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Eola or Marcels for a birthday dinner?

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I'm taking my BF to a birthday dinner in a few weeks and have narrowed it down to Marcel's or Eola, but not sure which one to choose. The food looks great at both, and I think both have corkage fees (we'll probably bring our own wine).
If we went to Marcel's, we'd likely do the $58 pre-theatre menu, which I've read can leave one feeling less than full. Does anyone have experience with this/care to comment? Also, at Marcel's, jackets are required, right?
Does anyone know if either of these places do anything extra/special for birthdays?
Any advice on which to choose would be much appreciated - thanks!

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  1. Albeit a long time ago, I was underwhelmed with the pre-theatre meal at Marcel's. Eola, based on one visit, is great or boring depend on what you order with a highly seasonal menu.

    I don't know how you wound up with such different places as a final two. In most cases like this, you should decide what kind of food you'd prefer.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      Well, we've been to most of the highly touted special occasion places in DC (CityZen, Citronelle, Komi, etc.) and we can't go somewhere in NoVa or MoCo bc we have plans in DC after dinner and don't want to drive, so it was basically narrowed down to those two places.

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      Citronelle
      3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

      Komi
      1509 17th St NW Ste 1, Washington, DC 20036

      1. re: ViolentScarlet

        In addition to the regular menu, the chef at Eola told me you can ask for the offal menu. I personally would pick Eola over Marcel.

        1. re: ViolentScarlet

          Have you considered Bibiana or Siroc? Eola is no 'fancier' though Marcel's is.

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          Siroc Restaurant
          915 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          Bibiana
          1100 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005

      2. I think it depends on your bfs style. My husband would like Eola better, it is less jewel box cute, for his birthday, but for MY birthday would pick Marcel's because it is so pretty and cute. He likes more clean contemporary. We do love the service at Marcel's though and I don't know anyone personally who has been underwhelmed with the food there.

        The portions at Marcel's aren't huge, but they are also very rich depending on what you order, so I think fullness depends on what items you pick too. I don't think you can make a bad choice, and I think if you call and talk to the restaurants you can make sure there is something special. I think Marcel's did something special for my bday, but can't remember what.