Been on a posting kick so I thought I'd talk about eating in Olney. Since I end up spending a lot of time there for various reasons, I am familar with most of the restaurants and have some favorites.
The best is Le Mannequin Pis (it just got three stars in Washingtonian and listed as one of the 100 best)It has been discussed on thsi board several times. The speciality here is mussels. They are served about 25 different ways, all by the kilo. Try the mussel and saffron soup, it is wonderful. The deserts are also very good, but the chocolate is out of this world. The wine list is more than adequate and reasonably priced. The service can be a little slow at times, but friendly. I highly recommend eating here, but make a reservation because it is a small dining room. Mondays are a deal with a limited menu for $20.02 (if you pay cash, $22.22 otherwise)for a three course meal. Don't piss off Bernard (the owner/chef) or he will just tell you to eat somewhere else (it was really funny to see the face of the snobby woman he told this to the last time we were here, but to be honest, she deserved it for her snotty pretentious attitude)
Olney Grill - Tucked in the corner of a small shopping center at the corner of Georgia Ave and Rt. 108. Nice suberban restaurant. The BBQ ribs are not bad, and the fish is always fresh and well prepared. They also make a good steak (NY strip and always cook it just the way you ask (I like it very rare and they didn't bat an eye) Fish is also a good bet here but the Thai Salad and the grilled chicken dishes are also very good. Has a bar, but no wine list to speak of (swill reallly but they don't care) Service is usually very good and always friendly. Basicly a very good neighborhood family restaurant, slightly upscale in the food but does it well. Basicly a good value too.
Ricciuti's Brick Oven Pizza - Extremely good, thin crust, woodfired oven baked pizza. Many different and intersting toppings. They also make very good sandwiches and pastas. But the reason to go is for the great pizza. They have a very good (recently expanded) if small by DC standards wine list. Quite a range (Gallo to Caymus)and well priced.
Mamma Lucia's - In the Olney Village Mart Shopping Center. Most popular pizza place in town. Good pizzas (not as good as Ricciuti's) pastas, and specials that are well made and large. Small wine list but adequate. Large place by Olney standards and usually full. Half price pizza nights really bring them out. Service is good and the place is worth checking out if that is your cup of tea.
Bella Notte - On GA Ave just north of 108. This is a nice family Italian restaurant. There is no wine list
to speak of (mostly bolla) but the house wine is very drinkable. Try the Osso Bucco, it is delicious. There are always several specials and the pizza is very good. Service is friendly and the food well prepared. Great bread. There is often a wait, but never too long. The pasta in olive oil and garlic is great. And this is an Italian restaurant where the veggies are well worth getting. The gnocchi is tasty and so are the seafood dishes. The pasta is the star attraction. Decent alfredo, pesto and marinara. Veal and chicken dishes well done and deserts are good, if you can find room. The collection of Lady and the Tramp stuff is really cute.
Grand Marquis Cafe - In the Olney Shopping center. Small salad bar, good salads. Ribs,chicken, burgers, etc. Very good soups and wings. But not up to some of the other places around. Not a bad value however and the service is good.
B. J. Pumpernickles - An Olney institution. Huge menu, breakfast served all day, lots of jewish Deli type items (Fish platters, kugels, etc) pasts, chicken, sandwiches, soups, salads. Deserts are varied and specialize in 5 layer cakes. Their motto is "Have a pickle" and they have a pickle bar to munch at as you wait for your food. Very much a family restaurant, they have half price night every Monday and Tuesday from 3-9 pm. They are very involved in the community and often donate food to worthwile fundraisers. Good place to go when everyone wants something different. The wraps are very good too. They have an all you can eat Buffet most weeknights. One of my favorite places for several reasons (not just the food)
Wasabi Zen - Next to Le Mannequin Pis. It's great to have a place to get sushi in Olney. Very pretty restaurant with a great sense of humor. Sushi bar shaped like a boat, and a sushi chef who really knows his business. The tempura was light and crisp without being greasy. The sushi was fresh and there are several inovative makis. I have always eaten at the sushi bar, but there is table service. Very friendly place and worth a visit. They have teriyaki, katsu, tempura and udon, but no sukiaki. Saki, beer and some wine. Desserts are plum, ginger, or green tea ice cream.
Now for one slam. Blue Ox Cafe - I have been here once, and tried to go once more. The first time the food was good, but the service was horrible. My entree and salad came at the same time, the waiter tried to take my meal before I was finished, and he didn't know how to open the bottle of wine. I thought I'd give it another try so I went with my wife and 12 yo son. There were a lot of seats available, but the hostess disappeared for 5 minutes then they tried to seat us in the bar (with my 12 yo). When I complained that I didn't want to sit there, she disappeared again, and so did we. However, I know people who love this place so I will reserve judgement as to whether it has gotten better. But since I have other places to eat, I'll let someone else write about it.
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