It's already clear that Mari Vanna is endorsed by Russian hockey players. The Caps' Alex Ovechkin was spotted there before opening, and Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin swung by this weekend while he was in town, ordering teas and desserts. But what do the locals think about the new, three-level Russian restaurant in Dupont Circle? Here's the early word on Mari Vanna from bloggers, Yelpers and more.
The Party Place News: Eat More Drink More predicts the restaurant, which is more of a club on the third floor, "is likely to get a little wild, but I think it will absolutely be a fun place for a group celebration." She liked the "the little stuffed pies with egg, meat, and cabbage." [EMDM]
The Solid Social Spot News: Capital Cooking calls Mari Vanna "a great place to grab a drink with friends." [CC]
The Impressive Decor News: PoPville swings by the preview and is "blown away by the space." Meanwhile, from one of his commenters, dcgent, "Visited last week when only bar was going–missed Ovi by a few hours sadly!–and staff were very friendly (offering free shots of infused vodka). But seems more like a novelty place we'd only go to once or twice." [PoP]
The Staff Feels Like Family News: On the restaurant's Facebook page, Deanna Escobar shares, "The staff made it feel like I'd known them forever and were so easy to talk to! I can't wait to make this my regular spot." [Facebook]
The Good Place to Throw a Birthday Party News: Another Facebook endorsement from Sergey Godunov, who had his birthday party at Mari Vanna. "It was a total success! The food was great, the atmosphere was awesome, the staff was courteous and professional and the service was outstanding." [FB]
The Business Meetings with Vodka News: Blogger I Am Modern says, "The first floor of the three-story restaurant is casual enough for a midweek business lunch, and features a long, full bar including a plentiful list of Russian vodkas, tall hardwood bar tables, and an open kitchen." [IAM]
The Take Your Russian Aunt News: Blogger Pink and Orange in DC takes a Russian relative to check out the place with her, and says of the food, "My favorite were the freshly made pirogies with various fillings of cabbage, ground beef, and potatoes."
The Order A Blini News: From DC on Heels' write-up of the opening party, "Yum the Blinis were so damn good." [DCOH]
The Atmospheric News: Spicy Candy DC takes in "small details like traditional photos on the walls, cozy couches, and beautiful lighting...Mari Vanna creates this comfortable yet sexy atmosphere perfect for a drink before a night out, or a dinner for a group of friends." [SCDC]
The Overpriced Potatoes News: Mari Vanna is earning 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp, with 16 reviews in. One is from Francisco R.S., who says "Great Lamb, and sea bass. Great home made desserts...The home-made potatoes (potatoes with mushrooms) are highly overpriced in my opinion." [Yelp]
The Russian Native Approval News: Elina T. says the restaurant tastes like food from her home country. "We got the herring under a fur coat, the pirozhki and chicken tabaka. The herring was a mini version of the mountain of a dish that my mom makes and was very good. The pirozhki were small but very fresh and delicious. My favorite was the chicken tabaka -- a classic Georgian roasted chicken dish -- this one was the best version I've ever had." [Yelp]
The Poor Service Outrage News: Also on the Yelp front, Rafael P. was not happy with his Mari Vanna experience. "We made a reservation at 9:30p and we got seated around 10:30 p.m....when we asked for the menu, they said that the kitchen was closed and they offered to give us whatever was LEFT in the kitchen. This has been my worst dining experience by far in DC." [Yelp]
The Life-Changing Martini News: From Yelper Rob J.: "Instant classic. The horseradish martini they make will change your life." [Yelp]