The Garden Cafe

4.2
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48 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American

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About

Dining is delightful at the Garden Café, located in the State Plaza Hotel. The café is popular for diplomats, professors, and executives who want to escape the bustling federal and business districts. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, for an extensive American menu. Take a seat on our outdoor Seasonal outdoor Patio and survey the creative menu choices, prepared with the freshest ingredients. The options are limitless at this American-style Foggy Bottom restaurant, with a savory menu and enticing features.

Catering is available for meetings, lunches/dinners, and cocktail parties hosted in meeting space available by the hotel.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
American, Café
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Hours of operation
Breakfast: 7:00am-11am
Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: 5:00pm-10:00pm
Happy Hour: 4:00pm-7:00pm
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Phone number
(202) 861-0331
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Neighborhood
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Parking details
Street Parking available.
Additional
Beer, Cafe, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Wine
What 48 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.2based on all time ratings
4.2
food
4.3
service
3.9
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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S
Philadelphia
6 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience4

What an unexpected treat! I was in town doing touristy stuff with family, and needed a last minute lunch reservation for 6. I didnt have great expections, but was totally impressed. The service was great. Everyone's food was great. The nice outdoor seating was an added bonus. I would absolutely go back for lunch next time I am in the area.

O
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on August 2, 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very good food and service - nice alternative to the usual workday lunch.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2017
Overall1food2service1ambience1

Mauvaise expérience. Ne se soucie pas des réservations.
Tables non débarrassées et non redressées pour les services suivants. On arrive à l'heure, une table dressée sans chaise est disponible. Plutôt que de récupérer une chaise, on nous installe contre le mur de séparation des cuisines dans le passage des serveurs. Nappe changée mais pas de couvert. On nous amène de l'eau il n'y aura que ça sur la table durant près de 20/30 min malgré le passage incessant des serveurs
Les cuissons des viandes sont à partir de medium, il ne veulent pas faire en dessous.

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KB
Baltimore
11 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Wait staff was professional, attentive, and friendly. Food was American style and quite good. Salmon was fresh and delicious. My husband was not all that hungry so he stopped after shrimp cocktail. Gazpacho fresh. Generous portions.

C
Washington DC
86 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2017
Overall3food3service3ambience3

I would always recommend this restaurant for lunch, but not for dinner. We went for dinner and while the salmon was quite good, the vegetable served with it were raw and not cooked, so they could not be cut with a knife. The Bartender served us as there was no other waiter. Disappointed for dinner.

L
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2017
Overall4food5service4ambience5

The salmon was delicious. No gesture for birthday girl.

G
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on June 12, 2017
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Very pleasant lunch spot in Foggy Bottom with outstanding menu. Outdoor dining patio too. Lots of great choices, all fresh and delicious!

C
Washington DC
86 reviews
Dined on May 23, 2017
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Very accommodating of special requests. Salmon dish is excellent

a
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on May 23, 2017
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Nice, friendly white table cloth restaurant with good food. Wish they would put the fish tacos back on the menu. Great lunch spot with a lovely outdoor terrace when the weather is nice. Also good, unknown happy hour.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 5, 2017
Overall2food2service4ambience2

This was a very so-so dining experience. We could hear the kitchen noise from our table and it was very loud. My meal was extremely salty - it would have been good otherwise. The decor in the restaurant is very plain, which wouldn't bother me if there were other positive aspects make up for it. Overall, this was a pretty bad experience.

BB
Richmond
6 reviews
Dined on April 28, 2017
Overall4food4service2ambience3

So the restaurant is advertised as the State Plaza Hotel restaurant and is in one of their buildings. Before dinner we ordered a specific bottle of wine, delivered to our room. A different bottle showed up, because they were out of what we ordered. Would have preferred they called us back and gave us a chance to order what we wanted. We didn't have the time for all that. The gal that delivered the wine ended up being our waitress. She was pleasant, but obviously new (ok, we were all new once and she was trying). I ordered a "black Russian" cocktail and got something with Bailey's in it. They made me a new one. We had to remind her she hadn't taken our entree order. About 1/2 through dinner we asked about having them call us a cab so we could get to the Kennedy Ctr. for a show. We were told they don't do that and we had to walk back to the front desk (5 min. walk to another bldg.) and have them call one. It all worked out but I'm thinking they may be new restaurant owners. Food was good and we will return.

