The Occidental

4.2
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2303 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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American
The Occidental has long been a destination for presidents, residents, & visitors to enjoy refined American cuisine, cocktails & history around the same table.
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Private Dining

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What 2303 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.2
service
4.4
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Quiet
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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HD
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Took an awfully long time to get our food but otherwise the food was good.

the waiter who offered to validate our parking did not disclose that a fee would be added to the bill. He also was careless and didn’t put the full stamp on our parking ticket (a key piece with a number was missing) so the valet refused to honor it. So beware! Parking came to $38 with the $10 bucks added to our bill plus full cost of valet

BN
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The crab soup was flavorful and devine. The ravioli very good, but not as eye-watering as the soup - as the soup knocked me over with its flavor. The service and ambience superb.

OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Service was not at the expected level. New York Streep was excellent

M
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Service was good and atmosphere was nice but food quality was only fair. Expectation was much higher than provided.

AP
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food4service3ambience3

Sadly, I would not recommend this restaurant for Valentine’s Day. The menu was prefix. I like having more choice. And, our experience was that service was extremely slow. Indeed, we had to ask multiple times for assistance, bread service, drinks, order taking, etc. In someways, it appeared we were forgotten. And, for at least two courses, we received the wrong dish. The prefix menu was $100 per person. That cost is high considering the service. Our past experiences have been outstanding. That is why we chose this restaurant. additionally, our advice is to reserve seating in the main dining room on the ground floor. The Valentine’s Day seating was on the second floor and packed in tightly. Thank you.

SH
Nashville
16 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic meal and service!

AV
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Came here for Valentine’s Day and it was great

OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great Valentines Dinner! For a last minute reservation the Occidental was great! Great setting, amazing food, awesome service! Thanks!!!

J
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Slow service. Undercooked meat!

MH
Miami
35 reviews
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall3food5service2ambience4

Most of the complaints about the Occidental on this and other sites seem to focus on weak service. Our experience mirrored that. We were seated quickly, and found the restaurant clean, comfortable, and pleasantly-appointed. The photos of various customers from over the decades gave us a fun pass time of playing “who is that?” Our server was an older fellow with a distinctive mustache, a jovial manner, and an accent that may have been Italian. We ordered wine, and it was exceptional, and worth the not-inconsequential price.

We placed our orders, and the appetizer arrived, was enjoyed, and its remains taken away.

Then we waited. And waited some more. The server did not come by to explain or even notice that our food was so long in coming.

Eventually, the food was served; it was cool, which makes me think that the kitchen had finished it in a timely fashion, but the waiter had forgotten about it. Our entrees were still delicious, despite being less-than-hot, but the fries were stone cold and inedible. We got the attention of another server (ours was missing in action, as per usual), and they quickly got us some hot fries.

At the end of the meal, our waiter delivered the bill, and a final insult: inverting the wine bottle to dump the dregs in my glass.

It is a shame that a restaurant with such excellent food and wine allows such incompetent servers to undermine the experience.

KK
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2020
Overall1food3service1ambience1

Service was terrible. Food was delayed. Side dishes not served until the entrees. Drink order we had to wait for 10+ minutes after being seated. Table location was jammed in a corner that made it difficult to get out of the chairs. I’ve never had a disappointing experience there like this. Very out of character but this was substandard service all the way.

I
Indiana
115 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food and service were amazing

VD
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Good service. Great food in a relaxed seating

OT
1 review
Dined on February 6, 2020
Overall2food3service2ambience3

Some dishes like the scallops and crab cakes were tremendously good. The pineapple cheesecake was terrible. Bitter. The short ribs were very good the sauce on the pork chop was really off. Limited menu selection. The service was below average; they paid attention at all the wring times. Have been coming here once or twice a year for many years. It has emotional meaning for me but there are much better ways to spend $100+ per diner for a meal. I am sorry to say I won’t be going back.

FI
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Beautiful atmosphere. Small booths. Server never arrived so we flagged someone down and he was reluctantly transformed into our server because the other was tied up. Slow to get drinks, slow to get food. My friend had ordered the french onion soup, but was brought the same appetizer I'd ordered, the ravioli. It was delicious, but hadn't been their choice. Their salmon was under-sauced/dressed so it tasted fishy and not very special, but no problem getting more sauce brought out. My scallops were delicious but the lentils they were served over were a bit undercooked. Delicious pinot gris. For the money, I'd make another choice next time.

VV
Washington DC
22 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall4food5service2ambience5

The ambiance is fun, and the location is excellent -- very close to National Theater. The food was tasty and well-prepared, but the service was surprisingly slow and inattentive.

BG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience3

PreTheater Dinner, which they did not have on Saturday. The experience was a C-, or D. Shocked!

m
San Antonio
28 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2020
Overall3food5service5ambience1

Food is very good. My wife and I had dinner at the Occidental twice in three days.

CL
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 23, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My recent experience at the Occidental was much improved--a different and more appealing menu and excellent/fantastic service by Chanel!

OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Business lunch upstairs in the bar area was fantastic!!! Perfect spot to get together with ample space. The food was amazing...one of the best seared tuna dishes I’ve had in DC. Josh the beverage director really knows his stuff and was great at curating the experience with some spot on wine choices. Especially loved the Mondavi Napa cab. Can’t wait to bring my clients back for a dinner or happy hour. Don’t miss this place if your in town or a local looking for some good food/wine.

MR
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dining at The Occidental was an extremely memorable experience because of the great service and the excellent food offered. The ambiance was very nice and a place I would like to return to very soon. On the menu, the restaurant offered octopus which initially would have been a concern, but it was very tasty and the presentation was done well. I enjoyed this restaurant very much.

JW
London
17 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We made the booking.

T
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The Occidental is one of the classic historical restaurant in this Country. I have been eating there since 1961. It is our favorite place to take out of town guests (even locals who have never been there who, without exception, enjoy the experience. The photos on the wall present a historical picture of the US and create a test for history buffs to identify whose picture it is.

The cornbread, in lieu of, a typical bread basket is one of the best. Our most recent guest, who is a lover of cornbread, said it was the best he had ever had. Another guest (from one of the embassies in the US) who never had cornbread became an aficionado of it and could not stop eating it.

PM
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Haven't been there in 30 years and was not disappointed. Great atmosphere, the food was sensational, and the service was excellent.

OT
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Staff was friendly and fun. The ambience is semi-formal without being too stuffy.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We enjoyed our meal!! Been a while since we visited Occidental and the food is still delicious

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2020
Overall1food1service3ambience5

We went for restaurant week. The steak dish was awful, the plating didn’t look appetizing. It looked like 3 dry over-cooked pieces of meat on a large plate with barely any sauce or vegetables. I was surprised the Occidental would serve something like this. The other dishes (appetizers, pork entree) tasted great and were beautifully presented. The waiter never came back so we didn’t have a chance to discuss our disappointment in the steak. While we were in the middle of dessert, 2 people at the next table received their steak dinners and they looked beautiful - thick pieces of rare steak, presented/garnished very nicely. I realized then that we got the scrap end pieces of steak.

S
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I highly recommend this resturant to my friends or anyone. The food are super and services are excellent. Sitting is cozy yet quiet, surrounding with pictures of famous politicians. They give corn bread in a cast iron pan that Is so good to start, I will go back just for it!

HN
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Exceptional experience! From entry to departure, the Occidental staff were cordial, courteous, and professional. The wait staff was knowledgeable about the food and accompanying wines. The food was primarily delicious although some items were saltier than my palate prefers. That would be easily remedied by letting the server know when I order. The ambiance, including the bathroom, had a beautiful, old world charm, which was elegant without being stuffy. Can't wait to go back!

KB
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Very nice space, and always quiet at lunch, but very pricey. We ordered two appetizer salads and two cups of coffee and the bill was over $40, not including a tip.

F
Philadelphia
26 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a wonderful experience and even on a snow day, the service and food were great. I will be back.

B
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall2food2service2ambience1

Booked for diner at last night in Washington. Waiter wasn’t really happy to see us show up on a Saturday night. Would rather go home. Very poor menu choice. Food was not fresh, starter and main course were served immediately after each other. We had to pay big bill for poor service, food and ambiance. On top both were sick the whole night . Wouldn’t recommend anybody, pitty!

WT
1 review
Dined on January 3, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Very nostalgic...old money...older people...dont know if this place will survive with the up and coming millenniums....no one under 40 there. Such a great history and great pictures. bet many a deal was made in this place...

M
Washington DC
128 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

New Years set menu! Fantastic food and beautifully presented. Servers warm friendly which made a great New Year celebration. Next year, same spot!

OT
Atlanta
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall1food1service3ambience2

Food was terrible. The NYE menu was trash. Food was unnecessarily expensive and portions were small.

S
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience4

We had dinner there for New Year’s eve. It was a fixed menu with three courses and dessert. The first course had two offerings that were very good. We didn’t try the third. The second course that I had was the sea scallop wrapped in prosciutto on a bed of some kind of salad that was not great but OK. The sea scallop tasted a little fishy, it may have been a little old. The third course I had was the braised short rib which was OK actually it was all right but the vegetable in this kind of milky sauce was not good at all. The desserts were fine but for a special occasion like New Year’s Eve and a fixed price of $85 per person, I thought it was very disappointing. We had made reservations several nights before and yet with the restaurant half empty, they sat us in the darkest corner away from everyone. I wondered if that was because of the DC habit of putting the “more important patrons” in the forefront.

LF
New York Area
38 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience5

Knives that tasted like raw fish. Oysters so tough we couldn’t get ourselves to finish. Cavatelli in the same plate as fish in some sort of “broth”. Highly disappointing.

J
Nashville
16 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food. Great service.

MR
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We went to the Occidental prior to seeing Jersey Boys, because it boasted a pre-Theater menu. Both of our meals were excellent! Servers were quite attentive. The surroundings were pictures of hundreds of national figures from years past- many autographed. It wS quite a good experience!

MG
Washington DC
21 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The food was good but not as good as expected. The butternut squash was delicious. My husband had the pork chop and I had the scallops. The lights were burnt out. Could be a little better in upkeep.

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