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Mar 19, 2007 08:50 AM


What do you all think of Restaurant Nora in Dupont Circle? How is the food? Worth the cost? How about for a special occassion dinner for a couple?

Any comments would be very helpful. I rarely hear it mentioned but I am aware of its historical value to the organic food world and I think the outside is quite charming.

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  1. Nora is considered past its prime by some and simply over-rated by others. I walk by there occasionally and my mouth always waters when I read the menu posted outside the door. It's been two years since I've been - I remember thinking it was fine, not great, but definitely over-priced. The building is charming but the interior at the time was a little worn around the edges. I was most impressed by the service.

    1. I really like the ambiance at Nora and the service is great but I am always a little disappointed in their food. It never quite reaches the level I expect so I find it difficult to recommend. I do recommend Asia Nora, however, which I think has even better ambiance and far better food.

      1. I went in January, and I thought it was fantastic. All the food was excellent, as was the wine. Good ambiance, great service. I wasn't paying, and it was the first time I'd been taken to a 'nice' restaurant in DC (as in one where you would expect to pay over $20/head-I'm unpaid!) so I couldn't comment on the price. I would love to try Asia Nora.

        1. Awefully pretentious. Pretentiously aweful. The owner has long since moved on to other restaurants, so her attention lies elsewhere, and it shows. Great service, but the cooking is uninspired. If you're looking for organic, locally grown produce, meats, fish, and cheeses, creatively prepared, you want to go to Restaurant Eve.

          10 Replies
          1. re: monkeyrotica

            Just to clarify- while Eve strives to use organic items, I do not believe it is entirely organic as the Nora restaurants.

            1. re: jpschust

              Nora isn't entirely organic. Their site says 95% or more. Good, but not entirely.


              And there's a reason why Cathal Armstrong is a 2007 Beard Foundation nominee. What's Nora done lately beside produce indifferent, albeit 95% organic, food? I'd rather have less than 95% and actually taste something.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                I work for a farm/ farmco-op that supplies to Nora. She really does strive to buy all local and organic. This is not a comment on her cooking or her menu but I think there is some importance on supporting local, organic, small farms. Fish and seafood can NEVER be organic as there is not this standard available. And some ingredients (herbs and spices) are very difficult to find organic. This is where the last 5% of non-organic food came from. That is my soap box rant for the day. The food is decent but I think that it really depends on what you are after. There are places that serve better tasting food and many other posters have given you those suggestions. If you are concerned with having an organic dinner in a nice atmosphere than this is where you should go, otherwise, you have many more stisfying options a stone's throw away.

            2. re: monkeyrotica

              I do not agree or understand your comment. Nora is in the kitchen at Nora almost every night. She has only one other restaurant, Asia Nora, which has its own chef. Which, of course, makes me wonder why the food rarely lives up to expectations.

              A number of local restuarants make a point of buying locally grown produce, meats, etc, including Eve, Blue Duck Tavern, Vermillion, ..... Is the food better? No, but it does support small family farms, which is a good thing, and may be slightly fresher.

              1. re: Dakota Guy

                Just to clarify- are you suggesting the food is better at Nor than Eve or BDT or are you suggesting that locally grown produce doesn't make the food better?

                1. re: jpschust

                  I am saying that buying locally is a good thing but does not of itself make the food better, witness Nora and BDT, neither of which have food that is in the same league as to the high quality of Eve, much less the non-organic kitchens of Cityzen, Komi, Citronelle, .... the list is very long.

                  In another way of saying it, Nora's food is not bad, it simply is not as good as it should be for its price point and goal. Same is true for BDT. The food at Eve is exceptional.

                  See Lowbar's response below. We are saying the same thing.

                  1. re: Dakota Guy

                    I agree as well- I thought we were on the same page but just checking.

                    I've not yet eaten at BDT, so I'm not prepared to give an opinion on it. We've always left Nora (not Asia Nora) saying "That was good, but it was missing something"

                    1. re: Dakota Guy

                      I actually thought BDT was incredibly good, but I agree with all your other points. When I ate at Nora I was disappointed, and felt that the food just didn't really *taste* of much.

                      1. re: Dakota Guy

                        I agree with your points about local buying in general, but we just ate at BDT last weekend and thought the food was fantastic.

                2. I pretty much agree with the other posters here. Service is very good and the atmosphere is appropriate for the purpose...but really I think unless you or your dining companion really get off on the all-organic thing as a concept, you're likely to leave describing the food as "decent" or "pretty much fine"...and you should come away feeling better than that at this price point.