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“Good Service - Average Food - Pricey”
Review of El Manantial Restaurant - CLOSED

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El Manantial Restaurant
Price range: US$31 - US$50
Cuisines: International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Romantic, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Cross street: Wiehle Ave.
Description: El Manatial is a family operated restaurant, featuring European Fusion Cuisine. We offer Italian, French and Spanish specialties, including a Tapas bar.
Reviewed 17 February 2014

Perhaps trying a new restaurant on Valentine Day is not the best idea. However, we really had our expectations set high based on the large number of glowing reviews. As others have reported this restaurant is somewhat of an oasis in an otherwise dismal shopping center. Nonetheless, the interior of the restaurant is well appointed and congenial.
I opted for the fried oyster appetizer. The four oysters were plump but the breading tasted of oil that badly needed to be changed. The dish suffered as a result.

I ordered the rack of lamb in red-wine sauce. My wife ordered the filet mignon. The lamb was served sliced from the bone in a scant amount of heavy wine sauce. While presented well the lamb was rather tasteless. Fortunately, there wasn't much sauce but the little that was served was rather thick and did not complement the dish at all. The bones were served apart from the meat. My wife's filet was served initially a bit too rare for her taste (despite her order). Even after heating again it was still a bit on the rare side for her. However, it was a quality piece of meat and she did enjoy it.
We were offered quite a variety of deserts - primarily various types of pastry. I chose the chocolate and banana tart which was quite tasty and a nice ending to the meal.
Service was extremely good - almost too good. Appetizers were served almost immediately after ordering and the main courses shortly thereafter.
This restaurant has quite a nice wine list consisting of a large number of Argentinian, Spanish, and Italian wines. They also serve some of these by the glass. The ones we chose (a Riesling and a Pinot Grigio were both very good.
Overall, this is not a bad place. It has a lot going for it - many fish choices on the menu, good service, good wines. However, our first impressions were that given their prices we would expect the food to be much better than average. It was also slightly annoying that they wouldn't honor their web coupon despite the fact that it did not have any particular restriction that would exclude a holiday. Others, sitting close to us commented on this as well.

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Thank terrysb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (74)
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8 - 12 of 74 reviews

Reviewed 11 February 2014

This is one of my favorite restaurants in Reston. While it is a bit off the main path, it is worth the short drive. And while it also doesn't look like much from the outside (it's in a strip shopping center), it is easy to park and it looks like a different world when you enter. The food and the very professional wait staff are both excellent. You are always welcomed and well taken care of here.

1  Thank LarryF6724
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2014

This used to be a wonderful place but everything has gone downhill.
They used to have a pizza stone they'd bake their pizza on...this last visit the pizza wasn't as good, terribly greasy and everything was WAY TOO SALTY.

The insalata caprese was swimming in salt. It was nasty.
And the manager paces back and forth if they aren't busy, and made me very uncomfortable. Maybe we dress too casually, but I always feel as though we're treated like we're less than their other patrons.

And he always tries to sit me somewhere bad-this last time it was right next to a door which kept swinging open and shut and the place is not busy.

Used to be fairly regular, kept giving them a chance, but after this, no more.

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Thank J C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2013

It had been more than 3 years since my last meal at El Manantial, which was excellent, and I was looking forward to going back there with my gf and another couple for another excellent meal. I wasn't disappointed. The food was delicious, the ambience comfortable, and the service was excellent. My gf was quite happy with the seafood paella but disappointed with the small size of the endive and goat cheese salad, which she sent back and which was replaced with a different, and larger salad. My duck breast was perfectly prepared, though it was a bit smaller than I had expected. Our friends were both happy with their meals. The prices there are a bit high, but we used a discount coupon, which made the place affordable for us.

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1  Thank Joseki17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2013

The meal was delicious. We started out with Sangria. It was the best Sangria we have had in a long time. I had the Spinach Salad and my husband had the Endive Salad–both were tasty. We both had the Paella. Our only negative is that they substituted Monk Fish for the Lobster and we would have preferred if it had been served differently–like on a hot plate with a slightly “toasted” crust on top. Still it was very flavorful and I think because we had already had a couple of glasses of sangria were feeling pretty good and weren’t complaining about much. I can’t wait to go back and try some of their other dishes. The host seemed to know many of the people dining, that made for a nice atmosphere. The service was also good.

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Thank YankeeFan42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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