Judging Restaurants – Nora

Restaurant Nora is located at 2132 Florida Ave, NW. It’s Web site says:

“Originally constructed in the 19th century as a grocery store, the main dining room has been artistically transformed and decorated with a collection of museum quality antique Mennonite and Amish crib quilts. Here or in our Wine Library with its unique Wine Cellar, the Garden Room, Gallery or Parlor you can enjoy elegant dining in a relaxed intimate setting. The eclectic menu, which changes daily, serves organic new-American cuisine in Nora’s own creative style.

In April 1999, Restaurant Nora became America’s first certified organic restaurant. This means that 95% or more of everything that you eat at the restaurant has been produced by certified organic growers and farmers all who share in Nora’s commitment to sustainable agriculture. Nora always offers seasonal, fresh organic food, prepared in a healthy, balanced way and enjoys a “big following” of environmentalists and politicians, who can eat here with a clear conscience, knowing that what’s on their plate hasn’t polluted the environment, is healthy for them, and tastes good too.”

You can see their menus here. Any fans?

37 Comment

  • It’s great — if someone else is paying.

  • saf

    It sounds far better than it tastes, and the service does not live up to expectations.

  • Love it! Great food and the interior is really beautiful.

  • Good, but seems expensive.

  • I’ve only been once, but food and service were fantastic. Very pricey, but I think worth it for a special occasion.

    • Exactly. Nice bar area, too. Older crowd, good to take the parents for a special night out. Quiet atmosphere where you can hear your dinner partners, unlike many spots in DC.

  • I’ve always had great experiences. They’re no longer the only restaurant serving high-end, gourmet locally-grown, organic food by a long shot but they still do it well. I found it best when I gave myself a lot of time, ate slowly, relaxed and went in with the goal of soaking up as much of the experience as possible. To save on wine, I get a cocktail before dinner and then a half bottle.

  • This place is fantastic for a special occasion. My husband recently took me there when I got a new job and they personalized our menus with “Congratulations on the new job.” It was such a nice touch. The tasting menu is fabulous. I’m a fish eating vegetarian and they allow you to pick items from the vegetarian tasting menu and the regular one. Both times I have been there the service was great. DC is an expensive town for food, but this place is worth the treat.

  • I thought the food was extremely overpriced for the quality. My wife and I went for a special occassion–ate off the prix fix menu (she vegitarian, me carnivorious)–and we were both sorely dissapointed. The amvbiance is nice, and romantic, but so not worth the price. Much much better restaurants in D.C., including some serving locally grown, in this price range or less.

  • WAY past its prime and seems to exist purely for nostalgia value. It’s like a Brickskellar with locally sourced vegetables and a lot more attitude.

  • Absolutely no vegetarian options…not one. Weird for a vegetarian restaurant.

  • Haven’t been there since I used to go dutch with the Gores.

  • No veggie options, mediocre food & staff, lovely interior. I really wanted to love this place but couldn’t.

  • They have veggie options, they’re just off the menu. Perhaps on a note about this on the menu would be helpful.

  • Haven’t been in eons… but I loved it back then.

    And I not surprised there are no “veggie options”. The duck I had was sublime.

  • We were so disappointed in this place. I went there with out-of-town friends, one of whom is quite the foodie and runs an organic granola company. We all agreed that this was terribly overpriced for mediocre food. The appetizers were eh, and my salmon was quite honestly something I could have made at home, with the added bonus of not spending $50. Without alcohol.

  • Nora is a good example of a DC restaurant that has been surpassed in the past decade by younger, more innovative chefs. Twenty years ago, this was the best restaurant in DC, hands down. Today, with the arrival of so many excellent eateries, it gets lost in the crowd. A good thing for DC, a bad thing for Nora.

  • Horrible service. I love to cook and do it pretty well, so I go out for the whole experience, which was ruined twice by rude waiters, long waits even to order an opening cocktail (that should be the easy part), mistakes on orders, and general indifference to the dining experience. It’s a shame–I want to like it but I won’t even go back and use the gift certificate they sent to male up for the second debacle because it’s just not worth it.

  • I love this place. Great food, ambiance and service. Expensive, but worth it when you want a treat.

  • First Filomena, now Nora – what is the PoP fascination with restaurants whose heyday was in the ’90s? As other have said, this hasn’t been one of DC’s preeminent restaurants for a decade. And the for prices they charge, it should be.

    • Give him a break– he’s probably done all the interesting restaurants already. Besides, one of the things I like about this feature is that it often reminds me of a place I haven’t thought about in a long time.

  • Agree with those that say the food always sounds better than it actually tastes. Loved the concept (though its hardly new anymore) but hate the execution. Always an underwhelming meal at a high price with really poor service to boot. I frankly have no idea how they stay in business. (It’s supposed to be a nightmare place to work in the kitchen, too. Most of my chef friends wouldn’t dream of taking a job there even it it was their only option).

  • This restaurant used to be ok/good (never great) back in the 90’s. That was a LONG time ago. I don’t think it’s improved = not so good anymore.

  • Seriously mediocre food. Given that it’s seriously expensive, mediocrity is completely unacceptable. Had I been paying, I would have sent it back.

  • I love this place! It has a vegetarian tasting menu, among other things. My wife and I have been going for years.

  • Haven’t been back since they served a bad bottle of wine. Apparently the whole case had turned. The waiter thought they had left it out in the sun. What else had they left out in the sun? Raw meat?

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