The Sovereign

4.4
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367 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Belgian

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Great Beer
The Sovereign is a Belgian bar & bistro committed to celebrating the rustic cuisine & fabled brewing culture of Belgium. Located in the vibrant Georgetown neighborhood, the Sovereign's kitchen is led by Executive Chef Peter Smith, whose classic, ingredient-driven Belgian dishes draw on French, German & Dutch cooking techniques & traditions. Specially sourced Dutch-style mussels, traditional flammekuchen (crispy flatbreads), braises & stews such as Smith's Lapin a la Kriek (rabbit braised in cherry beer) & other classic, regional dishes serve as the core of the seasonally changing menu. The Sovereign features 50 drafts & more than 350 bottles meticulously curated by Beer Director, Greg Engert. From classic Belgian producers to revivalist brewers, as well as international & domestic producers of Belgian-style ales, The Sovereign offers an expansive breadth of selections that illuminate the flavor-driven, craft-brewed complexity that is the trademark of the very best of Belgian brewing.
What 367 People Are Saying
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Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.2
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
70% of people would recommend it to a friend
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JH
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall2food4service2ambience2

Food is good, and the beer list is great. However, it appeared that there was only one server for the entire dining room (probably 20 tables). She was absolutely great--friendly, knowledgeable, and somehow able to serve the whole dining room. However, given how thinly she was stretched, everything took too long. It was 15+ minutes from the time we came in until we had our first drinks. Given the situation, we ordered drinks, appetizers, and dinner all at once. When we wanted another round of drinks (before our food came out), we had to wait a long time, so my second beer came after I finished dinner. To be clear, the waitress did the best possible she could have done, given the circumstances. Also, the whole place kind of smelled like my fraternity house from college. So...Sovereign was fine, but I wouldn't go back unless I had to.

m
Philadelphia
74 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

We came for the beer and the mussels. They were both great! It was loud but on a Saturday night after the Nats parade, it’s what we expected. It’s down an alley so you have to look for the folding sign on the sidewalk to find it.

Our server was helpful and made good suggestions. The mixed salad was fresh and the dressing crisp. I had several small pours to try things and my son picked one he liked. We tried three different flavorings of the mussels.

I have two negatives. One, the waffle and pot de creme weren’t at the same quality as the mussels and salad. Go elsewhere for dessert. Spend more money on the beers. And, food arrived without silverware so we sat there staring at it until we called over someone to get it for us. It happened with each course. And we never got fish/mussels forks so we were scoping out with dinner forks.

We will go again, before the Nats win again! Baby shark!!!!

T
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Great food. Very very dark dining room. Feels more like a bar than a restaurant.

DD
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2019
Overall2food3service1ambience3

We were disappointed in the service. At the time we arrived (Halloween evening) there were approximately 3-4 tables (lower floor) with diners. We ordered our drinks shortly after we sat down....a glass of wine and a flight of beers (3 samples). Our starter came before our drinks. We were at the table for 20 minutes and we pointed out to the waitress that we did not have our drinks. By this time we had finished the starter. A few minutes later my glass of wine arrived and she said the bartender was 'busy' and the beer would arrive shortly. By the time the beer arrived we were already well into eating our dinner! The bottom line it they seemed under staffed both at the bar and on the floor. It seemed there was one waitress taking care of the floor.

H
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience2

Great sampling of Belgian fare. Mussels were fabulous as well as the waffle desserts. Everyone at my table raved about their dishes. Highly recommend! Very noisy though during dinner hours.

BC
Jacksonville
13 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great mussels and our entrees were all tasty. Love the beer menu, too.

CC
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

It’s simply too loud - but the quality of the beer list, the expert knowledge of their beer, and the food pairing is some of the best anywhere.

MD
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Birthday. Great time!

