The Occidental

4.3
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2283 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 2283 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Quiet
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MR
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
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 7 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We made the booking.

T
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
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 7 days ago
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
28 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
125 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
36 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.

ST
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Food was just ok. Service was meh.

EF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Chestnut ravioli appetizer: pasta undercooked, fill granny.
Duck entree: requested medium, got raw. Not good tasting.
Very good service.
$100 per person, including tip. No dessert, one bottle of wine !

OT
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious place to eat for Christmas Eve and perfect location, too!

P
Washington DC
91 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

A pleasure to dine at this location. Service was prompt and attentive despite a full house and all seats occupied at every table. Food was excellent with a limited menu and two specials. I ordered the rib eye special which was excellent, prepared exactly to the requested temperature. My dining companion's meal was also excellent and prepared as ordered. The wine list had many excellent and interesting choices. Desserts were a bit gilding the lily but worth every extra calorie. The walls are covered with pictures of the famous and not-so-much who have dined here. With two entrances (lower to dining room and upper to bar) use the one where you have made a reservation (very necessary). Hint, bar has high-top tables. There are stairs between the two levels and the restrooms are on the upper level. Expect an evening to remember. Enjoy!

CH
Singapore
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

Went for dinner on Christmas Eve and was given a huge table for 5 of us. Perhaps that made the whole experience less cosy. Food was excellent, and service was attentive, if cold. Worth a visit just to see the decor and all the different personalities who have been there but not the kind of place I’d rave over

MQ
Washington DC
31 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was fantastic!
Nice X-mass eve dinner.

MA
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience3

Mom and I went for Xmas Eve Dinner. She had one glass of wine - I had no club soda with a splash of cranberry and lime. Mom had a filet and ceasar sale - I had chestnut ravioli with short rib beef and a pork chop. Their corn bread could be dessert - spectacular and sweet. At $200 for two with tip, I found it a bit pricey.

MS
Washington DC
34 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had the striped bass - outstanding. Family lunch, Marine on leave with friend, college age daughter and wife. They loved the pictures and showed them the table where the Cuban Missle Crises was resolved ... A wonderful experience.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our server Armando was fantastic, and our family really enjoyed our meal! He was very entertaining and really went above and beyond to make sure we got everything just the way we wanted. The food was cooked perfectly. The location was also perfect because our family went to see the national Christmas tree that we could walk to easily from the restaurant. We’ve never eaten at the Occidental before so we really appreciated Armando taking time to go over the menu and share some history about the restaurant. He even brought us a book so we could see who all of the portraits were of instead of trying to squint and read the name tags. I can tell the restaurant is well managed because he even brought his manager over to meet the table and he told us how much he enjoys working for her. We would all highly recommend the restaurant!

M
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

I have been there many times for lunch. A much better value, service and food quality. I was very disappointed for our special night out. Sorry I was not able to get into Filomina's in Georgetown.

LL
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Beautiful restaurant, great ambiance, wonderful food

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience2

Freezing cold! Get space heaters.

j
Washington DC
43 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

First time dining at The Occidental. Not quite sure why I haven’t dined here before. A most delicious 3-course pre-theatre menu and excellent service. Few places offer wine parings, a wonderful option. (The only reason why I offered a 4 versus 5 star rating for ambience is that the first floor level was incredibly cold even though we were situated in a corner spot. Otherwise, love the ambiance.) I’ll definitely return.

AE
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

In 40 years I’ve never had a bad meal at the Occidental. My business lunch was excellent, food perfect and service even better.

GH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 18, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Fantastic dinner! The Pre-theatre Menu is a very good deal and plenty of food. We added the wine pairing which is also very affordable. Some of the wine was better than others but enjoyable nonetheless.
There were 4 of us and we could have conversation with each other without talking loud or leaning into the table. The wait staff were attentive and the water pouring person remembered that I didn't want ice in my water every time he refilled my glass. Only complaint is the order person didn't stick around long enough for us to ask questions about the food but that's a minor complaint. We had not dined here before but we will be back. Thanks so much!

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience4

Our waiter seemed to be hard of hearing. He would walk away in the middle of my mother and I saying something, and he seemed like he was in a rush for us to put our orders in when he was at our table. I had also explicitly asked that a cake and candles be brought out to surprise my mother since I was taking her there for her birthday. When they called to confirm the reservation they assured me they had the request on file, and then the server totally forgot. We ordered the pre-theater menu and dessert was included in her order, so literally all they had to do was put a candle on the dessert. We got the pre-theater because we had tickets to National Theater, so we had to be out our the restaurant to make our show and there was no time for me to scramble and put something together after I realized they had completely forgotten it. I mentioned something to the manager on the way out, and she was very nice about it, but it was an incredibly disappointing aspect to the meal. The food was exceptionally good, and the ambience is great. It’s just a shame that the service was so bad and let me down on what was supposed to be a special celebration.

FJ
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I marked down on ambience but it is to give your staff at the door a compliment. There were a lot of walk-in people, some of whom asked to read a menu before they decided to stay or leave. Many were inappropriately dressed. No matter what, the staff at the door were professional, polite, and way more tolerant than I would have been. They deserve major kudos..especially the lady who was wearing a beautiful pearl studded brown sweater. She was amazing!

The waiter was out of this world! We are local, but first timers at the Occidental. He was the consummate pro..knew the menu, made suggestions, which were great, and seemed to always be there when you needed him but left you alone otherwise. Very personable, though, too, as he chatted with us about local theater offerings.

The food was outstanding. We split the Amish mushroom spaetzle appetizer. Delicious! Chicken and waffles were particularly good due to fluffy waffles and somehow the chef infused just the right amount of syrup into the chicken. Steak and eggs were awesome. The steak and broccoli were grilled with just the right smoky flavor.

A definite pre theater treat!

OT
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall2food1service3ambience3

Our waiter was friendly and gave us good service, but our food (soup, quiche and eggs Benedict) was cold. Nothing worse than that! And it was an expensive meal. We shared a dessert that really didn't taste fresh. I wouldn't go back for brunch. Can't speak to dinner.

The valet parking at the Willard was a nightmare. There was a long line of people waiting for cars and only two valets, who were trying as hard as possible to keep up but couldn't. Apparently, some of the cars were blocked in (not sure how). But we were almost late to the play, waiting to get our car.

f
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Stately DC establishment with great history and hearty food that's artfully prepared.

OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2019
Overall3food5service1ambience5

I honestly never write poor reviews and rarely experience a reason to do so anyway but when you go to a place like the Occidental, you expect service to be top notch. It was worse than I have experienced almost ever. I was treating a friend for a bday and it was embarrassing how inattentive the staff was. We even had to ask for our plates to be cleared and had to skip dessert bc we knew it would take so long it would never happen. Very disappointing.

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