Sonoma Restaurant + Wine Bar

4.4
1643 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
At Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, our culinary mission is straightforward - use the best local ingredients as simply as possible. New American Cuisine places an emphasis on seasonal ingredients that are regionally available, and our menu changes frequently to reflect the Mid-Atlantic’s offerings. The first floor, a bustling, “upscale-casual” bistro and wine bar, offers superior moderately-priced cuisine by using the best local, organic, and naturally raised ingredients. The menu bears a southern European influence, and is comprised of four groups: cheese and charcuterie, handmade pasta and pizzas, wood-grilled meats and fish, and organic salads and produce. The second floor features a lounge and reserve wine bar along with a dining room for private events. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be taken by telephone or through OpenTable. $25/bottle corkage fee (2 bottle maximum) $3/person cake fee (including cupcakes)
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What 1643 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
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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e
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A very interesting menu and a particularly attractive setting.

C
Baltimore
11 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Everyone loved the burgers

B
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 3

Disappointing lunch. A favorite, the chicken liver mousse/pate, comes with only 2 slices of the foccaci bread, not enough. You have to order a separate order of just the bread to get 4 more slices, when you only need 1 or 2 more. Previous visits gave 2 more slices at no charge, so a terrible change in their policy. Wow! Entre salad with added chicken was only fair. Risotto was tasty but one of the veggies in it was woody and stringy. Service people were lovely, but the food quality has fallen badly. This used to be a favorite spot for celebrations and get-togethers. Not after this!

MA
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was simply outstanding. First rate chef - best in DC

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and atmosphere!

LR
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

My food was a little overcooked, but the atmosphere made up for it.

GG
1 review
Dined on July 14, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was delicious and our server was very pleasant and accommodating to our needs

AD
Charleston
140 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a great place! The food was delicious and the service by Nick Gambo was excellent! He steered us in the right direction with food and wine. I went two nights in a row!

AD
Charleston
140 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Rapidly becoming one of my favorite places in DC! It is so convenient to Capitol Hill and has wonderful choices of food and wine! Have enjoyed it before and will return!

JA
Washington DC
136 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Pre-theater. Good service. Fine arugula salad. Risotto. And delicious chocolate cake.

SR
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

All good except the noise! The food was good, but a bit pricey. The service was efficient. We attended the Folger Theater, so the distance to walk was not great, even in the rainstorm. We were grateful for shelter when we reached the Sonoma, and cheered by the fare and drink.

RM
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good service and good food in a very pleasant, quiet environment.

R
Washington DC
31 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Perfect for pre-theater at the Folger. Comfortable, a menu with items to please everyone, nice wine choices.

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

A $39 pre-theatre menu is much too expensive for the offerings and quality. Over cooked angel hair pasta. 2slices of meat on the charcuterie plate
V. food server who got us out on time. $140 for OK food and one glass of rose each, no desert.

MH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

NIce place to have dinner within easy walking distance of Folger theater. Very good selection of wine.

h
Richmond
13 reviews
Dined on May 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and great service. Noise level rises as evening progresses, but earlier evening dining very pleasant.

K
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on May 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sonoma was a great place to meet a business colleague for lunch.

EF
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 3

I’ve liked most meals at Sonoma, but the lamb Berger was disappointing. The meat was dry, the sauce was too sweet and masked the lamb, and the fries were soggy and dull. The service was good as usual.

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Amazing pasta

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RM
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Fun place, close to the Folger Theatre. The menu is small but varied, can accomodate almost any taste and budget. The selections were interesting. The drinks and the food were very good. It has a comfortable, neighborhood ambiance. The service was very good. There are also outside tables for nice weather. The noise level inside was certainly tolerable. The bar scene seemed fairly active (around 5:30 PM when we were there). It was not our first time there, and won’t be our last. It’s our go to place when we go the Folger as we don’t live in the immediate vicinity. We recommend it highly.

G
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 4

Sonoma has been on our neighborhood favorite list since it moved into the space previously occupied by Barolo. Up until the last two years it maintained a good table. Unfortunately, it has gone South. Way South. Our last two meals were particularly bad. Most recently Monday May 6, 2019, we ordered smoked trout and asparagus risotto. The trout was not trout and the risotto was a tasteless mess. New management? New kitchen? Don't know. After many, many dinners, arrivederici Sonoma. It was a good ride while it lasted. An additional minor point. Any restaurant that serves Saratoga as mineral water is clueless. We complained (and did not order the swill) for months. No action. So, arrivederici. Capitol Hill has some wonderful restaurants now. Try them.

A
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on May 6, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

Yes, Sonoma’s location is great if you’re headed to the Folger Library for a production or the Library of Congress. But, the prices are too steep for the small portions and the lighting is way too dim in the evening.

T
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 4

Sonoma had once been at the vanguard of Italian-inspired, chef-driven, creative yet accessible cuisine in DC. Sadly, no longer. On a recent Saturday, I ordered pate de campagne as a first course. What arrived was definitely not country pate. Mistakes happen, but when I pointed it out to the server, he assured me that it was, in fact, country pate, that it was house-made and therefore "a little different." He said he'd talk to the chef and update the menu description. Ten or so minutes later, after I was half-way done, a plate of country pate arrives. "They gave you chicken liver mousse," the server says. Again, mistakes happen, but the server could not tell he was serving me the wrong dish! Inexcusable. At least the country pate, once it showed up, was very good.