OT
London
1 review
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic meal. The beer menu is incredible. Anyone who is into high quality craft and/or Belgian beer must go to The Sovereign. I felt all of my beers were superb! The menu is diverse and any person can enjoy any food to their liking. The prices are reasonable for DC, the meatballs were very tasty, braised beef was superb and the mussels were juicy and succulent. 5/5 10/10

ES
New England
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Food was very good and interesting, and even though our group members had a lot of different palates, everyone was able to find (and enjoy!) items to suit our varied tastes. My only complaint would be that the restaurant (or at least the first floor) was INCREDIBLY dark. I think they are going for a traditional European ambiance – and the ambiance definitely did feel authentically Belgian and cozy-cool – but one tiny candle isn't really enough to adequately illuminate a shadowy corner booth. No one was able to read the menu without our phone flashlights. It was also quite loud on the Saturday night we went, so this might not be the best place to bring anyone who is hard of hearing, as they will likely not be able to hear well or see enough to read lips/faces. I'll probably not take our parents here again, but my boyfriend and I will certainly be back for drinks and apps at the upstairs bar!

CS
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience2

I would recommend for the beer. The food was OK, perhaps I wasn't too hungry? excellent steak frite, rest just fine.

JT
Salt Lake City
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great place for friends to have dinner. Nice atmosphere and beer selection.

OT
Frankfurt Area
3 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

Good food, service ok, restaurant is very dark- you don't really see what you eat;)

b
St. Louis
22 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Second good experience here. Food excellent, service attentive, comfortable seating and calm, warm atmosphere.

OT
1 review
Reviewed on August 27, 2019
Overall1foodserviceambience

If you want to eat at a wannabe-Michelin-star bar with mediocre burgers & beer down a dark alley then be prepared to wait for 20-30 minutes at least without being served by the snobby, condescending staff. I asked about 4 waiters to take my order during this time and they kept brushing me off and refusing to take it. All this when the place was half empty. It's an average bar selling below average food (I had been here once before), try to lighten up and not take yourself so seriously.

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A must stop for Belgian beer lovers when visiting DC.

b
Washington DC
246 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall4food4service5ambience4

I've been wanting to try Sovereign since it opened so my husband and I finally stopped in after work one friday. We were not disappointed. We were greeted warmly and our waiter was superb. We both order several small glasses of beer to share and then we split a few appetizers. The standout dish was the mushroom flatbread. it was outstanding. For us, Sovereign is not for everyday dining, but it was a special treat to try some interesting beers and appetizers. Highly recommend.

NM
1 review
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Really creative and flavorful food, and the best wait service I’ve had in a long time.

OT
Denver
8 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This was a terrific find! The food was delicious. We enjoyed the cocktails, appetizer, main entree and desserts. Great place to hold a conversation. Great for intimate dates or taking the family.

D
Baltimore
7 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2018
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great to have an authentic Belgium dining experience. The croquettes were great!

OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2018
Overall5food5service4ambience5

The food is absolutely amazing and the beer list is impressive.

GB
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2018
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Food and service were excellent. The one negative of the evening was when the only non-drinker in our group asked for a non-alcoholic beer. He was informed they didn't carry them and in fact it was a "pet peeve" of the owner that they even exist. I realize this restaurant prides itself on the variety of beers served but the owner needs to get over himself and provide a choice for all of his customers - they are the people keeping him in business.

MP
Washington DC
71 reviews
Dined on May 27, 2018
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Overpriced for the portions. We got the Benedict and the Liege waffle. They were almost identical and did not fill us up at all. Our empty plates were not cleared for a long time.

WX
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2018
Overall5food5service2ambience5

Came here for boyfriend's birthday. The beer selection made him very happy.

LM
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on May 26, 2018
Overall4food5service5ambience1

Too noisy but great food. Also beer selection ironically lacking in Belgian beers

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 23, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great dinner — wonderful food and a huge selection of Belgian beers. A great night out!