FD
Washington DC
46 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The Garden Cafe never disappoints. The salmon is always perfectly cooked and very fresh - it's so good that despite dining at the Garden Cafe frequently, I have yet to explore the rest of the tantalizing menu. Oh yes, and the chocolate cake is divine. The service is outstanding - and the waiters all take very good care of their guests. I've seen managers jump in when there is a extra rush at lunch -the bartender is friendly and appears to be an excellent mixologist, however, sadly, I've only really dined there during the work day when iced tea is my drink of choice. The Garden Cafe makes one understand how a brilliant chef with an understanding of good ingredients can create magical meals.

c
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on March 7, 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Their salmon never disappoints! Great place for a quiet business lunch.

L
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on January 24, 2017
Overall4food4service5ambience4

As always, Garden Cafe delivered - good food, excellent service, relaxed unhurried atmosphere. And in right spot, near the State Department.

s
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2017
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A nice, business restaurant tucked into the back of the State Plaza hotel. A great option in a neighborhood with very limited options. I had the thai chicken salad and my companion had the gumbo which was not spicy and we loved both dishes. A surprising gem.

S
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience4

This is our "go to" place before we attend performances at the Kennedy Center as it's within walking distance. It is an intimate restaurant and you don't have to shout to carry on a conversation. While the menu isn't extensive, the food is very tasty. The staff is very attentive and friendly. A great value for the cost.

CF
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2016
Overall5food4service5ambience4

A hidden little plac with great food. The signage to arrive was not easy to figure out having to go through the hotel entrance but the food was delecious and well priced. I would go back certainly.

EM
Richmond
2 reviews
Dined on December 17, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Traveling up from Richmond we were late due to an accident (not us) that had traffic stopped. The restaurant accommodated us and found us a nice table by the windows. All four of us raved about the excellent food. So service, A+. Food, A+.

KH
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2016
Overall3food4service4ambience2

With so few restaurants near the Kennedy Center for Performing arts, my choices were limited. Especially those desiring less than a $40 entree after a expensive show. The Garden cafe was walkable from the KCPA with some awareness of the expressway cutting a direct path out of the question. We found the dining room quiet, clean and bright, our server was great and the food was better than what one would expect from a "hotel"restaurant. The only problem was the difficulty of using the lavatories as a non hotel guest, each lock required a key card. The restaurant staff was very quick and willing to open, but it's still a little weird to have to announce your restroom intentions.

S
Washington DC
33 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2016
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Garden Cafe has found its groove. The menu is varied and delicious, service is relatively prompt, and the Cafe offers very good value for money. I'm coming back!

LT
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2016
Overall4food4service1ambience5

I have eaten here before and everything was perfect - it appeared that there was only 1 person waiting on tables - there was a long wait for someone to take our order, and another long wait for the food and then the bill. I was surprised because this did not happen previously.

C
Washington DC
86 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Food and service has greatly improve in the past year. Tasty dishes, colorfully prepared. The salmon is excellent and the chef really knows how to make a lemon wine sauce.

PW
Philadelphia
3 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2016
Overall2food1service4ambience1

Gnats. Everywhere.

J
Baltimore
86 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2016
Overall4food3service4ambience4

This is a nice little restaurant right next to GWU in Foggy Bottom. We were staying in a nearby hotel and went there for breakfast. Classic breakfast fare including omelettes and eggs Benedict. There is a nice patio but it was too chilly that morning to sit outside.

OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2016
Overall3food3service3ambience1

Typical hotel restaurant. Feels and smells a bit like a cafeteria.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I've never had a bad meal at the Garden Cafe and the service is excellent.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The Salmon Salade Niciose was outstanding. I've never had a bad meal at this restaurant. The quality of the food and service is always outstanding.

