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Al Dente Restaurant Review - Washington DC

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


The Bottom Line

Al Dente is an Italian restaurant by award-winning Executive Chef Roberto Donna that serves house-made pasta, risotto, pizza, fresh fish and meat dishes. The restaurant is located near American University in Washington DC. The menu offers an interesting selection of dishes including brick oven pizza.


  • good food, creative menu
  • nice atmosphere, casual setting
  • extensive beer and wine list
  • free parking in the garage


  • the extensive menu can be overwhelming


  • Address: 3201 New Mexico Ave. Suite E, NW Washington, DC 20016
  • Phone: (202) 244-2223
  • Hours: Open daily from 11:30am to midnight
  • Prices: Appetizers $6-12, Pizza $10-15, Entrées $12-$19

Guide Review - Al Dente Restaurant Review - Washington DC

Al Dente is an Italian restaurant with signature dishes made from fresh, local ingredients. The menu includes cold small plates such as Sicilian Caponata Eggplant Salad, Hand-Charred Roasted Peppers and White Bean & Tuna. Hot small plates include a Fried Egg served over tomato brushed bruschetta, Pork Belly with heirloom apple compote and Parmesan Cheese Pudding. The menu also features a variety of soups and salads. House-made pastas include Cavatelli with broccoli rabe, pear tomato, shrimp, basil and olive oil; Gnocchi with house-made tomato and pork sausage ragu served with pecorino cheese; Agnolotti “Gobbi” all’Astigiana filled with roasted veal and pork sausage. Main dishes include Cornish Hen, Veal Scoloppine, Braised Pork Shank as well as Beef Short Ribs. Twelve varieties of pizzas and three calzones are available. I enjoyed the Scallops as my main course and for dessert, the Cartoccio Siciliano, was delicious. It's similar to a cannoli and is large enough to share. I'd like to return some time to try the pizza.

The focal point of the restaurant is the 800-pound pizza oven, set off with black and white tiles. The seating surrounds the oven, creating intimate spaces. The exhibition kitchen is set apart from the main dining room by a sculptural wall of orange panels, which provide a nice transition while allowing diners to see the action in the open kitchen. Al Dente can accommodate up to 116-seated guests in the main dining room; 12 seats at the bar; 12 seats around the pizza oven and eight seats in the open exhibition kitchen complete with dining bar. An outdoor patio is also available during the spring and summer months (weather permitting) with seating for 30.

As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary meal for the purpose of the review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy. All prices and offering mentioned herein are subject to change without notice.

Reviewed May 2012 - Prices are subject to change

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