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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Thu 5:30pm–10:30pm
Fri–Sat 5:30pm–11:00pm
Sun 11:00am–2:30pm
Sun 5:00pm–10:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines, outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Cleveland Park
3311 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 244-6750
Stylish surroundings and thoughtful preparations will keep your attention

The slim storefront that conceals Ardeo opens up to a remarkably efficient dining space, with softly lit tables set up in a front area to the left; a dim, backlit bar to the right; and two more levels above. It doesn’t feel at all cramped, thanks to light-colored walls and tables that aren’t packed together. The restaurant displays its own art collection on the walls, giving a gallery-like feel that’s elegant without being stuffy. (We wish we could say the same for the attentive but soulless service.)

The cooking is simpler and more honest than the chic, polished setting might suggest. Many of the initial flavors are elemental, as in big, plump mussels that come in a broth that’s an interesting combination of fennel, thyme, and cider vinegar. Octopus (from the section of the menu that’s marked, rather stylishly, as “medium plates”) comes with its promised char blending delicately with the briny taste of the sea creatures, plus some depth added by warm olive vinaigrette.

Bigger plates tend to feature proteins, which are generally well prepared, but sometimes oversalted. (At least this gives us something different to complain about; Cleveland Park and Woodley Park restaurants are more frequently guilty of underseasoning.) We’ve also been disappointed with a cloyingly sweet Korobuta pork loin coated in kumquat marmalade whose sourness was overwhelmed by the gummy sugar.

The popular Sunday brunch here is mainly savory. Several dishes from the dinner menu (including the aforementioned veal meatloaf) survive the night, and are augmented by mid-morning favorites like eggs Benedict (served here with crab and Serrano ham) and pumpkin challah French toast. But our favorite time to hit up Ardeo is on a warm late summer evening, when you can spend hours on the airy roof deck—or at one of the front tables by the tall front windows, which open completely to merge the restaurant into the sidewalk and street scene beyond. in the breeze, when there is one.

The affordable, diverse wine list is commendable for being both affordable and diverse, with many bottles in the under-$40 range. It’s shared with Bardeo, the informal wine-bar area of the restaurant. Speaking of Bardeo, if you feel like something more casual or inexpensive, you should definitely consider dining over there instead. Although the kitchen is shared by the two, we often find that we actually prefer Bardeo’s menu—sometimes, less elaborate and ambitious can mean better.

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