TB
Washington DC
48 reviews
Dined on May 20, 2018
Overall3food3service3ambience3

DC has so many great mussel bars that I would suggest those over this place. First, it is hard to find - down an alley? why? Second, the service was just OK - our waiter seemed a bit grumpy. Third, the food was fine, but nothing to write home about, unfortunately. The frites, especially, were SUPER salty. The cocktails were also just ok - not really a place I would go out of my way to visit again.

OT
1 review
Dined on May 15, 2018
Overall4food5service3ambience5

Food was amazing. Service was slow. In fairness, I got the impression that they had a few staff no-show. Loved the female bartender.

LK
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2018
Overall3food4service1ambience3

Our food was good but the service was pretty terrible. Our server started out by asking if we had an allergies or intolerances he should be aware of. My husband told him that he had a gluten intolerance. My husband then ordered a salad for us to share only to find a baguette underneath the bed of greens that wasnt mentioned on the description. The server hadn’t mentioned anything when we ordered it. We didn’t make a big deal out of it and my husband just ate around it.

Then the seating area around us started flooding due to the rain outside. There were buckets of water on the ground and someone was mopping 2 feet from our table. Finally we asked to be reseated because the water was encroaching on our space and the mopping was really distracting. We thought it was odd that no one had offered to reseat us. Our server moved us but then didn’t bother bringing our waters over or getting us new ones. Finally I just went and got the water from the table because he obviously wasn’t going to come do anything. We also were our of cocktails and would’ve liked to order more, but again he was not attentive at all. Overall I was really annoyed with the poor service and handling of the flooded area, especially since there were only 3 tables in the whole dining area at the time. I sort of regret not being more demanding because it was pretty unacceptable for the price we paid for the meal.

After dinner we went upstairs and had a few drinks at the bar since it was still raining outside. The bartender was really nice and we enjoyed our experience up there a lot better. Next time I will skip the dining room experience and just grab a burger at the bar.

Finally, my husband got pretty sick after dinner and we are wondering, in light of the baguette in the salad, if it was due to any gluten in other dishes we weren’t made aware of.

MA
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall2food2service3ambience2

Mothers day

OT
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2018
Overall3food5service4ambience3

It was extremely hot in the restaurant and very uncomfortable.

OT
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2018
Overall2food4service4ambience4

The Sovereign is tucked away in an alley, and as you enter you consign yourself to a dark, rather claustrophobic interior. Oh, well, at least it will be cool, right? Wrong! For whatever reason, this restaurant was uncomfortably hot the night we went. I would check before going again that the air conditioning was working properly. Our very nice waiter said that the a.c. was working as well as it could, given the high temperature outside. Whatever. I wouldn't go again until that problem has been solved. Other than that, the salmon was fabulous.

SA
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2018
Overall1food3service1ambience1

My family (4 people) dined there on Sat. May 12th. I received a phone call on Friday to confirm our reservation. They asked if we were celebrating anything special. Yes, Mother's Day! We arrived 30 minutes early for a 5pm reservation since it was a bit warm out. They told us the dining room didn't open till 5pm. No problem, we sat at the bar had some drinks and a Charcuterie board. It was hotter inside than out! Not comfortable. 5pm came, we were taken to our table. Still HOT! We were greeted and ordered. My Mom asked our waitress for her recommendation between two items. Waitress said short ribs, so she got the short ribs. We got 2 hors d'oeuvre to share, we all ordered a salad, and we all got an entrée. Hors d'oeuvres and salads came out together, except my salad. I asked and waitress said it was coming! Salads were finished and mine still had not arrived. Entrees arrived, including my salad! So 2 good sized plates in front of me, and my entrée was getting cold while I ate my salad. Icing on the cake for me was when our waitress came to our table to ask how everything turned out, I politely asked where my Mother's meal was. She replied with "She only got a salad." WOW I said! My Mother politely said "I ordered your recommendation of the short ribs!" She whipped out her note pad to review. Waitress said I can have your entrée out in 2 minutes! My Mom said No thank you they will be done eating by the time it gets here. Short ribs in pastry would take more than 2 minutes! Waitress apologized and disappeared. Then came the manager to apologize and bring her a complimentary charcuterie board! I asked my mother if she wanted it since we JUST HAD ONE AT THE BAR! She said no not really. They packed it up for us to take home. So to summarize, my Mom on Mother's day didn't receive her meal! It was HOT and very unpleasant! Oh and by the way, what is the point of asking your guests if they are celebrating a special occasion if you DON'T recognize it! Happy Mother's Day!

