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The Early Word on Woodley Park Newcomer Bar Civita

Regular diners disagree with the reviewers.

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Bar Civita
Bar Civita
R. Lopez

Last week, reviewers Tom Sietsema and Don Rockwell had harsh words for Woodley Park's newest restaurant, Bar Civita. But do civilian diners agree with them? Actually, the restaurant currently has an impressive 4.5 star overall rating on Yelp. It's been open for about a month and has 12 Yelp reviews.  Many diners posting on Open Table and the Don Rockwell forum also left chef Liam LaCivita's restaurant with a positive opinion. Here's what they had to say about it.

The Blown Away News: Several diners loved everything about their meals and the restaurant. Yelper Tito C. writes, "Had the pleasure of dining here during its soft opening and I was completely blown away. From the ambience to the food this place did not disappoint." Yelper K.J. reiterated his sentiments, calling it "very good." He writes, "The ambiance is is simple, but the food is outstanding." [Yelp]

The Neighborhood Gem News: Most diners were Woodley Park residents, and they're highly supportive of the new neighborhood business. Yelper Barbara L. writes, "It was just what I was hoping for: a non-pretentious neighborhood gem with really good food and a warm, welcoming vibe." Fellow Yelper Eileen H. says, "As residents of Woodley Park, my husband and I are thrilled Bar Civita opened. The neighborhood is in dire need of more good restaurants. I've been twice and have really enjoyed myself both times." Don Rockwell poster Malok even called it "the best restaurant in Woodley park right now( not that there is much competition)." [Yelp, DR]

The Renovation News: Diners  loved the space's transformation from former Irish bar Murphy's to dining destination. Yelper Brian S. writes, "Basically, Murphy's was dingy and dirty, while Bar Civita is the kind of place you want to eat dinner at." Yelper Carlos P. agrees and calls it "definitely a step up from the old Irish bar." [Yelp]

The Half Portions News: Bar Civita offers half portions for almost all of their pasta dishes and entrees. Diners loved this concept that allowed them to share and try several dishes. Yelper Stephanie S. writes, "You may get a regular meal as usual but if you enjoy tasting a variety of flavors and sharing meals this place is for you. We were able to try three different dishes along with both salads because of half size portions." [Yelp]

The Macaroni News: The pasta dishes on the restaurant's menu are called "macaroni" and diners were pleased with them, especially the gnocchi. Yelper Clare S. writes, "Get the gnocchi! It's amazing, with a spicy tomato sauce, chunks of fresh mozzarella, and the most delicious meatballs." Yelper Sam H. also recommends a few other macaroni dishes and writes, "Came back again and had half portions of the ziti a la vodka and gnocchi. They were both amazing but the ziti was the star." JAMT, a poster on Open Table, adds, "It's not amazing, but it's pretty good. Their pastas are made in-house and we enjoyed the gnocchi and the pinciatelle." [Yelp, OT]

The Main Courses News: There were hits and misses from the menu's entree section, though. Yelper Eileen H. loved her dish, writing, "The first time I went, I had the steak. It was fabulous, and I would happily order again." But Yelper Brian S. describes a totally different experience and writes, "wasn't a big fan of the steak, which was so chewy that each bite required a minute break in conversation. (Maybe the NY strip would be better?) " Twitter member @jcarnoldsf and Yelper Sam H. also voiced disappointment in the veal parmigiana but seemed happy with Bar Civita overall. [Twitter, Yelp]

The Middling Service News: Sietsema and Rockwell both noted service problems in their reviews, but other experiences varied for diners. For instance, Don Rockwell forum poster sheldman was thoroughly impressed: "Everyone on the staff, at all levels (including chef) was friendly, funny and welcoming.  Not stiff at all - everybody was just a bit quirky and personable, which is great for a neighborhood place." But Yelper Rachel M. says, "Service was a little slow and clunky" while Open Table poster nightout writes, "They've just opened and clearly are still working out the details of their support staff. But luckily the food more than makes up for the middling service." [DR, Yelp, OT]

The Noise Level News: Bar Civita's vibe, somewhere between upbeat bar and cozy restaurant, is confusing some diners. Yelper Barbara S. writes, "it's a lively environment, but not so loud that you can't talk." But Open Table poster Iluve2eat complains, "Also the seating area by the bar is too noisy. Should offer folks seating In the other, quieter room." [Yelper, OT]

Bar Civita

2609 24th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 (202) 588-1211 Visit Website