My entree was paparadelle with lamb ragu. The fresh, house-made paparadelle was excellent -- tender but with a perfect al-dente bite -- but the ragu was, not to put too fine a point on it, bland. I didn't think it was possible to make a bland ragu, but Sonoma pulled it off. No depth of flavor, dry meat floating in a too-thin sauce, no spice, no herbs that I could detect, nothing to recommend itself at all.

I guess Sonoma survives on tourists, suburban Folger Theater fans, and parents visiting their twenty-something Congressional staffer kids. But DC dining has come a long way. It's long past time either to get serious in the kitchen or close up shop and start from scratch.

OT
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on May 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 1ambience 3

I have dined at Sonoma at least once every two months or so for years. Prior to the last two times I have eaten there, it was a great place for a nice lunch with colleagues because the service was quick and we could eat lunch on weekdays and get out of there in an hour.

The last two times I dined there, the service was terrible. My medium rare steak salad came out medium well. It took at least a half-hour to get our food. And I had to ask the bartender for our check.

It seems like the “regular” lunch crowd may have also had similar experiences, because I was able to get a table for four by just walking up without a reservation. That was unheard of even 6 months ago.

I really hope the restaurant can work out these issues.

LL
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Service was disappointing for lunch and food was — just OK. A little above pub food.
I have had better experiences there. I don’t know what happened this week. A new chief? Menu was just not that interesting.

AH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The pesto pizza with arugula paired with Sancerre was amazing!! A win-win every time

M
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Delicious food, great drinks (not large), good service, but obnoxiously loud group sitting next the two of us drowned out our intimate conversation.

GD
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Lovely evening with good food and good company. Easy to enjoy ourselves after a crazy week

RD
Washington DC
23 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

We are repeat patrons but, admittedly, haven’t eaten at Sonoma for at least a year. We made a reservation believing the restaurant would be busy so we surprised upon arriving to see it very sparsely populated. The service from the get go was very good. Even the good was decent. The problem we experienced was with the skimpy portions and the unjustifiably high price for what was served. Based on this experience and given the competition available in DC generally, and on the Hill in particular, we are unlikely to return to Sonoma. There is just greater value elsewhere.

TP
1 review
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food - would certainly recommend
Varied menu well prepared and presented

D
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our visit was so pleasant and our waiter was so helpful...and patient...thank him for us!

M
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined on April 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Food took way too long. Server was not aware. Took 40 minutes to get our food

PS
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Rib eye was not very good. Thin cut and chewy. Wine list was not too bad.

MA
Charleston
69 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was our second visit to Sonoma and it is a must on our visits to DC. It is an easy walk from our hotel (Second and C Streets, SW) and from the Capitol. The food and service are excellent. We started with a cup (very large cup) of Tomato Bisque (hubby) and I had an excellent, fresh salad with Honey Vinaigarette (need that recipe!) and Grilled Focaccia. Hubby ordered the Pappadelle Bolognese (excellent) and I had the Pesto Risotto (excellent). We finished with the Blueberry Cobbler with Lemon Honey Ice Cream - Excellent! Service was unintrusive but there when needed. If you have not tried Sonoma, you need to. It is great food in a quiet Capitol Hill restaurant.

JK
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Wonderful pre-theatre meal; took advantage of pre-fixe menu and wine special. Our server, Nick, is always outstanding; terrifically knowledgeable about the various dishes and, especially, the wines. This is our pre-Folger tradition!

RJ
Houston
5 reviews
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

As always, Chris catered to us like we were celebrities.

SW
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

I found it to be very noisy, and the portions were small. Similar to small plates at other restaurants. I think it’s a misnomer to call this a $$ restaurant because you have to order something more than entrées to be full. Perhaps this is how things are in most cities. There were a couple of larger tables, and everybody at that table has to holler to the other end of the table which brings the volume of the restaurant up, and then everyone else shouts too. You really can’t hold a conversation in these types of restaurants.

LH
Washington DC
130 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

This was our first time here in a couple years. Why did we wait so long? My husband (who is a serious cook) gives the penne ala bolognese two thumbs up. I (who am constantly trying to find great dishes with truffle) give the mushroom/truffle oil pizza two thumbs up. The truffle essence is there but not overwhelming. Even the truffle-hesitant at the table loved it. Friend's pesto risotto tasted wonderful and had great, creamy consistency. An extra, added bonus is that corkage is a very reasonable $25.00. The wine list has a few tried-and-true, but a lot of interesting new stuff I haven't seen before. LOVE that they have wine flights available. It's just a great, all-around place focused on the food and the wine. We don't live on Capitol Hill anymore, but it's worth a drive from the burbs to eat here.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

It was my birthday but I guess dessert isn’t given unless asked for? I worked in the industry and can see both sides of it but I generally always sent out a bday dessert.

Otherwise, Nick was great.

AP
Washington DC
25 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Friendly service. Excellent chicken liver mousse to start. Good cocktails and wine selection. A bit disappointed in the lamb ragu with mint pasta. The meat was very tender, but surprisingly bland.

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