JA
Orange County
14 reviews
Dined on May 9, 2018
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Great service. Wait staff and manager very attentive. Amazing beer selection. Food was really good, but not great, and a bit pricey for the quality. Very cool location down an alley. Pretty loud on a busy night. Also one of my pet peeves, they keep the restaurant too cold. I run hot at home at 73, my wife is always cold. This place must have been cooled to high 60s - too cold for a cozy meal...

s
Washington DC
54 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2018
Overall2food2service3ambience2

I will preface this review with the fact that we are an older couple and this place clearly caters to the younger crowd with its massive beer menu. That said, the restaurant is so dark the menu cannot be read without help from a flashlight. We ordered the mussels -- imported from Belgium -- and were so disappointed! The broth was barely in the bottom of the pot so that it could not be scooped up with each mussel. No fish forks provided; bread put inside of pot so that the bread arrived steamed (so weird); fries uninteresting frozen variety. On the bright side, we could carry on a pleasant conversation as the noise level was quite low.

OT
Miami
8 reviews
Dined on May 5, 2018
Overall4food5service3ambience4

The food was great, menu quite interesting and flavors on point. The only downside was the lack of attentiveness from our server. He missed out on incresing beverage sales by not checking on us at all.

C
New England
2 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2018
Overall4food5service2ambience5

I've been to The Sovereign a dozen or so times, as I travel to DC very often for business. It's a top 3 place for me; the beer selection is fantastic, the food is always tasty and hot, and the waffles are unbeatable. However, I figured I would leave this review as a small gripe: the past 2 times I've been here, the service has been lacking. Granted, the food was hot when it arrived at the table, so no issues there, but there were some occurrences that were less than optimal.

One such example was two visits ago, when I ordered a salad, and our group (4 people) ordered a charcuterie board for the table. I recognize that I didn't ask for this explicitly, but I thought it would be understood that the salad would come out with the charcuterie. Instead, our waiter dropped off the charcuterie and was not seen again until the entrees arrived...along with my salad. So now I had a salad to eat, along with Duck Leg Confit. Not the worst, but not the best, and not up the standard I've come to expect from The Sovereign.

Additionally, between the charcuterie and entrees, 2 of the 4 of us finished our drinks. As mentioned, the waiter wasn't seen again until the entrees came out, so there was no offer / ask if we wanted another drink. In my confusion of receiving the salad and duck leg at once, I actually forgot to order my second beer when the entrees came out. No matter, surely the waiter will be back to check in, and I'll order it then. Wrong. Again, didn't see the waiter again until all of our plates were cleared and by that point, I had need for another beer. So in total, we saw the waiter exactly 3 times throughout the night: once for app/drink orders, once for dinner, once for dessert.

It's not a knock against the restaurant as a whole, and maybe this waiter was having a bad night, but those types of experiences need to be few and far between (and granted, they have been) if I'm going to continue being a regular patron.

A
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on April 30, 2018
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food, amazing drinks and fantastic atmosphere

OT
1 review
Dined on April 29, 2018
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great beer selection!

KD
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 29, 2018
Overall4food5service2ambience5

Food was great. Server seemed not very happy to be there. Not sure if he was tired or ? But I felt a bit uncomfortable trying to flag him down for stuff (salt and pepper, eg!). Otherwise, food was delish and atmosphere is great!

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