Judging Restaurants – Vinoteca


When I first checked out Vinoteca , located at 1940 11th Street just south of U Street, right after it opened I was a little disappointed. But that was a year an a half ago. Sadly, I haven’t been back. When we discussed the best wine bars Vinoteca got some good reviews. But I think it’s worth judging it on it’s own as I’ve been hearing from a number of people that it’s become quite good. I even hear they belly dancing some nights? Is that right or am I imagining hearing that? Anyway, now that it’s been open for a while – what’s the word on the food, atmosphere (it looks like they have a pretty nice outdoor area now), wine and price?

20 Comment

  • I heard that it wasn’t that great a year and a half ago too, but they’ve been making great specials and luring people in and now I hear that the food is great. I’ve only been there for brunch and happy hour. Their brunch was actually very tasty and they had a fabulous deal on one-dollar mimosas and other champagne cocktails for a while. I’m not sure if they still have that deal, but I was in love with it. The space is nice and open and the staff is very nice. The happy hour that I went to a month ago was pretty decent as well. They have a list of wines that are $5 per glass and delicious mini-burgers too. Sliders are taking over by storm, from Burger King to the wine bars. I would definitely give Vinoteca another chance because it seems like they’re trying very hard to make themselves a better and tastier place.

  • I love it. It’s become my neighborhood spot- food is delish, the bartenders are well-informed, and sunday brunch is delicious. I’ve known other people to get so-so service on occassion, but the only time I’ve had a bad experience there is when they were closed one Sunday and I had to go elsewhere for brunch!

  • And no belly dancing. Flamenco on Sundays.

  • LOVE vinoteca. Super high quality thin-rimmed wine glasses FTMFW

  • Never been. Don’t do wine. Is the food worth it otherwise?

  • Love it! One of my favorite places in DC.

  • Only been once 5 or 6 months ago on a Saturday night…wanted to love an independent place in the ‘hood but the service was bad…dishes came out in a very haphazard manner with the vegetarian dishes taking the longest for some reason…literally an hour after they’d been ordered…and its probably the noisiest place I’ve ever had dinner…couldn’t have a conversation with anyone across the table from me…but it keeps getting good reviews so that’s great – I’m happy its doing well…just not my thing.

  • Love Vinoteca. They have a great happy hour, I think it’s 4-7 pm with 10 or so wines for $5 a glass. The wine list is pretty good and have a decent selction of glasses under $10 – which you don’t find very often at wine bars. I love their sliders, cheeses, etc but have never had a dinner entree.

  • This place is great. I went there with a bunch of friends last summer. We sat outside, drank lots of wine and ate lots of good food. A fine time was had by all.

  • Love love love Vinoteca. Probably behind Proof as far as the charcuterie board goes, but V has delectable mini-burgers. Definitely ahead of Cork.

  • I really enjoy this place. Their sliders are amazing, and the bartenders can always find something for everyone. They are very knowledgeable about their wine. I have been many times. A great place to meet a few friends to catch up and enjoy some great wine.

  • I think Vinoteca is great. While, in my opinion, Cork has better food, Vinoteca has a fantastic happy hour and sitting at the bar with one of their $5 glasses of wine and some cheese, charcuterie or sliders is my idea of a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Just get there early!

  • I like it a lot. Friendly staff, good eats, and good wine. They also have a couple good beers on draft, for those that prefer barley to grapes.

    The gourmet sliders were my fave.

  • Good food, nice atmosphere. Had a horrible service experience at brunch a few months ago that soured the place in my mind. Has stopped me from going back since.

    Pretty much, our food didn’t come out for over an hour. After multiple times of asking the waiter (and sometimes having trouble finding him) and his assurance the food would come out soon, we saw a couple that sat down maybe 10 minutes ago get their food while we’d been waiting forever. At this point, just wanting to leave because we were starving, the manager came over and apologized and comped our meal and had the food brought out right away. I wrote more about it on my blog when it happened, and I just haven’t felt the need to go back.

    I agree though, the food is good, it’s a nice neighborhood joint, and it’s never too crowded to get a table (at least when I’ve gone). This experience just hasn’t had me running back to eat there.

  • I have to say I find Vinoteca to be really annoying…maybe it’s just the music that is piped in at happy hour, but I also find myself overcome by the perfume and cologne fumes of its patrons. I find Cork to be a much more pleasant place to do.

  • I liked it, will probably go back, but not sure how soon. Basically, my first experience was good enough for a return visit, but not good enough to push it particularly high on my restaurant queue (to use the common netflix-speak).

    The happy hour is certainly a good deal at five dollars a glass (and their glasses are huge – borderline comically big). We got the charcuterie plate too – lots of delicious prosciuttos and some nice pate. We then split the mini-burgers, trying all six. I was lukewarm on most of them and downright grossed out by the gaminess of the boar’s meat burger (maybe it was a fluke, still gross though).

    I read an article in the Post recently about Commonwealth. In discussing the modern movement of offering the charcuterie plate, the author mentioned that while tasty it does more to show off the chef’s grocery shopping skills than cooking skills (and he gave praise to Commonwealth for not falling prey to such). The first place that came to mind when I read that was Vinoteca. I loved the wine and the prosciutto, but when it came to actually cooking something, I wasn’t particularly impressed. I think that is why I will go again, but not for a while.

  • I love Vinoteca. I had one of my best restaurant week meals there, and we even tried to get a second one in before the week ended. The food was amazing and our waitress was super sweet and on the ball. I’m less excited about the mini-burgers, and haven’t tried their other bar-food. I’m annoyed by Cork’s charcuterie plate simply because it’s too damn expensive.

  • We ate at Vinoteca once on a Sunday night with a friend and saw the flamenco dancing performance. The flamenco performer was fun to watch, but the restaurant noise level — already pretty high — soared off the chart while she was dancing. The food was very nice. As I recall, the lamb and portobello sliders were excellent, than beef ones merely good, and a shrimp and grits dish was quite successful. Service was acceptable — not great, not bad. As with other wine bars, it is easy to run up a fairly high bill without much effort. I’m not a big wine enthusiast, but I would go back — my overall experience at Vinoteca was better than my one trip to Cork.

  • Meh, but I was there with a bad date and I think that might have something to do with it.

  • Love it! The tuna sliders are fantastic and all the cheese plates with pairings (figs, etc) are fantastic. And of course the wine selection is outstanding.

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