100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Palena and Palena Cafe
Palena line cook Emily Hagel puts the finishing touches on a salad. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Comments () | Published February 19, 2013
100 Best Restaurants 2014 100 Best Restaurants 2013 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Palena
Address: 3529 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202-537-9250
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest, Cleveland Park
Cuisines: Modern, American
Opening Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 PM to 10 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Cleveland Park
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Roast chicken; truffled cheeseburger; any of the soups; any pâté, terrine, or sausage; pastas; cookie plate.
Price Details: Three-course menu, $57; four-course menu, $66; five-course menu, $75.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible

Mention this Cleveland Park dining room in casual conversation and you’re likely to hear someone excitedly ask: “Have you had the burger?” Indeed, the truffle-cheese-topped patty is one of the more memorable takes in town. But Frank Ruta’s repertoire goes far beyond that.

A former White House chef, Ruta is obsessed with the craft of cooking—curing sausages and brining pickles, taking the time to build complex soups, rolling beautiful pasta. His spare dining room has a hushed formality and offers a $75 four-course menu or a $100 six-course tasting. The checkerboard-floored cafe is the place to kick back over an easygoing dinner that still feels special—and where you’ll find that burger. Don’t miss: In the dining room, chicken-liver parfait with pickled cranberries; gnocchi with wild rice and balsamic vinegar; duck with juniper sauce. In the cafe, Caesar salad; charcuterie; lobster-roe tagliatelle with crab; roast chicken; cheese plate; kumquat linzertorte; blood-orange/Prosecco cocktail. Dining Room Open: Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Cafe Open: Monday through Friday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate to very expensive.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013
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