(Re) Judging Restaurants – Utopia

Utopia is located at 1418 U Street NW. We first looked at them back in Nov. ’08. At the time there were pretty good reviews but when I stopped by last weekend it was nearly empty.

Their Web site says:

“Jamal Sahri Opened Utopia in 1990, establishing its place as a cornerstone in the U-Street community.

Offering an ideal local for location for folks to gather, share ideas, music, food, and art. The restaurant has served as a venue for chefs, artists, musicians, community groups to express, relax, share and enjoy the things that make life utopian.”

You can see their menu here. Any fans?

19 Comment

  • They have the best Caucasians (wht Russians) in town!!!

    • Agreed. Never ate there, but it’s a great place to grab a drink and listen to some jazz.

      • Yup. One of my favorite spots for a cocktail that is different than most of the other spots on U. I like the vibe in there.

        Food is OK, I have only ever done snacks while grabbing a drink or two.

  • Their brunch is pretty rockin’. The food isn’t necessarily extraordinary… but the $1.25 bloody marys/ mimosas set the day off right.

  • Good for a cocktail but not much else.

  • I am not a fan of the food. Kind of disappointing

  • I used to (and still do nostalgically) love this place. The food prices are still extremely low. And the atmosphere is great. But their cooking has declined. They should raise prices and raise quality and get people back through the doors. One of the true U Street classics, and it would be ashame if it didn’t make it into the next era. Unfortunately, the handwriting might be on the wall since this building (and Coppi’s) is part of the Utopia project.

  • Can’t comment on the food but always dig the ambiance… always mixed and easy on the eyes. Drinks can be expensive but consider it offset by free jazz that we should be paying something for anyway.

  • I haven’t been to Utopia in a while, but I’ve always liked to take visitors there for a cocktail and a bite to eat. The live jazz is great, the place is never crowded, and it’s quiet enough to have a conversation without yelling. Plus the interior is warm and intimate with lots of exposed brick, interesting artwork, and lighting that’s not too dark and not too bright. Personally I think the cocktails are food are very good, but it’s really the ambiance that I come here for. Restaurants/bars with good ambiance are becoming increasingly harder to find in DC.

  • The Ed Hahn Quintet is pretty good. Back in the day, I used to stop by there for a drink / night cap and would listen to the band play. Are they still around?

  • I enjoy the ambiance and the live jazz, but my personal experience with the cocktails at Utopia has been abysmal. Drinks are at best poorly executed and, at worst, undrinkable. I haven’t been in a few months, so maybe it’s gotten better.

    Go for the jazz, but just order a beer off tap.

  • I understand it’s trying to be something more, but it’s probably the worst restaurant I’ve eaten at in the District. The menu is a train wreck and the food was very poorly executed. They need to cut half the dishes and reboot.

  • I have had only tried their french fries and cocktails. Both are good so I would have to try their food to give out more information

  • Husband and I went here for an early dinner on New Year’s Eve. Were not impressed. The music was *WAY* too loud to have a decent conversation, and they were out of the chicken. (What restaurant seriously runs out of chicken?) The scallops were teensy tinsy little things in over-sauced pasta. The decor is nice, but everything else needs work. Turn the damn music down!

  • Maybe you shouldn’t go to a jazz club for dinner if you want quiet.

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