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“Stellar food at a laid-back oasis amidst all the Virginny la-di-da”

Foster Harris House
Ranked #2 of 9 Restaurants in Washington
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$89 - US$129
Cuisines: American, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Description: Dinner is now available on Friday and Saturdays at the Foster Harris House! Our seasonal five-course Prix-Fixe menu* is available for $89 per person (plus tax and gratuity) or paired with wine for $129 (plus tax and gratuity). Our intimate 10-seat dining room is a perfect place for just the two of you or for your group of family and friends. Dinner is available to both overnight and non-overnight guests.*While we understand some people have dietary issues or personal preferences, unfortunately we cannot make accommodations for guests who are vegetarian, severely allergic to gluten or have shellfish allergies and cannot offer changes or substitutions to our dishes.
Manhattan
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Stellar food at a laid-back oasis amidst all the Virginny la-di-da”
Reviewed 17 June 2014

Washington, Virginia, is a lovely small town that can seem a bit precious due to the influence of a few overpriced, celebrity-addled joints. The cure for such la-di-da is the tranquil, unstuffy and food-focused Foster Harris House. When you've got it, you don't have to flaunt it.

While Foster Harris is a B&B, we came just for the 5-course prix fixe dinner offered on Fridays and Saturdays in the cozy 10-seat dining room. At $89 per person ($119 with wine pairing), it proved great value for an exquisitely rendered -- but never gimmicky -- menu of cleverly used local ingredients.

Other reviewers have shared their meals. I'd like to instead emphasize the approach to the food. A 5-course dinner can sound like overstuffed Thanksgiving, but that's not the case at FH. Think of an approach to eating that's more France by way of California: small, beautiful and intensely tasty dishes based on cooking techniques aimed at highlighting the freshness and particularity of ingredients. You walk away feeling satisfied for the right reasons.

As to the service, Foster Harris again values graciousness, not grandstanding. While John MacPherson performs alchemy in the kitchen, Diane MacPherson hosts and serves guests with a grounded warmth that puts you truly at ease. She's mastered giving close attention to those who want it and comfortable space to others who prefer being left alone. Guests do talk across tables at times and John will pop out to say hi, but there's no forced party atmosphere.

Adjacent to the dining room are a large sheltered porch with seating where you can have a pre-dinner aperitif, and a small comfy parlor presumably available for post-meal torpor. But given the impressive consistency of hospitality and food, I'm booking a room the next time we visit.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Digwemust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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123 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Savannah, Georgia
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Absolutely Wonderful!”
Reviewed 15 June 2014

The intimate setting was just right for our party of six to celebrate a special occasion. Diane and John set the tone for a relaxing evening while treating us to wonderful, imaginative and delicious dishes that were beautifully prepared and perfectly presented. The wine pairings were magnificent! We had an absolutely delightful time and look forward to returning.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Carol C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Best all around!”
Reviewed 14 May 2014

There's just one seating, so the chef is preparing for about 10 guests at five tables all at the same time. Here's the rundown on our most recent (our second in six months) dinner:

Scallops, carrot soup, fettuccine with morels, lamb with a pomegranate sauce, crème brûlée. Our table had long discussions about each offering, superb both in taste and presentation. The paired wines (four counting the sparkling wine to start, or five if we begin with the glass offered on the lovely patio by Chef John himself) were all outstanding. We began at 7:30 (6:30 counting the sipping of wines on the patio) and lingered until 10:30.

That's the food. But what's special is the attentive service by the hosts themselves, Diane in particular, occasionally assisted by John when there's a pause in the kitchen, available throughout to explain and to answer questions, always gracious.

And that's just the dinner. Residents of the hotel are also treated to an outstanding breakfast, on the patio in good weather. My favorite: Delicate scones in an American style far closer to the Gorham in London, nothing like the triangle bombs at Starbucks, with a bit of crumb and sweet, flavored with dried fruit. I eat mine with no butter or jam at all.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank JeffCinDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Magnificant”
Reviewed 28 April 2014

The dinner here Saturday evening was wonderful. The intimate setting (maximum 10 people) was like having our own private chef. John is a awesome chef, and Diane a great partner in providing perfect service.. We will be returning.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Jennifer P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Definitely one for your Bucket List”
Reviewed 26 April 2014 via mobile

An evening of rare delight! We had a celebratory dinner for 6 at the chef's table in the kitchen. Enormous fun interacting with John (the maestro) and his team. The food was to die for.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank Bruceandmaaike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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