SS
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience3

We stopped in at GC on our way to an event at DAR Constitution Hall. It was a last minute reservation and our first visit. It was just a short walk from where we parked near DAR. We didn't have a lot of time as we got a late start on the evening. We told our server, Mia. She took our order and got it out to us very quickly. I watched her for some minutes while we waited for our dinners. She was efficient, had a ready smile and a quick wit, which was fun. I had fish tacos (soft). They were very good. My date had a burger and fries. The burger was pretty big and delicious. The fries weren't very crispy, but they were hot and he said they were okay. We didn't have any alcohol so with tax and generous tip, the bill was just under $50.

l
Richmond
37 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Excellent value for a DC restaurant I had the Fish and chips which were wonderful and the squash soup was exceptional. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

LO
St. Louis
53 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was Saturday evening 8pm the day of move in for The George Washington University students. The entrance is a little bit hidden but it is on F street just next to the State Plaza Hotel in the heart of GWU. We were greeted graciously and seated immediately. The house was about half full. Maya was our waitress and she was wonderful. We started off with the Manhattan chowder and the hummus. Entrees included the quesadilla and the 1/2 and 1/2 burger. All food was cooked to perfection. Maya continued to keep our water glasses full and stopped by unnoticed and only when needed. Prices are reasonable. With the location in the University we will be back.

S
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2016
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Part of a Foggy Bottom hotel - has a small but satisfying menu that was perfect for dinner prior to a Kennedy Center show. Great service.

OT
Dallas
162 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2016
Overall4food4service4ambience3

WE were in the area and read some good reviews about the place. Everything we had was good and very healthy. Service was prompt, and courteous. The place was almost empty nice though.
I will recommend this place for a quiet nice dinner.

MM
Philadelphia
9 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2016
Overall2food3service3ambience2

We made a reservation at the last minute for this place, and they were able to accommodate our party of seven. We ordered the hummus platter and fried calamari as appetizers and both were good, though the calamari portion was not entirely generous. Our party ordered the seafood salad, salmon platters, chicken fingers, fish and chips and a cheeseburger. All of the food was very good and prepared well. The seafood salad was amazing. It was citrusy, light and refreshing - absolutely delicious. I saw that they had a bar and I tried to order a mojito but was told they only offer the drinks listed in the menu. I tried to order a glass of wine but they were out of the one I selected. I settled on a special drink they had, with cucumber in it, and it was not good. It tasted like watered down sprite with cucumber and lemon together. I could not see a bartender on duty and think the waitress prepared the drink. I ordered a different special, a more fruity one, and again, not so good. We also ordered deserts which were good as well. We were just passing through DC on our way home from VA to NJ so we didn't know what to expect, but all in all, it was a good experience. The waitress was friendly and the service was fair. The atmosphere was just okay. They had a small patio but it was small and dark as it sat between two buildings and was set far back off the street, and down a few steps. If they gave the atmosphere and décor a bit more attention, the place has the potential to be awesome. Also, investing in a bartender and offering a better variety of drinks would be a plus for the place. Again, it was a nice dinner and served its purpose, but we would not say it was awesome or go out of our way to eat there again.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 13, 2016
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Mia was a wonderful server who was extremely accommodating for our party, which included a very active 15-month old! The food was also delicious. Highly recommended!

JH
Baltimore
6 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2016
Overall4food3service4ambience2

Nice quiet lunch spot if you want to eat and chat uninterrupted with a friend or colleague. Very courteous staff.

F
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2016
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Nice restaurant, good food, excellent service Will return.

DN
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on July 30, 2016
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Decided to eat here before a show at the Kennedy Center as a result of Open Table reviews. We'll be back as the food tasted lovely, was great value, and the service was excellent. Wine list was (very) short, but the bottle we had was very good.

SG
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 24, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience4

What a GEM! This restaurant is tucked in side a hotel. We went before a show at the Kennedy Center. The decor is not updated and modern (with the open ceilings and industrial look), but what I love about it is that it is clean and QUIET! You can actually have a conversation with the people at your table without feeling the need to yell. On top of that, the service was fantastic (our server, Mia, was friendly, efficient, and great) and most of all so was the food. The seafood salad was great as were the fish tacos. The price is also great for this region at $20-30/plate. Highly recommend.

OT
Baltimore
9 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2016
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I totally agree with other reviews that this is a hidden gem. Came here for dinner before the Kennedy Center. Six people. All different foods and everyone really enjoyed. Quiet enough to have conversation and got us out in plenty of time for the show. Also $12 parking 15 with taxes and 10 min walk to the Kennedy Center. Would definitely return and recommend.

SM
Baltimore
5 reviews
Dined on June 25, 2016
Overall3food4service3ambience3

The food was very tasty and presented well. They seemed a bit understaffed that night, but the server was very nice. We went there before seeing a show at the Kennedy Center and booked a table there because there was room for us. It was about a ten minute walk.