I had posted here a few weeks ago to ask about good solo dining near Woodley Park; at the recommendation of a few posters, I tried Palena in CLeveland Park last nightl. I couldn't get a seat at the bar, but the staff was happy to give me a table for one, and I ordered a la carte off of the menu. The handmade gnocchi were fantastic, and the loup de mer was excellent (I particularly liked the squid in its sauce). My one complaint (and I imagine had I not been alone that this would have been less noticeable) was that the tables were so close together (I was seated in the cafe portion in the front) that I could not avoid hearing absolutely everything my neighbors had to say.
My follow-up request is this: it would appear that I may be required tonight to dine in Woodley Park with a small group (4-5 people). We are in from Seattle, so Asian food (Thai/Vietnamese/Japanese) would not be a big draw. Suggestions?