both private and festive. Super gracious hospitality.

AD
vipArtfulDodger
Washington DC
37 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall3food3service1ambience3

Not sure if someone did not show up for a shift, but getting our order in was a major ordeal. We were going to Arena Stage. 6 o'clock dinner reservation, 8 o'clock show and our food did not arrive until 7:20. A manager stepped in to help. Jeez!

DC
vipDCDiner
Washington DC
410 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2020
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Appetizers were served cold. Tasty, but COLD. Entrees were better. Lamb dishes are particularly good.

S
vipSuzy
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience3

This is our favorite neighborhood restaurant and in SW DC with the Wharf restaurants nearby this
is a compliment. The food is delicious and I hope the restaurant survives all the new competition.
The noise level would rate five stars and does if one doesn't go on the nights when they have live
music in the bar area.

AR
AmyR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience2

The food was not as uniformly good as it has been in the past. Also service was not consistent.

J
vipJill
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Masala is my go-to restaurant for fine Indian fare in DC. We had a new waiter, so the service was not as good as it usually is, and had a snafu with the bill. The pre-theater menu (with 1/2 price wine) is a solid value. Highly recommend!

TL
TravelingLizzie
Montreal
4 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great find in Southwest DC.

e
vipemfdc
Washington DC
31 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall4food4service2ambience4

First time here in a while. Food is still good although set up is not great for sharing plates. Service has gotten very slow however. It does not appear there are enough wait staff. If you have a show to get to, arrive early or pick some place else.

CW
CindyW
New Mexico
2 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience1

We have a season subscription to Arena Stage so we have eaten at Masala Art in the past and enjoyed it. This time was very different from our past experiences. The musical group in the bar area was so loud that at our table on the opposite side of the building from the bar it was, at times, too loud to talk at our table. The service was very slow. We saw several patrons walk out without ordering because of the slow service. It took 25 minutes to get wine and beer to our table after we ordered. The food service was slower than usual but not as slow as the drinks from the bar. We asked for the check after the main courses had been served so we could leave as soon as we were done and make the curtain for the show. After 15 minutes, we still did not have the check and we had to ask again. When the check arrived there were multiple errors and the check had to be corrected. We have enjoyed Masala Art in the past but this experience was not what we have come to expect.

AR
vipAlexandriaRocks
Washington DC
36 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

If you like Indian food this is a must do!

BA
vipBigAl
Washington DC
53 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

We have gone to this restaurant many times prior to seeing shows at the Arena Theater. The menu offers a good selection of vegetarian as well as meat and seafood dishes, and also allows a choice of spicy or moderate seasoning. However, the service this time was exceptionally slow (despite a less than full seating) and the seasoning somewhat inconsistent -- an off night.

b
babyboomerfoodie
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

The food here is consistently very good.
We often go prior to Sunday night plays at Arena Stage. This time the service was especially slow. Our waitress was constantly on the move and was always courteous. But we wondered why she was performing so many tasks, such as clearing tables, when the food and beverages were so slow to arrive. At the end of our entrées, we were informed that they were out of the bread we had ordered. We then ordered a simpler bread and were charged for both bread orders. Surely we should not have been charged for either. We made it to the play, but did not want to take the extra time to dispute the bread charges. This was not our best experience at Masala Art.

Q
vipQuita
Baltimore
57 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were sorry that the buffet was not there, but our meal was excellent

OT
OpenTable Diner
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

It was a good experience overall

FAQs

Masala Art - SW Waterfront does offer delivery in partnership with Postmates and Uber Eats. Masala Art - SW Waterfront also offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (202) 554-1101.

Masala Art - SW Waterfront is rated 4.8 stars by 840 OpenTable diners.

Masala Art - SW Waterfront does offer gift cards which you can purchase here https://www.toasttab.com/masala-art/giftcards.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

Tweets by Masala Art - SW Waterfront